When it’s hot outside, head down to the basement and do some organizing. Clearing out a storage area can be a daunting task, but if you carve out time to focus on the space with some specific steps in mind, you can make a lot of progress in a little time. Here are some tips to get you going…
- Don’t look at the big picture. Start in one area and focus your organizing efforts on one item at a time. Looking around at all there is to do will only cause overwhelm.
- Eliminate unwanted items. Sort outgoing items into 3 categories: Trash, Donate and Sell. Use your smartphone to quickly snap photos and easily upload items you can sell onto eBayClassifieds.com.
- Get like items together. When you’re organizing, remember to find place for everything and get everything in its place. For example, keepsakes, gift wrapping, camping equipment, holiday items etc… It all needs a place to belong.
- Aim to contain. Determine what you are planning to keep and store, then purchase good sturdy containers to house those items. Find a good multi-purpose container that stacks well and holds plenty, shown are Sterilite 66qt Clearview Containers.
- Shelves create easy access. Containers are great, but if you stack them too high, it’s hard to access that bottom container. Consider putting shelves in your storage area. Place the containers on them, label and…you’re organized!
- Call for help. When you feel like it’s more than you want to take on, schedule an appointment with the professional organizers of Chaos To Order. We have great suggestions for creative use of space, what containers work best, and how long you should keep things. We are always happy to come and bring your chaos to order.
During the hectic months of summer we are busy coming and going from one place to the next. Your mudroom or back entryway is heavily used and should have systems in place to make an easy transition from the outside to the inside or vice versa. Go to that space and think about what you need there. A place to hang your keys? A calendar with activities? Bulletin board? My family spends alot of time at the pool, so when the coats come off the coat hooks, the beach towels go on. I love the photo of the mudroom shown because it’s really a makeshift space that you can put in any hallway. Even the space along side the stairs is used to hang hats and place a chalkboard (I prefer a dry erase board) Make sure the area is seasonal, meaning winter coats, hats, etc… are stowed somewhere out of the way. Maybe you like to plan picnics in the summer, get the picnic basket out of storage and keep it handy. Are you bringing the kids to the beach ofter? Sand toys in a mesh bag can easily hang on a hook. Anything you can do to make the space more functional and current to the season is going to help you to transition from home to away and back again more easily.
Baskets can be a great way to keep things organized. These baskets are a favorite of our organizer Pam. She uses them on stairs and has individual baskets for each member of the family. When an item is out and needs to be put away, it’s placed in the appropriate basket. These CD baskets are the perfect size for stairs, so when family members are heading up the stairs, they just grab their basket. Of course it’s important to note that these baskets are only for items in transition. They must be emptied regularly in order to perform the function they are meant for. There are, of course, many other uses of baskets to store and contain items, they can help to keep you organized in many ways.
Baskets, or any container for that matter, should be labeled. When baskets and containers get filled with miscellaneous “stuff” they can cause more chaos than order. When used properly, baskets can play a great role in helping to keep you organized. The baskets shown here are from Target, only $6.99—a great deal too!
In order to have an organized space, you need to have a place to put all of the items you have. I have an 8 year old daughter who loves art, reading and playing with a multitude of “little” things. We moved into our house when she was two and the space was perfect for her then, but as she has grown, so has the accumulation of stuff!
Since I’m always talking to other people about how to put their own stuff in order, it was time for me to practice what I preach with my daughter. Her room seemed to be a sufficient in size, but the problem now was where to put things. Remember, if you want easy access and organization, everything needs a place to belong. Clean up time is a whole lot easier when you know exactly where to put things. So we decided to remove a dresser on one wall and replace it with a desk, but not just a desk because, after all, how much stuff is going to fit into three drawers of a little desk? I consulted with my friend and awesome designer at Closet Works—Sue Tinker. We decided to create a desk surrounded by bookshelves, not just for her books, but also for her many knick knacks and collectables. In addition to the desk, bookshelves and drawers, we also added space for a bulletin board to hang the most recent drawings and creations. The result was the desk in this photo, she and I both love it. My daughter now has the perfect place to sit and color, read, create etc… and I have the perfect storage solution to finally organize all of her “little” things!
