What’s Hiding in Your Closets?

February 24, 2014 at 11:55 am | No comment | Category: Home Organization/Cleaning, Policyholder

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Our natural inclination this time of year is toward “Spring Cleaning.” But many home owners never actually get to really CLEAN their homes in the springtime because they can’t dig out from under all of the clutter. Organizing your home might seem like a daunting task, but with these simple goals and strategies targeting 3 problem areas in the home, anybody can get organized.

Closets

Closets are magnets for clutter because they’re usually the most accessible place to toss anything that we don’t want to see. Just shut the door and poof…out of sight, out of mind. While this technique may hide the mess, it does a terrible job of making the space functional.

The first step is to maximize your use of shelves:

  • Measure the space and buy appropriately sized clear plastic containers to help group small items together and make them stackable.
  • In linen closets, consider buying space saver bags to condense seldom used blankets, towels, and comforters that take up most of the room.

Next, clean up the floor:

  • For shoes and accessories, over-the-door catch all systems work great at getting things off the floor and maximizing extra wall space

Prioritize:

  • If items aren’t used regularly, would they be better stored in the attic or garage or donated to make room and reduce clutter?

Kitchens

It’s the place where your family and guests naturally congregate, but clutter and inefficiency sometimes make it a very stressful space for those doing the cooking.

Arrange the space to make it purposeful:

  • Organize by everyday use. Put seldom used kitchenware higher or toward the back of cabinets. Move frequently used items like your favorite plates, bowls, and utensils toward the front.
  • Organize by zones. Have a cooking zone with pots/pans, cooking utensils, oven mitts, baking sheets, etc. near the oven. Have a prep zone with cutting boards, knives, prep/mixing bowls, measuring cups, etc. in an area with lots of counter space. Have a serving zone with plates, bowls, silverware, and serving utensils in an area closest to the dining area. The added bonus of this approach is that the cooking process will be quicker, allowing you to spend more time with your family or guests.
  • Use wide shallow drawers for spices. This arrangement allows all of the labels to be seen and eliminates the need to remove several spices to see what’s behind them.

Garages

A space meant to keep our cars protected from the elements but which is typically filled with mountains of unidentifiable clutter either in boxes or stacked precariously on top of each other. Reclaim this space by first deciding what your family ACTUALLY needs.

Donate:

  • A look around you garage (even in all of the boxes) and evaluate the last time you actually used an item. Then ask yourself if your family will ever use it again. If the answer is “no,” that item immediately goes on the “Donate” pile. Creating “Keep” and “Donate” piles is an excellent way to prioritize what we actually need in our garages versus what we’re just hoarding.

Stack Safely:

  • Sturdy, secure, inexpensive shelving can be found at any hardware store and will actually allow you to periodically remove boxes to retrieve their contents without toppling a mountain in the process. Use transparent storage containers to combine and organize similar items because they allow you to identify their contents quickly and are easily stackable.
  • Don’t forget the ceilings. Ladders, bikes, golf clubs, or other seldom used/ seasonal items can be safely hung from ceiling beams to allow better use of floor space for more important items.

Record Your Home Inventory

To ensure you have an accurate account of all your belongings in the case of a catastrophic loss, we recommend that you make a recording of all your belongings, from furniture to closet content, with a video camera or smart phone. This simple five minute exercise can come in handy in the event of a large loss.

The key to it all is not getting overwhelmed. As long as you have a goal, a sound strategy, and the right materials in place before embarking on a spring organizing project, a clean, purposeful space is closer than you think.

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