Are all the drawers and closets in your home full?
Bemoaning the fact that you have nowhere left to put another thing?
Most homes, whether large or small, contain often overlooked spaces that are perfect for storage. With just a little thinking outside the closet, you can create new places for items that are currently homeless.
These are the nine hidden storage areas I encounter in most of my clients’ homes:
1. On the Back of Doors
The back of a door is prime real estate for storage. I recommend over-the-door shoe pocket holders for nearly every door in your home, including:
In the coat closet to hold mittens, scarves, rain ponchos, and umbrellas. Or, perhaps all those power cords and chargers.
In the game room closet for small toys or craft supplies
In the bathroom closet for makeup or medicines
In the pantry for snacks or water bottles
In the guest room as a gift wrapping station
2. Look Up
I often tell clients, just look up. Vertical space is often overlooked. Room above a window in your closet? Place a shelf there to store out-of-season purses or shoes.
Is your child a prolific artist? Place shelves high in their rooms for framed masterpieces and 3D art.
This same principle holds for any room in your house. A well-placed, pretty shelf can display sentimental items out of harm’s way and create a wonderful focal point for the room.
3. Under the Bed
I’ve been in quite a few homes where owners shove all manners of unneeded items under their beds. Don’t let this valuable space be a catchall for clutter. Especially since clutter negatively affects your life.
With the right sized rolling bin or drawers, the area under your bed can work for you. It’s perfect for out-of-season shoes or sweaters.
These containers look so pretty on top of a bookcase or armoire. You can store items you don’t need to access often, such as comfy knit throws you’ll only need in the winter or craft supplies you don’t use every day.
7. Above the Toilet
The wall above your toilet is probably empty, or perhaps displays a piece of art that isn’t exactly your favorite. However, with a few shelves, this can become an incredibly handy spot with some decorative flair.
Install wall-to-wall shelves — from rustic beams to sleek glass — for maximum storage. Bins and baskets can hold those necessary but unsightly extra toilet paper rolls. This is also a no-brainer for Kleenex and extra towels. Add in a faux plant and a fun print, and a once boring blank wall becomes a forever-interesting bathroom storage solution.
Is there a blank wall next to your fridge or in a hallway? These are ideal spots for a family command center. You can store a lot of important things here, such as:
The weekly menu
Kids’ sports and other activity schedules
The family calendar
Inspirational quotes or scriptures
Tickets to upcoming events
Important phone numbers
Any information that you need to reference often should be kept in your family command center. And it doesn’t require much space. There are enough family command center ideas on Pinterest to find the perfect solution for your home.
9. Underneath the Stairs
The space under your stairs is often forgotten — because it’s covered with sheetrock. Find a handy person in your family or hire a carpenter to uncover this hidden storage oasis.
Grab a cup of coffee. Take a tour of your home, and notice all the hidden areas just waiting to be turned into the perfect storage space. With a little ingenuity and the right organizing product, you can find a space-saving home for all the items you own.
Got some stuff you love but just can’t keep in your home right now? There’s no need to throw perfectly good items away.
We’ll store your stuff in our safe, temperature-controlled storage facility and create an online photo catalog of your stuff, so you never forget what you have in storage.
The best part:
When you need something back from storage, we’ll deliver it to you.
MakeSpace is the hidden storage secret that you’ll have trouble keeping to yourself.
This post was written by Daria of Your Organized Life. Daria is a professional organizer who enjoys helping her clients find joy and relief in organizing their homes so they can spend their time on what really matters.
Outdoor storage isn’t exactly straightforward. Unlike a home that has closets, cabinets, and drawers to hide your unappealing possessions, a backyard is wide open, meaning you have to think outside the box to organize and store your stuff.
But no matter your backyard situation — whether you have a teeny balcony, medium-sized patio, or sprawling lawn — there are plenty of easy, practical ways to store your landscaping tools, pool cleaning equipment, gardening materials, kids’ toys, and more.
Read on for 19 bodacious backyard storage ideas, tips, hacks, and solutions that will transform your outdoor space into an organized, clutter-free paradise.
If you’re sick of dragging your hose to and from the backyard to water your plants, or leaving it in a messy pile in the middle of your garden because you’re too tired to put it away, here’s your solution:
Store the hose in a pretty outdoor planter. It’s simple, convenient, and actually looks good.
