Whether you are getting ready to sell your home or simply need a little more order in your life, organization can be a daunting process. We have create an easy to read, step by step guide to organizing the two biggest areas of organizational stress we encounter: our closets and our kitchen. Choose between the easy method for quick fix or the deep clean process for some serious home TLC.
Quick and Easy:
- Time needed: A few hours
- What you will need: A box or two for donation
- It’s right for you if….your closet just needs some refreshing.
Step One: Bring a box near your closet. Go section by section and remove items for donation. Immediately place them in the box.
Step Two: Clean it up! Refold any items that have gotten out of order. Adjust your hangers and fix your shoes.
Step Three: Donate your items.
The Deep Clean:
- Time Needed: 1 to 2 days
- What you will need: Cleaning supplies, a step stool, organization solutions, a large area
- It’s right for you if….you are running out of space and you have a lot of items that you no longer wear.
Step One: Remove all the items from your closet and sort them by type (ie shoes, jeans, pants, shorts, etc). Do not forget about items that may be in the laundry. Hint: Use a large space, preferably not your bedroom. The process may take 2 days and you do not want to have your bedroom cluttered.
Step Two: Clean the closet. Take this time to wipe down surfaces, dust and vacuum.
Step Three: Reduce the number of items and set aside for donation. Shoot for a 20-50% reduction of items in each sorted pile. If you are someone that regularly removes items from your closet, this number might be lower. Hint: If you have not worn an item for an entire season, it is likely time to donate.
Step Four: Remove and box the items for donation. You will need to visualize the items that you will be organizing.
Step Five: Make a game plan. Determine how much hanging vs. folding space you have in your closet. Sort your items into two categories: folded and hanging.
Step Six: Return the items to your closet. There are quite a few ways that you can organize the items in your closet. We recommend starting with the items that you wear the most frequently and placing them in plain view (ie, the shelves at eye level, the center of your hanging rack, etc) Some people prefer to color code their closet. If this is you, start with your most frequently worn color.
Hint: Here are some links to different folding methods.
Step Seven: Determine if you need any additional closet organization. Unless you are a professional organizer, determining how much space you have in your closet is not as easy as it sounds. Once you have all your major items put away, you may find that you still need organizational help. Think about getting an over the door shoe rack for shoes or accessories. You may need to add a hanging bar or use collapsing hangers to save space.
Step Eight: Celebrate your newly organized closet!
This same process can be applied to a linen closet.
Quick and Easy:
- Time needed: 1-3 hours
- What you will need: A trash bag, donation box, cleaning supplies
- It’s right for you if…your kitchen is pretty well organized, it has just gotten a little messy.
Step One: Remove and dispose of all expired food items. If you are someone that always buys tomato sauce when you go to the store because you can’t remember if you have it at home, you might have an excess supply. Consider donating those items to a food bank.
Step Two: Tidy your drawers and cabinets and remove any kitchen utensils that you no longer need.
Step Three: Dust and wipe down all shelf surfaces in the refrigerator and pantry.
Step Four: Mission complete. Remove your trash and set your donation box aside.
The Deep Clean:
- Time needed: 1/2- 1 Day
- What you will need: trash bags, donation boxes, organizational solutions, cleaning supplies.
- It’s right for you if….you have run out of storage in your kitchen, you have trouble location items, you have recently found something that expired over a year ago (no judgment)
- Disclaimer: This option may take some advanced planning and purchasing of organizational solutions.
Before You Begin: Determine your organizational pain points and determine if they will require additional help. Remember, organization does not have to be boring. You can also use this time to add some chic pieces to your kitchen that will give it new life. Here are our favorite items:
Keep in Mind: The right decorative items can also be functional. Do not feel like you need sacrifice style for function.
Step One: Start with your refrigerator. Remove food items and place them on the counter. Do not start this process in the refrigerator if you might be interrupted. You do not want items to spoil while you clean.
Step Two: Discard of any spoiled or expired items.
Step Three: Clean all surfaces and shelving. Oftentimes, it is easier to remove shelving and clean it in the sink rather than trying to clean it in the refrigerator.
Step Four: Return items to the refrigerator. Here is a quick guide on how to place items.
[Illustrations: Vivian Kong]
Step Five: Time to organize the pantry. Repeat Steps 1-4.
Step Six: Organize your utensils, pans and other items by each cabinet. Remove all the items from a cabinet and place any unwanted items in your donation box. Hint: If you have any difficult to reach cabinets, reserve that space for seasonal items.
Step Seven: Clean the cabinet and return items. Hint: place your most frequently used items towards the front of the cabinet.
Step Eight: Remove the garbage and donation box/boxes.
Step Nine: Once all your items have been returned to the cabinets and drawers, wipe down your counters and place your decorative pieces on the counter.
Now relax and enjoy your home!