You must have said it a few times. Out loud and with witnesses, so that there is evidence: “This weekend I put my house in order.” But the moment never comes, or the desire does not appear, or the task is so immense that you do not know where to start, or … As you explore how infinite the list of excuses can be for not putting order at home, chaos rages wide. Clothes pile up in the bedroom, papers climb mountains on top of the desk and in the drawers of the closet it is impossible to find anything.
Sorting is much more than just a matter of freeing up physical space. It is also about achieving a mental balance. Disorganization causes stress, creates fatigue and takes time away. It also affects concentration. According to a study from Princeton University, disorder makes it difficult for us to concentrate on a single task because it affects our visual cortex. Other research in the specialized journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin reveals that people who live in messy homes are more likely to suffer from depression or fatigue.
The concern about keeping our houses in order has skyrocketed. This year alone, the social network Pinterest has registered 14 million searches for terms related to home organization. The reason for this frenzy comes from Japan and responds to the name of Marie Kondo. This expert, who discovered her passion for organization as a child, has become a subject matter guru. Kondo has spread his passion for organization to millions of people thanks to his KonMari method and his book The Magic of Order, a best seller that has been translated into 30 languages. His philosophy: get rid of everything that does not make you happy.
But Marie Kondo’s is not the only method capable of transforming chaos into order. There are as many formulas as there are types of homes, although to achieve (and maintain) an orderly home, experts recommend starting at the same point: becoming aware of the problem. In EL PAÍS Escaparate we have consulted three professional organizers, a figure that has recently begun to gain strength, to unravel the secret of order. We collect the five keys that, according to these experts, will help you organize your home once and for all and we select 15 items that you can buy to achieve it.
1. Follow a process and find your method of organization
Tidying up isn’t about beating yourself up on a silly Sunday morning and ending up frustrated because you never get to finish anything. “You will move three things, but another four will come out to do and in the end you will not solve anything,” explains Adelaida Gómez, who founded Orden Studio four years ago, a company specialized in teaching people to be orderly and organized. The expert follows a strict process with her clients. And it is not enough to become aware of the problem, it is also necessary to want to solve it and set a clear objective: for example, for that room that has been left as a warehouse for boxes without undone after a recent move, the objective may be to empty it and turn it into a office. Next, it is a question of breaking down that objective into simpler tasks: checking what is in those full boxes, deciding where everything is going to go, emptying the boxes, repositioning what is inside … “You have to plan those tasks,” adds Gómez . “Think about how you are going to do it, what materials you will need and how long it will take you.”
With these observations in mind, we recommend two reference books on organization and order methods, and a weekly organizer to help you plan your day.
The magic of order, by Marie Kondo. In addition to following a process, it is necessary to choose an organization method: what guidelines are you going to use to order your things? Marie Kondo’s method, which the Japanese woman explains in The Magic of Order, starts from a premise that professional organizers agree on: sort your things into categories (clothes, kitchen items, documents …) and try to assign each category already each belonging to a specific place. That way, every time something new comes into the house, you will already know where to store it.
The power of order: a therapy against chaos, by María Gallay. María Gallay, the first professional organizer to start working in Spain, bases her work on the 5S method. This Japanese technique, first launched by the Toyota company in the 1960s, is used for example in factories, hospitals or schools around the world. It is about organizing by following five steps: classify, order, clean, standardize and maintain discipline. “It goes for everything. To order a drawer, a closet or an entire house ”, says Gallay, who develops this method in his book The Power of Order.
Weekly planner. There is no use planning if all these objectives and methods are kept in the drawer of good intentions. Adelaida Gómez recalls the importance of scheduling pending tasks. Once we have broken them down and we have calculated how long each one is going to take, it is important to designate a day and time to do them and write it down, for example, in organizers like this one that we recommend. Otherwise, they will stay forever in that infinite pile of “tomorrow I wear.”
2. To be able to organize, first, you have to sow chaos
It is impossible to order without first knowing what we have at home. And for that it is essential to turn the house upside down and empty cabinets, drawers, boxes, shelves … “That chaos is scary because it is a feeling of loss of control,” acknowledges Adelaida Gómez. But that chaos is the only place from which we can purge and decide what is really useful and what things should leave the house. “Elimination is an important part, many times the disorder comes because we have too many things,” explains Cloti Martínez, professional organizer at Reorganizarte. “I always urge to eliminate, not only for a matter of physical space but also for mental health. But it costs us a lot. I recommend starting with things with which you have a less emotional connection ”, he adds.
