These Are the Biggest Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Home Organization, According to Pros

published Jan 28, 2021
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Credit: Chloe Berk

While I definitely need help when it comes to getting organized, STAYING organized is an entirely different (even more difficult) beast to master. Turns out, you can’t just organize your home once and expect it to magically stay tidy while continuing to use it. All month, Apartment Therapy has shared the advice of professional organizers and design experts — as well as tours of their clean and inspiring homes — and in this post they reveal more organizing secrets. This time, how to make sure that after you get organized you stay organized… by avoiding making these biggest organizing mistakes!

Not having a specific place for everything

“I think the golden rule of organizing is to make sure everything has a place. The biggest mistake I’ve seen people make when it comes to organizing is overcommitting to clutter. They bring things into their homes that don’t have a place and don’t purge often enough. This causes a backlog of clutter and it’s easy to get out of control,” says Shamika of Maximizing Tiny. She shared her super organized home in a house tour earlier this month, a 750-square-foot rental apartment full of brilliant hidden storage.

Overcomplicating it

“I think the biggest mistake one can do when it comes to staying organized is over complicating things. I believe that organization should be kept simple. What I mean is, if an organizing system looks complicated and feels more like an added chore than it is relieving you of stress, it’s time to consider another system and not give up on organization all in one try. Organization is different for everyone and there is no cookie-cutter way to do it. All it really is, at least for me, are systems and habits that you make a point to keep doing to decrease overwhelm in your life,” explains Katrina of Badass Homelife. She shared how she conquers clutter with minimalism, sustainability, and DIYs in the home she lives in with her husband and their two dogs.

Not being consistent

“Staying organized is like staying in shape, it’s a lifestyle that requires a consistent regime. You have to be consistent,” explains Faith Roberson, who shared a tour of her 512-square-foot studio apartment earlier this month.

Credit: Rashmi Patel

Organizing and forgetting about it

“The biggest mistake is organizing a space and then forgetting about it. Organizing takes some upkeep, but if you tidy frequently, the space won’t get overwhelming,” instructs Rashmi of Rush Me Home, who has a house with envy-inducing pantry, closet, and home organization.

Not treating your home like your sanctuary

“Instead keeping things because of guilt, fear or shame,” shares Pia of Sweet Digs, whose colorful and tidy Brooklyn rental is full of labeled storage inspiration. More of her mistakes to avoid include: “Buying storage products before you declutter. First you need to know what you want to store! Not using prime real estate such as vertical storage under your sinks, or keeping things close by to where you use them. Storing like things in different places. Having too much stuff and thinking you are fixing it by getting a bigger home. And not being intentional about what you bring into your home.”

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Trying to organize clutter

“I think people try to organize clutter. You simply can’t organize clutter and there really isn’t any point in doing so. It’s so important to declutter so that you’re only keeping the things that you value. This will also give you more space to organize and makes it easier to clean and maintain an organized space,” says Vaishali Sahni, of Tiny and Tidy (Apartment Therapy toured her Toronto condo packed with organizing ideas last year).

You can find great home tours and even greater organizing advice from this year’s fresh crop of inspiration (and catch up on last year’s professional organizer house tours) all on this one page: Professional Organizer Home Advice.