Spending more time at home has probably meant that you have had more time to rethink your space. Do you have enough storage? Is there a better place to put that shelf? How many times can someone rearrange their living room?
If you got into the online and bulk shopping craze, organizing and optimizing your space has likely become a priority. Having an organized space helps get all that stuff out of the way while improving your mental health. Maximizing space becomes an even more important feature in an apartment setting if you lack in-building storage or live with others.
Tackling the mess can be overwhelming. The key to getting it done is starting small and applying the same principles to each space as you go along. There really can be a method to the madness! Here are a few tips to keep your area organized, starting in a more inconspicuous part of your house – your linen closet.
The first step to keeping any space clean is to purge. According to research, we only use about 20% of the things we own. So what happens to the other 80%? It is probably in a storage unit or the back of a closet if you’re like me. We all do it. You know the shirt in the back that you wore once to the festival you never went to again.
Well, your linen closet is probably hiding secrets of a past self, saying, “one day I will <insert idea here>.” Purging will give you the space to evaluate what is essential and what to dump. The cup of buttons I found in the back of my linen closet quickly became an art project. Get crafty with things you can’t bring yourself to throw out. Another option is to recycle what is still usable for someone else.
Try looking up places in your city that will recycle odds and ends. Small appliances, electronics, and old smoke alarms can go to local green recycling depots. So, grab a couple of bins and start throwing things over your shoulder like a 90s cartoon. Here is a tip: if you have to ask, “what was this for again?” then it is probably not something you need.
Purging is only the first step. It prepares you for the next stage of this project – sorting through what you want to keep. This is the part where you go back to grade two math and start pairing like items with like items. Put all the towels in one pile, then the lint rollers in another.
Once you are happy with your groups, start putting things into closet-organizing storage bins of different shapes and sizes. Storage bins help to create dedicated spaces that help control clutter. Containers with lids or stackable bins also help to create more vertical space in your closet and more room to play with. Having dedicated compartments for specific things also helps with the visual appeal of the closet.
They give the illusion of organization even if the bin is just stray pins and random items. That said, I like a bin-in-bin situation where each of my small-item buckets contains several other open top-boxes for things like clothespins and laundry bags.
In addition to storage boxes, try out some space-saving bags, hooks, and shelves to maximize space while reducing mess. Wire shelving again helps with creating vertical space on your shelves. I like to roll my linens to help with organization. With tall and deep closet shelves, this means that I can have towels underneath the wire shelf and face towels on top (organized by color, of course).
Vertical space is essential if you have a multi-person home or do not have a lot of storage space. You can also test out vacuum seal bags to give you even more room. Finally, wall hooks and Velcro strips allow you to hang things on the back of the door or the sidewall.
It isn’t enough to only have the bins in place. If you want to stay organized and keep everyone at home in the loop, it is important to label everything. Many storage bins will come with label space that will help keep your space organized. If that doesn’t work, a bit of painter’s tape and a sharpie can do the trick.
Labeling your boxes ensures that you won’t have to open each box to find it when you are looking for something. In addition to labels, I also like having dedicated shelves. Knowing that towels are always on the top and detergent is on the bottom helps maintain your new organizing system and creates habits that anyone can follow.
No matter how you choose to organize your space, take it slow, grab a glass of wine, and enjoy the process.