Organize Your Home: 20 Living Space Upgrades for the New Year

When the calendar flips over to January, about 60% of us make New Year’s resolutions.

Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions are to get in shape, eat healthier, and learn a new skill. Right up there with them is the desire to organize your home.

The concept of home comfort has taken on a new level of importance in our lives over this past challenging year. Spending so much time indoors has made us rethink how we use our living spaces.

Many of us have become more mindful of how our homes look and function. Are they contributing to our quality of life or adding more stress to it?

organize your home, woman in walk-in closet

Organize your home by fixing once space at a time

Almost every home has at least one area that needs some TLC. If your home has a few areas in need of some upgrades, don’t take on too much at once. That often leads to a less than satisfying outcome.

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

Organization expert Christina Scalise once said that organization isn’t about perfection. Organization is about:

  • better home efficiency
  • reducing clutter and stress
  • saving time and money
  • improving your overall quality of life

How will you organize your home this new year?

Right now is a great time to upgrade and organize your home. Interest rates are low. You may qualify for a home renovation rebate or a work from home tax deduction as well. These can help offset some of your home remodelling costs.

And most importantly, you’ll boost your home comfort level by upgrading your organization systems and refreshing your décor.

But nothing happens without taking that first step.

So where will your efforts to organize your home this year start? Here are 20 areas in your house or condo that are worth upgrading.

Home office

The most popular home design trends of 2020 have been the addition of exercise spaces and home offices. The latter is one trend that will have staying power.

Even after the pandemic ends, remote work will remain the way many of us will earn our living. Forbes.com reports that homebuilders have seen more demand for residences with extra space that can be used as a home office.

Using a proper workspace is better than a makeshift setup of working or studying at the dining room table or on the couch. You can set it up in a part of the home that gives you more privacy.

Talk to us about personalizing your home workspace and designing it to accommodate your work needs. This will provide you with a more comfortable work environment that leads to better productivity.

organize your home office

Reach-in closet

Is keeping your closets organized a constant battle you can never win? If so, look at some solutions that will make it easier to maintain tidier reach-in closet spaces.

Our closet organizer systems will maximize your wardrobe storage space. We have customization options that range from simple to extravagant closet designs.

Do you need a tower of shelves and drawers in the closet’s centre? How about extra hanging rods? Are your closets in need of some sprucing up? Decorative touches like new baseboards, crown moulding, and stylish hardware will help in the latter area.

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

Walk-in closet

You’ve been eyeing that spare room and hoping to eventually transform it into the dream walk-in closet you’ve always wanted. Make this the year you finally take action.

A traditional reach-in closet space can’t always meet your storage needs. A walk-in closet provides valuable extra storage space for all of your clothes. It eliminates the headaches that come with managing a large wardrobe collection.

Customize your walk-in with a variety of features for better functionality and stylish appeal. Create a private,  personalized space for getting dressed and more efficient wardrobe storage with:

  • wall-to-wall cabinetry
  • a makeup area with a vanity
  • handy closet accessories like a jewellery drawer and pullout ironing board
  • an island with extra storage space
  • a full-length mirror

Entertainment centre

Our home entertainment rooms got a real workout in 2020 as hours upon hours of TV, movies, and streaming content were watched. Could your home’s main entertainment space be improved?

A small, simple TV stand with a few drawers or shelves may not be enough to meet your needs. A home entertainment setup must accommodate the wide array of audio and video equipment and accessories we use every day.

A built-in entertainment centre is the solution.

A custom home entertainment centre keeps all of your devices and cables organized. Physical media can also be stored on open shelves or hidden behind cabinet doors.

You can even add an electric fireplace to your entertainment centre! There are plenty of custom options available to create a home showpiece that becomes the focal point of your living room or home theatre.

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

entertainment centre in condo

Study space

Kids were certainly impacted by the shift to remote learning in 2020. They’ll benefit from having a private, more comfortable area to study in with fewer distractions.

We can transform a spare room or even a small area of your house or condo into a productive home study space. 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.

Sliding closet doors

Sliding closet doors have multiple types of applications. They can be used as sliding doors for a traditional reach-in closet. We can also install custom-built gables and sliding doors that add instant closet storage anywhere in your home.

Sliding closet doors are ideal for using as room dividers, too. This lets you partition off an area of your living space for more privacy when needed. With families quarantining together, interior designers have seen an increase in demand for sliding doors being used for this purpose.

