Get control of your clutter

So, the home is gorgeous, the yard is perfect but inside, your things cover every surface. Whether you’re setting up for an open house, or trying to get the packing done, the last thing you want is clutter complicating the process. Seems easy, right? But getting control of the mess can be harder than it sounds. 

You have plenty of choices: boxes, shelves, under-bench and table storage; so many that it can just make your job harder by creating more clutter. There are lots of television shows, DVDs and self-help books that purport to show you the best ways to organize your life. You don’t need to become the model of organization to get your home on the market, merely start with these few simple rules. 

The Rules

Getting control of your clutter can be overwhelming, but you can get through it. 

1. One Step at a Time: It looks like a huge job, but you’ll manage. Just do one part at a time. Start small, say, with the kids’ toys or a junk drawer and work your way through the room. Then move to the next room and repeat. Focus on just the part you’re working and don’t worry about the rest until you get there.

2. Keep Track of the Time: It’s easy to get caught up thinking about why everything is important or getting just the right setup on that bookshelf, but it’s important to keep yourself going. Limit yourself to short blocks of time, 1-2 hours, and complete a whole block before moving on. For example, start with your junk drawer (come on, everyone has one): get the entire thing sorted out, then move on. That could mean moving on to the next project, but you can also go back to your life. Unless you’ve left this to the very last minute, don’t think you need to get it all done in one day. You can reduce the stress substantially by spreading it out.

3. Give Yourself Enough Time: However long you think this job will take, double it. The doubling rule is a good standard for planning for two reasons: First, you won’t be disappointed if it takes longer than you initially thought and second, if you are lucky and get done early you’ll be extra excited!

4. Keep it Simple: Making your de-clutter plans too complicated only slows you down. Use the four box rule: Keep, Give, Discard, Save. The discard box is for anything too used, damaged or otherwise inappropriate for giving away or keeping. Anything from junk to trash goes here. The Keep box is just a temporary spot, use it for things that are staying in the same room, drawer, or shelf. This helps keep them out of the way while you finish sorting anything else. The Save box is similar to the keep box, except these things go in other rooms. Lastly, the give box: this can be things going to friends or family, and should also include anything you want to donate to charity. Charitable donations are a valuable tax break that can help offset some of your other expenses. 

Your clutter is your business, but it’s a good idea to ask your real estate professional about any specific staging needs to help show off your home to potential buyers so you can take care of those items first.

How To Declutter Your Closet For Good

When you’re short on space, it can be difficult to see how you could ever possibly declutter your closet. It is, after all, a convenient hiding space for all of your items that you have no idea where to put! There’s a few tips that can help you to get on the road to decluttering your closet and getting organized.

Make Things Accessible

One reason that clutter builds up is that things are not very accessible. As you’re trying to find something, items fall and become misplaced. By spreading out your organization system a bit within the closet, you’re able to see what you have and exactly where it is. 

Group Like Items Together

In the same light of being able to find things that you need, grouping like items together makes it easier to find what you need. If you know that all of your haircare items are in a certain bin, you’ll be able to reach in the same spot without thinking.   

Find Places You Can “Drop” Things

Closets tend to be that kind of space where we just drop things and forget about them. We always think “I’ll deal with it later.” When later never comes, we end up with quite a cluttered closet. Keep baskets or trays handy in the closet in order to keep things that you may empty out of your pockets or put away at a later time. This way you’ll only have to clean out one basket instead of the entire closet. 

Make Use Of Drawers

Drawers are incredibly useful in a closet space. You can place a dresser in the closet if space permits. If you don’t have room for a dresser, you may want to create your own drawer units. For an alternative option of storing things, try installing shelving units and placing baskets across the shelves, giving the illusion of drawers.   

Encourage Tidiness

Everything that you do to organize your closet should have the goal of keeping tidiness in mind. If the closet is a walk-in, you’ll organize it much differently than if you have a smaller space. No matter the size of the closet, you’ll want to divide the space into zones of sorts. This way, you’ll know where everything goes and how to keep it neat.   

Light The Space

Without adequate lightning in the closet, it’s pretty difficult to find what you’re looking for, no matter how organized you are. If your closet doesn’t have a lot of natural light, you’ll need to install some lighting. Whether you put in overhead bulbs, or install touch- activated portable lights, the brighter the better when it comes to your closet. Be sure that there’s lights in key areas like darker corners where the main light source doesn’t reach. 

Tips for Organizing Your Kitchen

The kitchen. It’s one of the most used rooms of the house, yet somehow becomes one of the most disorganized. If you’re tired of digging past ten spatulas to find the potato peeler keep reading. Below are some tips on how to organize your kitchen and keep it that way!

Start by making a bigger mess. Yes, clean everything out of the drawers and cupboards. You may want to include clearing out pantry items as well if it’s been awhile since you’ve done so. Check expiration dates on everything as sometimes items have a way of getting pushed to the back of a cupboard to be forgotten for years. Sort through your items and determine what can be kept, donated or tossed out.