Read the post on That’s My Letter to learn exactly how to set up your own secret hose-hiding planter.
9. Build an outdoor buffet cabinet
Depending on your personality, backyard setup, and weekend routine, you might have a variety of different storage needs. You may need to store shovels, gravel, and extra terra cotta pots.
Maybe you have to make room for pool tools and kids’ toys. Or, you may need a place to store your party necessities.
Whatever the case, Oleander + Palm’s gorgeous DIY outdoor buffet cabinet is just the thing you need to easily host dinners, brunches, and game nights al fresco. The buffet top serves as a mini bar, while the cabinets hold everything from candle lanterns to glassware.
10. Store firewood in a DIY firewood cart with wheels
Cabin owners and mountain dwellers know how quickly a basic supply of firewood can stack up (pun intended) and take over your entire deck, patio, or garage.
To prevent this from happening, invest a Saturday afternoon into constructing your very own stylish and ultra practical rolling firewood cart à la The Wood Grain Cottage. It’ll help maximize your outdoor space and keep your logs organized.
And did we mention it’s portable? Skip the heavy lifting and just roll your firewood wherever it needs to go.
Have an old wooden plank laying around from your last DIY project?
Give it new life as a simple garden tool rack.
You don’t need a plain piece of wood, either. Repurpose an old coat rack, hockey stick, or longboard to add some personality to your storage.
12. Construct an outdoor storage bench
An outdoor storage bench is a no-brainer for your backyard. It’s a dual-purpose item that saves space, holds up to harsh weather, and looks great among your patio furniture. Especially if you build it yourself with help using Sand and Sisal’s DIY outdoor storage box tutorial.
Use it to store outdoor pillows, blankets for cozying up around the fire, games, pool toys, or towels. If you have enough seating space, it also doubles as a buffet table or drink station.
13. Use a wood pallet to store pool toys
Pool toys are some of the worst backyard clutter offenders. They come in a variety of (sometimes bulky) shapes and sizes, making them difficult to store unless you have a dedicated shed or massive bin to stash them in.
Just pick up a few lightweight plastic bins to store your kids’ assortment of toys. Bonus points if they’re color-coordinated, stackable, and perforated so dirt and water can fall through the bottom.
16. Transform a cabinet into a potting bench
If you have an outdated armoire, bookcase, or cabinet in your home, don’t throw it away. Bring it to the backyard instead. The Organised Housewife proves that a good scrub and a fresh coat of paint can transform an old cabinet into the perfect outdoor potting station.
Store gardening gloves, tools, and seed packets in the drawers, then use the shelves and cupboards to hold bags of soil, pesticides, and extra pots.
All you have to do is schedule a pickup and pack your stuff. We’ll pickup everything from your home, transport it to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility, and create an online photo catalog of your stuff.
When you need something back from storage, simply browse your online photo catalog, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.
This article was written by Paige Smith, a freelance writer from Orange County, California who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics.
If you’re thinking about subletting your apartment, lucky you! It means you get to return to your home once you’re done living it up somewhere else.
Before you hand over your keys, though, be sure to prep your place for its new dwellers. Whether you’re listing on Airbnb for a weekend, or traveling for an extended period of time, a few smart actions will make you and your home top hosts.
And if you do nothing else, be sure to declutter with abandon … and then declutter some more. This will not only make your sublessee happy, but your home will also be the better for it. As the saying goes, clutter piles do not make good friends. (I made that up, but it’s most likely true.)
Ready to learn how to sublet an apartment?
Okay, let’s get down to brass tacks. Here are my top tips on getting your place ready to sublet:
1. Work backwards
What this really means is picking the date that you need to be out by, and count the days backwards to today.
For instance, if you want to be out of your current home by November 1st, maybe you’ll find you have 50 days to get your place rent-ready. (This handy date calculator will help you do the math quickly).
Working backwards does two things:
It forces you to pick an exit date (if you haven’t already). In productivity circles they call this accountability. We call it lighting a fire under your bum.
It shows you exactly how long you have.
You may think that 50 days is enough time, but if you’re juggling work, friends, and training your rescue pit bull, then it gets tricky. If you’re realistic about this part, you’re going to have a much smoother time with your subletting project.
When you’re looking at your calendar, don’t include holidays, busy work days, or weeks when you have other stuff already planned. You’re just setting yourself up for stress.
