Image credits: Courtesy The Container Store
Let’s face it. Adulting is hard. Between working full time and taking care of families or even just yourself, who can find time to get organized? Unfortunately, we all know the truth—that when everything in your home or office is in put in its thoughtfully planned place, life is suddenly so much easier. It’s like being overwhelmed with 15 dates aimlessly bouncing around in your head that all seem to be happening at the same time, but once you write them down in a calendar, you can see that all 15 dates are suddenly spread out and more manageable. (Well, here’s hoping.)
In the spirit of making our lives a little bit easier, we were looking to tidy up and declutter two spaces in the home that particularly tend to get overrun with our stuff: the kitchen and the bathroom. We sat down with the Organization Experts from The Container Store to get their tips for spring cleaning, no matter the time of year. Here’s what they had to say:
Q: What are the first steps someone should take when purging their home and deciding what they no longer need?
A: At The Container Store, we believe that if you have several areas in your home you want to get under control, start with just one! You decide which one to start with—is it the area that gives you the biggest headache or the area that guests to your home most easily see? Whatever your priorities, select one area and stick to it. Many attempts at organization fail when the task of cleaning up the entire house seems daunting and folks give up. When you complete one area, celebrate and then move on to the next.
It’s also important to allow plenty of time—don’t expect organization to happen overnight. Depending on the area to be organized, schedule a couple of hours each day to work on getting the area organized. Once you’ve selected a space, go through the contents. Donate or hold a garage sale for anything you can’t or don’t use any more. Use the two-year rule of thumb—if you haven’t used it in two years, it’s time to say goodbye to it. These items take up valuable space and probably won’t be missed.
Q: In the kitchen, our silverware drawers can get overfilled with utensils and serveware. What do you recommend for keeping these compartments neat and tidy?
A: Organizing your kitchen drawers is a great way to clear counters of clutter and make tight quarters seem larger. We recommend keeping drawers from becoming catch-alls by outfitting them with modular organizers. They make it easy to create a custom solution for any size drawer and keep items from getting lost in the back. The Container Store offers a variety of solutions and sizes to corral everything from paper clips to measuring spoons.
Q: And for those who are cooking up a storm at home, what are the best ways to keep your spice rack, cabinet or kitchen pantry as a whole organized and aesthetically pleasing?
A: Many of our customers complain that spice storage is the biggest problem in their kitchen cabinets. Location is everything when storing and organizing spices! Never store spices on a countertop or above a stove. Instead, choose a pantry or upper cabinet away from a stovetop or microwave. To preserve the freshness of spices used less frequently, store them in a cool, dark place, preferably away from the stovetop. We suggest choosing tiered organizers to organize your spices so that all spice labels are easy to read and you can quickly get the spice you need. Pull out all the spices required for your recipe before you begin to cook to save even more time, too!
The average person opens their kitchen cabinets 15 to 20 times a day. Having this area in order will go a long way to creating a clutter-free kitchen that is a pleasure to relax in. When choosing an organizer, keep in mind that you want to divide the space. A free-standing stacking shelf placed on the existing shelf gives you two complete shelves, where before you had only one. A much more efficient use of your space! When organizing kitchen cabinets, you’ll find that you’ll save yourself a great deal of time (and even money) if everything is easily accessible. Another great idea is to group like items together in small bins and label the contents or even select bins that you can see through for quick identification.
But the first step in organizing your pantry is to remove all of the items inside (you can set a staging area on a dining room table). Discard out-of-date items and donate non-perishable items that you won’t realistically use to a local food bank. Shelf liners, shelf organizers and canisters are great solutions to create a perfect pantry. The floor is also a good place to store larger items such as bulk food storage containers or baskets of often-used items such as onions and potatoes. Utilize the full space between the floor and your lowest shelf by choosing stacking bins or baskets.
And if you have a door in your pantry or kitchen area, don’t neglect that often-wasted space. Our elfa Door & Wall Rack is designed to fit onto the back of a door. The system’s flexible baskets provide you with extra storage space for canned goods and other dry foods, cleaning supplies and even bottles of soda. The rack will ease the overcrowding in your cabinets and make it possible to have everything at your fingertips.
Q: What’s the best way to keep your makeup/perfumes/beauty products organized so that your bathroom is inviting and your products are easy to use?
A: Many homes, particularly older homes, are very limited by the small space in the bathroom, which can wreak havoc on your morning routine, especially for large families. Having your makeup neatly organized and accessible makes for a much smoother morning routine. It also can help you save money, because you won’t buy items you already have that you may have forgotten you had! Cosmetics you use regularly should be kept where they are easily accessible and viable to save time when getting ready. Consider pretty countertop or vanity drawer organizers for everyday items. Other items not used as often can be kept in a cabinet or linen closet. If you have a large collection, group cosmetics by function. Use bins to separate eye shadows, pencils, powder, etc. It’s an effective, lovely way to see what you have.
Q: What about keeping your towels organized? What are different ways to style your linen closet? What about using a basket? Or open shelving?
A: Maximizing vertical space in the bathroom is essential. If you don’t have a lot of room to work with, a surefire way to instantly create more space is to go up. All bathrooms have common areas that can be expanded with simple organization products. Behind doors and walls is often an underutilized space. Make use of the bathroom’s vertical space by installing over-the-door racks and wall grids to hang extra towels or washcloths, jewelry, hair accessories or bathrobes. This will avoid countertop clutter.
The same concept can also be used to divide the space in a linen closet. By adding additional shelves to a single shelf, or by using containers that stack atop one another, you can divide the vertical space and make efficient use of the area you have to work with. By dividing the space, you eliminate the possibility of stacking tall piles of towels or other items that are destined to topple over.
Visit The Container Store at Gulfstream Park to view the elfa and TCS Closets systems or to speak with one of the TCS Organization Experts.