For many American families, the past year has meant more time at home, more challenge in balancing work, school and play, and more time spent mastering new skills in the kitchen, in the garden and online.
The result, as light appears at the end of the shut-in tunnel, is a houseful of disorganized ‘stuff’ and pandemic-weary people who don’t want to think about sorting it.
So, as we enter the traditional spring-cleaning season, here are seven tips from professional home organizers to help you turn your disorganized mess into a pleasing, more efficient space:
- Take It Slow – Clutter can feel overwhelming, so approach it one room or one pile at a time, rewarding yourself with short rest breaks.
- Stay Focused – It’s not unusual to start cleaning your desk, take something from it into your bedroom and get distracted enough to start cleaning the mess in there. Steel yourself to stick with the task you started.
- Sort Strategically – Take three baskets with you into the room you are organizing. Toss laundry in one, trash in another and things to be donated in the third. Then hang up or stow away the remainder, and you’re ready to clean and vacuum.
- Give Everything a Home – You rarely lose forks and spoons because they have a designated drawer in the kitchen. Similarly, everything in your home, including items like toys, jackets, unanswered mail and homework, should be designated to a specific space.
- Make Use of Small Spaces – Each shelf of a bookcase or cabinet holds a limited number of books, toys, dishes or spices. Layering storage containers, say two on each shelf, literally doubles the storage space. Adding plastic shelving to the insides of closets and kitchen cabinet doors provides extra storage capacity.
- Buy the Right Containers – Before you head to the home store to buy containers and shelving options, measure the space where you plan to use them. Choose clear containers so that contents are visible and/or label each one.
- Set up 10-Minute Saturdays – Once your home is more or less organized, establish a 10-minute Saturday clean-up, with each family member tasked with picking up, tossing laundry into a bin and returning items to where they belong.