Home and Family
Organize your home: 12 tips from the experts
We asked professional home organizers to share their best tips
Let things marinate
When you’re organizing, sort everything into five piles: “move to another room,” “donate,” “give to a specific person,” “throw away” and, finally, the “marinating” pile. Pack up all the marinating items, and label the box with a date that’s six to 12 months later. If you don’t open the box before that date, you can safely discard those items.
Move forward-not backwards
Don’t call a personal organizer and say you need help adding storage for all your stuff. That’s just backwards. Your goal should be to remove the clutter, not create more storage space.
Frame works of art
Parents feel so guilty about throwing away their children’s artwork. An art frame, such as this one by Snap ($20, amazon.ca) is a great solution. It’s a frame you can hang on the wall, but its hinged door allows you to easily store even more pieces of art inside it.
Invest in a label maker
Your family will be very grateful later if you label and organize your photos now and if you stick a note on keepsakes explaining details of their significance. When settling estates, it’s frustrating to the next generation when they don’t understand why something was left to them.
Donate, donate, donate
You could sell unused items on eBay, but do you want to get organized, or start a career hawking stuff? Unless you need the money, give things away to charities and at community donation centres; it saves time and allows you to move on.
Dress up flat surfaces
Countertops and tables quickly become drop zones for clutter. If you have a dining table, for example, that is always getting covered with junk, clear it off, put a flower arrangement in the middle, and add actual place settings. That should prevent people from parking stuff there.
Make your car work for you
Anything that needs to go somewhere should be in your car, not in your house. Keep your shopping coupons there in a clear folder so they’re within reach when needed. Get an errand basket for the trunk to hold items to be returned. Use crates to store kids’ car toys and emergency supplies.
For extra storage in the kitchen, you could reposition cabinet shelves to create more space.
Don’t put a lid on it
Avoid lids on laundry baskets, bins and other storage containers. They just make it that little bit harder for you to put things away.
Avoid cardboard boxes for storage
One professional we spoke with recalled a client who needed help carrying a bunch of cardboard storage boxes into her newly renovated house. As they opened the first one, out came hundreds of cockroaches. (Ew!) You name the pest; you can be assured that it loves cardboard.