Create categories for the items you are keeping. Think baking, cooking, seasonal, often used, least used, etc. By sorting everything out into categories now, you will know what type of storage solutions and where the best place to store them is later.

Find storage solutions that work. Whether you have items laying around the house you can use or need to invest in some, the best way to stay organized is to create a system that assigns a home for every single item you own. Junk drawers are born from items not having a dedicated place. Be proactive in preventing the dreaded junk drawer by finding an organization solution that includes a spot for everything. Some organization items to consider are lazy susans for spices and other pantry items, hooks to hang mugs, a stemware rack for wine glasses, a rack hang pots and pans from the ceiling, hooks on the insides of cabinet doors for pot holders or measuring cups, a spice rack installed on a cabinet door, and drawer dividers for utensils.

Keep your most used items within reach. Avoid digging through cupboards and drawers on a daily basis by keeping your most used items front and center. In cabinets store your most used items on lower shelves while placing the ones you use less often on top shelves. Place your go-to cooking utensils in a vase or other type of decorative container on the counter next to the stove. You should also consider keeping pots, pans, and other cooking items close to the stove to keep them within arms reach when you are cooking.

Extra Tips for the Go-Getters. Organize plastic ware with their lids. Better yet invest in a set that comes with snap-together lids or a large matching set so you aren’t left trying to cram the wrong lid on a bowl for leftovers. Make the most of the empty space over your cabinets by adding shelves for extra storage. Add a lazy susan in your fridge to avoid items being pushed to the back and becoming long forgotten. Set up a station to sort typical kitchen papers like coupons, menus, and notepads.

While we use our kitchen almost every day the clutter can build up and become overwhelming. With an action plan in hand and a few days dedicated to organizing the chaos you can have a cleaner, more organized kitchen before you know it!

Organizing Tips: Basement Storage

Oh, the basement. How is it that all of the unused items seem to end up here? If your basement is like most it is filled with items long since unused but you still can’t quite let go of the boxes stacked on boxes. If going down into your basement to find what you are looking for is a chore keep reading to learn how to create a more organized storage space that makes finding things a snap.

Start by doing a major clean out of everything in your basement. Sell or donate anything you no longer have a use for but have put off getting rid of. By doing so you will give your stuff a second life and clear up extra room for a more effective storage system. Organize what you do decide to keep in “like” piles to make putting them in their future assigned places a cinch. Have labels prepared for each of these piles and come up with category names for each one.

Next, you will want to invest in shelving units and plastic bins if you don’t already have some to protect items you will be storing from any potential flooding. Consider shelves made of metal as wood shelves are prone to absorbing moisture and warping. You may also want to add a dehumidifier to control the levels of moisture in the air, which can lead to damage to the items you are storing. If possible plan for storage around the utility area while keeping all paths to switches and appliances free of clutter. If your basement is unfinished and you have a plan to remodel in the future this will keep costs lower as you only need to section off one area instead of two.

When you start placing your bins on the shelves keep the priority levels of their contents in mind. High use items should be more easily accessible than the lower priority ones. Ensure that when labeling boxes they are in a spot that is visible from just a quick glance. You could also add a list of the contents of each box on the label for when a category requires more than one box.

Extra steps for the dedicated: Maximize available space in your basement by utilizing the space under the stairs. Adding shelves here will give you extra storage space that is easy to access. Label switches, breakers, and shut off valves and hang up a flashlight in an easily accessible space for power outage preparedness. You may also want to buy plastic bins in various colors to color code your items categories and make finding them easy with just a glance.

You might think re-organizing your basement is the last thing you want to spend your weekend doing. However, with a proper plan and the right supplies you can create an organization system in your basement that makes finding stored items a snap and an enjoyable process!

I Wish I Thought of That! Organization Tips for the Home

Getting organized in your home can be less expensive and easier than you think. There are items all around your home that can help you get the clutter in order. Here are just a few tips to get you off to a good start:

A big problem is spices, they get lost in the cabinet, take up tons of room and are always hard to see. If this is a problem in your home use a mop holder to store spices on the inside of a cabinet door.

Too many craft supplies and a place to put them is a typical problem. Arrange crayons, colored pencils and more in an over-the-door shoe organizer. You have all your supplies organized and easy to see in no time.

Use the shoe organizer for anything. It can also be great for cleaning supplies.

If you need decorations for your playroom walls and you have too many board games this is a great solution. Take the glass out of frames and frame the board games and hang on the walls. Attach the game pieces in little baggies to the frame.

What about all that jewelry? If you could actually see it you may even wear it more. Hang a peg board on the wall in your closet and hang your necklaces from it.

Need a place to put your earrings? How about an ice cube tray?

These are just a few nifty ideas. What are your best ideas to keep your home organized?