Have you stuck to your New Year’s resolutions so far? Whether it’s eating healthier, keeping the house clean, getting more exercise, or something more personal, New Year’s resolutions can be tricky to keep.
More often than not, people try to get on top of their home organization at the beginning of the year, making a vow to keep things tidy all year round. We spoke with Nina Duque and Hillary Tan-Ortiz of Overdue Solutions, a cleaning and organizing service from the Greater Toronto Area, and they gave us some of their best tips on how to keep your home organized this year—and where to start.
“Most people would go for the areas that are an eyesore (out in the open), but we recommend tackling your hidden spaces like closets, cupboards, or cabinets,” says Tan-Ortiz. “These spaces generally hide things you haven’t touched in a while—and will likely never touch for weeks, months, or years to come. Clutter builds up in those spaces because you’re not looking at the mess everyday and we often fall into the trap of ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ You’d be surprised to find things have accumulated overtime.”
What should you ask yourself when decluttering?
It’s not uncommon to build emotional attachments towards your stuff, but it can become a hindrance when you’re trying to declutter your space.
“Purging can be both nerve-wracking and therapeutic at the same time, but it’s all about practicality,” Duque shared. “If you’re trying to decide on if you should keep or get rid of an item, there are some questions to ask yourself such as:
- When was the last time you used this item? If the answer is more than a year ago, it might be worth reconsidering if you’ll ever use it again.
- How often have you used this item since purchasing it and was it being used enough for you to say it was worth the purchase? If the answers are no, then we’re sorry to say you might have been a victim of an impulsive purchase. (We’re all guilty of it!)
- Take an inventory of your items—do you really need four different hair straighteners? Sometimes you don’t even realize you have multiples of the same item and if you do, it might be worth donating to others who could use your extras.
We’re not going to ask you if it sparks joy, but it’s definitely worth asking yourself if it serves any purpose in your current environment. Sometimes an item that worked well in your old apartment might not have a home for the new house you just bought. Again, think about practicality.
What are the best home organization tips?
Just like buying a home or a car, there aren’t any one-size-fits all solutions to keeping your home organized. According to Overdue Solutions, it’s all about customizing your solutions to your lifestyle and what makes the most sense for your space. That being said, there are a few key strategies you can consider.
“We often recommend the items you use the most be the easiest to access, and the rest should go into proper storage areas,” Tan-Ortiz explained. Otherwise, here are some other tips to help you out:
- Group liked things together—arts and crafts supplies in a bin, cleaning supplies in the same area, electronics stored together, etc.
- Use clear plastic bins because they help immensely for easy identification if you’re looking for something. Avoid bags!
- Get into the habit of storing your items in designated spots as soon as you bring them into a new space. If you’re not much of an art décor person, maximize wall space by hanging up items or setting up shelves instead.
What are the areas people tend to forget when organizing?
When you take a look at your home and assess what needs the most attention, odds are you’re focusing on the areas you can see. Bookshelves, coffee tables, the living room, and other highly visible areas are often the first places we start when trying to get organized, but there are a few areas we tend to forget.
“Kitchen cabinet drawers, shoe racks/cabinets, and bathroom cabinetry (especially under the sink) often get neglected even though they’re wildly overused,” Duque shared. “These storage spots are in high-traffic areas and usually get overly stocked up with various items. We highly recommend purging those areas every season to make sure the stuff that’s not really needed is taken out.”
The best way to organize…
Armed with the knowledge of where to start and what to ask yourself, it’s time to begin organizing and decluttering! Nina and Hil shared their tips on organizing four main areas of your home.
“Tackle the closet first!” Duque explained. “A big part of the average person’s bedroom is actually their closet space and/or storage for clothing. Clothing needs to be arranged so the most used outfits (and undergarments) get placed in an easy access area. Seasonal arrangement also helps so you’re not constantly grabbing the wrong things—no one likes reaching over a winter coat when trying to grab a fall sweater.”
“Clear the counter space!” Tan-Ortiz stressed. “It helps immensely when you’re actually trying to use the kitchen to…cook (gasp). And when organizing your pantry, do it by product similarity and what you use most. For example, if you’re a coffee/tea person, that’s definitely the first thing you’ll want to grab rather than some canned goods.”
Playrooms and basements
“Bins, bins, bins,” Duque shared. “Basements are sometimes the go-to extra storage space in households and are often forgotten about. Dust tends to collect faster in basements so bins are your best bet at maintaining storage. Clear bins go a long way in helping you identify things easily.”
“It all depends on your personal preference but we recommend organizing linen closets by colour so it’s easier to identify what matches,” Tan-Ortiz explained. “Plus, it’s always good to know if you’re running out of white towels and will need to do a load of whites, for example.”
In the end, home organization comes down to what works best for you. While there are concepts and tricks to getting started, your home should be set up to best suit your lifestyle and routine—whatever that may be!