Skip the Storage Container Sales This January and Get Truly Organized

gray plastic storage container

Some things in January are as predictable as clockwork.

New Year’s resolutions. Regret over how much we consumed during the holiday season. Packing up the holiday decorations. And storage container sales at seemingly every store around.

Being inundated with reminders that we need to buy more plastic storage containers, bins, tubs, totes, or whatever you call them (and at a deep discount!) is admittedly smart marketing by retailers.

Many of us are feeling that urge to get our homes organized to start the new year off on a positive and productive note. And picking up some more storage containers probably seems like a practical way to help us do that.

But are storage containers really helping you get organized or are they actually (and ironically) adding to your household clutter?

Here’s why you should think twice before buying from any more storage container sales.

Buying from storage container sales won’t help reduce clutter

Merriam Webster defines clutter as “to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness” and “a crowded or confused mass or collection”.

Merely moving loose, scattered things on your floors or in your closets into storage bins doesn’t subtract from that confused mass or collection, however.

An average-sized storage container holds approximately 50-60 L. Its length is about 16″ wide and 24″ deep. That means the container alone takes up about 2.7 square feet of space.

Even if that container is filled to capacity with other clutter, the overall footprint of the amount of “stuff” in your home logically increases with each new storage container that’s added.

Storage containers really just help you to manage your clutter somewhat by providing a mini storage space for it. In some cases, there’s a certain level of practicality and organization involved when using them. A couple of examples would be when containers are used for storing out-of-season clothing or a bunch of toys that your kids regularly play with.

But more often than not, they’re used to quickly stash unsightly clutter in order to make a home more presentable for visitors or to store odds and ends we just can’t find the time to properly go through and declutter.

Storage containers don’t encourage you to declutter

Even Marie Kondo had to learn that storing more things than she really needed in an organized manner didn’t lead to fulfilment with her living space. As the organizing guru wrote in her 2012 bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, “Why does my room still feel cluttered when I’ve worked so hard to organize and store things away?”

While researching this blog post, I came across a thread on Reddit (the world’s biggest online forum platform). Someone was asking whether or not it might be a good idea to start a business renting out plastic storage containers to people who were moving.

One of the responses perfectly summed up why storage containers don’t solve clutter issues: “I like the plastic boxes especially for long term storage. About half my belongings are boxed up and they have been for years.”

While this is just one person’s viewpoint, it undoubtedly reflects how many of us are fooled into thinking that storage bins help keep our homes organized. We would ask the person quoted above “Why do half the things you own have so little use to you that they can be stored away in containers for years on end?”

Using storage containers doesn’t encourage you to declutter. Instead, they facilitate an out of sight, out of mind mentality for a lot of things you’d be better off just getting rid of.

Even items stored in storage containers that are clear or labelled tend to fade into the background and be forgotten.

plastic storage container with wires and cables

We’re pretty sure every home has at least one of these – the plastic storage container or cardboard box filled with ancient wires, cables, remotes, and computer peripherals you’ll never use again.

You’ll eventually need to deal with the root cause of your clutter

It’s not a stretch to say that in most circumstances, storage containers are essentially a clutter enabler.

For example, take that tote or cardboard box filled with  miscellaneous cables, wires, remote controls, and old computer peripherals that virtually every home has (and a lot of homes probably have more than one of them).

There’s probably several rolls of previously used phone line and coaxial cable alone sitting there that you’ll never use again. The same goes for that VCR remote, pre-2K wired mouse, and USB 1.0 and 2.0 hardware and cables that would be torturously slow to use today.

More common items we needlessly keep in storage containers include:

  • old toys
  • outgrown kids clothing
  • sports equipment that’s no longer used
  • linen sets with missing pieces
  • clothing we hope to fit into one day
  • odds and ends like a glove without a partner or a pair of broken heels you never got around to repairing
  • things that hold sentimental value but are never (or rarely) looked at

Why do we hold onto most of this stuff? We suspect that the fact they’re all hidden away and have a “home” in a storage container (even if that isn’t a true home) isn’t helping matters.

Eventually, you’ll need to deal with the root cause of your clutter and start purging the excess items you never use and probably never will. Any thorough decluttering project involves some tough decisions with those items you’re on the fence about keeping, but that’s part of the process.

Clutter is known to be a contributor to higher stress levels, so eliminating as much of it as possible from your home will only benefit you. That includes another quality of life improvement like freeing up space in the home to do something more productive with a room.

This could include adding a new furniture piece or some plants to a room, or simply leaving a decluttered area empty to create a more open space.

Storage containers have their uses – just don’t over-rely on them

Don’t get us wrong – we’re not saying that storage containers have no place in the home whatsoever.

Compared to using cardboard boxes for storage, plastic totes are more stable when stacked, don’t require tape and have lids, provide an airtight seal for their contents, and are much more durable.

Fabric storage baskets or handwoven baskets are pricier, but provide a homier, more stylish look of your storage containers compared to the dull, utilitarian look of standard plastic containers.

Storage containers are ideal for the long-term storage of things you absolutely can’t part with, such as physical photos, treasured family mementoes, and important documents.

They’re also practical for storing things that aren’t used every day, week, or even month, but are used at least yearly – holiday decorations are a good example.

Seasonal clothing is also commonly kept in storage containers, which makes a lot of sense. Keep in mind that the long-term storage of clothing and linens (for years at a time) in sealed plastic containers isn’t recommended, as the fabrics need to breathe a little.

While storage containers can be useful, it’s important not to over-rely on them for too much of your storage needs.

Because it’s so easy to just toss something into a spare tote and plan to give it a proper home later, you want to avoid having too many storage bins that have essentially become junk drawers filled with odds and ends that won’t be easy to find when (or if) they’re ever needed.

