The beginning of the year is a reset. Why should it be any different for your home?
Everyone has those parts of the house that could use a little TLC. That junk closet in the hallway where stuff has piled up over the year. The basement that serves as both the playroom and the entertainment space when hosting guests. And who even knows what’s hiding in the back of the spice cabinet?
Here, NoVA-based organizing experts provide key tips for home organization. There’s no time like the present!
Start with the Closets
“Clothes closets can get overrun with items you once wore but are now out of fashion, don’t fit, or have something wrong with them — colors ran in the wash, zipper broken, seam fraying,” says Karen Bush, professional organizer and co-founder of Great Falls Organizers. “Regularly sifting through your closet and employing the two-year rule — if you haven’t worn it in two years, it’s time to let it go — can be a big help.”
First, empty your closet. “My first suggestion when organizing any area [such as a closet] is to take everything out,” says Rachel Rosenthal, NoVA-based organizing expert and founder of Rachel and Company. “This may be overwhelming at first, but you want to start the organizing process with seeing everything that you have.”
After that, Rosenthal suggests assessing what to keep and toss.
“Take a look at the items and ask yourself if you actually need this item,” she says. “Consider when was the last time you used it? Do you love it? Does it still fit?”
If you come to the conclusion that you no longer need to keep the item, Rosenthal suggests putting it in a donation, consignment, or “give to others” pile.
Then, you can move on to reorganization.
“It’s important to keep like with like, for instance, sweaters, coats, sandals,” says Lauren Sadlon, owner of Neat Method Northern Virginia. “This will be the basis of your system.”
You can use bins to keep items contained if you don’t have built-in drawers, she adds.
Tackling the Cabinets
“Treat them as prime real estate,” Bush says. “The better organized they are, the easier it is to function in the kitchen, get out the door in the morning rush, and prepare meals.” Everything inside the cabinets needs to be accessible and stored near the area where you use it.
Appliances you use daily — like the coffee maker, tea kettle, or microwave — deserve to be on the counter.
“Other appliances used less frequently — standing mixer, Crock-Pot, food processor — should be stored in a cabinet and pulled out when needed and put back when they’re not,” Bush adds.
In the bathroom, lower cabinets have a lot of potential, and it’s wise to take advantage of vertical space by implementing products such as stackable drawers, says Rosenthal.
“This will contain your small items and [help create] an entire system that will transform your space,” she adds.
Finally, the Basement
Basements are often where old treasures go to die. Ask yourself which ones are truly important to you, says Bush. “If something is important, it needs to be treated as such, or it needs to be released,” she says. “If it’s not important, it probably won’t become important to you in the future, so let it go. Either donate it, or recycle, or repurpose it properly.”
For basements, Sadlon says she likes to create “zones.”
“For example, many people store luggage and travel accessories in their basement,” she says. “If you travel often, I would put this section near the door, and if not, it can be further away.”
Bush agrees, adding that shelving can also make a big difference in your basement organization.
“Make sections in your basement for holiday décor, luggage and travel, workbench and tools, archived documents, excess supplies, and more, so when you have used something and need to put it back, it’s easier to find,” she suggests.
Categorizing your items will help you find what you need faster — which will make your life easier. That, in turn, can have a profound effect on your mind and soul: A pretty good reason to banish clutter, if you ask us.