Believe it or not, the New Year is not far off, and it’s time to take stock. Another gym resolution? Forget it. This year, resolve to get organized. All the gifts you’ll acquire over the holidays will need a place to live, and you’ve probably got plenty of items you can get rid of. No matter how big (or small) your house is, one thing people always seem to want is more storage. So, give the following ideas a try to maximize your space and head into 2018 feeling a little bit lighter — and a lot more organized.
If opening your pantry feels like stepping into chaos, it’s time to pull everything out, sort, toss, and reorganize. If it’s expired, throw it out; if you haven’t used it in a year, donate it. Do the same for your junk drawer. Everything left can now be organized. In the pantry and cupboards, items you use all the time should be at eye level. Put less-used specialty items on top shelves and recycling bins on the floor. Use clear, labeled containers for sugar, flour, and cereal, and group like items in baskets, such as bags of beans and rice. Empty big boxes of individually packaged items, like snacks, into labeled tins.
Up, up, up: To keep your closet uncluttered, you need to keep things off the floor. Unless you’ve got labeled bins with lids, everything should be on a hanger or a shelf. For the ultimate in organization, switch out your clothing seasonally. When spring arrives, pack away sweaters, scarves, and gloves, and in fall, your swimsuits and shorts should be neatly folded into their labeled bins in the basement, garage, or attic. This way, you’ll have more room to see and get to the items you use every day. Pro tip: Keep shoes neatly stacked in the lidded boxes they came in. Cut off the end, and you can see what’s inside.
If you’ve ever been on Pinterest, you’ll know this one: An over-the-door pocketed storage bag is great for hair-care products and accessories, cosmetics, and brushes and combs. Use an over-the-cupboard-rack to keep dryers, curling irons, and corded items tucked neatly away. If you have the room, label trays or baskets with each family member’s name so everyone can find what they need quickly on chaotic mornings. Add storage space with an etagere (shelving that stands over the toilet) or specialized shelves around a pedestal sink.
Entryways and Mudrooms
As with the pantry, get as much off the floor as possible. Use a bench with storage to hold gardening shoes and knee pads. Hooks on the walls can hold coats, scarves, and umbrellas, and baskets for gloves and hats help keep the clutter to a minimum. A rubber mat with a lip all the way around can hold muddy boots. You could even create separate cubbies for each family member’s coat, backpack or bag, and shoes.
If the above tips seem too challenging, then here’s the most important tip we have: purge. Toss it, donate it, or recycle it if you haven’t used it in a year. You may surprise yourself with the “extra” space you’ll find!