Storage containers in garage overhead rack

Although plastic storage containers are useful, don’t over-rely on them for your home storage needs.

Consider the environmental impact of buying more plastic

Another reason to reconsider buying more plastic storage products for your home is the environmental impact they have.

On top of the carbon footprint from the container’s manufacturing process, unrecycled plastic takes an eternity to naturally degrade (it can take hundreds of years or more).

It’s estimated only 10-20% of the world’s plastic gets recycled. Plastic storage containers can be tricky to recycle because they’re usually too big to fit in a recycling bin. Some municipalities accept large plastic products for recycling at a depot (not unlike where you would drop off old electronics), but that’s not a guarantee wherever you live.

And unfortunately, that extra little bit of effort required to dispose of bigger plastic products only increases the likelihood they’ll just get put out with the regular garbage for pickup.

Another recycling problem is that older plastic products may be made from materials that make them impossible to recycle.

If you do need to buy plastic storage containers, be sure to buy products made from recycled plastic.

What about your unused storage containers?

After successfully eliminating some of your home’s clutter, you may have a bunch of now-empty storage containers left over.

Sure, it makes sense to hold onto a few empty containers that will come in handy down the road, but don’t keep more than you really need.

Because empty storage containers conveniently nest inside one another, it can be tempting to keep a few stacks of them around because they don’t seem to be taking up much space when stored that way. Once again, only retain what you think you’ll actually use.

Remember, those stacks are still taking up space, will need to be vacuumed around (or moved when you vacuum), and are going to collect dust that you’ll have to eventually clean.

Try recycling them as recommended or try to donate them to a local charity.

Try renting storage bins when you move

One undeniable benefit of plastic storage bins is their sturdiness, which makes them ideal for using when you move.

Before stocking up during one of the storage container sales you come across for a future move, check to see if the moving company you’re using or a local business has storage containers for rent.

Cardboard boxes remain the most cost-effective and practical way to move your belongings. They’re easy to recycle, cheap (free in some cases if your local grocery store makes them available to their customers), and can be flattened to take up less space when not in use.

Corrugated plastic boxes are a little less common and still contain plastic, but they’re more rugged than cardboard and are a slightly more eco-friendly option than plastic containers.

Skip the storage container sales and use real organization solutions

Avoid the disappointment of admitting defeat with your New Year’s resolution when you realize those purchases from January storage container sales haven’t translated into a tidier home in February.

Talk to Organized Interiors for real solutions to your home organization problems instead of relying on stopgap measures that aren’t effective in getting your home tidied up.

We can suggest more practical and efficient ways to maximize your home’s storage and organization capabilities.

For example, our built-in bedroom cabinetry has under-bed drawer storage, which is an upgrade over using flat rolling plastic storage containers that get covered in dust bunnies.

Are you currently using cheap plastic storage towers with drawers in a closet or the corner of a room? If so, you’ll be amazed at how how much nicer our custom cabinetry storage towers are both in terms of looks and functionality.

It takes less than a minute to schedule a complimentary in-home design consultation with us.

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20 Smart Solutions to Organize Your Home in 2020

organize your home, woman in walk-in closet

When the calendar flips over to January, research shows that approximately 60% of us make New Year’s resolutions.

Getting in shape, eating healthier, and learning a new skill consistently rank as the most common New Year’s resolutions that people make.

Right up there with them is the desire to get our homes more organized in the new year.

Focus on fixing once space at a time

Most of us have more than one area of our homes that needs some TLC. That means a quick fix for all of your home’s organization or décor issues isn’t very feasible.

Taking on too much at once usually leads to a less than optimal outcome that is rarely as satisfying as you would like.

Pace yourself, have a smart plan you can stick to, and commit to improving your home one space at a time. That way you won’t need to go back and tweak or improve your home upgrades, which just isn’t productive.

As organization expert Christina Scalise once said, “Organization isn’t about perfection. It’s about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money, and improving your overall quality of life”.

How will you organize your home in 2020?

From getting your home better organized to improving your décor, most houses and condos present opportunities to upgrade every room in ways both big and small.

Taking the time to improve your living space will deliver a boost to your home’s functionality and enhance your comfort level.

But nothing happens without taking that first step. So where will your efforts to organize your home in 2020 start?

1. Reach-in closet

If keeping your closets organized is a battle you can never win, it’s time to look at some solutions that will make it easier to maintain a tidier reach-in closet space.

Our closet organizer systems range from simple to extravagant designs that can be customized to maximize your storage space.

Do you need a tower of shelves and/or drawers in the closet’s centre? How about extra hanging rods or some decorative touches like new baseboards, crown moulding, and stylish hardware to spruce up your closet space?

Just ask us and we’ll work our magic to create a reach-in closet space you’ll love.

two organized reach-in closets in home

2. Walk-in closet

You’ve been eyeing that spare room, contemplating its next incarnation, and plotting the takeover. 2020 is the year you’re going to finally transform it into a dream walk-in closet as a solution to help organize your home.

The extra storage space a walk-in closet provides eliminates the headaches that come with managing a large wardrobe collection in a traditional closet space that can’t meet your storage needs any longer.

Walk-ins customized with wall-to-wall cabinetry, a makeup area with a vanity, a full-length mirror, and a host of additional stylish design features also create the perfect private personal space for getting dressed.

3. Sliding closet doors

Our sliding closet doors have multiple types of applications and can be customized with your choice of glass, mirror, or melamine inserts in a variety of styles to match your décor.

They can be used as traditional sliding doors for a reach-in closet. If you need to create closet space in a room, we’ll install custom-built gables and sliding doors that add instant closet storage anywhere.