The process of organizing requires you to always be putting like things together. But what happens when you have an array of miscellaneous items that need to be organized and somehow contained? Well here are before and after photos of a kitchen cabinet that was a catch-all for everything that didn’t have a place. The first step was to weed out what was no longer needed. The second step was to create categories for what was left. For example, there were lots of cords and computer wires. You know the ones– you don’t need them, but if you get rid of one, then you have to run to the store and purchase it again! So we put all the cords into a section, found the proper fitting container and labeled it “cords”–brilliant, right! This same process applies to any area that needs organizing. It’s just a matter of weeding out, figuring out how we can categorize things, finding a container that fits it, labeling so we can find it again and voila–it’s organized!
This week I am at the annual conference for the National Association of Professional Organizers in San Diego. It’s the place where everything organized happens. Professional organizers from all over the world meet up and the many products that help us organize are exhibited. There are many new and exciting products and ideas that I am learning about. The tote in the photo here is called LifeSTYLE File Tote. You can find it at www.jamieraquel.com. It holds standard letter-size hanging files in a very sturdy box form. It comes in seven colors and is very attractive looking, you don’t feel like your carrying around a file box (even though you are). Check them out, and stay tuned for more posts on organizing products I’m finding at the NAPO Conference.
Ziploc bags are an essential element in any organized home (we also find plenty of them in not-so-organized homes). We are mid-way through March and that means that many people are planning spring break get-aways. Ziploc bags are perfect for travel. Now that sectioning out your liquids into 3oz containers when flying is the norm, the Ziploc bag is more handy than ever. Even before we had to put liquids into clear bags for flying, they were still the optimal choice because they protect leak-ables from oozing onto other items. I always travel with an extra stash, they’re great for toiletries, food (that’s what they were meant for, right?), sectioning and sorting everything from tiny toys to papers and puzzles, the list is endless. There’s also Ziploc Big Bags which are great for sorting clothes, keeping sets of linens together, etc…what do you use Ziploc bags for?
It’s time for Friday favorites. Our organizer Maureen just loves these clear handled storage baskets! They come in two great sizes and the handle in front makes them so easy to grab. They are great in the kitchen, bathroom, or any area you need to store some smaller things. We get them from our friends at The Container Store. Getting organized is all about putting like things together, and these storage baskets make that easy to do!
Is your basement filled with clutter? Hot days are the perfect time to get down into your cool basement and organize. Don’t get overwhelmed by a basement filled with clutter, you’ve got to start somewhere. Make a plan: How much of grandmother’s furniture are you going to save? How long have you been saving all that stuff for the upcoming yard sale you’ve never had? Do you get lost in a sea of keepsakes and mementos? Remember, if you keep too much, you can’t find what’s truly important. Weed out, organize and contain items in your basement. Plastic bins with lids and labels are perfect for the stuff you want to keep, but wait–don’t go out and buy the bins first, you’ll end up with container clutter! Start by weeding out. Determine what you can toss, what you can donate or sell online. Have a plan in place, if not, you may get down into that basement and just push piles from one place to another. If you can’t seem to get thru it, remember to call the office at 847-825-8400, we are always here to help!
We recently spent the day at the International Housewares Show. We didn’t see everything, you’d have to walk over 13 miles to see the entire show! Here are a few items of interest we found:
- Seville Classics: This is a terrific laundry sorter. I’m a huge advocate for having the whole family place their laundry into a common sorter. When the sorter is full, throw in a load. The rod above the bins is an added bonus!
- Sterilite Shelving and Containers: Sterilite will be coming out with a nice line of shelving that’s the perfect size to house their containers. The set would be perfect in a garage or a basement. I was not able to find images of it online, but I will keep an eye out to see when they are released. I think many of our clients would find the set useful.
- Spice Device: No more having to grab the set of measuring spoons. Stick the spice device on frequently used spices to quickly measure and add to a recipe!
- Dry Dock: This is a nice big antibacterial sponge to set your drying dishes on. Rather than using a large dish rack, place them on this Dry Dock and let them dry.
- InstaHanger: Here’s a cute idea for a foyer, porch or any other area you’d like to have the option of hanging up some extra items. When not in use, it makes a nice decorative frame for photos.
*Chaos To Order has no financial relationship with any of these companies and did not receive any free product. These items were selected based on vendors we visited at the International Housewares Show.