Have your sliding doors custom-made so you have a large selection of design options to choose from. Organized Interiors has a wide range of custom options for door frames and glass, mirror, or melamine inserts.

closed sliding closet doors

Guest room with a Murphy wall bed

Another spare room idea worth considering is turning it 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 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

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 fix 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 out, eliminate the frustration you’re both feeling by getting a wardrobe that one of you can use.

open wardrobe closet in kids room

Laundry room

Laundry tasks can be a whole lot more miserable to tackle 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.

There are numerous ways to upgrade your laundry room:

  • max out the room’s storage with custom cabinetry
  • update the décor of the room
  • add more usable countertop space
  • upgrade the room’s lighting
  • add convenient helpers like laundry hampers and extra hanging accessories

washer and dryer in laundry room

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.

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. It also adds 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.

holiday home organization tips bar cabinetry

Linen closet

The linen closet doesn’t get a lot of home improvement attention. It’s often overlooked 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.

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

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.

Mudroom

Mudrooms are rather under-appreciated, but they’re quite valuable when it comes to helping organize your home.

The National Association of Realtors believes that the mudroom may even become known as the “disinfection room” in an era of a pandemic. As they wrote in a recent blog post, “The mudroom is gaining prominence as a spot to sanitize before heading further inside.”

A mudroom can come in variety of forms. It might be a small room near an entrance or combined with your laundry room. Even a dedicated space in the hall of your home’s entryway can be considered a mudroom.

Organized Interiors can help keep this transitional space in your home more orderly. We can design a mudroom that creates a proper home for all of your shoes, umbrellas, jackets, and other outwear using hooks, custom cabinetry, shoe racks, and other solutions.

organize your home, bench in mudroom

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
  • reducing the chill in the basement with an energy-efficient electric fireplace

electric fireplace flames

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!

Craft room

2020 was the perfect year to learn a new hobby. 2021 can be the year you dedicate more time to a new creative pursuit or one of the hobbies you’ve been enjoying for years in the comfort of your own craft room.

A craft room is another great way to use a spare room more effectively. If you or anyone in your family is the creative type, a craft room provides you with a space that is dedicated to your creative passions. You can use it as a room for:

  • sewing
  • scrapbooking
  • playing music
  • drawing or painting

craft room

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.

The garage

Plans to organize your home in 2021 might include getting your garage in order. If your garage clutter has left your vehicles 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.

Rely on a pro like Organized Interiors to help you organize your home this new year. Our storage solutions and expertise are abundant and available!

Get 2021 started off on the right foot and schedule a free design consultation with us today.

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Winter Clothes Storage: 9 Tips to Keep Your Wardrobe Organized

winter clothes storage folded sweater

As the weather warms up, more of us will be switching out our winter clothes for our lighter spring and summer wardrobes.

If you lack a winter clothes storage plan or a plan for storing your warm weather apparel when the fall arrives, it can lead to messy closets and drawers, misplaced items, and damaged clothing.

Taking the time now to store your winter clothes properly will result in a more seamless, straightforward transition when your summer clothes are swapped out in the fall. You’ll also be extending the lifespan of your cold weather clothing.

Here are nine winter clothes storage tips that can also be applied to the storage of warm weather clothing.

1. Decide what deserves winter clothes storage space

A National Association of Professional Organizers study found that 80% of your clothes are only worn 20% of the time.

How much of your winter clothing just isn’t getting worn, for whatever reason? It doesn’t make much sense to take up any of your winter clothes storage space (which may be at a premium in your home) with things that won’t get worn when the cold weather returns.

Being proactive and curating your winter wardrobe now will mean you know that everything you have stored is good to go in the fall and winter.

Start sorting through your wardrobe and separating items that are worn out, damaged and beyond repair, and things that have been outgrown or no longer fit.

Get rid of items that were bought on sale years ago and never worn. Any wardrobe pieces that simply don’t speak to your style any more can be added to your “donate” pile, too. Try to adhere to the “one year rule” when purging a closet, meaning that you should remove any items that haven’t been worn in the past year.

While paring down your winter wardrobe before storing things away, try to find time to do the same with all of your home closets’ contents. Closet decluttering should be done once or twice a year to help your closets function more efficiently.