Sliding closet doors also work nicely as room dividers to partition off an area of your living space for more privacy when needed.

closed sliding closet doors

4. Guest room with a Murphy wall bed

Another spare room idea worth considering is turning that underutilized part of your home into a useful guest room. Including a Murphy wall bed in the room’s design is a great idea, too.

A Murphy wall bed’s biggest benefit is that it takes up very little space. Until they’re needed, the bed stays folded up and out of the way. You can surround the bed within beautiful custom cabinetry that provides storage space for your guests’ linens and pillows.

Having a guest room always-at-the-ready is a wonderful thing to have, not just for unexpected overnight guests, but any time. Your guests, especially if they’re older, will appreciate sleeping on a comfortable mattress that’s a lot friendlier to their backs than an air mattress or lumpy couch.

organized room with lowered Murphy wall bed

5. Wardrobe closet

Your main bedroom closet has gotten the makeover treatment and you’re still not satisfied with how much storage room is available for all of your clothes. What can you do?

Let a wardrobe closet be your clothes storage saviour! Custom wardrobes can be built to the size you need to alleviate the problems caused by an overstuffed bedroom closet.

Whether it’s for extra shoe storage, more hanging space, or extra accessories, wardrobes are ideal as a supplementary bedroom storage solution. They can be designed as a built-in or standalone furniture piece.

And if that shared closet space with your partner just isn’t working so well for either of you, eliminate the frustration you’re both feeling by getting a wardrobe that one of you can use.

open wardrobe closet in kids room

6. Home office

A home office that’s cluttered and lacks tasteful décor is not a space that encourages a high level of productivity.

We have plenty of home office ideas that will refresh your workspace and increase your ability to get more done while working at home.

Choose from our wide selection of finishes and styles available to create a more comfortable room that’s custom-designed to accommodate your work needs.

7. Study space

Your kids might benefit from having a private, comfortable area in your house or condo to study in with fewer distractions like a home study space.

We can transform a spare room or even a small area of your home into such a space to help your kids focus better with their studies.

If space is an issue, a study area could also be combined with a home office as part of a multi-purpose room design.

Find out more here about creating a learning-friendly study space in your home.

8. Laundry room

Even at the best of times, doing laundry isn’t anyone’s idea of a fun way to spend a few hours. Laundry tasks can be a whole lot more miserable to tackle, however, when the room you’re working in feels like a dungeon.

An increasingly popular way to organize your home and improve one of its hardest working rooms is to update the laundry room’s appearance and functionality.

With more aesthetically pleasing décor, improved lighting, maxed out storage, and useful features like a pullout ironing board and hampers to keep dirty clothes sorted, laundry rooms are capable of being comfortable spaces you won’t dread setting foot in.

washer and dryer in laundry room

9. Wine room

Is your wine collection in need of more storage space? Perhaps your wine collection has never had a proper home and is being stored on wine racks in your basement or living room.

The perfect solution is to turn your spare room into a walk-in wine cellar or a wine room that’s stylish enough to use as an entertainment space.

For smaller spaces or more modestly-sized wine collections, a reach-in wine closet is another option to keep your bottles organized and in ideal storage conditions.

10. Wet bar

With a little imagination, inspiration, and customization, you can set up a wet bar in almost any room in your home.

Custom bar cabinetry is a great way to keep your liquor organized, in addition to adding an aesthetically pleasing touch of class to any room.

Entertain in style with one of our custom-designed cabinetry units, island-style bars, or mini-bars.

11. Entertainment centre

Your home entertainment space needs to efficiently accommodate the wide array of audio and video equipment and accessories we use every day.

Keeping all of these devices and cables organized requires more than a few shelves or a small TV stand with a couple of drawers. A built-in entertainment centre is the answer.

It doesn’t merely provide storage space for your TV and all of your other “home entertainment stuff”, an entertainment centre becomes a home showpiece and the focal point of your living room or home theatre.

Choosing a custom solution over a prefab furniture unit has many advantages. Find out why custom entertainment units are better than prefab units from big box stores.

man with drink relaxing in front of fire and TV

12. Linen closet

The linen closet doesn’t get a lot of home improvement attention because it’s a utilitarian storage space that’s typically small and has a fairly straightforward layout.

That’s exactly why you should think about a linen closet makeover, however. There’s plenty of room for improvement in most reach-in linen closets, which do their fair share in helping to organize your home.

You can have the closet redesigned to freshen up its appearance, maximize its storage space, and keep up with the daily use it gets storing the many linens in your home.

Discover more linen closet ideas here.

13. Built-in bedroom cabinetry

For a stylish solution to a good night’s sleep, look no further than built-in bedroom cabinetry that is custom-designed for your space, creating a seamless blend with your bedroom’s decor.

Our bedroom cabinetry combines your bed with surrounding built-in storage below, above, and around your sleeping space in a smartly designed integrated furniture piece.

built-in bedroom cabinetry in home

14. Makeup table

With makeup application being such a staple of the daily routine for so many women, it makes a lot of sense to have a makeup table in order to streamline the process.

A posh makeup area where your beauty routine occurs almost every day is certainly practical, as it helps you to stay organized. It’s also nice to have a personalized space to complete your beauty ritual more comfortably.

Learn more here about why a bespoke makeup table could make a great addition to your walk-in closet, dressing room, master bedroom, or bathroom.

15. Mudroom

Mudrooms are rather underappreciated when it comes to rooms that are highly valued when it comes to helping to organize your home.

Whether your mudroom is a small room near an entrance, is combined with your laundry room, or is a dedicated space in the hall of your home’s entryway, there are many ways to enhance its functionality.

Shoes, umbrellas, jackets, and other outwear can all have a proper home using hooks, custom cabinetry, shoe racks, and other solutions to keep this transitional space orderly.

organize your home, bench in mudroom

16. Basement

Basements provide ample room for home storage, but they’re rarely given much consideration to keep the things you’re storing organized and easy to find.