So even though you write down “I have 50 available days to get my apartment ready to sublet,” it may turn out only 20 of those days are viable. This is where you may have to ask yourself whether you need to push back the exit date, or say “no” to some of your social calendar.
The truth will set you free!
2. Tour your apartment
When I have a big home project like this, what helps is to physically walk through each room and make a master list. Consider starting in the driveway, and walking through the front door.
What you might first consider overkill is actually leaving no stone unturned. You don’t want to get to Day 49 and realize you haven’t forwarded your mail yet.
Start on one side of the room and work your way around. Remember, you don’t have to actually do any of the tasks yet. You’re simply auditing what needs to get done.
Open cabinets and drawers, look under beds, and check in boxes. Be thorough.
Have a step-stool handy so you can reach those top shelves.
This process is made easier by listening to your favorite radio, Spotify, or Sirius station (my current fave is Yacht Rock on SiriusXM).
3. Write to-dos on your calendar
Look at your master list and decide how long each task will take, then plug it into your calendar. This will ensure that you have accounted for enough time to get each job done.
My favorite app for permanently housing these tasks is Todoist. You might create a project called “Sublet Home,” and type in the things that need your attention. From there, you can assign due dates, schedule reminders, and share the list if you’re working on this project with a roommate or significant other.
A Sharpie and pack of Post-its are my go-to for labeling “Donation” versus “Sell,” and everything in between.
While Craigslist is still a favorite for selling stuff, the app world has opened the door for a multitude of platforms that allow you to declutter responsibly.
NextDoor is another local platform where you can not only sell or donate belongings, but also ask for recommendations for everything from a handyman to a plumber.
Stuffster is relatively new, but that doesn’t stop it from making big promises. Once your pics are uploaded, the app matches you with places to donate, sell, or even let friends know what items you’re getting rid of so they can pick them up.
Similar to online dating, there are so many places to list your sublet. Unlike online dating, though, most sites charge. So do your homework! Ask friends where they have had the best experiences, and go from there.
Here are my top three spots to list your sublet:
The Listings Project (mainly NYC, but they’re expanding to other locations). I like to call this a curated Craigslist, but it’s honestly even better than that. The listings are top quality, and it’s actually the site from which we found our diamond in the rough in Brooklyn. I cannot recommend it enough.
Sabbatical Homes lets brainiacs list their places for $45 ($65 for non-academics).
Your favorite social media network. If you can keep it in the family (so to speak), you’ll ease some of the anxiety that comes with renting out your pad to strangers.
6. Leave these thoughtful things behind for your sublessee
Less is usually more when it comes to leaving stuff for your sublessee. However, there are some nice, simple things you should leave behind to make his or her stay top-notch:
A coffee maker (bonus points if you leave coffee, too!), wine opener, and can opener
Cleaning supplies, a broom, and a working vacuum
A plunger for the bathroom
And while you don’t have to leave a lifetime supply, one of each of these items will be considered oh-so-helpful: body soap, dish soap, a packet of detergent, a roll of paper towels, toilet paper, and some trash bags.
7. Ask yourself these important questions
No two sublets are the same, but here are some things to kick around in the old noggin:
Will you leave linens or ask them to BYO?
Will you consider pets, and if so, will you require a deposit?
How many sets of keys are you willing to dole out?
A sublease contract is a great way to keep it all in one place. Look to old rental contracts of your own. Or find a general sublease agreement online that you can repurpose for your needs, like these:
If you don’t have a basement, attic, or family home to unload your boxes, you’ll need a place to store your stuff until you return.
The service that I recommend to clients, friends, and family is MakeSpace. Their full-service storage is the best for many reasons, but here are the selling points for me:
I don’t have to rent a moving van.
I don’t have to deal with signing a contract or securing a self-storage unit.
I don’t have to hire anyone to move me.
MakeSpace makes it so easy to store and retrieve your stuff without actually having to do it yourself. They even create an online photo catalog of your stuff so when you need something back from storage, you simply click the item’s photo to have MakeSpace deliver it back to you.
Beth Penn is a professional organizer and author of the book, The Little Book of Tidying — an illustrated gift book that is part inspirational and part how-to while being light and airy (because decluttering can be emotional and sometimes a little heavy). The book uses science and psychology for insight as to how things come into our lives and why they stick around for so long. You can also find her in Los Angeles with her professional organizing business, Bneato Bar.
