Whether you’re working in a closet or a carport there are five simple steps you should follow whenever you’re organizing an area: Clear, clean, cull, categorize and contain.
First, CLEAR out the space. Instead of tearing apart the whole kitchen or bedroom closet, work in one small area at a time. Do one drawer, one shelf or part of the closet. That way you won’t be in such a mess should something unexpected come up. Besides, finishing is a great motivator. So if your goal is doing one drawer – you’ll be finished that much quicker and more motivated to continue. Plan lots of little finishes and that will speed you on your way to the big finish – the kitchen is organized.
Next, CLEAN the space. Vacuum, wash, dust – whatever is required to clean up the area so you’ll have a fresh start.
CULLING is next. Go through all the stuff and determine what goes and what stays If the item has value, but is seldom used, perhaps you can store it somewhere else so you can use the space for something that’s used more often.l (Seldom, by the way, is something that’s used less often than once a month or is seasonal.)
Now is a good time to mention that even if something is used often (say a wooden stirring spoon) that doesn’t mean that you should have 15 wooden spoons standing at attention waiting for action. Keep a few of them handy and store the rest somewhere else.
In my kitchen I have a big tub that’s in the cabinet above the refrigerator. It holds all the kitchen extras that I either have duplicates of or things I don’t use too often. When I need something, I pull down the tub, rummage around and find what I’m looking for. If you do something that be sure to make a list of everything that’s in there and post it on the inside of a cabinet door. That way you won’t forget that you have extra measuring cups and a new can opener. Also, you won’t forget where you put the stuff!
CATEGORIZE the keepers. If you’re organizing clothes you might want to categorize by color or item – i.e. skirts, pants, jackets, etc. Basically what you want to do is to keep things together that are used together.
Use CONTAINERS to keep your categories well defined. Drawer dividers work well in drawers. Deeper containers can be used in deep drawers or on shelves so you can convert your shelves into drawers and use the containers as slide out shelves. That way you can handle several things as one unit and see what’s in back as easily as you can see what’s in front. Using closet rod markers (like department stores use on the clothes racks to indicate sizes) on your closet rod serve as visual reminders that shirts go here – jackets go there. Or, if children are sharing a closet, the child’s name can be put on the marker.
A simple way to make closet rod markers is to use a plastic lid (from Crisco or coffee), cuta hole in the center and write on the lid with a permanent marker. Slip the closet rod marker over the rod.