Adding better storage systems like custom cabinetry to maintain order and to eliminate visual clutter will help make the basement look more presentable.

An unfinished basement leaves a lot to be desired in the looks department. Make the space cozier by:

  • finishing the walls and ceiling and upgrading the basement’s insulation
  • adding a raised “floating floor” that is more comfortable (temperature-wise) to walk on
  • replacing old carpeting with new carpeting, carpet tiles, or interlocking floor tiles
  • further reducing the chill in the basement with an energy-efficient electric fireplace

electric fireplace flames

17. Library/reading room

If you’re an avid reader and have a large book collection, dedicating a spare room or smaller part of a room for storing books on custom cabinetry shelves keeps things looking tidy and easier to organize.

Make a few more practical additions to the room by complementing your books stored within stylish furniture with some of these ideas:

  • a comfortable accent chair
  • a high-quality reading light
  • an ottoman
  • a side table for beverages

Now you have the ideal personalized space where you can indulge your passion for reading in privacy and blissful comfort!

18. Craft room

Another smart use for a spare room if you or someone else in the family is the creative type is to turn it into a craft room.

From sewing, to scrapbooking, to playing music, to creating art, make a unique space that is bright, fun, and allows you to spend time doing what you love.

craft room

19. Closet accessories and decorative hardware

To get even more out of your closet spaces, take advantage of the many helpful closet accessories Organized Interiors carries.

Accessories like extra hanging rods, valet rods, pullout shoe racks, and racks for ties, scarves, and belts elevate a closet space’s functionality to the next level.

Decorative hardware that accentuates the custom cabinetry and complements your décor is also an important consideration when having your storage systems designed.

20. The garage

Plans to organize your home in 2020 might include getting your garage in order. If your garage clutter has relegated your vehicles to being parked in the driveway every day, talk to Garage Living.

They specialize in transforming disorganized, visually unappealing garages into highly efficient storage spaces that look as stunning as a luxury car showroom.

Let us help you organize your home this year

It can be difficult to decide where to start with your New Year’s home organization project.

For some homeowners, it may also be a bit overwhelming trying to decide what storage solutions and design changes are most practical for their living space.

Instead of struggling to figure everything out for yourself, rely on pros like Organized Interiors to help you organize your home this new year. Our storage solutions and expertise are abundant and available!

Get 2020 started off on the right foot and schedule a free in-home design consultation with us today.

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Holiday Home Cleaning Tips to Make Guests Feel More Welcome

An Airwick survey of 2,000 Brits found that it takes less than 30 seconds for houseguests to formulate their first impression of your home after entering it.

During the holiday season, everyone wants visitors to their home to feel like they’ve entered a space that’s warm and welcoming.

Ensuring you have a well-presented home for a holiday season gathering often adds to the hectic and stressful nature of this time of year.

Is our worrying about how others see our living space excessive? Perhaps, but it’s better to care about how guests view our homes than to not care, right?

Holiday home cleaning and organization tips

You have your own set of standards for how you clean and organize your home. It never hurts, however, to get a different perspective on what guests notice most when they visit your home.

Perhaps it will make you more aware of certain areas of your home that should be getting a little more cleaning attention.

Keep reading to pick up a few holiday home cleaning and organization tips that will serve you well when hosting your gathering of friends and family.

What guests notice most about your home

In that Airwick survey, the most popular answer given about the thing people noticed first when visiting a house or condo was the scent of the home.

That makes perfect sense (pun intended), given that smell is the strongest of our five senses.

How cluttered a home is ranked second. This might surprise some of you (it surprised me), who would have expected it to take the top spot.

Here are a few more of the most commonly judged things in homes by guests:

  • the temperature
  • how clean and dust-free the home is
  • the tastefulness and modernness of the home décor
  • the quality of hand towels and how comfortable they are to use

Throw off a great scent

With scent being such a big part of a visitor’s experience to your living space, what can you do to create a more pleasing aroma in the home?

It’s less practical to open windows during the cold holiday season. If temperatures are unseasonably warm, however, take advantage of it to let some fresh air inside.

Pleasant, natural scents that aren’t too strong will create a positive first impression for anyone entering your home. We recommend any of these:

  • fresh flowers
  • potpourri in decorative bowls
  • scented candles
  • fresh-baked cookies or pastries
  • boil or bake select spices for about 30 minutes to scent your entire home

And now for a couple of scent don’ts for your home. First, avoid using spray or plug-in commercial air fresheners. They can be overpowering and off-putting to guests with very sensitive noses.

Try to avoid vacuuming minutes before guests arrive at your home. Some vacuum canisters that haven’t been emptied in awhile can leave a distinct odour that people might notice.

Some people regularly vacuum using baking soda that’s sprinkled on carpets and rugs. Despite baking soda being an effective deodorizer, many cleaning experts advise against using it this way since it can potentially cause problems with your vacuum cleaner.

Holiday home cleaning the areas your guests will see

A home that’s clean and organized from top-to-bottom is preferable, but not always achievable when you’re scrambling to take care of everything that goes into hosting a get-together.

Luckily, your guests won’t see every room in your home so just focus on getting the areas they will spend time in looking pristine.

Your entryway is obviously a top priority, as it creates the first impression of your interior living space. Is there room for shoes and boots? When the front hallway closet is opened, is it tidy and providing enough space for your guest’s coats?

Some guests will assuredly be spending time in the kitchen. You’ve taken care of the clutter cleanup in the room, but how does the fridge look? Has the inside of the fridge also been decluttered and scrubbed so anyone grabbing a cold beverage out of it won’t even think twice about how clean it is?

