Say Goodbye to Hidden Clutter!

Say Goodbye to Hidden Clutter!

Does your home look tidy… until you open a closet, cabinet, or drawer only to be greeted by an avalanche of clutter? It’s easy for clutter to accumulate behind closed doors, out of sight but not out of mind.

Here is a simple and specific decluttering checklist where you can tackle 30 smaller organizing projects, most in 30 minutes or less! In a month, your home could be less cluttered and more organized.

Imagine the feeling of being productive and satisfaction when you finish the space and can check it off as DONE!

Identify Problem Areas:

Small Decluttering Project checklist created by Ashley StefankoThe first step to conquering hidden clutter is to identify the problem areas in your home. Take a walk through each room and make note of spaces where clutter tends to accumulate behind closed doors. This could be closets, cabinets, drawers, or even under the bed.

Set Realistic Goals:

Decluttering can be overwhelming, especially when faced with years of accumulated stuff. Break the task down into smaller, manageable goals. Set aside specific blocks of time to tackle each problem area, whether it’s 30 minutes a day or a few hours over the weekend.

Decluttering Strategies:

Here are some easy ways to clear out hidden clutter in your home:

The Four-Box Method: Label four boxes or bins as “Keep,” “Donate/Sell,” “Trash,” and “Relocate.” As you go through items in a space, place each item into one of the boxes based on its category. This method helps streamline the decluttering process and makes decision-making easier.

Use Vertical Space: Maximize storage space in closets and cabinets by utilizing vertical organizers such as shelves, hooks, or hanging organizers. This helps keep items visible and easily accessible, reducing the chances of clutter piling up.

Seasonal Rotation: Store seasonal items such as clothes, decorations, or sports equipment in clearly labeled bins or containers. Rotate these items in and out of storage as needed, keeping only the essentials accessible in your everyday spaces.

One In, One Out Rule: Adopt a “one in, one out” rule to prevent future clutter buildup. For every new item you bring into your home, commit to donating, selling, or discarding a similar item to maintain balance and prevent overcrowding.

Maintenance Tips:

Once you’ve decluttered your hidden spaces, it’s essential to establish routines to maintain a clutter-free environment:

  • Schedule regular decluttering sessions to prevent clutter from accumulating again.
  • Invest in storage solutions that work for your space and lifestyle.
  • Encourage household members to contribute to the decluttering effort and keep shared spaces organized.

Remember, decluttering is a continuous process, not a one-time event. By implementing these strategies and staying proactive, you can bid farewell to hidden clutter and create a more organized and harmonious living space.

26 Small Kitchen Organization Ideas to Simplify Your Home | Redfin

26 Small Kitchen Organization Ideas to Simplify Your Home | Redfin

Organizing a small kitchen can be challenging. Limited counter space, cramped cabinets, and cluttered drawers make it difficult to find what you need and hard to cook and entertain. 

Fortunately, there are many small kitchen organization ideas that can help you make the most of your space while keeping it stylish and clutter-free. With the right know-how and a few simple tricks, you can turn your kitchen into the heart of your home. 

So, whether you live in a Wilmington, NC apartment or a Brentwood, CA home, read on for 26 ideas to take your small kitchen to the next level. 

Read the full article here: 26 Small Kitchen Organization Ideas to Simplify Your Home | Redfin

9 Areas Of Your Home To Declutter Before Thanksgiving

9 Areas Of Your Home To Declutter Before Thanksgiving

Having an organized home can be directly related to stress level, especially when it’s you that is hosting the holiday gatherings.

Starting early is key and will give you time to methodically go through your home. This will allow you to concentrate on the priority areas that will be functional for you and comforting for your guests. You just might create the possibility of allowing yourself the opportunity to relax and enjoy the festivities as well.

Here is a list of areas to declutter to lessen the stress of the upcoming holidays:

Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home for good reason. There is just something about the simple caring act of making food and serving it to bring nourishment to those we love. Cooking a big Thanksgiving dinner takes extra time and space. Wouldn’t it be easier with a clear, organized space to work in?

