Original Article by Chereen Langrill
After months of living indoors, it is time to emerge from hibernation and savor all that spring and summer can offer. But first you have to clear out your cave. If you spent most of the winter indoors, your space is probably cluttered, making your home a source of frustration rather than a retreat. Get some inspiration to declutter, room by room, with some advice from three experts: interior designer Suzie Hall (that’s her in her organized closet on page 4), professional organizer Lori Davies, and Realtor and home staging expert Via Surmelis.
1. Keep baskets or other containers on hand to store gaming equipment such as hand-held devices and controllers.
2. Create a space for incoming paper. Have an inbox for all mail, kids’ papers, work papers and more. Sort junk mail immediately and either shred or recycle. Every other day go through paper in the box and take care of the immediate action items.
3. Create drop zones for toys, shoes, magazines and newspapers. Provide a basket or holder for magazines, books, papers, remote controls and more. More than one spot is fine. Use attractive, open containers that are large enough to hold your items but not so large they can’t easily be unloaded.
4. Encourage kids to keep these rooms free of clutter so that you can enjoy quality family time without a mess.
5. Make it clear if you allow eating in the living room. If you do, clean your furniture regularly. You’d be surprised how dirty fabrics get.
6. Use space wisely. Arrange everyday items on easy-to-reach shelves. Place seasonal or rarely used pieces higher, in the back or a shelf.
7. Group items by purpose or category.
8. Purchase lid racks that fit on the inside doors of cabinets. Cookie sheet racks allow sheets to be stored vertically to save space.
9. Use baskets or an over-the-door organizer to keep small, hard to stack items together.
10. Keep gadgets and cookware pieces to a minimum. You won’t use it if you have to dig for it.
11. Plan how you will use your cabinets and drawers — don’t just put things in them.
12. Put dishes and glasses in cabinets/drawers close to dishwasher. Putting dishes in drawers instead of overhead cabinets allows kids to reach them and help with dishes.
13. If your drawers are big or deep, use dividers or interior containers to keep things organized.
14. Clear the area under your sink. Keep it clean and limit the number of items in this area.
15. Unclutter your pantry. Don’t let it get overloaded with cans, boxes and cooking staples.
16. Use baskets to store bulky items such as hair-care products.
17. Clear, over-the-door pocket organizers can be used when storage is limited.
18. Junk-drawer dividers can be used for smaller items such as makeup.
19. Install a coat rack with several hooks to hang towels on the wall.
20. Remove everything from the counters. Put daily items (such as toothbrushes, razors, etc.) in a container that can be stored in a cabinet.
21. Put high-use items within easy reach
22. Quality lighting is key. For women, a lighted makeup mirror is a savior.
23. Keep some cleaning supplies in the bathroom. You’re more likely to keep the bathroom clean.
24. Having small cups around is really helpful.
25. Use a hamper or laundry basket that can easily be carried to the laundry room.
26. Thin out closets and dressers so clothes can be organized easily — and easily found.
27. Keep a basket or bookshelf open for current reading material. Donate old books when you are finished reading them.
28. This room should be your refuge. Keep this room picked up and clean (it’s good for your mental health). And decorate it in a way that inspires you and offers you a retreat.
29. Pack away seasonal items so your closet isn’t packed with unnecessary items.
30. Invest in a quality mattress, pillows and linens. You spend a lot of your life in bed. (Remember to wash those linens, too!). When you need a fresh look, replace the bedding, curtains and blinds with new ones.
31. In the kids’ rooms, keep toys put away in a toy box.
32. Keep a wastebasket and two small containers on the top of the dryer or a shelf for loose items and change.
33. Keep laundry baskets on hand to transport clean, folded clothing.
34. If you hate trying to find matches to all your socks, buy all socks in one style. Put into a basket, and you can quickly grab a pair.
35. Think of how you do laundry and organize according to the flow: sorting, soap, folding, stacking and ironing.
36. Move the laundry through quickly. Avoid letting things stack up.
37. Make room for anything else you do in the laundry room. Nooks and crannies have potential for storage opportunities and more.
38. Keep office supplies in here just as you would in a regular office.
39. Use closets or the back of a door to store extra supplies. Use clear containers with lids or over-the-door pocket organizers for smaller supplies.
40. Clear your desk of all mementos for more surface space. Put the printer on top of a file cabinet. A comfortable chair is key.
41. Create an efficient filing system and use it.
42. Place papers needing action in an inbox. A file cabinet can contain paper you need for reference, such as warranties or policies.
43. Every couple weeks turn your inbox upside down and start from the bottom of the pile. To manage paper, use the four Ds: Do, Delay, Delegate or Dump. If you can do something in a few minutes, take action now. Otherwise, keep it in the inbox for later. Set the paper aside if it can be delegated. If no action is needed, recycle or shred the paper.
44. Sort contents into zones such as yard, tools, sporting goods, camping, etc. Consider using clear tubs.
45. Use as much vertical space as possible to hang items such as skis, ladders and yard tools.
46. Place lightweight or seldom-used items on top shelves. Store heavier or frequently used items on bottom shelves.
47. Keep photos, records/tapes, candles and paint out of the garage. Heat and cold can harm these items.
48. Ceiling racks allow for extra space directly over vehicles to utilize seasonal items.
49. Pick a weekend and pull everything out of your garage. Wash the floors and take care putting things back in. Donate unused items and organize things you’re keeping.
50. Put your recycling container closer to the door than your garbage can to encourage you to recycle more.
Article Source: “Treasure Magazine” Article: 50-Plus Ways to Get and Stay Organized Throughout Your Home