It goes without saying that your guest bathroom has to be spic and span with enough hand towels, soap, hand sanitizer, and extra toilet paper to serve your guest’s needs.

Clear all the clutter from any flat surfaces in the dining room, living room, and basement (if necessary) and give them a good wipedown.

Even one of your bedrooms should be presentable if you’re using a bed as an overflow coat storage space. You or someone from your family that’s on coat duty might get tied up with one of a multitude of hosting tasks. Allow guests who are ready to go home to get their coats from the room if they need to without having to worry about its appearance.

2 chairs and table in wine room

5 areas you shouldn’t forget to clean

There are many parts of the home that are easy to miss when you’re rushing to get your cleaning done. Don’t forget to give these areas a quick vacuum, dusting, or wipe down with a damp towel:

  • drapes, curtains, and blinds
  • appliances
  • light fixtures and ceiling fans
  • baseboards and crown moulding
  • electrical outlets and light switches

A few things to remember about clutter

Clutter doesn’t just mean what we typically think of when we hear the word, like toys or junk left on the floor or a messy countertop.

It also includes visual clutter, which means having too many things occupying a space, even if they’re kept tidy. A shelf that’s overloaded with knick-knacks and mementoes is one example.

Be mindful of not using too many pieces of furniture in a room. This can make the space feel more cramped.

Spending time in any environment that has too much clutter makes us feel unsettled. For example, it’s been well-established that excessively cluttered homes contribute to poor sleep quality and higher stress levels in occupants of those living spaces.

Controlling your traditional clutter and visual clutter will help to make your guests feel more relaxed and comfortable.

The ideal solution for hosting overnight guests

When guests from out of town are staying overnight, are you able to put them up in a guest room?

Whether it’s during the holiday season or any other time of year, having a guest room that’s always at-the-ready is a wonderful thing in any home.

Putting your visitors up in a guest room is a more thoughtful gesture than having them stay in a hotel room that feels sterile and inhospitable.

A spare room can easily be converted into a useful guest room with a space-saving Murphy wall bed and beautiful custom cabinetry where guest linens and pillows can be stored.

Here are some more nice things you can do to make your overnight guests feel even more comfortable in your home:

  • provide a TV or smart speaker for their room
  • leave out some cozy bathrobes for them to use
  • provide a basket with toiletries in case they forgot to pack some of their own
  • write down your home’s WiFi password for them

These thoughtful gestures will be greatly appreciated and leave your guests thinking, “Who needs a 5-star hotel?”

pillows on bed with surrounding storage

Make your home easier to keep organized

We hope these holiday home cleaning and organization tips are useful to you when you’re preparing to entertain guests.

Organized Interiors can help take the worry out of having guests over. Our wide variety of storage and organization solutions make it easier to maintain a tidy home all year-round.

We can also custom-design any of the following things to enhance your home’s entertaining capabilities:

  • a stunning feature wall with an electric fireplace
  • entertainment centres
  • wet bars
  • wine rooms

To learn more about how we can help improve how your house or condo looks and functions, schedule a free in-home design consultation with us.

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Fall Home Organizing: 17 Smart Tips You Can’t Go Wrong With

After the more laid back approach to life most of us take during the summer, readjusting to the hustle and bustle of the autumn and early winter seasons can be tricky.

With September drawing to a close and fall officially underway, hopefully you’ve managed to keep up with the busier pace of everyday life.

Your family will be spending a lot more time indoors now that the cool weather has arrived and the more frigid weather looms just a few weeks away.

fall home organizing coloured leaves on tree

Photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash

17 fall home organizing tips for a tidier house and condo

Considering how much more time we’ll be staying inside, it makes good sense to focus on getting your home clean and organized in the next few weeks.

A major deep cleaning and decluttering of your home doesn’t have to wait until the new year or next spring. By then, there’ll be more work for you to do.

And who wants to spend the first few days of January worrying about a big cleaning project when many of us are feeling drained after the hectic holiday season?

Before the year gets much older, get your house or condo autumn and winter-ready with these 17 fall home organizing tips.

1. Create an organization checklist and use a schedule

Having goals and a well-thought-out game plan for getting your home organized will increase the odds of success with your organization project.

Set up an organization checklist with key tasks you want to complete around the home. Don’t hesitate to throw in a couple of easy and quick organization jobs, either! Seeing things checked off a to-do list provides great motivation to keep moving forward.

To stay better organized, ensure you’re using a schedule to keep track of all events everyone in the house has coming up.

Medical appointments, sports practices and games, school events, and social gatherings should all be shown on a schedule so no one is caught off guard at the last moment.

Use a calendar in the kitchen that allows for lots of writing space for each day of the month. There’s no shortage of mobile calendar and scheduling apps available that will sync between everyone’s phones to keep all of your family’s upcoming events documented and organized.

2. Focus on one task at a time

Don’t take on too much and try to get your whole home in tip-top shape in just one weekend. No one needs that pressure or frustration.

A lot of home cleanup efforts fail because we attempt to do too much, can’t meet our goals, get frustrated, and walk away from the work.

Pace yourself and set realistic goals with a flexible timeline.

If necessary, just concentrate on one or two rooms to work on and get in peak form. After all, even one is better than none!

3. Make closet space for seasonally-appropriate clothes

Any change in seasons (especially in the spring and winter) should involve a thorough swap out of your wardrobe.

Ensuring that only seasonally-appropriate clothing is taking up your main wardrobe storage spaces will make getting dressed easier. You’ll have fewer things to navigate through and choose from, which will save you time.

Your spring and summer attire from your bedroom and front entryway closets could be hung in a spare bedroom closet, kept in labelled storage bins, or in the storage spaces of your built-in bedroom cabinetry.