And, after sowing chaos, it’s time to put everything back in order. We select a sideboard, a hanging furniture as a disaster drawer or a metal shelf. Functional storage items to keep clutter at bay.
Sideboard. Organizing is nothing more than completing a complicated tetris. Once we have everything out and in sight, Martínez recommends “evaluating the physical space you have to contain all your things”. Making the most of storage furniture is key: cabinets, drawers, trunks, dressers … And also sideboards, like this one we selected from Kenay Home in white wood and Nordic lines, which can act as a wild card in any room of home.
Hanging furniture. Having every corner ordered to the millimeter can be overwhelming. That is why it is useful to designate a mixed bag, a place to store everything that has not (yet) defined a specific place. If you place it at the entrance, as in this hanging cabinet with two drawers by Banak Importa, it can serve as a point to store your mail, for example. “A place of relief can be phenomenal, but if that drawer fills up and becomes two, it ceases to be useful,” warns María Gallay, the professional organizer who also directs the study Organization of order.
Metal shelf. Open storage, like this metal shelf from La Redoute, is another good solution to keep chaos at bay, especially when combined with other accessories. Gallay recommends magazine filing cabinets because they allow documents and objects to be stored vertically on a shelf or shelf.
3. Think about the accessories you will need
Organizing accessories are the great allies to maximize every free inch. Hangers, shelves, hooks … and especially boxes, the main tidying tool used by professional organizers. At this point you also have to plan, as Adelaida Gómez explains: “It is important to prepare all the materials that you will need before starting the task so that you do not have to stop”. Be careful, however, with compulsively buying accessories. It is counterproductive. “Accessories are very useful, but you have to buy them only after you have your content decided,” Gallay warns.
Here are three of the main accessories that you can buy when you have everything that you are going to order ready.
Set of two folding storage boxes. With handles, without handles, foldable, rigid, bigger or smaller. The possibilities of a box are endless. “They serve as fictitious drawers, they are essential. Even the tapas can also be used ”, explains Cloti Martínez. Although, as the expert points out, not all of them are valid for everything: you have to adapt the container to the content and also think about where you are going to place them and what function you want to give them to choose the ideal model. This set of two boxes are made of cotton cloth and cardboard, and have dimensions of 38 x 25 x 25 centimeters.
4. Beware the corners of chaos
In every house, there are corners that look like magnets capable of attracting all the disorder in the universe. To identify them, analyze what your weak point is: if you tend to accumulate papers, it will be the office; If you want to buy a souvenir on each trip you make, you will surely have the shelves crowded. The three experts that we have consulted agree, however, that the areas with the most danger are four: the bedroom, the kitchen, the bathroom and flat surfaces. “Wherever there is a free support surface, disorder will accumulate there”, warns María Gallay. “In the end, you don’t even see everything you’ve put on it because it’s part of the landscape.”
Below, three proposals for articles so that those corners where disorder tends to accumulate stop being chaotic.
Organizer for under the sink (kitchen). Kitchen cabinets are often a surprise box, you never know what is inside. “The kitchen is a source of chaos because we accumulate many things that we buy and then we do not use,” explains Gallay. “They live in the back of closets and never come out.” Cleaning products, for example, are often banished under the sink, in a black hole where it is impossible to find anything; An organizer to place in this hole can be used to compartmentalize and make the most of that space.
5. Order does not remain alone
“Order gives you time, helps you save money and also gives you peace of mind. You feel that your home is a place to return to and rest, and not that place where everything is pressing and where there is always a pile of pending tasks to be done, ”says María Gallay. The list of benefits of living in an organized space should be a sufficient excuse for, once order is achieved, striving to maintain it. But the complicated often begins precisely there. “Order does not stay alone, you maintain it,” says Cloti Martínez bluntly.
To maintain this discipline of order once the challenge of achieving it has been achieved, we propose a wall coat rack, a magazine rack and an office tray. Three articles that are added to the list of recommendations based on the advice of the experts consulted.