Cabinets & Drawers

A before and after decluttering photo of a cabinet

Usually, countertops tend to become cluttered because cabinets are overstuffed with many unused items that are no longer used or gadgets that are no longer needed. That big lobster pot used once a year? Relocate to another area for more space. Did you buy new pots and pans? Get rid of the old rusty ones. Go through each cabinet and pare down and donate what you don’t use anymore.

A before and after decluttering photo of kitchen drawers

This will create space to clear your…

Countertops

A before and after decluttering photo of a counter

Are your countertops so cluttered that you have one square foot to do everything? Start by removing old school papers, home paperwork and mail that has piled up and relocate elsewhere (after visiting the recycle bin!). Also remove excess décor that doesn’t serve a purpose, or you no longer love.

Put away items that you only use occasionally. You might use the toaster a few times a week, but it takes less than 10 seconds to put it away and will free-up valuable counterspace.

Can you remove the ugly, dust-collecting knife block to create more space? What about the utensil crock that you have had forever, but now just holds too many cooking utensils that you don’t really use?

Pantry

People are always surprised by how much expired food is taking up valuable space in their pantry. You know what I’m talking about … the cans of pumpkin and cranberry from last year’s Thanksgiving feast.

Taking stock of what you currently have and clearing out your pantry to make room will not only save you space, but it will save you money. Why buy duplicates of items you already have on hand? If you have food that is not expired, but you know your family will not eat, donate it to a local food bank.

Fridge

The best time to clean a fridge is right before a big shop – when it’s the emptiest. Clean the shelves and take inventory of what’s needed. Check expiration dates too! It’s amazing how the salad dressing hides in the back for so long. That way, you will have plenty of space for Thanksgiving ingredients and leftovers!

Dining room



The formal dining room usually becomes a storage dumping ground for storage or a homework spot. It’s a good idea to clear it out to make it comfortable for dinner guests!

Go ahead and declutter table linens and serving pieces too. A simple white platter can be used year-round, versus one with a giant turkey on it that might not be so festive for Memorial Day. Take this opportunity to polish the silver and wash your crystal glasses early so that is checked off your to do list as well.


Family room

Make sure there is room for your guests to relax and visit! Start by decluttering old paperwork off end tables and books you have read that are now ready to be passed along. Remove piles that may have formed in the corners.

Guest Room

Just like your dining room, your guest room may have become an easy, out of the way storage spot. If you’re anticipating some overnight guests, go ahead and wash the bedding. Be sure to layout fresh fluffy towels, and even add a little sign with WIFI info and TV instructions.

Adding a fan for noise, hand lotion and an extra blanket is always a nice touch for your guests. Be sure to have some free space and hangers available in the closet so your guests have somewhere to store their things. Some empty drawers in the dresser so your guests don’t have to live out of a suitcase is always thoughtful as well.

Declutter Expectations

COVID-19 changed the holidays for a lot of people. While it was disappointing to not be able to see loved ones, others found it beneficial to slow down and enjoy the holidays versus running around trying to please everyone and feeling stressed-out and overwhelmed (especially for Moms!). Take time to decide what is best for you and your family and have open discussions on plans for the holidays. It’s okay to change traditions if they are no longer serving your family’s needs!

If you are under a time crunch, now is not the time to worry about the attic or your kid’s messy closet. Focus on the priority areas first.

Less Stuff. More Life.

If you’re having a hard time getting started because the thought of organizing your entire home seems so overwhelming, just set a timer for 20 minutes and GO! When the timer beeps, keep going and do it again or take a break.

If in doubt, I’m always here to help, with an extra set of hands or encouraging words and helpful tips! Book a FREE discovery call.

Cheers to less stress and more joy in your life this holiday season!