2. Pick the right winter clothes storage spots

Clothing can’t just be stored anywhere in your home. Ideally, clothing that is being stored away for months should be kept in a dry, climate-controlled environment that has good ventilation. Stored clothing should also be kept away from heat sources and direct sunlight.

The attic and garage aren’t recommended for winter clothes storage for a few reasons:

  • these rooms are prone to excess humidity, condensation, and other moisture issues (which can cause mould and mildew problems)
  • they typically don’t maintain stable temperatures, especially the garage (very high temperatures can cause stored clothing to become more brittle)
  • pests favour these areas of the home

The basement is a good winter clothes storage space if there are no pest or moisture issues. For extra peace of mind, you could run a dehumidifier in the basement in whichever room your seasonal clothes are stored in. Aim for maintaining a humidity level between 30-50%.

In a perfect world, you’ll have enough space in your closets to handle storing both your everyday clothes and your seasonal wardrobe. A professionally designed closet organizer system can help to maximize your wardrobe storage space. A wardrobe/armoire and built-in bedroom cabinetry with underbed storage drawers are additional winter clothes storage solutions worth considering.

If you’re really strapped for winter clothes storage space and you’re not going on a vacation anytime soon, even your luggage could be used for extra winter clothes storage. Make sure to label the suitcases with their contents to make finding things easier.

built-in bedroom cabinetry for winter clothes storage

Built-in bedroom cabinetry with drawers and cabinets under and around the bed can be used for storing your winter clothes.

3. Wash or dry clean your winter apparel

A big part of a proactive winter clothes storage plan is to wash or dry clean things before storing them, particularly if they were worn regularly during the winter.

Even if a piece of winter clothing seems clean, it’s a good idea to wash it before storing it away for a few months. Stains from perspiration can be hard to see initially and become more visible over time. The longer they remain untreated and set in, the harder they are to remove.

Odours from our bodies and perfumes or colognes that remain on clothing also become more difficult to get rid of the longer they remain on the clothing.

Taking care of any stains and odours on your winter clothing before packing them away minimizes the likelihood of encountering any pest issues as well. Insects such as closet moths and silverfish are attracted to body oils, microscopic dead skin cells, and residue from food that is left on your clothing.

Once again, a time investment now to wash or dry clean your winter clothes will mean less time sorting through things later in the year.

4. Repair and mend damaged clothing

As part of your effort to store your winter clothes in as good a condition as possible, spend some time repairing and mending the items that need it.

You may find that some pieces of winter clothing are beyond repairing and not worth the storage space. It’s better to make that determination now instead of the fall.

If you have decent sewing skills, repairing small holes, sweater pulls, and broken zippers should be manageable. If not, seek out the services of a seamstress or tailor.

To get rid of pilling on your favourite fleece pullover or sweater and other fabrics, there is no shortage of solutions available. Some household items like a sandpaper sponge, shaving razor, or a strip of Velcro can remove those annoying fuzzballs. You’re better off using a more dedicated tool like a lint remover, sweater comb, sweater stone, or a fabric shaver.

5. Use plastic storage bins

We’ve previously written about why you shouldn’t over-rely on plastic storage bins for your home storage needs. However, one thing they are very practical for is seasonal clothes storage.

You’ll want to store clothing that won’t be worn for awhile in clean plastic storage containers instead of cardboard boxes because:

  • cardboard is more susceptible to infiltration from pests
  • storage bins provide an airtight seal that keeps out dust and moisture
  • white or yellow stains can develop on clothing that is stored in cardboard boxes for long periods
  • plastic storage bins are sturdier and can be stacked more safely than cardboard boxes

It’s imperative that any winter clothes that are being kept in storage containers be completely dry. As much as plastic storage bins keep outside moisture from coming in, they also keep any existing moisture in a container trapped. That can lead to nasty mould and mildew issues that may ruin some of your clothes.

Don’t fill up your storage containers to the point where they are overflowing, particularly if they are storing a number of clothing items made from natural fibres. Some air circulation will help the fabrics breathe a bit. Clothing that isn’t crammed into a tight storage space will result in less creases and wrinkling to deal with later as well.

Here are a few more winter clothes storage tips if you’re using plastic storage bins:

  • label the containers to make finding things easier
  • pack bulkier winter clothing on the bottom of the bin and lighter items on top of those
  • if moisture issues are a concern where your clothes are being stored, add silica gel packets to the containers to absorb excess moisture

6. Use garment bags, not dry cleaner bags

For any items that have been dry cleaned, ensure that they get removed from the plastic bags that your dry cleaner has covered them in.

