Our neighborhood is getting ready to host a community yard sale – which has gotten me to go thru closets and drawers and to think a lot about organizing one’s life.

With that goal in mind, I’ve given some thought to what we’ve done in the past to work organization into our design plans for clients, as well as a few new ideas I’m thinking of incorporating for my own home:

Kitchen & Pantry:  When organizing this space that most of us use at least twice a day, make sure you think about how you optimally need the space to flow.  You don’t want to run back and forth in the room getting all of the things you need to prepare a meal.  

Keep the items you need at the stove near the stove.  Plates and cups are best stored near the fridge so they are easy to access when we are pulling out the milk or salad.  Simple and easy access is best!

Make sure every item has a planned home.  Use drawer dividers and individual trays.  Dividers above the fridge are great for cutting boards, cookie sheets and serving trays to be able to store them vertically instead of stacked on one another.  This makes for easy breezy access.

Let pantry doors do double duty by using cork board or chalk board paint on the inside surface.  Perfect for leaving messages and grocery lists.  Key hooks here are another great idea because they are visually tucked away, but easy to access.

Closets:  One of my favorite improvements to my own closet this year was the purchase of jewelry organizers to hang on the doors that open into my closet.  There is now easy access to jewelry that I’d forgotten I had because it was lost in the jewelry drawer of the past!  

I’ve also added hooks to divide all my scarves for easier viewing and to highlight my favorite bags.

One of the main things when designing a closet for optimal storage is flexibility.  It’s best to install a system that can be adjusted even by the season.  For instance, you may need more height in the summer if you wear mostly dresses during this season.  But if you wear skirts and sweaters in the winter, you may want to adjust the space to have two rods to maximize hanging space accordingly.

Use those high up shelves for out of season clothes and invest in containers to protect them in the off season.  The amount of space this frees up to make it possible to see and sort thru the in season clothing is fabulous!

It’s an often heard fact that we tend to wear 20% of our clothes and most of the rest could certainly be purged.  There are so many great places to donate good clothes – for instance DressForSuccess.org which provides clothes to women who are interviewing for work, but don’t have the budget to go out and purchase brand new clothes for the interviewing process.

Use matching hangers.  I didn’t think this would make such a big difference – but it really does!!  I just simplified down to the clear ones that often come with purchase – but it really does make the whole space look so much tidier!

The Home Office:  Two wonderful things have happened to reduce the space necessary now to have a well-functioning office – Computers have become much more compact in scale and now with Cloud technology, less “stuff” needs to be saved in large quantities of home files.

For storage space that you do need (especially if you still like to collect printed books, as I do, consider going vertical!  Vertical space frees up valuable floor space.  Shelves above or behind a desk can hold binders, books and office supplies, while keeping your work surface more free of clutter.

If you are using decorative boxes or baskets on the shelves to keep office supplies or to archive important paper or photos, make sure to label the front with an easy reference of what’s inside.  This can be done very attractively and there are certainly a lot of great boxes out there for organizing these days.  ContainerStore.com is one of my favorite places to pick up organizational items such as boxes colored in a way that beautifully enhances the space.

The Garage:  Well, this is currently the least organized space in our home as we prepare for this upcoming yard sale!!  But the intention is good to get this ship shape this year!!

We are deciding what items will need to be accessible at all times and what items can be located up higher in longer term storage.

There are so many great storage shelving units available these days.  Some of my favorites are deep shelves that can be located up high enough to not impact car space, but still easy enough to access with a step ladder.  This is especially great for items you might bring down just once a year – like holiday décor.

Seperating things into “zones” is also an especially great idea in the garage!  Tools, sports equipment, garden supplies…  They can each have their own room within a room, when possible.

Invest in containers all of the same color for each of these zones.  For instance, all of the garden supplies could be in green containers, while the tools are housed in blue.  And label!  What a great invention the P-Touch has been!!!

Lastly – a random, but fabulous, idea from one of our customers.  She purchased one of our 15 minute hourglasses and has been using it each evening as a Zen timer to her organizing - Going thru one shelf or drawer before the blue sand settles into the bottom of the glass each evening.  I love this!  And then when she is done with her organizing it’ll be a lovely accessory to keep on her shelf!!

I wish you and I both great success in our organizing endeavors!  Here’s to simplicity, less clutter and more beauty that inspires!! 




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