It’s not always easy to make it to the stadium to tailgate before a football game. Luckily, you can show support for your team without ever leaving your apartment: Host a winning tailgate party your fellow fans are sure to love.
Score points with these 9 high-spirited football party tips and ideas for taking the tailgating action indoors.
1. Sit this one out
Enthusiastic fans might still spend the majority of the game on their feet yelling at the screen, but even the most devoted couch referee needs a soft place to sit when on commercial break.
So, provide plenty of seats in front of the TV. Bring in folding chairs or lawn chairs. And add blankets and pillows so floor sitters are still comfortable.
2. Make the snacks grabbable
It’s tough to talk pre-game trash if you have to simultaneously assemble a sandwich.
Chip and dips are standard game day fare, but heartier snacks like wraps, meatball sliders, or mini burgers are 10x better. Just have them pre-made and pre-cut.
And don’t forget to keep desserts a snackable size, too. Speaking of which, it might be fun to consider…
3. Football-shaped everything
If you own a football-shaped cookie cutter, don’t limit yourself to just cookies. Go to town on brownies, sandwiches, mini quesadillas, cheese — literally anything edible. Because a tailgate is not a tailgate without football everything.
4. DIY the decorations
While you don’t have to go all out for a low-key tailgate party, some effortless DIY decorations will guarantee that your guests deem your shindig a touchdown.
The Cleaning Authority has some awesomely clever tips, including displaying yellow napkins as penalty flags. So no one has to commit the ultimate party foul of piling pigs in a blanket into their bare hands.
Set up a selfie station with DIY props and a football-themed backdrop for mini photoshoots during timeouts. Choose a clever hashtag for everyone to use when posting their pics. Even if your team doesn’t come out on top, at least your latest Instagram post will.
6. Set the bar
Throw some beers in a cooler and you’ve made just about every tailgater we’ve ever met happy.
If you’re trying to stay true to the spirit of parking lot tailgating, load up some mini coolers with the drinking essentials and place them around the room to quench every super fan’s thirst.
7. Let the games begin
You’ll need something to keep everyone busy until kickoff, and classic tailgate games initiate the good times that will continue to roll all day long. Bringing these games indoors just adds to the fun!
DIY cornhole boards are easy to build and can be custom-painted to show your team spirit. Place them down a long, empty hallway to provide plenty of space.
And let’s not forget the perennial crowd pleasers: beer pong and flip cup.
Just be sure to put a tarp down under the table to save your floors from spills. Or be prepared with your favorite all-natural green cleaning products to mop up after everyone leaves.
8. Don’t be trashy
Take a cue from ultimate tailgaters and eliminate after-party clean up chaos:
There’s no excuse for leaving used napkins and plates around when disposal is in arm’s reach. After guests are gone, simply empty the hampers and collapse them until next week’s game.
9. Schedule a MakeSpace pickup
The friendly rivalries and comeback plays never have to end. Unfortunately, the football season will. When that time comes, pack up your photo booth props, cornhole boards, and collectible memorabilia, and let MakeSpace pick them up.
We’ll transport everything from your home to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll even take photos of your items that you can view in your personal online catalog, so you never forget what you’ve stored.
When your team makes an expected trip to The Big Game (!) and you need to throw the indoor tailgate party to end all indoor tailgate parties, you can schedule a delivery with just a few clicks.
Game-winning party tips and a top-notch post-game storage strategy mean you’ll be performing your best end zone celebration dance all season long.
Whether you’re rejoicing as a parent with some extra “Me Time” during the day, or a student mourning summer’s end, back-to-school season can drum up an abundance of emotions.
Here’s one way to make it easier on everyone involved:
Prepare for everything the new school year throws your way.
Below are 25 brilliant back-to-school organization tips and ideas to make swapping beach days for book reports easy, efficient, and — dare we say it — downright enjoyable.
An organized workspace, functional command center, and a helpful app or two will help bring order to homework time and sanity back to your home.
Or, at the very least, you’ll always know where to find a sharpened pencil.
1. Pop homework down with a DIY folding desk
Make homework feel like less of a chore with this personal workspace for your kiddos. This DIY hideaway desk, from Amy at Organized Mom, combines the concept of a drop-down desk with a chalkboard, putting a fun twist on two classroom classics.
