I LOVE to organize. This is no secret if you know me even a little bit! I love it because even when there’s a lot of craziness going on in the world around us, the calm that comes with an organized space is something completely within my control! Although I find myself organizing smaller areas regularly, I typically tackle larger projects (storage, garage, pantry and closet) during school breaks because I have more time. This time of year is a great time to get organized because many people have more time away from work due to the holidays and are eager to have a fresh start for the new year. I thought I’d share how I go about getting organized for the new year!
1 Clean out your most used drawers. This means your junk drawers, bathroom drawers, and utensil drawers for sure! Take everything out, wipe them out, throw away the things you no longer need, and place what you’re keeping back in an organized manner. Drawer trays help with this so much and can be purchased everywhere, from HomeGoods to The Container Store and Amazon. Just be sure to measure! While doing this step, I purchased new trays for my utensil drawers. It felt so good to get them organized and throw out the stuff that was broken or seldom used! I promise this will make a huge difference in your day to day if you know where to easily reach for the things you use often.
2 Assess and address your problem areas. Are your mail and keys always on the kitchen counter? Do shoes end up all over the house? Is your mudroom impossible to keep clean with backpacks and lunchboxes and shoes? Spend your time on these areas because it’s no fun being anxious every time you enter these problem areas. There’s no organization problem that can’t be made better with baskets/bins and hooks!
3 Tackle your pantry or the cabinets you use for food storage. Take everything out so that you can wipe your shelves or bins. Check expiration dates as you begin to put the space back together. It’s always fun to make a guess at how many items you have that are expired! You need to keep a trash bag handy for this one for sure! I love using ins with labels to corral everything, but you definitely don’t need to, especially if you have younger kids. Just be sure that you are putting things back in a way that makes sense. Things that you use often should be at an easy to reach level. I also liked keeping healthy snacks down low when we first moved in. These were things that I was ok with my kids enjoying anytime. Backstock and snacks that you want to keep out of reach of the littlest family members should be higher up. PS. If you’re on a roll, this would also be a great time to do follow these exact same steps in your fridge!
4 This step pertains specifically to those of us with kids! I have older kiddos (10 & 13) and set expectations for their rooms early on. They don’t do a ton of “playing” in their rooms anymore, but they still have dirty clothes to be put in the hamper, clean laundry to put away, and wrappers etc. to trash. Although I don’t police them, I expect them to do these things each day and if I notice them slacking, they get a reminder of my expectations before their devices are taken away. I’m fun, I know. Ha! These daily things are not what I want to address though. Give your kids a few projects to tackle while they are home from school this winter. Namely: CLOSETS & TOYS.
If your kids are a bit older and know how to go through their closets with some simple instructions from you, great! Organization is a life skill I’m determined they leave for college with! If they are younger, you can still do this step. You just have to be a bit more involved in the process. My kids moan and groan when I say it’s time to do their closets and dressers, but they’ve gotten pretty good at them at this point and I refuse to do it for them! They look at each item and put it in a donate pile if it no longer fits or a trash bag if it’s damaged. Then they move all of their empty hangers to the side of the closet. We donate things that are in great shape to nieces and nephews and take the rest to Goodwill.
For toys, it’s overwhelming to think of going through all of them if you have littles- trust me, I remember! I’d just pick an area of focus and start there: books, games, art supplies, etc. Then DONATE! DONATE! DONATE! When your kids are older it becomes a bit easier because they likely have less toys. However, there are still plenty of books, games and kits to go through. I typically help with books (I like to make sure they don’t get rid of any I think of as keepsakes for sentimental reasons) and they do games and kits together. This usually goes pretty quickly. They know what they don’t play with!
5 I saved the biggest project for last because you have to really work up to this one! YOUR CLOSET. Some may feel that the pantry is the biggest organization project because of the overwhelming amount of items you’re going through, but in reality I think that closets take much longer. People are much more attached to things they’ve spent money on in this space and it can be hard to let go. But I actually LOVE this project! I try to do it once in the summer and once in the winter. I’ve done this for so long that I no longer have a hard time letting go of things I haven’t worn in the last year.
Six or so years ago, I implemented the capsule wardrobe method in my tiny closet in our last home. The idea of a capsule is that you should avoid trends and invest in timeless essentials that can be worn multiple ways. You should shop less and more intentionally. Once your wardrobe is streamlined in this way, the thought is that you’ll never be able to complain about not having anything to wear. I honestly haven’t stuck with the idea of having less clothing as I moved to a closet that was much larger, but I really liked the concept of buying quality over quantity when it comes to the timeless essentials and I do feel that shopping more intentionally has resonated with me. I no longer throw cute things in my cart just because they’re cheap and on trend. I’ve noticed that the quality, classic pieces that can be layered and worn in so many different outfits (think versatility) are never the ones on the chopping block when I purge! These are things like jackets, jeans that fit just right, boots, and quality sweaters that don’t pill. Bonus when you can get these quality made items on sale! It becomes easier because as you buy more intentionally, you gradually have less to get rid of. Not only do you help the environment by reselling or donating, (I only throw away damaged or faded clothing and undergarments) but you also help your bank account because you’re buying less and wearing longer. It’s a win win!
Tackle these 5 things over the course of a few days and prepare to feel a weight off your shoulders as you enter 2021. After the past year, that’s something I think we can all agree that we need! You can shop some of my favorite organization necessities below!