- Ideas & How-Tos
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As you begin arranging your new home, it's easy for the clutter of boxes and belongings to build in the process. If you're renovating, project remnants compound the problem. But there are easy ways to keep a clean and clutter-free house.
If you stay on top of simple chores every day, the bigger organization projects won't appear as overwhelming. Keep the house tidy by doing the small stuff daily. Make your bed each morning. After meals, do the dishes. And keep dirty laundry off the floor and in the hamper.
A lot of people forget the amount of storage a bed (or any other raised furniture) provides. You can store a lot under your bed in storage containers and boxes. The same can apply for sofas and chairs that have ample clearance. Just make sure your storage is out of sight with skirts. Think outside of the closet. The underside of your bed is the perfect place to store comforters, bedspreads and pillowcases.
Often, closet floors suffer from shoe infestations. A cobbler's clutter can be easily solved with a tiered shoe rack. A shoe rack organizes your footwear while keeping them readily available (a luxury not afforded if you're using stacked boxes). A rack also keeps shoes in better condition, as they are kept away from the dirt and dust that collect on the floor. As you begin organizing, remember to keep shoes grouped by type and color. Heels, flats and sneakers should have their own sections. If your collection exceeds a rack, hang additional pairs from the inside of your closet door.
Your kitchen will house a wide range of dinnerware, food, storage and cooking items. Create separate areas for each kitchen activity. Keep your baking utensils, appliances, pans and sheets grouped together. And designate a specific spot on the countertop or island for use. Do the same for your grilling, frying and juicing needs.
Food storage can also get messy. Make sure your plastic food containers are adequately stored by size and shape. And clean out your refrigerator regularly. Don't forget to keep an opened box of baking soda in the fridge's corner to help control odors.
Finally, set up a shelving system for your pantry, and group your foodstuffs accordingly. Remember, it's best to not mix your cereals with the kitty litter. Cans – separated by vegetable and fruits – go on one shelf, while grains go on another. Spices should get their own rack.
Keep your magazines stored in a specific location instead of sprawled throughout your house. Group your periodicals by title and date. Give your mail the same treatment. Group your bills separately from other important letters and announcements. And trash junk mail immediately. Remember to shred any mail that may contain personal information. Baskets and racks help control the printed pages, especially if you're an avid reader.
Keep toys stored in plastic bins or hampers that are low to the ground. You want to make sure toy storage is easily accessible for your child. As kids grow, they'll start cleaning on their own. You can even make tidying up another game to play (e.g. shoot hoops with stranded Legos). Like the rest of your belongings, try to specialize each container. Keep one for books and crafts, and another for larger toys like trains or stuffed animals.
Garages usually become a default space for sporting goods, garden supplies and tools. If poorly managed, a garage can quickly become an eyesore. Keep your garage organized with wall systems, cabinets, worktables and shelving units. There are also specialized containers for nails, screws, nuts and bolts to help minimize the mess. Keep sporting goods, like bicycles and skiing gear, on hooks hung from your garage's walls or ceiling. Gardening supplies, like fertilizer and pesticides, should be properly sealed and stored out of reach from children.
Like the organization projects inside, keep your garage's contents separated by their function: tools with tools, toys with toys, etc.
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