The best part:
Come cleanup time, your kids won’t be able to simply tuck away their clutter — since the desk won’t close if there are items on its surface.
2. Build a behind-the-door bookshelf
A new school year means new books, and new books mean new clutter. But you can easily contain any novel overflow with this thrifty hack from Kristine of The Painted Hive.
She mounted four floating shelves to the wall directly behind her daughter’s bedroom door, taking care to position the ledges away from the door’s protrusion.
The result is a sweet little nook that manages to feel like both a library and hiding place at once.
3. Improve morning takeoffs with a launching pad
Between showers, last-minute signatures, and (oops!) burnt breakfasts, to call your mornings hectic would be something of an understatement. According to professional organizer Nathalie Ricaud of Get Organised and Beyond, one way to minimize the waking chaos is by crafting something of a “launching pad.”
In one dedicated nook, keep everything that your child needs for school accessible. It might help to keep a checklist of all the items — Ricaud recommends using images instead of words if your child is too young to read.
She also suggests making it your child’s responsibility to gather his or her things. Even if the bags aren’t ready yet each night, packing them just may be the easiest part of your morning.
4. Create a command center…
Committing one schedule strictly to memory is already a true feat. Committing six? That would require a brain of superhero proportions.
Jen of Forever For Always No Matter What has a handle on her six kids’ homeschooling curricula, activities, chores, and more, thanks to a top-notch command center (and probably some secret superpowers, let’s be honest).
To establish this center of communication while keeping it clear and functional, Jen carved out a space in her home to hang a large wall calendar, chore chart, visual schedule for the younger ones, and a meal planner to eliminate any “But what’s for dinner!” distractions.
Keeping it simple and straightforward makes it easy for both Jen and her kids to maintain so they can all be superstars.
5. …And adjust it as needed
Here’s a slightly different take on command centers, courtesy of Charlotte from At Charlotte’s House.
She fashioned hers together based on her own and her family’s needs:
A place to corral paper, a small bowl for rogue paper clips, a cork board for notes, and other school-related miscellanea.
By keeping it in the kitchen, she also prevents any paper clutter that typically piles up in the area.
6. Easily construct a DIY homework station
Keeping distractions at bay at homework time can be a harder task to tackle than helping your fourth grader with their geometry homework. Amy of MomAdvice found the answer (to the distraction problem, not to, “Which of these figures is a quadrilateral?”).
With a tri-fold foam display board, razor blade, spray adhesive, and a bevy of creative organization solutions, she created two homework study stations that are perfect for keeping kids focused.
Plus, each study station folds totally flat for easy storage come play time!
7. Take your homework for a spin
If you give a kid a math problem, they’re probably going to ask for a pencil. No, not that pencil. But he’s got a new pencil. Mom, where are all of the new pencils?
Beth from Home Stories A to Z was tired of losing school supplies to the “black hole of the cabinet.” She constructed this simple Lazy Susan organizer out of a wood round and some empty paint cans to collect pencils, markers, highlighters, scissors, and glue sticks.
Abandon the messy supply cabinet forever, and let your kids give this piece of organizational genius a spin.
8. Turn your entryway into a clutter buster
Once you’ve gotten the before-school routine down to a T, it’s time to contend with the chaos that ensues in the post-school afternoons. Vineta from The Handyman’s Daughter recommends stopping any mess in its track with an entryway storage setup.
Whether you’re DIY-ing one or not, Jackson recommends these three criteria:
Or you could go for a simpler solution to nip after-school clutter in the bud:
Set up a backpack organizing station, à la this easy tweak from Ask Anna Moseley.
Anna found that by designating a hook for each child’s backpack, she was able to change her kids’ habits of leaving their backpacks scattered around the house. This also left them in charge of putting away their lunchbox, water bottle, and homework.
10. Guarantee library books get returned on time
Libraries are fun. Not so fun? Keeping tabs on due dates for your little bookworm’s overflowing, rotating literary collection.
Designing a designated basket is a simple solution to this classic clutter conundrum. Angela at Blue i Style has a simple DIY that takes the idea a step further, adorning hers with a leather label from an old, upcycled belt.
It may not return books on time for you, but at least you’ll know where that hungry caterpillar is hiding out.