Don’t forget about the linen closet, either. Switch out those lighter linens with your heavier bedding, linens, and blankets.

woman organizing closet

4. Edit your wardrobe

A seasonal clothing changeover also gives you a good opportunity to edit your wardrobe and get rid of the pieces you never wear.

As Marie Kondo preaches, only keep clothing items that truly spark joy. If you haven’t worn something in a couple of years, it’s probably time to add it to your pile of clothes to donate.

A seasonal wardrobe curation will minimize the chance of wasting money on a duplicate purchase of something you already own and just couldn’t find (which only makes a closet more congested).

If you’re struggling to keep your home’s closet spaces tidy, contact Organized Interiors. Our custom closets are designed to make managing your storage spaces easy and more efficient.

5. Organize your digital world

Because we use our smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers so much nowadays, digital clutter is something that needs occasional tending to.

Americans check their smartphones an average of 52 times per day, according to one study. The most recent data we could find on cell phone usage for Canadians was from a 2014 CIBC poll. It reported that we check our phones a lot more – an average of six times per hour.

Most of us have more apps than we use, so get rid of the ones on all of your electronics that do nothing but add to your digital clutter. Group your mobile apps by category into folders so you don’t have four or five pages to swipe through just to find one.

Clean up that neglected email in-box and get those computers tidied up by reducing the number of files and icons on your desktop.

6. Rein in the holiday shopping

All of these fall home organizing tips involve taking action on different things except for this one. No, this tip involves doing, well, nothing.

A good deal of the clutter that sits in homes comes from impulse and sale purchases of things you didn’t need, but believe you might need someday.

There will be no shortage of tempting sales over the next few months with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Boxing Day vying for our attention and spending money.

Resist the lure of those rock bottom sale prices to prevent the accumulation of more home clutter unless they’re things you really need and will use.

7. Declutter your food storage spaces

The kitchen is one of your home’s hardest working rooms, meaning your food storage spaces should be getting decluttered regularly.

It tends to get used even more during the last few months of the year for baking and cooking dishes to bring to social functions or for home entertaining.

Empty the contents of your pantry, freezer, and fridge to see what’s fresh and what isn’t. Give these storage areas a good cleaning before refilling them.

Set aside food purchases that are still good to eat, but will likely never get used. Food banks will appreciate your donation during this time of the year.

8. Help your kids get more organized

You can help your kids get more organized to make both their life (and yours) a little easier.

Work with them in their closets and drawers to reduce the number of outgrown or damaged clothing items that could be removed. This can create more storage space for those recent back-to-school wardrobe purchases.

Because kids grow so quickly, their closets should actually be getting the curation treatment even more regularly than your bedroom closet does.

To help with their academic tasks, consider setting up a home study space that’s tidy, designed to cater to their studying needs, and distraction-free.

A study space can be incorporated into a home office design to create a multi-functional room for the whole family.

9. Deal with those junk drawers

One of our previous fall home organizing tips involved adding smaller decluttering jobs to your cleanup to-do list. Tidying up your home’s junk drawers falls into that category.

Dump your junk drawers separately out onto a large surface like the dining room table and start going through everything.

Have a garbage bin and paper recycling bin beside you and you’ll probably find there’s not much left to go back in the drawers once the job is done.

If the drawers don’t have dividers, add some to keep things more organized.

loose change in junk drawer

Photo by Pina Messina on Unsplash

10. Make your bed every morning

Many of us were taught to make our beds every morning. We lead busy lives, however, and making the bed is rarely the first thing on our minds when we wake up.

Sometimes finding even that one or two minutes for this task during a hectic morning isn’t easy, but here’s why you should try it.

Gretchen Rubin is an author and former Navy SEAL commander. She writes in a LinkedIn article that the simple act of making your bed every morning is a positive way to start the day.

It ties into that strategy of sprinkling in a bunch of fast, easy-to-accomplish chores on your organization to-do list to fuel your motivation.

With your bed in mind, remember to flip and rotate your mattress anywhere from once every three months to once a year, depending on what the mattress maker recommends. That will ensure one side doesn’t wear out too fast.

11. Delegate home chores

A lot of these fall home organizing tips and tasks will require a bit of time, which is even more reason to delegate duties among family members.

Everybody contributes to creating household clutter, so everyone who’s old enough to help clean and declutter should be pitching in, too.

Splitting up your household chores will ensure mom or dad don’t get burnt out or frustrated taking on too much work.

Another good reason to delegate when it comes to cleaning work is that it tends to make kids feel more accountable and responsible for how they function within the home.

They’ll be less likely to leave a mess if it’s them that has to eventually tidy it up!

12. Be prepared for the unexpected

There’s nothing worse than being unprepared when an emergency occurs or anything else unexpected happens.

Maybe it’s a December ice storm that knocks out your home’s power for hours or perhaps it’s having to deal with a cooking fire.

As part of your fall home organizing checklist, spend the time to take proactive measures to guarantee you’re as ready as possible for any unexpected and challenging household occurrences.

October is fire safety awareness month, which means it’s time to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and test the units.

Every home should have a fire extinguisher located in or near the kitchen. Check that its expiry date is still good. If the extinguisher has a pressure gauge, make sure it’s maintaining pressure.

Test your flashlights to see if they need fresh batteries and know where to find your candles and matches.

13. Make sure your guest room is ready to go

Having a guest room always at the ready for overnight visitors is a wonderful thing, whether it’s during the holiday season or any other time of the year.

It’s great having a dedicated hosting space that doesn’t require you to scramble around searching for bedding and sleeping accommodations for guests.

