One of the best things about starting a new year is that feeling of a fresh start! This is my favorite time to go through our home and get a better idea of the areas I want to work on, change up or update. There are always closets, cupboards and drawers that I know could look and function better but it can be challenging to see these spaces through fresh eyes. Unless you are planning to hire an organization expert, here are five tips I use to tackle these spaces to make items visible, accessible, easy to grab and then put back.
1. take everything out
There are many schools of thought on organizing and I have tried many. But there is one that makes the most sense to me, I’ve adopted the most from and by far has worked the best. Have you got on the Marie Kondo wagon and begun “Kondo-ing” your home? If no, not to worry, you can make these changes over time, starting with one drawer, cupboard or closet at a time (although Kondo recommends doing it all at once, do what works for you). By removing the entire contents of that space, you see the space and your items in a new light and will find new and more effective ways to use and to store them.
I have significantly edited and decluttered everything in my home, especially the last couple of years. I have always liked to invest in quality pieces but lately I also want to invest only in things that I truly love (spark joy), will really use and not just something I think I need because I like it at that moment or because it’s a great deal. I used to think I needed to own every kitchen item and gadget (and pretty much did own them all) but have found many of these items are rarely used, crowd my space, and crowd my mind. If you have to reach over too many items and/or climb to reach an everyday item, it’s time to rethink what you really need and use.
3. keep like items together (categorize)
This is one area I really adhere to the Mario Kondo method and it has made a significant difference in the functioning of my entire home. For example, I was keeping my pots and pans in two different locations in the kitchen: My pots were in a drawer and also in a cupboard because it looked better and fit better. I found that I was only using the pots in the drawer because they were easier to use and see and the ones that were in the cupboard were cumbersome to get to and therefore mostly avoided altogether. By moving them all to one location I always have what I need right in front of me plus they all get used. The same went for my skillets. They were also in both a drawer and a cupboard and were even easy to access. But now having them all together in one drawer makes so much more sense and has enabled me to use the previous space in the cupboard to store other like items together. They are now visible, accessible, easy to use and put back again.
I am now down to three colanders of varying sizes. I had my small everyday one for fruit in a drawer by the sink and larger ones in a different cupboard. I combined them all and wonder why it’s so much easier draining the pasta water when I can just grab any size colander from the same stack. You always know where everything is and this creates such a better flow in the kitchen. This also applies to simple things like cutting boards, first aid kits, toiletries, linens, the list goes on and on. You and your family (and guests) will always know where an item or items are located.
Pantry staples categorized and labeled
Linens categorized and labeled
Front hall closet categorized and labeled (still a work in progress)
4. a place for everything and everything in its place
Yep, I said it. The old saying that I love and really try to live by. It makes life so much easier for everyone in your home and and it really can be done! If you have kids and toys, assigned baskets make clean up so much easier. Lots of mail and can’t go through it all that day? A mail basket or container. Odds and ends that don’t yet have a place? You guessed it, a pretty basket that can hold these items until you can assign them a place or discard altogether. Holly @breathing.room.organization calls this the “transition” basket which seems like the perfect name. I am by no means perfect at this and am amazed just how much “stuff” still comes into our home. But by implementing this technique, I have found so much less clutter and “stuff” lying around.
5. use what you have
Another principle I love about the Marie Kondo method is using what you have. Have you ever found yourself not organizing something because you don’t have the “right” containers or bins and telling yourself you need to wait until you do? Well, the answer is, you don’t! Use any old shoeboxes, cartons, containers, anything, to sort and categorize items together in one area. Over time, you can replace these containers with prettier ones but in the mean time, you’ve decluttered and organized and now have a new (almost effortless) system.
Also, actually use what you have. Kondo advises holding every item and determining it it “sparks joy”. If it doesn’t, thank the item for serving its purpose and donate or discard it.
I hope some of these methods will work for you. I’m far from perfect in always using them but this approach to tackling your stuff and creating a tidier lighter home feels fantastic!