I hate cleaning the house. H.A.T.E. Hate. I blame my dad for this. He always told me, “do it right the first time so you don’t have to do it again.” Although that works for most things in life – construction, plumbing; work…marriage… – it really does not apply to cleaning your house. No matter how well you clean your home, its never really done. At least not for very long.
You can spend hours cleaning your house. Under every piece of furniture, in every nook and cranny. Putting everything into its place. And then life happens. Someone uses a pen to make a note, the kids pull out the toys for a play or you make dinner in your pristine kitchen.
I wish I had the solution to cleaning a house once and for all, believe me!, but the reality is life happens. That doesn’t mean that your adult life is to forever be consumed with cleaning. There are ways to make keeping your home clean-looking for longer. All it takes is a little organization.
Tip: Go room by room. It will feel less daunting that way.
First and foremost, PURGE. The one thing that makes a home look messy is the random stuff floating around – books, papers, bills sitting out. Pens, random bits and pieces left over from projects. That kind of thing.
Sure, some of these things you may need to keep, and we will talk about how to do that later but we both know that a lot of these things you do not need. Go through everything and throw out anything that you truly do not need to keep. If you haven’t used it in the last 6 months, toss. If you have multiples, throw some out and keep the best ones. If it is expired, toss it! (You know, those coupons you get in the mail that you think you will use and never do…)
Collecting random things is part of the whole life happening thing. You get handed random things along your daily travels and get too busy to do anything with them, so they land on a table somewhere. Nothing wrong with that. Just every once and a while, take some time to go through it. I do this every few months or so and always surprised by what I find.
Sort it Out
Now that you have your “keeps”, organize them into groups – bills (by company), office stuff, kitchen stuff, kids stuff… Determine where in the home these items should live. This should ideally be where you naturally use them. So if you pay your bills at your kitchen table, keep them somewhere in the kitchen. By making it easy to put things away, you make it more likely for them to get put away right away.
Organizing these things will also help you determine the best way to store them. For example, bills will need to be filed. Kids toys will need a box (or two). By getting an idea of how much you have will also help you determine the best way and place for these things to be stored.
and the big one – STORAGE
Ok here’s the main attraction, what you want to know. HOW do you store all this stuff? More importantly, how to you store all this and still keep your home looking neat and tidy.
Whether you have a 7 bedroom mansion or a 400sf condo; whether you are a single person or a family of 10, storage is always a need in a home. The kind of storage will affect your daily life – making it easier or harder. You really need to understand your needs and this will be different for each family. Think about what you need to put away and who will be the one doing it. For example, expecting your kids to put something away in a bench storage might not be realistic depending on how heavy the top is or based on their age. Same goes for higher shelves on a bookcase.
Now when it comes to storage solutions, it is a two-fold system:
#1 The primary
This is the bigger of the 2 storage solutions and is the one that will hold the secondary, organizational, storage helpers.
Depending on the size of your room and the purpose of your room, the type and amount of storage will vary. Either way, you will want to find some primary storage solutions that will offer you hidden storage. A way for you to put away the “mess”, close the door when company comes over, and no one is the wiser. Options like:
Built-in wall cabinets :
This is a great way to add purpose to an odd angle in a room (like a bay window) or to fill in a bump-out in the wall.
A built-in wall unit will multiply your vertical storage square footage when you add some shelves. Cover all or partially with doors this you can now close it up to hide anything that does not need to be displayed.
Filling in a bay window with a bench will give you linear feet for storage. It will also provide extra seating for your family.
Hidden furniture storage :
Furniture companies have taken note of customers needs for more storage and many have come up with unique was to add storage to otherwise dead space in their furniture. If you are in need of storage, especially in a small space. Look for these pieces of furniture.
For the living room, many sectional couches now have a storage bed under the chaise or an ottoman with storage under top. Also look at TV stands that offer storage shelving.
In the bedroom, look at bedframes that have drawers under the mattress. If you are using a bench, look for one that offers a removable top or a shelf underneath.
Don’t let the name fool you. Bookcase can be used to store more than just books. We will talk more about this when we get to the secondary storage.
Wall shelving will also give you some additional storage in a pinch. They will require a little more finessing as whatever is on will be on display. They are a great option to display sentimental objects.
#2 The secondary
This is the mini storage solutions. The things inside the primary that will provide you with the organization you need to maximize the storage in your home.
There are countless options of secondary storage innovation out there now and in all different design styles. Again, your use will determine which is the best for your storage purpose.
Either way, don’t be afraid to add storage to your storage. Not only will this increase your storage capacity over and above what your primary unit was design for, it will also help you keep it clean. Look at area like:
Closet organizers :
A basic closet provides a decent amount of storage for most people; however, you could be getting more out of it. Adding shelving, whether a second level over the traditional closet shelf or a shelving unit down one side, will give you more vertical (or double your linear) storage square footage.
Take it one step further and add a second rod to increase your total hanging (linear) square footage.
Decorative baskets :
Decorative baskets are a great way to add interest to a décor while providing some simple hideaway storage options. Plus, they are versatile. They can be used in shelving units, on shelves, under benches, under beds or even just out on their own.
They are great for a quick tidy-up but can become a catchall dumping bin if not careful. Try to give each basket a designation for what is to go into it.
Drawer organizers :
For smaller items like pens, markers and art supplies, drawer organizers will help you keep your tools organized and easily accessible. They can also be stacked inside the drawer which will give you greater storage capacity than using the drawer as a single space. For larger items like blankets and sweater, use vacuum storage bag. These bags allow for bulkier items to be compacted and, in turn, using less storage space.
With a little creativity and organization, any home can have ample storage. The hard part isn’t finding storage but understanding your needs and how you use the spaces in your home. Once you learn that, creating storage that works for you will make a world of difference in the way life happens around you.
Have questions on how to organize your home? Email us at [email protected]