Ashley

An Easy Way to Organize Paper and Files

An Easy Way to Organize Paper and Files

As much as I love to organize a client’s home and make it pretty and peaceful and lovely, there are just some parts of a home that must be functional. For many people, a huge headache is PAPER – especially if you are a parent.

Parents know that kids bring home SO. MUCH. PAPER. If you’re like most people, you probably set up a filing system forever ago. You’ve slowly filled it up over the years and haven’t touched it since. Now, the cabinet is overstuffed and the piles on top have started growing higher and higher. Maybe you even have a “TO FILE” box, but good luck finding anything in there in a timely manner.

The doldrums of winter are a great time to organize your filing system. With tax season approaching quickly, it’s a good time to get your documents in order while clearing out papers from the last calendar year and before.

The key is to clear out your filing cabinet first, create relevant folders, and be able to file AND FIND the papers quickly and easily.

 

Tips for Organizing Paper Items

> Set a timer for 20 minutes – take a break or keep going when it goes off.

> Start with your existing filing system and clean out each file.

> Invest in a good shredder and use it as needed – don’t set up a “TO SHRED” bin. It will just pile up – and who wants to waste their valuable time doing that? Staples has bulk shredding and a grocery paper bag size is usually about $20 to shred. You can even check for local events for free shredding – but I don’t recommend hanging on to old papers for months while waiting on a free event. Kids’ artwork and memory/ keepsake items shouldn’t go in a file system. I typically recommend clear storage bins for this. One per child/person and clearly labeled for ease of use.

> Switch to online bill pay. I highly recommend this! Even if you are more comfortable getting paper bills, paying online makes the process faster and easier. Additionally, if you have a problem with your bill, you will know it by the next billing cycle or two.

 

How To Organize Paper Items for Storage

Basically, there are 3 types of storage – active, reference and archival.

> Active storage

Might be a desktop filing system. Something you refer to often or a temporary holding spot because you know you will use items soon for an event coming up. These are items you like to have at your fingertips.

> Reference storage

Should hold things like auto records, home repair or improvement info, or education info. You might need them, but they don’t have to be in “prime real estate” areas of your home.

> Archival storage

Should include permanent files like tax returns, closing paperwork on your home, birth marriage and death certificates, etc.

Tax returns can be filed in a labeled box in the attic because you probably won’t need to refer to them but you just have to keep them for a certain amount of time.

Check with the IRS to see how long you need to keep records. You wouldn’t believe the amount of tax records I have found and shredded from the 1980s and earlier in my clients’ homes.

Less Clutter, More Life

A key to wrangling paper is to reduce or eliminate the amount of paper coming in – remove yourself from mailing lists, catalogs that you don’t want anymore – it will save you time in dealing with all the stuff, as well as being good for the environment

If you are feeling overwhelmed at the amount of paper you have and need to sort through – Home Reimagined can help! Book a call today and let’s chat!

Holiday Décor Declutter & Organizing – Part 2: The Take Down

Holiday Décor Declutter & Organizing – Part 2: The Take Down

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The holidays are over and now comes the not-so-fun part. Taking down, organizing, and storing your decorations. Here are some of my favorite tips that I share with my clients to make the process a bit easier now–and for decorating next year.

> Take the Time to Do It Right

Whether you like to take everything down on the 26th or leave it up until mid-January, taking the necessary time to organize your décor now will save you a lot of time and frustration next year.  This is not an exercise that you should rush through. I typically recommend devoting at least a day for this process (depending on how many decorations you have).

> Have Appropriate Storage

In my experience, one of the biggest space-eaters that I find among my clients is loose items that have been tossed in the attic. To help combat this culprit of clutter, try utilizing clear, uniform storage bins that stack to take advantage of vertical space and save you a ton of headaches. BONUS–They will also protect your stored items from extreme heat or cold while in your attic, garage or basement.

Pro Tip: Avoid storing your decorations in cardboard boxes! Over time, they can hold moisture, collapse, and attract bugs!

