Oftentimes, while working with my clients to help them get organized, my clients say they could be organized if they just had more space (read “bigger house”). But isn’t that kind of like saying, “I’m not getting fat, I just need bigger pants?!”
Sure, a bigger house, or bigger pants, is one way to temporarily mask the problem at hand. But before you know it, the bigger house will be full of stuff too. Many of us professional organizers suggest to our clients that they need to learn to live and be organized in their current space before they go on to a bigger place. I think this is the only way to learn how to get and stay organized.
So how do you make your too-small housework for one or two more years? Go for the low-hanging fruit! Taking on those obvious problem areas can really make a big impact. And getting organized, and the maintenance of the newly organized spaces is a whole lot less expensive than a new house or remodeling.
Invest in some organizing as a way to save your sanity, and maybe your marriage too!
1. Make more space by purging ruthlessly. (In case you’re not sure…”ruthlessly” means without pity, compassion; merciless!) Start with the most cluttered and most used rooms. Please donate and then recycle as many of the unneeded items as possible. Not sure where send the stuff to? Check my blog posts for an extensive list of options. Where to Donate, Where to Recycle
2. Increase the functionality of each room by defining how you use it. Keep only the items associated with that use in that room.
3. Maximize the storage space you have by going vertical. Add a second hanging bar, an old dresser or shelves to a closet, attic, basement or garage. Adding these will also make access more convenient.
4. Invest in custom or semi-custom closet systems. One hanging bar and one shelf do not qualify as a closet system! This closet uses the vertical space by hanging storage on the doors and by having two rods for coats.
5. Use doors and walls as storage space.
6. Because the kitchen is the hub of the home, spend a bit of time here. Keep frequently used items in prime real estate, store the other stuff in the back or in another storage area. (Who really needs daily access to all 20 wine glasses?? Well…maybe keep just a couple of glasses nearby!) You may want to invest in roll-out shelving for your lower cabinets or pantry. This will increase the accessibility of this space significantly.
7. Rotate seasonally. For example, bring out the rollerblades and baseball gear in the summer and store hats, boots and winter coats in the basement.
8. Customize your entryway with the storage you need. Add shoe storage, hooks, a closet system or an armoire to eliminate the heap of stuff at the door. While you’re at it, set a 2-pairs of shoe limit, per family member, at the door! See some great entryway photos here. See another great entry/laundry area here.
9. Consider off-site storage as a last resort. Really assess whether is it worth paying $600 a year to keep your college furniture! (Refer to tip #1.)
Share your great ideas with us! Do you have a gem of a way to make your small home work for you?