Decluttering your homemstarrdemos
4 Spaces you can organize to brighten up your home this year
If decluttering and organizing is on your New Year’s resolutions list, this article is for you.
Tackling smaller areas of your home can give you a sense of accomplishment that motivates you to continue organizing. Here are some often-neglected areas that can be great places to start. Depending on the time you have, you may be able to get through several of these tasks this month.
Organize the Linen Closet
Linen closets can easily become disorganized, cluttered and overstuffed. Sometimes it may even become hard to close the door. The new year is a great time for a fresh start in this area.
- Towels. Towels should be washed once or twice a week to maintain freshness and eliminate bacteria. I suggest keeping two to three bath towels per household member so you have a backup on wash day. If you have more towels than you truly need, consider getting rid of any that are faded, stained or frayed. A local animal shelter will probably be happy to receive them.
- Sheets. Two sets of sheets per bed should generally be sufficient. If you use a duvet cover without a top sheet, there’s no reason to hang on to unused top sheets. Donate those that are in good shape.
- Blankets. I recommend not letting the linen closet become a catchall for blankets you never use. Small fleece blankets commonly given as promotional items might be stashed and never looked at again. Consider parting with these and any other unused quilts, throws or comforters.
Once you’ve pared down your supply, I suggest labeling shelves to identify which linens belong where. You might use categories such as “master bedroom sheets,” “twin bed sheets” and “guest room sheets.” Alternatively, if your budget allows, you might consider purchasing containers to store bed and bath linens. Label your containers and store sets together: A queen-size top sheet, fitted sheet and matching pillowcases should go in the same bin to make it easy to find the whole set.
Declutter Under the Kitchen Sink
Since the area under the kitchen sink is small, it can usually be transformed in less than an hour. Start by pulling out all the contents and placing it on a counter or table. Then wipe the interior of the cabinet clean with warm, soapy water.
Next address your undersink products. Consider consolidating duplicates. For example, two half-used containers of dishwasher pods might be consolidated into one. (Take care not to mix products, as cleaning agents containing ammonia and bleach create toxic fumes if combined.)
Toss any products that have dried out or are no longer needed. People sometimes collect free samples of dishwasher soap or other cleaning products and then never use them. Consider getting rid of such samples or at least using them in the coming weeks so you don’t end up storing them indefinitely.
Wipe off remaining products with warm, soapy water. I suggest corralling supplies in plastic storage caddies to help the space under the sink stay neat. If you don’t want to purchase new caddies, you may be able to repurpose containers you already own.
Group similar products: dishwashing products in a single container, cleaning supplies in another. If you need more storage, you might consider purchasing an organizer that attaches to the cabinet door.
Clean Out the Kitchen Junk Drawer
Often my clients have one or more junk drawers in the kitchen. These might contain pens, receipts, hair ties, screwdrivers, flashlights, power cords, earbuds, lip balm, old sunglasses, packing tape, old cell phones and a multitude of other random items. It’s often difficult to find anything in them because they’re so messy.
I suggest limiting your kitchen junk to just one drawer, and try to limit its contents to things you use every day.
To organize this area, I recommend first removing everything from the drawer. Toss anything broken or unusable, such as dried-out pens. Toss or file old receipts. Consider donating unused items that still have life in them, such as old sunglasses. Remove the SIM cards from old cellphones and recycle the phones at a local electronic-waste-disposal site.
Then return the items you want to keep — but not in the junk drawer — to their proper homes: tools to the toolbox, hair ties to the bathroom drawer.
For the items that will remain in the junk drawer, consider purchasing organizers or repurposing small containers to keep the drawer from becoming chaotic. Use these containers to store everyday items such as earbuds, phone chargers, pens, tape and scissors.
Since a junk drawer has the tendency to become a dumping ground, spend a few minutes each month removing things that don’t belong there and returning them to their proper homes.
Organize Your Bathroom Drawer
Like any drawer that holds small items, the bathroom drawer can quickly become a jumbled mess without the use of drawer organizers. Fortunately, these are available in many shapes and sizes. Some people like individual clear plastic containers that fit products such as toothpaste, dental floss and razors.
I recommend that you measure your bathroom drawer before you purchase to ensure the correct fit. If you buy different sizes, they fit like a puzzle in the drawer, so be careful when measuring. It may be more economical to purchase one large organizer that’s divided into sections.
For this room, I do recommend purchasing organizers rather than repurposing existing containers. Bathroom drawers are shallow, and organizers also need to be able to stand up to moisture, so if you intend to repurpose containers, keep this in mind.
As with the previous tasks, begin by emptying and wiping out the drawer. Toss anything that’s dried out or unusable. Make room in your organizers for daily items like toothpaste, floss, razors, moisturizer and sunscreen. Create a space for cosmetics you use often. If you own a lot of makeup, you may want to store the less frequently used items in a container under the sink.
Adapted Article from Jeanne Taylor