The dry cleaning process actually involves the use of liquid chemicals. If your garments haven’t properly dried and remain wrapped in plastic that traps any moisture, the fabrics can yellow and – even worse – mould and mildew can form.

Buy some good garment bags for long-term storage of your winter coats, suits, and other clothing that doesn’t get worn very often.

A breathable garment bag will ensure these items stay fresh, wrinkle-free, and protected from moths and dust.

7. Keep the pests away

We’ve already covered some ways to keep your stored clothing safe from pests, but there are additional protective measures you can take.

One thing you can do is to vacuum regularly in your closets or wherever your winter clothes are stored.

Closets often get overlooked when it comes to doing home cleaning and rarely get a good deep cleaning. Doing so regularly will keep your storage areas less prone to accumulating food particles and other things that attract insects. Frequent cleanings can also help you spot early warning signs of a pest problem, such as flying insects, holes in clothing, and bug droppings.

Mothballs are effective at repelling pests, but they have two big downsides: their scent is not for everybody and they’re a pesticide. Chemical-free mothballs are available, but what are your other options to keep the pests away? Here are some alternatives to using mothballs:

  • cedar-lined storage chests
  • cedar blocks, balls, and chips
  • cedar rings that attach to your clothes hangers
  • cloth satchels filled with aromatic dried herbs like lavender, rosemary, cloves, or thyme

Keep in mind that mothballs, cedar products, or herbs will become less effective for controlling pests over time as they lose their smell and potency.

8. Think twice before vacuum sealing your winter clothes

Vacuum sealing seasonal clothing with a hand pump device or an attachment on your vacuum will save you storage space. It might seem even more practical for your winter clothes storage needs, considering your winter apparel is bulkier and takes up more storage space.

Vacuum sealing isn’t always clothing-friendly, however. Leather products, down jackets, and clothing items made from natural fibres like wool and cashmere should not be vacuum sealed.

Doing so doesn’t allow the fabrics to breathe and can cause the natural fibres to become overly compressed. This makes the clothing (plus other “puffy” products made with fabrics like pillows, sleeping bags, and comforters) lose their natural form. After being removed from the vacuum seal, these items usually return to their original form slowly, but sometimes they won’t.

9. Fold instead of using hangers where necessary

Another storage mistake that can lead to clothing getting damaged is hanging up things that should really be folded.

Thick winter knits like sweaters will maintain their shape better if they are stored in a drawer, wardrobe closet, or storage container.

There is a proper way to hang a sweater on a hanger, but if a sweater is hung on a hanger the traditional way (and especially on a cheap wire hanger), it’s sure to get stretched out and maybe even ruined.

closet clothes storage

This walk-in closet provides a wealth of hanging storage space. Plenty of drawer and open shelving space is available for items that are more suited to folding storage, such as sweaters.

Stay organized with our winter clothes storage solutions

We know how challenging it can be to organize a closet space and keep it tidy, especially when you’re trying to find extra room for storing your winter and seasonal clothes.

When asked what their home’s most cluttered space was, 67% of the respondents in a survey by MakeSpace said it was their bedroom closet.

Allow us to help you make more space in your closets and other areas of your home to satisfy your storage needs. Just request a complimentary design consultation with us to begin addressing your family’s organizational challenges.

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Junk Closet Organization Tips to Reclaim Your Closet Space

Cleaning up that junk drawer in an entryway, home office, or kitchen is one of those unpleasant home organization tasks we usually put off for as long as possible.

Year after year of tossing all sorts of odds and ends into that drawer will eventually result in an overstuffed storage space that will need a good cleaning out.

As easy as it is to procrastinate on tidying up a cluttered drawer, the prospect of decluttering a larger space like a closet or a whole room can feel even more daunting.

A junk closet organization project isn’t nearly as formidable a cleanup task as you might think, however.

Use these tips to turn that messy closet into a tidy storage space that serves your home’s storage needs more effectively.

junk closet organization

5 reasons to start that junk closet organization project

As with most decluttering projects, one of the hardest parts of the job is simply getting it started.

Don’t focus on how tedious the job might be or how you’d rather be doing something else that is…well, a lot less “decluttery”.

