The winter season always seems to inspire me to organize and get my home in order. Maybe it’s the cocooning thing – we’re inside and we want to make life as functional as possible. All too often, though, that tends to prompt the purchase of more things in order to organize what we have.
Thing is, no amount of baskets or cupboards is going to solve the storage issue if you don’t do two things: get rid of what you aren’t using, and commit to buying less.
For the purging, I always recommend taking it slow otherwise it’s too easy to get sidetracked meandering down memory lane. And you need to stay focused for this task.
I’ve also learned that it helps to keep specific things in a specific spot – tableware in the dining room and towels in the bath (and not in the hall closet). As obvious as this sounds, too often I see people stow things all over the house and then waste time hunting for what they need. Mea culpa!
Do the sorting process one room at a time. Things that belong in another room should be boxed up and placed where they belong for purging later. Or try Marie Kondo’s method, described in her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Cleaning Up. This woman knows how to pare back. Sort through everything you have in each category – clothes, books, paper – keeping only things that inspire joy.
You’re still going to need storage, even after all that decluttering. My go-to storage solution is built-ins. These babies pack a lot of stuff – and they do it beautifully and unobtrusively. When clients buy a new home or condo, I always suggest they include built-ins on their upgrade list and they always thank me later.
Sometimes built-ins aren’t available or possible, so I recommend the following:
• For a paperless society we sure generate a lot of paper. I always suggest a filing cabinet and a system with labelled files for easy retrieval. Files are easier to see when stored in vertical sorters.
• Rolling carts for under the bed storage. There’s a lot of space under there and there is no sense saving it for dust bunnies. The space is better used for linens and out-of-season clothes.
• Drawer dividers make space more usable in the kitchen, bath, office and bedroom. Ditto for closet cubbies.
• Stackable plastic drawer units contain small stuff inside the bathroom vanity.
• Clear plastic works well in children’s bedrooms because they can see what’s inside.
• Invest in a closet system, but first calculate the kind of storage you need as dresses require different storage from sweaters and pants. Available at big box stores, they can be finicky to install so you may be farther ahead to work with a closet company, especially if your closets are old and oddly shaped.