11. Fashion a kid’s reading nook
We all know education goes beyond the classroom. Nailing the first component of the three Rs is critical for school success.
The best way to effortlessly instill a love of the written word? Setting up a cozy space for your munchkins to read that’s all their own.
Jenn from Clean and Scentsible fills her son’s corner with comfy pillows, an assortment of favorite titles, and plenty of storage containers. Sounds like the perfect spot for your own new library book basket.
12. Incorporate an item box into your child’s routine
Inboxes: They’re not just for email anymore.
Professional organizer Nancy Haworth of On Task Organizing recommends placing a small tray or bin to serve as your child’s “inbox.”
Use it for small, everyday items, like lunch money, spinners, or electronics. You could even place it near an outlet for a makeshift charging station.
13. DIY a double-sided Do Not Disturb sign
Your phone is on silent and screen-side down on the desk. Your playlist of instrumental jams is ready to help you concentrate without the threat of distracting solo karaoke sessions.
The brain-boosting snacks are lined up next to the grande latte. It’s study time, and you. are. ready.
That is, until someone stops by to see if you want to go see a movie. Or knocks to see if you’ve eaten dinner yet. Or pops in simply to see what you’re up to.
You’re never as popular as you are when you’ve sat down to get some solid studying in, but good grades don’t come by way of interruptions. Create this double-sided Do Not Disturb sign to let people know when you’re in the zone, and when you’re ready to come up for air (and pizza).
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via The Clever Teacher
The only thing worse than getting to work and realizing you brought the wrong paperwork?
Getting to school and realizing you brought the wrong paperwork.
Kids are powerless to present their history report if they accidentally grabbed trig notes instead.
For any forgetful kiddos (and, let’s face it, us young at heart), Sara from Time To Organize recommends color-coding.
Colors are a simple, yet effective, memory prompt. So when you let your kids apply colors according to the subjects they remind them of (e.g., purple for literature and green for science), they’re likelier to remember to bring the right notebook for the right classes.
15. Download these free back-to-school apps
Somewhere between confirming carpool rides, tossing flashcards into baggies, and repairing a trampled diorama, you hear the cry: “PB&J again?”
Becca from Cul de Sac Cool understands the school-prep hustle. Which is why she rounded up the best free back-to-school apps that help her stay sane, come fall:
Brainscape for flashcards that won’t cause clutter
Overdrive for virtual access to your local library
MyScript for magically converting scribbles into calculations
The six apps won’t whip up gourmet meals for your mini master chefs, but they will do things like keep you posted on when the bus is coming.
Peace of mind: There’s an app for that.
16. Add a splash of color with a DIY pencil holder
There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly sharpened pencils — and it’s somehow even better when those carved quills are craftily contained.
Enter this bright, cheery project from Marwa at Enthralling Gumption. An old jar and some terrazzo-inspired paint is all it takes to whip up the friendliest pencil holder that your kids will actually want to use.
17. Create learning environments around the home
Lessons aren’t found solely in textbooks. There are several important teaching moments that take place at home and have nothing to do with solving for X.
Susan Miller, Ed.D. of Earlychildhood NEWS recommends using your own everyday tasks to serve as mini educational moments throughout the day.
For example, demonstrate the importance of being physically active by inviting the kids to join in your daily workout: they can lift soup can weights while you lift the real deal.
From the kitchen to the home office, there are plenty of ways to tackle your to-do list while inviting your kids to “help” and learn.
18. Contain your cords with a five-minute washi tape hack
Drowning in a mountain of school-related cables?
Here’s a five-minute solution to the everyday hassle of figuring out which cord is which:
Lindsay from Crazy Organized wrapped, adhered, and trimmed a piece of washi tape for each of her most-used cords. Voilà, no more mistaken plugging necessary.
If you’re lucky enough to own a label maker, you can type out the corresponding device for each tag. Otherwise, some simple Sharpie penmanship should do the trick.
19. Assemble a make-your-own-lunch station
School-aged children are more than capable of making their own lunches. Sometimes it just takes a little organizational push to get them taking care of themselves (don’t worry, parents, they still need you!).
Simplify morning mayhem with well-labeled areas in your pantry and fridge that help kids easily grab the makings of a nutritious lunch.
