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Get it Together

Jan 06, 2014 10:44AM ● By Anonymous
How to efficiently organize all of your stuff

With the New Year comes new resolutions, and we’re willing to bet household organization is on your list. And no wonder: With an organized home, you’ll be prepared to tackle everything 2014 has in store. Cleaning house might not make for the sexiest of New Year’s resolutions (it certainly can seem like the most daunting), but fear not! We solicited professional help to turn that heap of a task into an achievable goal. The pros at The Container Store are offering up their best advice for creating a well-organized, efficient space. No matter what area needs organizing or how much space must be covered, you can turn your clutter into cleanliness with these 10 simple tips.

1. Start in one place

Attempts at organization fail when the task seems too daunting and folks give up. Whether it’s the closet that gives you the biggest headache or the room your guests most often see, select one specific area and stick to it. When you finish, celebrate and move on to the next.

2. Allow plenty of time

Don’t expect organization to happen overnight. Depending on the area, schedule a couple of hours each day to work on getting it organized. Getting a garage whipped into shape will take more time than it takes to organize a linen closet. 

3. Clean house

Once you’ve selected an area, go through the contents first and get rid of what you don’t need. Donate or sell anything you won’t wear or use anymore. Use the two-year rule of thumb — if you haven’t worn it or used it in two years, it’s time to say goodbye. These items take up valuable storage space and only make it more difficult to stay organized — and they probably won’t be missed.

4. Take inventory

After you’ve removed extraneous items, take a look at what remains. Does it belong where it is? Take that professional-grade mixer you’ve been keeping in the back of your linen closet and move it to the kitchen. When it’s time to tackle the kitchen, you can incorporate the mixer into your brand-new storage plan. 

5. Look for wasted space

If you’re in need of more space, think creatively about additional areas that can be used as storage. Prime examples include over doors and underneath beds. We often overlook valuable storage real-estate in our homes. 

6. Maximize vertical space

If you don’t have a lot of room to work with, a surefire way to instantly create more space is to go up. Take your shelving up to the ceiling to maximize vertical space — and store the things you need less frequently on higher shelves.

7. Divide the space

By adding additional shelving or using stacking containers, you can divide vertical space and make efficient use of the area you have to work with. Dividing the space eliminates the possibility of tall piles of clothing or papers toppling over.

8. Keep it moving

Consider utilizing storage options on wheels to allow for greater flexibility and keep the clutter under control. Carts can hold an assortment of accessories in a small amount of space and can be wheeled back into a closet or storage area when not in use.

9. Organize with color

Whether you’re organizing the family room or striving to get your home office under control, use color to enhance your efforts. Assign each child a different colored container for his or her belongings, and keep them responsible for cleaning up after themselves. Organize projects, bills and other important papers by function and color in your home office.

10. Visibility, accessibility and flexibility

These are three key rules to organization. Visibility: Choose transparent containers or those you can easily label. Accessibility: Make sure that the items you need most often are the easiest to access. Flexibility: Select a storage system like elfa that can adapt to your changing needs so you can reconfigure solutions to solve various storage problems.