Instead, visualize the positive outcomes that lay ahead once this junk closet organization project is completed:

  1. You’ll save time by having an organized closet. Think of how much time you’ve wasted looking for a specific item in that junk closet over the years. In some cases you might find it, but there have surely been many times where that needed item is nowhere to be found. An organized closet where everything has a home and is visible eliminates this problem.
  2. Any space that is cluttered causes stress. Merely opening the door to a junk closet and laying eyes on the calamity inside is enough to cause you some degree of stress. Who wants to keep experiencing that? An organized closet is a stress-free zone in your home.
  3. A catch-all closet wastes space in your home by lacking functionality. Although we’re calling it a junk closet, there are undoubtedly plenty of useful things hiding in there that could be useful to you. But if they’re too hard to find or access, they won’t get used and that closet’s lack of functionality isn’t serving your needs.
  4. You won’t waste money on duplicate purchases. Whether it’s clothing, tools, or anything else that’s easy to misplace, an untidy storage area inevitably leads to a few unnecessary purchases of items you already own. We’ve all experienced that deflating moment when you eventually find an item that “fell through the cracks” ages ago that you bought again.
  5. You can stop being embarrassed by your “shame closet”. A closet’s messy contents may have a door that can keep everything hidden, but you’re probably not proud that such a messy space exists in your home. Tidying it up can liberate you from the feelings of embarrassment you might feel if a visitor happened to peek inside the space, too.

Tips for clearing out a junk closet

Depending on the size of the closet and how full it is, a junk closet organization task shouldn’t take more than a few hours to sort out.

You could spend an hour or two on a few days throughout the week to work on the task or get it over with quickly by devoting a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday to overhaul the closet space.

We would recommend the latter approach, as it would allow you to completely empty the closet all at once. This ensures nothing gets missed in the decluttering process.

It also means you can give the closet something most closets rarely get – a good cleaning. Get the vacuum in there to clean up that dusty floor and give every surface (including the ceiling, walls, hanging rod, and any closet organization systems) a good wipe down with a damp cloth.

Another good reason for emptying out the closet is you don’t want to just move around all of that stuff inside the area and reorganize it. To get the best results, some heavy-duty editing of the closet’s contents are in order.

When it comes to deciding what stays and what goes, a number of items will be no-brainers. That big box filled with old cables, wires, ancient computer peripherals, and chargers for devices you replaced years ago is a good example. Non-essential papers and documents can be recycled. Get rid of any boxes or bags with damaged things you meant to fix, but never did. And donate any clothes that no longer fit.

The number one enemy of decluttering is sentimentality. Check your sentimental feelings at the (closet) door and be practical about what you keep.

6 ideas for a decluttered closet space

Once you’ve gotten rid of enough of the clutter that clogged the closet, how do you envision using that storage space?

Here are six ideas for how to use a rehabilitated junk closet:

  1. Linen closet: a dedicated storage space for all of your home’s many types of linens is a great way to use a spare closet. Storing all of your bath towels, face cloths, bedding essentials, and other linens in one area makes them easy to find and keep organized. You’ll also free up space in dressers, bedroom closets, or wherever else your linens were being stored.
  2. A mini mudroom: if that closet is in a hallway near an entrance, convert it into a mini mudroom. Remove the doors, add a bench with hidden storage, and incorporate some dividers on the upper shelf to keep things organized. Add decorative hooks for coats, hats, purses, and backpacks.
  3. Utility/cleaning closet: like your linens, cleaning supplies and tools tend to get scattered around the home. Store them all in one closet that’s outfitted with enough hooks for all of your brooms, dust pans, mops, and dusters. Add a few extra shelves to the lone top shelf in the closet for your cleaning product containers, cleaning cloths and rags, scrubbing brushes, and spray bottles. If space allows, stash your vacuum in there.
  4. A storage space for guest linens and seasonal clothing: your guest linens and off-season clothing might not fill a whole closet space on their own. You could use a repurposed closet to store both things.
  5. Reach-in wine closet: just about any spare closet (even a very small one) can be used for wine storage. The only factor that would make a closet a bad choice as a wine storage area would be if the space was too warm, as the idea temperature range for storing wine is 10-18°C (50-65°F).
  6. A home office or reading nook: like the wine closet, another unconventional way to use a closet is as a home office. Considering its tiny size, calling it a “home workspace” might be a little more accurate, but plenty of homes have made this idea work. A closet could even be converted into a cozy reading nook.