Becky at Organizing Made Fun has baskets in her pantry for lunch bags, snacks, plastic spoons, and the rest of the lunchtime necessities. Her kids choose everything they need and are quickly out the door.
Sia from Thrifty Northwest Mom has a similar setup. She recommends taking one day a week to fill three separate bins with:
Fruits and veggies
Your kids can select two from the protein bin, two from fruits and veggies, and one snack.
Bonus: When your kids choose what they get to eat, they’re way more excited about their lunch.
20. Levitate a school paper organizer
“Back to school” is often synonymous with “back to permission slips, take-home assignments, and fingerprint masterpieces.” While all of them are important, where can you store them for easy access without surrendering your kitchen counter?
Summer from Simple Stylings loved the idea of a family binder for containing bills, menus, and any school-related mayhem, but lacked the horizontal space that it required.
So she transferred the same idea — filing by categories — to a more convenient spot:
She transitioned her system to a wall-mounted magazine rack, spruced up a stool so her young son could reach, and added a hook for his backpack.
21. Replicate this wonderful wall storage idea
If your two kids bring 20 pages home every day for one year, how long will it take until your kitchen counter totally disappears?
She chose two woven baskets roomy enough to store her children’s binders, and installed them onto the wall. The wall baskets also work as places in which Becky can temporarily tuck away any important files until she’s had the chance to leaf through them.
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Transitioning from carefree summer AMs to those hectic, pre-carpool scrambles is never easy. But a touch of personalized prep can go a long way in making everything easier.
Amy from Delineate Your Dwelling figured out a way to get her two young children organized and on-board for a headache-free start to the day.
She customized a colorful, kid-friendly school evening routine chart, to be completed each school night. Before going to bed, her kiddos know to check off their assigned tasks, such as homework completed and backpack packed.
Come morning, the only scramble they’re facing is served with OJ and toast.
23. Conduct a wardrobe review
Kids grow quickly. Those “have-to-have” hoodies and sneakers go from on-trend to outgrown seemingly overnight.
That’s why Natalie of Refined Rooms, LLC schedules a review of her children’s wardrobes every year. She sorts the items in their closets, and the kids put on a “fashion show” to determine which pieces to keep or toss. Decluttering has never been so fashionable.
24. Start a capsule wardrobe
Capsule wardrobes have been a cultural phenomenon since British shopkeeper Susie Faux coined the term in the 1970s. Think Mark Zuckerberg’s gray tee, or Steve Jobs’ iconic turtleneck and jeans.
Having a more limited selection of clothing you actually wear eases decision fatigue. Which makes mornings way less stressful.
Angela from Setting My Intention found that same concept applied to her kids. The less overwhelm her three sons faced before school, the better. Instead of building piles of once-worn clothing, the mini-geniuses in her life are able to focus on what really matters, like getting out the door on time.
The start of a new school year is always an exciting time. Less exciting is figuring out exactly how your snazzy new school gadgets will fit into a supply closet that’s already brimming with goods.
You don’t have to sacrifice your dream collection of personalized stationery. You just need to MakeSpace.
We’ll pick up any items you don’t need right now, like your beach reads and boogie board.
Then, we’ll transport your things to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility and create an online photo catalog of your stuff, so you always remember what you have in storage.
Need something back?
Simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.
Origins: South Africa, Madagascar, and the lands around the Indian Ocean
Filters: Benzene, Formaldehyde, Trichloroethylene, Xylene, and Toluene
A hardy houseplant that is upright and loyal. The snake plant can go for weeks without water, so it’s a good choice for forgetful plant parents, and it will tolerate and thrive in most indoor light conditions.
Origin: East India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, China, Malaysia, and Indonesia
Colorful and sometimes variegated, the rubber tree plant is a solid choice for those who want to add a striking verdant canopy to their space. It thrives in medium, indirect light, and needs to be watered about once a week.
These desert beauties love to sunbathe! Make sure to put your aloe on a sunny sill. It can go for weeks without water, so it’s another good choice for forgetful plant parents. The gel of Aloe vera can also be used used to treat minor skin conditions (not just sunburn!).
Origins: Africa, southern Asia, and tropical Central America
Filters: Benzene, Formaldehyde, and Trichloroethylene
Tolerant of many conditions, the dracaena does well in most spaces! It prefers medium to bright, direct sunlight, and a weekly watering. It can also grow quite tall inside, making for a great floor plant.