A Murphy wall bed is perfect for guest rooms. Here’s why:

  • they’re super-comfortable to sleep on
  • less floor space is taken up with their pulldown design
  • extra storage space can be incorporated into the bed’s design
  • they can be customized to complement your décor

fall home organizing bed and desk in guest room

14. Create storage homes for as many things as possible

Creating homes for 100% of everything in your home is a lot to ask, but with a little time and focus, it’s possible to establish homes for most of the things you own.

Dedicated homes reduces the amount of time wasted looking for misplaced items (as long as you take that all-important step to actually put it back in its home, mind you).

15. Fall home organizing tips for outside

We aren’t just focussing on the inside with these fall home organizing tips – your home’s exterior needs a little attention in the autumn as well.

In addition to the standard outdoor home maintenance tasks you’ll be doing this fall like cleaning the eavestroughs and raking leaves, spend some time organizing now so you’ll make life easier for yourself come springtime.

Pick up any toys, sports gear, yard tools, and gardening tools sitting outside.

Drain your garden hoses, faucets, and sprinkler system to prevent damage from ice and hang the hoses neatly in the garage or a shed. Consider adding insulating covers to your outside faucets.

Wash off your patio furniture before putting it away until the spring. Store it in a shed or an out-of-the-way spot in the garage. If it’s staying outside, cover everything with properly fitting covers to prevent rust.

16. Get your garage organized and winter-ready

Because the garage gets so much use during the spring and summer, it tends to be one of the more demanding fall home organizing projects to deal with.

Just as you edited your closet’s belongings, do the same with the contents of your garage. Throw out old or broken tools that aren’t useful.

Look for floor clutter that can be discarded to make more space for garage parking when the weather gets worse.

If floor clutter is a problem, the solution is to make better use of your wall and overhead space.

Slatwall storage panels and overhead racking will create an ample amount of storage room for things like:

  • yard tools
  • sports equipment (including bikes)
  • ladders
  • holiday decorations
  • bulky seasonal items such as patio furniture

Contact Garage Living to get more information about how they can make your garage more visually appealing and organized.

17. Upgrade or add a mudroom

Having a transitional home space between the indoors and outside like a mudroom is particularly helpful at this time of year.

A mudroom can help to contain the messes that occur with tracked-in mud or snow from boots, as well as jackets and apparel that are soaked from the rain or snow.

In addition to your family’s fall and winter outdoor gear, all of those other items that regularly go in and out of the house like dog leashes, car keys, and backpacks can be kept organized in a mudroom and won’t get lost or misplaced as often.

Start your fall home organizing now

If you’ve been thinking about devoting time to some of these fall home organizing projects, let us know how we can help.

Organized Interiors has storage and organization solutions that every room in your home can benefit from.

Get a free quote by requesting a free in-home design consultation with us today.

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7 Sensible Home Cooling Tips That Don’t Require A/C

As we head into the final stretch of summer, the temperatures will gradually start dropping and those sweltering hot days from the past couple of months will fade further from your memory.

But all it takes is one of those late-summer heatwaves to snap you back to reality, reminding you that it’s not time to stop cooling down your home for the year.

For many homeowners, that means simply closing the windows and turning on the central air conditioning.

You might be surprised, however, to learn that air conditioning in Canadian homes isn’t as common as you might think.

Statistics Canada’s most recent data from 2017 shows that only 42% of households in this country have central air conditioning. Overall, just 60% of Canadian homes use any type of A/C.

home cooling tips woman standing by bed

Smart home cooling tips everyone should know

If you don’t have portable, window-mounted, or central conditioning, you’ve undoubtedly made use of various home cooling tips and tricks to beat the heat and humidity.

Some of those tips may be included below and perhaps a few of them will be new to you. These home cooling tips aren’t just for the air condition-less, though.

They can also be used in conjunction with your air conditioning. Obviously, relying less on the A/C reduces your utility bill. There are other notable benefits to using these home cooling tips even if you do have A/C, such as if you:

  • are eco-conscious and want to lower your carbon footprint
  • have an older home with less effective cooling airflow distribution
  • only have a portable or window A/C unit
  • own a cottage with a limited amount of A/C or no A/C system

Try these seven home cooling ideas to increase your comfort level when it heats up.

1. Cover the windows

Allowing natural light in during the day is nice. Unfortunately, on a hot and sunny day a room in direct sunlight heats up quickly.

Research from the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 76% of sunlight that hits standard double-pane windows becomes heat when it enters a home.

West-facing and south-facing windows bear the brunt of the sun’s heat from late in the morning until the early evening. That heat also gets retained by most items in a room that are exposed to sunlight, including carpets, rugs, furniture, and clutter.

Keeping windows that directly face the sun covered during a portion of the day is the easiest and most cost-effective way to keep your home’s inside cooler.

Using external shutters or another type of exterior window covering will be most effective at keeping the sunlight out. For interior decorative room cooling options, use insulating curtains, thick drapes, thermal shades, infrared heat reduction window film, or solar screens.

You could also bolster your efforts to limit the amount of direct sunlight entering your home by creating more exterior shade with an awning or exterior foliage.

2. Make home energy efficiency upgrades

One of the best home cooling tips you can follow is to make as many upgrades as possible to boost your home’s energy efficiency and lower your utility costs.

We already mentioned using thermal window film to reduce the sun’s heat inside your home. An even better solution is to upgrade to more energy efficient double or triple-glazed windows, skylights, and doors that are Energy Star-certified.

If it’s been many years since your home’s insulation was installed, it’s worth exploring whether or not it’s time for an insulation upgrade. Don’t forget about the garage, which is a commonly overlooked room when it comes to insulation installation in houses.

Minimizing the number of air leaks around your home will go a long way towards making it more energy efficient. Properly applied weatherstripping and caulking and foam sealants around your doors and windows are effective (and cost-effective) at reducing drafts.

