Coming clean, cutting clutter: January is National Organization Month

Published 11:46 pm Saturday, January 11, 2014

DAILY LEADER / KIM HENDERSON / Renee Naeger likes using shelves to organize her quilting fabrics. "This way, it's there all the time. If I have a project in mind, the pieces I have to work with are right there at my fingertips."

DAILY LEADER / KIM HENDERSON / Renee Naeger likes using shelves to organize her quilting fabrics. “This way, it’s there all the time. If I have a project in mind, the pieces I have to work with are right there at my fingertips.”

Saying no to jam-packed and filled-to-the-brim, National Organization Month teaches that less really can be more.

Whoever said clutter is nothing less than postponed decisions must be pretty happy this time of year. January is National Organization Month, and retail displays and magazine covers are doing their best to promote it by offering all the tips and tools necessary to conquer closets and get a grip on garages.

For some, establishing a more orderly household can be as simple as purchasing new storage bins. That’s why totes and baskets are currently placed in prominent aisles at many stores. Out-performing their cardboard counterparts, plastic versions can be used to house off-season clothing, grooming supplies, surplus linens, tools, wrapping paper, DVDs, and more. And for the ultra-organized, nothing says efficient like labels affixed to the fronts of such bins.

For others, the work can be more daunting. Wondering where to start with a closet redo? Experts bring the revamping of these spaces down to the basics: removal of the not-needed, storage of the sometimes-needed, and accessible placement of the often-needed. They also suggest that items in a clothes closet be arranged in a “like with like” fashion – scarves with scarves, skirts with skirts, and so on.

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Jina Kitchens, a mother of seven, says taking control of the chaos is especially important when you live in a home with limited closet space. “One thing that we do is have a room set aside for playing and watching movies. That’s where all our toys are kept, not in their rooms.”

Having just three closets also makes laundry a challenge for the family, too. “We installed a rod above the dryer and washing machine. Our clothes go straight from dryer to a hanger, which is then placed on the rod,” she explains. Older family members have dressers for personal items and the little ones share dressers, but the majority of the household’s clothing remains in the laundry room. “It’s just more manageable that way,” Kitchens adds.

Service Master’s Leigh Britt often sees homes at their worst after fire or water damage has occurred, but being inside local properties has also given her a chance to notice some unique organizing features.

“When we built our home I made sure not to leave dead space under the stairway. We used it to add a pantry that I’ve really enjoyed,” she says.

Renee Naeger has a room designed especially for sewing in her Brookhaven home, but even with the extra space, keeping fabric pieces tidy and accessible can be a challenge. “I used to store it all in an old dresser, but furniture has to have good support if it’s used that way because of the weight. Now I have a set of shelves that works really well and has been with us through four moves,” the avid quilter says.

While staying organized is an on-going challenge, the effort pays off when a move comes into play. Beth Johnson of A Southern Heritage Realty says keeping a house show-ready is especially important for owners who have their homes on the market. “Many times the seller has only one chance to make the right impression. If it’s a mess, potential buyers won’t even complete the walk-through.”

Her suggestion for keeping an uncluttered look? “Box up the things you don’t have to have everyday and put them in a storage area.”

Five-Minute First Step: The Junk Drawer

Most households have one – the infamous junk drawer full of rubber bands, expired coupons, and keys that fit something (somewhere). What better place to begin a new organizational effort in your home? Here are some thoughts to get you started.

Should It Stay or Should It Go?

If an item in the drawer has expired or is no longer needed, throw it away. If you haven’t used it in a while, it’s probably time to toss it. Too much of a good thing? Keep what you need and let the rest go.

Everything in its Place

Limit what you want to occupy this space, then you’ll be able to find what you need when you need it. Consider your particular household. Should the drawer house postal supplies? Phone chargers? A grocery list?

Divide and Conquer

Shuffling through disorderly contents wastes time. Conquer the clutter by compartmentalizing. Organizational separators made to fit most drawers can put an end to your “can’t-find-it” problems and the frustrations they cause.