> Look at Everything Twice

Before packing it away to deal with next year, be sure to scrutinize what you have. Rate items 1 to 10 if that’s easier for you. Anything below a certain number goes to the donate bin for someone else to enjoy!

> Store by Area in Your Home

Do you always put the same decorations in the same places around your home each year? Designating a storage container by area (kitchen, mantle, foyer, etc.) will make it quick and easy to set up next year.

> Store by Like Kind

If you are the type of decorator that puts out a lot of items at the end as “finishing touches,” they may not always go in a particular spot. Decorative Christmas balls or greenery are great examples of this. In this case, I recommend sorting these items into like kinds and packing all-together. Decorated garland? Keep those decorations on and carefully fold into a bin. This makes it easier to put up next year.

> Holiday Hostess Gifts & Party Supplies

Do your family and friends gather at your home each year for holiday festivities? Between hostess gifs and seasonal supplies, keep these items together in a bin so you can easily find them for next year as events come up.

Pro Tip: Cut down on the clutter and donate holiday specific hostess gifts and part supplies in favor of more “evergreen” options that can be used year-round!

> Store Gift Wrap Separate

I recommend designating separate storage for holiday gift wrap, separate from non-holiday wrapping supplies. Holiday wrapping can range from simple bows, to elaborate ribbons and ties, so it is often easiest to keep them on their own. By doing this, you can easily see what you have and only deal with it once a year.

> Tree Décor and Accessories

Reuse supplies when you can! Do you have a lot of leftover tissue paper from holiday presents? Use it to wrap ornaments from your tree to keep them safe and minimize the potential for damage. Lights can take up a lot of space, so try wrapping them into a ball (starting with the female end to make it easier to plug in) to save space and keep them from tangling. Be sure to store in a separate bin from the outside lights so you easily know what goes where!

> LABEL, LABEL, LABEL!

Make sure you label all of your decoration storage and be specific! These labels from Amazon are great option and they are easy to change. Put them inside a clear bin so they are more protected but still easy to read.

Less Clutter, More Life

If these tips worked for you, share some pictures of your holiday décor clean-up! Or if you are feeling overwhelmed and would like some help, let’s chat!

Learn more about Home Reimagined

The Declutter Challenge: Miscellaneous

The Declutter Challenge: Miscellaneous

January is a great time to start a home REFRESH – it’s the doldrums of winter, we are home A LOT and why not take a little time and LOVE your home again?

That’s why we are doing a home organization challenge concentrating on a different area of your home each weekend. How did it go last weekend when you organized the KITCHEN? Do you find that it was easier to prepare meals or put groceries away? Did you have more space on your counter?

Next up – MISCELLANEOUS!

You know, the annoying little items that are stuffed in drawers around your home – receipts, papers, junk mail, take out menus, old instruction manuals, old electronics and cords and MORE! These items might be hidden away so you or visitors can’t see them – until a door or drawer is opened. Or maybe you’re keeping them JUST IN CASE. The problem is that most of these items won’t be used in the future or just might be TRASH. But they are taking up valuable space or they keep you from finding what you are really looking for.

Some tips for organizing miscellaneous items:

  • Miscellaneous items are usually a pretty quick decision – you use it or you don’t. Also, there is usually not a sentimental attachment to items, so that helps, too.
  • Items can be found hidden in drawers, closets and cabinets. It’s messy but you can’t see it, so it’s easy to ignore – until you need to find something.
  • Sometimes it’s easy to work on one drawer at a time.
  • Gather items and sort by category. Decide where it’s going to live and where you can find it easy in the future.

We hope you have enjoyed the Declutter Challenge and are feeling organized to start the year off right! If you are still having trouble getting started, sign up for our newsletter and gain access to our FREE Declutter Quicklist. You’ll get our itemized checklist to help get the ball rolling, as well as even more spots in your home to declutter. Set a timer for 20 minutes and GO! At the end, either stop or continue. It’s that easy! If you need some assistance, encouragement, or just want to let me know how it goes…let’s chat! Schedule a call HERE.