It is said that outer chaos can often be a reflection of inner turmoil and stress.
As we usher in this new decade, many people are in “reassess mode” and clearing away clutter to make room for new beginnings. To help, we turned to a professional organizer to learn the best ways to purge, organize your space and, of course, start the process.
“I do think there’s a certain energy we feel with the dawning of a new year,” explains Brittani Allen, owner and lead organizer of Pinch of Help [pinchofhelp.com]. “Getting your home organized frees up your time—no more looking at a closet filled with clothes you don’t want to wear—and sets the stage to help you accomplish your other goals. Clearing out the clutter and organizing your space gives room for a new you in the new year.”
And who doesn’t love a clean, organized space? Not only is a pristine environment visually appealing, Allen says there are a plethora of benefits—and plenty of studies agree. A clean, orderly home can lead to reduced stress levels, increased focus, greater efficiency, more savings (seeing at a glance what you have versus need will reduce spending) and more overall time. A clean, easy-to-maintain space can spare you countless upkeep hours, so you can spend more time doing things that bring you more enjoyment. –Brittani Allen
“Many of our clients reach out because they are overwhelmed and worn out with trying to keep their homes tidy,” Allen says. “They find that no matter how much they clean, their spaces are messy again shortly thereafter.”
Furthermore, she’s also called upon frequently to show clients how to implement organizational systems. “People go out and buy a bunch of bins, baskets and other organizational products but aren’t able to accomplish the intended result or achieve the aesthetic for which they’d hoped.”
But usually the most frequent culprit of disorganization is that clients have accumulated too much stuff. “If they do realize this is the case, they are totally overwhelmed by the prospect of having to face all of their items alone,” she says.
Allen advises clients to start the process by identifying items in NEED, WANT or LOVE categories. If it doesn’t fall into one of those categories (preferably two), it’s time to let it go. “If it’s not serving you currently, it’s time to donate or discard. It’s important to be honest with yourself about what you own. Many of us end up with all of this stuff in our homes that lacks purpose and intention. Such items take up space both physically and mentally, and we don’t allow room for the things we want to be surrounded by.”
TIPS FOR BATHROOM
- Designate an everyday drawer. In this drawer, place your essentials like your toothpaste, contacts/solution, floss, deodorant and anything else you reach for every day and night. It’s so nice to wake up to find those items neatly on hand without minutes of drawer rummaging.
- Maximize the vertical space underneath the sink. The right product will go a long way in helping make this scary space neat and tidy.
- Ladies, toss your expired makeup and skin-care products. Allen cautions that many of these products have surprisingly short shelf lives. Bacteria builds in products that touch our skin and can lead to breakouts, so they should make for easy eliminations.
TIPS FOR KITCHEN/PANTRY
- Check expiration dates regularly. This tip alone will free up space.
- Remove the outer packaging on individually wrapped items (like KIND bars and fruit snacks) as soon as you get home from the grocery store. Place the items in a pretty bin or basket, and recycle the box. The bulk of these boxes takes up entirely too much space.
- Store all of your food storage containers with the lids on (a vital tip, according to Allen). Find matches to all of the containers and recycle all the items with no top or bottom pairing. If you can’t fit them all in the cabinet with the lids on, Allen says it is highly likely you have too many. This simple tip doesn’t require you to purchase anything additional and will completely transform the space. Go ahead and recycle most if not all of the takeout containers while you’re at it.