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Home design shows and magazines inspire clean, simple homes that function well. They make it look easy! Real-life organizing takes a bit of thought and creativity, but the results will actually make your life easier. Creating storage systems for clothes, kitchenwares and sports gear saves time looking for lost items and brings a sense of calm to busy households. 

Strategies to declutter
Tackling the mess in small increments keeps the job from becoming overwhelming. Start with one closet, such as the coat closet. Pull everything out, and sort it into piles. Create a giveaway box for items that are in good condition but not needed. Ask these two questions: 

  • Do you love it? 
  • Do you use it? 

If the answer to both is no, then it goes in the giveaway stack. 

Look at the contents of the piles, then do a little research. Decide what type of storage containers work best with the clothing or gear that needs arranging. Consider the household lifestyle. What items are used daily? These take priority and need to be easily located.

Putting it all back reveals what you have and shows what you need. Put like-minded objects such as gloves together in one container. Hang little ones’ jackets on low hooks for easy retrieval. Box up off-season pieces in covered bins that can be pulled out and organized when the season changes.

Notice what needs refreshing. Is it time to restring the tennis rackets, replace a worn-out winter jacket or buy new gloves? Good organizing clarifies what you have and what to put on the shopping list. 

Make the most of your space
Closets provide loads of space when they are used to their full potential. Purchasing baskets that fit side by side on the current shelving allows more items to be stored. Use slim hangers to allow more items to be hung horizontally. Layered hangers and shelves better use your vertical space. 

While the space is empty, dust and wipe down the walls and shelves, and vacuum the floor. Organize items by type. Work or school clothes go in the front, casual clothes next and formal wear in the back. Box costumes and store them in the back. Under-the-bed bins are good for infrequently used items as well as for sweaters and sweatshirts. Fold shirts and stack on shelves sorting by color.

Accessories need to go in baskets or on hooks. Hang a piece of pegboard in a blank spot to hold jewelry. 

Cabinets are wonderful because doors hide everything. Group like items in cabinets according to what happens in that area. Coffee mugs go in the cabinet over the coffee pot. Pots and pans, plates and spices each get their own cabinet near the stove. Store office supplies near the desk. Tuck toiletries and cleaning supplies in bath cabinets.

Drawers need organizers to hold items in place. Wooden box dividers offer an easy way to contain silverware, kitchen gadgets and school supplies. Makeup, hair accessories and bathroom items are easier to find if they have their own cubby. Get the family involved. Make a game of it. Sorting and cleaning can be fun. Really!

Storing holiday décor 

Holiday lights and ornaments pile up everywhere once the tree is undecorated. Wrapping each ornament in tissue paper then putting them in boxes is a time-held tradition. A newer trend is ornament storage boxes that contain heavy paper or cloth dividers so each ornament sits in its own spot. There are dozens of these ornament box designs. 

Holiday lights become a menace if stored in a jumbled heap. An earth friendly DIY is to wrap each strand on a square of cardboard, then stack them in a storage bin. Another idea is to purchase light reels that hold one to two strands of lights. 

Pulling out all the boxes of ornaments makes it feel like Christmas. Over the years, decorations accumulate and become a chaotic mess. Sorting and storing ornaments by color or material – glass, wood, ceramic — allows for design variations. Use two or three types one year and save the others for another year. This offers variety and the décor feels fresh. 

When unpacking or storing away decorations each year, consider the decorations that have not been used in years. Save a few special mementos and pass along the rest. It spreads the spirit of giving.  

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