It’s no secret that most people have some sort of “mess” in their homes. Maybe the garage isn’t as organized as it could be, or maybe it’s your pantry that you’ve given up on over the years. It might even be your guest bedroom of shame, where you toss your clutter a few minutes before guests arrive (it’s fine, we all know, we just pretend to not know).
But that could all end now. After all, there isn’t that much to do these days. Imagine what your life could look like if you just used this little extra time to pick up a bit before things slowly return to a new normal…
Well, according to the experts, it could dramatically change your day-to-day. Having something to control right now, such as your home environment, can actually make you feel more positive about the state of the world.
The trick lies in knowing what to clean and organize. Here are the five organization projects the experts suggest you tackle first:
The garage, or garage equivalent if you’re in an apartment (you know you have a designated closet somewhere), is the best place to start. This is where your holiday decorations probably are, your camping equipment, leftover interior decor items, tools, hobby supplies, etc.
Which means there’s a lot in there you probably haven’t even touched for a few years.
The experts suggest organizing everything in clear plastic bins with labels and then truly asking yourself one very powerful question: do the contents of this box still represent a part of your identity? For instance, if it’s full of camping gear but you don’t camp, and you’d rather not ever do it again, it might be time to let it go.
Granted certain things are easier to toss than others. Certain hobby supplies, tools and camping gear are actually quite expensive, so try either selling it off after quarantine is over, or gift it to a really good friend or family member.
This is the second biggest culprit, since most people get plenty of stuff to stock up, and then forget about it over the years. Serving ware, regular dishware, blender bottles for protein shakes, specialty mugs you get while on vacation… it all adds up.
That’s why professional organizers suggest hand-selecting the few items you use all the time, and leaving those in the cabinets, but removing everything else. All the things you use once or twice a year, or even less, should be placed in a separate area, such as a china cabinet, or in clear boxes in the garage.
The closets are likely a mess, because what began as an innocent attempt at designating themes quickly spiraled out of control. In time, you ran out of room in one closet, so it spilled over into another closet, and now you don’t know where everything is.
Well, that’s just fine, — it happens. The trick is to pull everything out of one closet at a time, organize it all by theme (a pile of clothes here, a pile of towels there), and then decide what to designate to the closet moving forward.
And be strategic about it. For instance, if you live in an apartment and your washing machine and dryer are in a closet, designate that closet as your place for detergent, dryer sheets, bleach, and every other laundry tool you might need. Then if there’s room at the top, install shelving and baskets so you can use it for spare towels and bedsheets.
Here’s another messy area. It gets filled with beauty products, no matter how hard we try, and it’s all because we read reviews about something being the next “best thing.”
How to fight it? Simple — start by tossing out all the old, expired, dubious products you’d feel uncomfortable using on your skin or hair. While you’re at it, toss out the products you know well don’t work for you. Maybe you tried a new shampoo and all it did was dry out your hair and make it feel like hay? Throw it out.
Next up, organize whatever is left into sections. Shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, makeup brushes, heat protecting sprays, etc. If you have more than one, create a spare bin under your sink and toss them in there.
Your goal is to only have one of every product out in an accessible place, such as your shower caddy, medicine cabinet, or easy- to-reach drawers.
And to wrap this up, it’s a solid idea to organize your home office, or whatever area you’ve designated as your home office these days. That includes any old papers, clutter, and unrelated gems you’ve tossed in there for whatever reason.
To start, organize things into piles again, by category. Papers here, pens there, plants over there, etc. Then go through and see if you have doubles or triples of something that you simply don’t need, and place them aside for donation.
Next up, take a hard look at the things you use every single day. Those need to be accessible at all times, preferably displayed with items that bring you joy, such as a pretty pen holder, or a stack of books you need with a paper weight you absolutely love.
Everything else should be put away in — you guessed it — bins, and labeled accordingly. A great space for them would be the home office closet, where you can reach for things as needed, without having everything on display all the time.
— By Jennifer Mendez
Jennifer Mendez is a content creator and Lynnwood resident who specializes in copy, graphic design and photography for her clients. Whenever she’s not creating something, she’s exploring new places to eat in the area.