Important design considerations for your new closet

However you plan to use your closet, there are a few important considerations to make involving its layout and design.

Think about repainting the closet with a lighter shade and adding overhead lighting to brighten up the space. Incorporating lighting in storage areas that get the most use will also help you get more enjoyment out of the closet.

To maximize the closet’s vertical storage space, add an extra shelf above the standard single shelf in the closet. Extra hanging rods, hooks, hangers, pullout racks, and baskets or bins to store small items can be used as well.

Organized Interiors can design a shelf tower with drawers that fits perfectly within your closet and matches the surrounding décor. A custom storage solution like this will look much nicer than using cheap plastic storage containers with drawers or build-it-yourself cube storage units.

Although you want to optimize your closet’s available storage space, don’t overload it with storage systems that make your closet feel overstuffed again.

linen closet

This linen closet keeps all of a home’s linens in one centralized area, which makes them easy to find and keep organized.

How to avoid future junk closet organization projects

The goal is to create a tidy, manageable storage space so you won’t need to undertake future junk closet organization projects.

To ensure success for that goal, a big key is to make sure everything in the closet is given a proper home. That way you’ll always know where to find things and where they should be returned to.

Make your closet as easy to use as possible. Group like items together and prioritize how your things are stored. That means keeping the most frequently used items in the closet easily accessible and stored from waist level to eye level. Items that are infrequently used should be stored up high or on the floor.

Conquer the “I might need it someday” mindset to keep your closet stocked only with things that serve a purpose to you right now. They don’t necessarily have to “spark joy” for you (can a broom really do that?), but they should be useful to you in some way if they’re staying in the closet.

Finally, make an effort to keep as much of your closet’s contents as visible as you can. Even items stored in drawers should be easy to locate when the drawer is opened. It’s a simple philosophy, but it’s true: if you can see something, you’re far more likely to actually use it.

Replace that junk closet with a more useful closet space

If you have a junk closet organization project in the works, give it an upgrade before restocking it.

Organized Interiors can help you create a closet space with a modern look and a high level of functionality that is easier to keep meticulously organized.

Schedule a free in-home design consultation with us to plan your closet makeover.

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Skip the Storage Container Sales This January and Get Truly Organized

storage container sales

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 give you the illusion of being organized. You think you’re managing your clutter 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.

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.

As an 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 many 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 break down naturally (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 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.

Get rid of some of those old food storage containers, too

food storage containersThose storage container sales going on during January might also find you contemplating picking up some new plastic food storage containers. 

We’ve always wondered – do food storage containers multiply in our pantries? Because it seems like we have way more of these things than we actually need or will ever use.

The main reasons food storage containers accumulate to the point where we have too many is because:

  • we’re unsure if the plastic is recyclable
  • friends and family send you home from a dinner with leftovers in containers that don’t get returned
  • attractive sales that seem too good to pass up lure you into buying more of them
  • we hold onto higher quality plastic take-out containers that seem wasteful to throw out

Like larger storage containers, containers for storing your food are obviously perfect for sending leftovers home with a dinner guest, taking leftovers to school or work, or just storing your own leftovers in.

We’re just saying that you don’t need a hundred of them stored in your pantry.

Even with something as unremarkable as food storage containers, a by-product of having too much of anything is the guarantee that it will be more difficult to make a decision on choosing a container when the time comes. It’s something that goes by a few different names including overchoice, choice overload, choice paralysis, analysis paralysis, and the paradox of choice. 

Before buying from any more food storage container sales, take stock of how many containers you currently have. Decluttering your pantry will free up valuable storage space and save you from wasting time looking for that one particular container and lid hiding amongst everything else.

Can’t mind a matching lid or the container for a lid? Has a container started to disintegrate from one too many trips to the microwave? Away they go.

Getting rid of storage containers that have started to break down is recommended because chemicals from the plastic can leech into your reheated food. Even if a container and lid is still in good shape, but just really old (we’re talking 70s Tupperware old), it may not be as safe to use as you might think. Ceramic and Pyrex food storage containers are always a safer storage option for food than plastic.

Skip the storage container sales. 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 more orderly 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 virtual or in-home design consultation with us.

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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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