All of these upgrades, in addition to ensuring you have adequate attic venting and insulation, will lower your energy usage year-round by minimizing your home’s transfer of hot and cold air.

While these home energy efficiency upgrades may require a not-insignificant financial commitment now, they’ll pay long-term dividends for as long as you remain in your house…and even beyond that if you sell, because they add to your home’s value.

3. Use your fans more efficiently

Yes, there actually is a right way and a wrong way (or at least a less effective way) to use a fan.

Because fans move a room’s air around more than actually cooling it, using them properly will increase their efficiency.

Let’s start with your ceiling fans. In the summer, a ceiling fan’s blades should be rotating counterclockwise at a high speed, which creates an updraft cooling effect. During the winter, reverse the direction the blades rotate and use the fan’s lowest speed setting.

Strategically setting up two fans in a room can create a pleasant cross breeze. A box fan placed in an open window that’s blowing outwards will suck out a room’s hot air. If the air outside is cooler than the inside air, some of that cooler air should be drawn in, too.

Here’s another fan cooling trick that works – place a bowl in front of fan that’s filled with ice (or some ice packs) to create a chilling breeze.

If you’re not using the A/C at all, even running your kitchen and bathroom fans for a little while will help to expel some of the hot air in your home.

home cooling tips ceiling fan

Make sure your ceiling fans are rotating counterclockwise at a high speed during the summer.

4. Declutter

Just as the sun’s heat is absorbed by furnishings near windows, excess clutter in rooms does the same thing.

Darker coloured clutter (including clothing piles and dark storage containers) left in direct sunlight will absorb and transfer more heat.

Uncluttered rooms allow air to circulate more freely through a home. That makes fans and your home’s central heating and cooling systems work more efficiently.

Having less clutter in a room makes it feel less stuffy and boosts your comfort level and ability to be more productive in the space.

Also consider that cooling down an unused spare room in a home that’s running air conditioning wastes money. Think about making that room more functional by decluttering and turning it into a:

  • home entertainment room
  • exercise room
  • wine room
  • home office
  • craft room

5. Use a dehumidifier

“It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” You’ve heard that line before and it’s true.

High humidity makes you feel more uncomfortable than you feel in high, drier heats because the air around you has more moisture. That makes the air less effective at absorbing the sweat you release (not unlike how a saturated sponge is less absorbent).

Running a dehumidifier won’t cool a room better than air conditioning, but it can be used in tandem with it or by itself to get a room feeling more comfortable when it’s muggy. An ideal relative humidity level is between 40-50%.

Note that dedicated humidifiers tend to be more efficient at reducing a room’s humidity compared to using the dehumidifying function on most portable A/C units.

Another benefit of using a dehumidifier is that it minimizes the likelihood of allergens, mould, and mildew from forming in your home.

6. Minimize usage of home heat sources

One of the most common sense home cooling tips we can offer is to simply cut off the heat that’s being generated in your home at the source.

Instead of using your oven to make dinner, fire up the barbecue. Use a slow cooker or the microwave as alternatives to oven cooking that will generate less heat in the kitchen.

Running the dishwasher and using the appliances in your laundry room later in the day when it’s cooler is smart, for both heat-reducing reasons and because electricity rates are cheaper.

If anyone in your house is taking a hot shower, be sure the bathroom’s fan is running to expel the heat and moisture in the room.

And if you’re still clinging to those incandescent bulbs, switching to energy efficient CFL or LED bulbs will generate less heat, too.

home cooling tips laundry hampers and counter

Leave chores that generate heat like doing the laundry or running the dishwasher until later in the day.

7. Home cooling tips to get a better night’s sleep

When it’s hot and humid, getting a good night’s sleep if you don’t have A/C can be a challenge.

Using more lightweight sheets should help, especially if they’re more breathable linens like cotton or linens that cool such as percale, microfibre, and bamboo bed sheets.

Cooling mattress pads and toppers, in addition to pillows that use cooling gel or are made with bamboo and buckwheat, will further ensure that you get a more restful sleep.

Check the forecast to find out if the temperature overnight is dropping to a comfortable level. If so, open your bedroom windows before going to bed to let out the room’s hot air and to bring some fresh air inside.

Leave your bedroom door open in order to improve the room’s airflow.

If you are running the A/C, try these tips

If you are making use of some of these home cooling ideas while still running your air conditioning, here are four tips to make it run more efficiently:

  1. Get your air conditioner and furnace serviced regularly (Energy Star recommends yearly tune-ups).
  2. Change your HVAC air filters a minimum of every three months.
  3. Have your ducts cleaned every three to five years to maximize the airflow of your HVAC systems.
  4. Don’t close vents or doors to unused rooms while the central A/C or heat are running. It’s a very common misconception that this is helpful, but it throws off the air balancing in your home for your HVAC systems, which can actually make them work harder.

One more thing you should do is to leave enough space around supply and return vents to improve airflow by repositioning furniture and moving nearby clutter.

Organized Interiors takes this into account when designing our custom cabinetry. To ensure proper ventilation, we add integrated vents to the bottom of any furniture piece that’s positioned over any of your floor or wall vents.

Despite using the above tips, you may still frustratingly find that certain parts of your home (like the top floor) are experiencing temperature disparities when your heating or cooling systems are running.

If having your HVAC systems serviced and your ducts cleaned don’t fix the problem, it may just be that the layout of your home or a less than optimal duct installation years ago are inhibiting the airflow of your HVAC systems.

Get organized and keep your home a little cooler

Remove the clutter from your home that makes it harder to keep your living space cool.

Entrust your organization and storage needs to Organized Interiors, who have been leaders in helping to keep homes in the GTA tidy and clean for over 40 years.

Schedule your complimentary in-home design consultation with us today.

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