You just moved in to your brand new custom-built home. It’s beautiful. It’s clean. And it’s a comfortable retreat for your family. So how do you keep it this way? Here are 5 tips to help your custom home stay organized, free of clutter and still perfectly livable.

  1. Bring on the purge: Moving into a new home is the perfect time to go through all of your belongings and purge what you no longer use, want or need. Marie Kondo, an organizing consultant, suggests tackling this task by category—not by room. Instead of starting with your bedroom, then kitchen, then office, etc., start with a “category” like clothing, books or kitchenware. Kondo recommends starting with clothing since people are typically less emotionally attached to it. Go through each family member’s clothes and gather what can be purged or donated.
  2. Contain the clutter: Selecting the right containers is important when you’re organizing items in your home. Before you purchase containers, measure the space where you will be using them so you know what size(s) to buy. If you or your family will be accessing them often, make sure the size is manageable. If kid toys or crafts will be stored in them, clear containers may be best so your child can easily find what they need. For easy stacking, use containers that are the same shape. And don’t forget to properly label each container before storing it away.
  3. Think vertically: One space that tends to gather a lot of larger items is the garage. It can easily become a catch-all space for sports equipment, tools, storage or recycling bins, garden equipment and more. Start by grouping like items together. Then, determine the best spot in the garage for each group. Make sure to consider which areas of your garage are “valuable real estate”—this is where you’ll want to place frequently-used items. For example, recycling bins may be best right next to your entry door. Next, install shelves, peg boards or modular cabinets to get items off the ground and out of sight.
  4. Deter the urge: The most lived-in spaces in a home often attract the most clutter. Kitchen counters collect everyday items like mail, coupons and magazines. Living rooms may have books, toys, glassware and more scattered around. If there’s a flat surface that’s empty, it’s most likely to invite some type of clutter. A great way to combat this is to fill that empty space with decorative items like picture frames, flower vases or a piece of art. You can also install hooks on your wall for keys, purses, hats and coats. And organize your mail, coupons and papers with wall pockets that can easily hang in your kitchen or office.
  5. Practice daily upkeep: Everyone leads busy lives. Between work, school, sports, hobbies and other priorities, keeping our homes clean can quickly fall to the bottom of a to-do list. But you don’t have to dedicate an entire weekend to maintaining a clean, clutter-free home. Start practicing daily habits like making your bed, putting things back where they belong, sorting mail, washing dishes as they’re used and clearing your entryway. A little bit of organizing each day can add up to an orderly home when the weekend rolls around.