Whether you’re going through a remodel or just trying to clear the clutter, these seven organization tips from the pros will help you create a home that is more efficient and functional.
You’ve seen the shows on popular streaming services: Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and Get Organized with The Home Edit on Netflix, Bea Organized on Amazon Prime, Hot Mess House on Hulu, and there’s no denying that organization is a hot topic in home design, especially now, when so many people are spending more time within their own four walls. And while these shows can be aspirational and inspirational, their message hits home, literally, in a way that goes beyond aesthetics.
“Shows like this are bringing to the forefront the psychological effects of clutter and disorganization,” says Dawn Dana, a senior interior designer with Studio M Interiors. “Clutter can be overwhelming, leading to anxiety or an uncomfortable feeling in a home.”
Your home should be a place you can unwind and relax, so if you’re using the word “uncomfortable” to describe how you feel in your spaces, that may be a sign you’re ready for a remodel or interior design overhaul.
“Sometimes people wonder, ‘Should I really do a project?’ If you’re coming home and your space is stressing you out, it’s time to do something about it,” says Rachel Julkowski, the sales and design manager for design-build firm Julkowski, who—along with other Housing First Minnesota professionals—offers these tips for making your home more functional and efficient.
Taking stock of the material items you have and where you currently keep them is the first step to discovering your home’s biggest problem areas and creating custom solutions. “Clients have an idea of those items they want to have accessible, but need some place to put them,” says Julkowski, noting that this may encompass everything from kitchen gadgets and electronic devices to clothing. “So if they can come up with an inventory for me, I’m going to help them plan out where we can hide those things and decrease clutter.”
Leave the mess.
Does your front entryway have a stack of unopened mail on a table? Are there toys scattered around the living room? Good, leave it that way. When you’re in the planning stages of a remodel, don’t clean when your builder or designer comes over for an assessment. “We’ll never know how you really live in your home until you show us,” says Dana.
Clean lines and easy maintenance are two of the biggest requests Julkowski hears from her clients. To combat clutter and stay organized, ample storage is key, which is why her company frequently designs the main living spaces with elements like walk-in pantries and large kitchen islands that act not only as prep space, but places to hide the random tchotchkes so countertops are kept clear.
Baskets, buckets, and labels are the answer to one of the most common and unavoidable sources of disorganization in a home: kids. “Get the kids involved,” advises Dana. “If they can help in the organization of their space, it’s more likely they will remember where things go. Use bright colors and fun textures to make it more enjoyable.”
Create hidden outlets.
Between working from home and distance learning, tech devices on countertops and coffee tables have become the norm. Rather than staring at a tangle of cords, Julkowski is embedding outlets in her clients’ mudroom and kitchen drawers so computers, tablets, and phones can be tucked out of sight while they’re charging.
Elevate your closet.
When it comes to closets, think beyond shelving and hanging rods to include islands or countertop space, baskets, drawers, benches, shoe racks, and glass display cases. “Accessories are tools of the trade needed to keep a place for everything and everything in its place,” says Caroline Moynihan, the marketing communications specialist for Twin Cities Closet Company.
Pick your battles.
“If home organization is difficult to keep up, it will likely not last,” says Dana. If family members can’t remember to fold blankets, get woven baskets they can just throw them in. If your teenager always leaves her hairdryer out, incorporate a metal bin into bathroom cabinetry where it can land. “There are storage solutions for nearly everything now,” she adds. “You just need the right professional to guide you to the ones that will fit best into the way you live your life.”
Written By Taylor Hugo