Clean it Up, Store it Up

Clean it Up, Store it Up

Organizing Tips for Spring Cleaning

As spring arrives, so does the need to tidy up around the house. One of the biggest challenges for getting (and staying) neat and tidy is deciding where to start, and where to store things so it works for your life. Here are some tips on organizing and storing for your space.

  1. Set goals. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your house won’t get organized in one day either (unless you have a wand). Be realistic about the time you’ll need to get the job done.
  2. Pick one thing to get started with. It can easily get overwhelming, so start small. Tackle one drawer or closet and build on your success. You’ll build momentum as you see your progress.
  3. As you clean, organize your stuff into piles: keep, store, donate and toss. If you have a lot of clutter, be ruthless. For example, if you haven’t worn that item of clothing in six months or more (and it’s not due to the weather), it’s time to donate it for someone else to use.
  4. I have a friend with a rule for his house. If something new comes in, something old goes out. Bought yourself a new pair of jeans? It’s time to donate the pair you’re replacing. It also works great for the tsunami of toys that kids seem to create. Say it with me: “one in, one out.”
  5. Don’t procrastinate. It’s really easy to undo your hard work if you don’t keep up with putting things where they go. If it takes less than 10 minutes to deal with, deal with it now. Netflix will still be there when you get back.
  6. Everything gets a home. We have a built-in storage cupboard in our dining area, and it’s a magnet for ‘homeless’ stuff. I put my foot down, and we worked together to find a home for all the stuff that had migrated onto the cupboard. Now, if something appears, it gets a home immediately or it exits the house. 
  7. Think about what you need. Do you really need that thing, whatever it is? Organization means assessing what is necessary and what isn’t, and parting with the stuff that isn’t needed. You’ll enjoy your space more if it’s got the things you love and need, and not the things you don’t.
  8. Unload the unneeded and unwanted. Our world is loaded with things, and people who will happily take the stuff you no longer want. Facebook Marketplace, local charities, garage sales and the recycling centre are all there to take it away. 
  9. Declutter more than once a year. Now that you have it clean and organized, keep it that way! Every few weeks, or when you see build-up, deal with it. It’s far easier to manage little tidying jobs than big ones. 
  10. Celebrate your success. When you’re done your spring cleaning, pat yourself on the back. It’s a big job, so take a bow. 

Storage Tips You Can Use

  1. Identify where you can store your stuff. Assess your closets, drawers, nooks, and crannies. You’ll be surprised at the space you may be wasting, or never thought of using in the first place.
  2. Make lists of what needs to be stored, and how often you need to get to it. For example, your Christmas tree only needs to come out once a year, but coats and boots may need to be accessed in April (or even May) because of our unpredictable weather.
  3. Don’t cheap out on storage containers. The expression ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ exists for a reason. Storage containers need to stand up to time, use, and even the elements. Buy containers that will last.
  4. Shelf risers can make your cupboards hold a lot more, especially in places like the kitchen or bathroom. They come in all shapes and sizes, helping maximize space where you need it.
  5. Drawer organizers are a lifesaver. They can help corral socks, underwear, accessories, lingerie and so much more. They also do a bang-up job of organizing the variety of ‘crap’ that inhabits the dreaded ‘junk drawer.’
  6. Folding and colour coding your clothing drawers can make finding what you want so much easier. Instead of stacking t-shirts, file them vertically by colour. That way you can see what you have as soon as you open the drawer. Check out Marie Kondo’s folding techniques for inspiration.
  7. Magazine files can organize all kinds of stuff, including hair appliances, mail, yarn, flip flops, you name it. You can buy cardboard and metal files, and they are usable all over the house.
  8. Your garage ceiling is a dead space, so use it! Add some strategic shelving and you can tuck away a lot of items you only need occasionally.
  9. Shoes should go on shoe racks with one shoe ‘toe out’, and the other ‘heel out’ to save space.
  10. Create a space to drop stuff when you come home, and then deal with it that day. We often come home, drop the stuff we walked in with, and walk away. Make a spot for the drop, and then a promise it will be tidy by bedtime.
  11. To make room in the freezer, store frozen foods standing up. For example, freeze chicken breasts flat in storage bags, and when frozen, ‘file’ them vertically.
  12. Don’t overlook places for storage. You can install shelves above doorways, and slide plastic containers under the bed.
  13. A garment bag can hold more than just clothes. It’s the perfect spot to store rolls of wrapping paper.
  14. Over-the-door towel racks can save space in the bathroom, and the linen closet. These racks can go behind any interior door where you can use