Ancient and mysterious, ferns are an excellent addition to any space. They prefer a spot with moderate to low light, and that’s warm but not dry. Mist every day to every few days to keep humidity levels high.
Here are our top five tips for picking your perfect houseplant from the list above and keeping it alive:
1. Pick your houseplant based on your light.
Our number one rule is to determine the amount of sunlight your space receives, and to choose your plant accordingly.
If you’re not sure just by looking, then start by figuring out which direction your windows face. South-facing windows usually provide the most natural light, followed by east- and west-facing.
If there’s something outside your window (a large tree or building, for example) that could obstruct sunlight, make sure to take that into consideration, too.
2. Be mindful of your work schedule and social life.
Be sure to consider your daily schedule, travel frequency, and general forgetfulness while you decide on a plant.
If your crazy work schedule is what stands in the way of plant ownership, pick a plant that thrives despite neglect.
If you have bright light, try an aloe, and if you have low light, try a snake plant.
3. For most plants, it’s better to under-water than to over-water.
Beware of over-watering … it’s the easiest way to kill a houseplant. You may be tempted to water your plant on a schedule, but the best thing to do is to water it only when needed.
Always check the soil first, and only water when dry. Remember that environmental and seasonal changes can throw your plant’s watering schedule off, even indoors.
Generally speaking, plants need less water in the winter, when they’re growing slower. But if you’re blasting your heater, their soil might dry out quicker, and they might need more.
And always use tepid water to water your plant.
4. Increase humidity when necessary.
For plants that prefer more humid conditions, such as ferns, we recommend misting them daily or every few days with a small spray bottle. During the dry months of winter, grouping your plants together also helps create a humid microclimate.
5. Keep your houseplant’s environment as stable as possible.
Houseplants are most comfortable between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Extreme fluctuation in a plant’s environment can seriously stress it out. Do your best to avoid placing your plant near temperature hazards like vents, radiators, and exterior doors, which might create drafts.
This post was written by The Sill, your modern day garden center, combining commerce with content and community. Visit TheSill.com, your destination for perfectly potted plants shipped right to your door — or stop by The Sill Shop at 84 Hester Street in New York City’s Lower East Side.
Whether you’re preparing for a move or putting items into storage, picture frames need extra care when being packed. Here’s how to pack picture frames for moving and storage:
Step 1: Lay down a thick blanket on a flat surface.
Pick a flat surface that’s big enough to fit your picture frame and packing materials. Throw down a thick, cushiony blanket for added protection during the wrapping process.
Step 2: Get a mirror box, and tape one end closed.
The safest vessel for a picture frame is a specially-designed mirror box, which is flatter and longer than regular moving boxes. Moving and office supply stores sell them, and Home Depot makes an especially heavy-duty line.
Each box should be slightly bigger — approximately 30% — than its designated frame(s).
For smaller picture frames, you can put more than one into each box. Just make sure to wrap each frame individually.
While the box is still folded, tape one end closed with packing tape. This will create a CD-case shape.
Step 3: Wrap the picture frame with packing paper.
Lay the frame, glass-side down, against the packing paper. Stretch one layer of packing paper around to the back of the frame, just like you would if you were wrapping a present.
Step 4: Secure with packing tape.
Tape around all the edges of the wrapped frame with packing tape. Use enough to tightly secure the packing paper.
Step 5: Repeat with bubble wrap.
Using bubble wrap over the packing paper, repeat steps 3 and 4.
Step 6: Stuff the bottom of the box with wadded-up packing paper.
This will protect the frame’s bottom.
Step 7: Insert the frame into the box.
Push the sides of the box together firmly. Fill any excess space with wadded packing paper. (This is the only time you’ll ever hear us say more space isn’t a good thing.)
Step 8: Tape the box shut with packing tape, and label it as “FRAGILE.”
You could follow all these steps to make sure your picture frames are safe and secure. Or you could simply schedule a MakeSpace pickup, tell us you’re storing fragile items, and let us do everything for you.
We’ll come to you and carefully wrap your frame with protective wrapping, a moving blanket, and packing tape. We’ll then transport it to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility and create an online photo catalog of it so you always remember what you have in storage.
The best part:
When you want your picture frame back, simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.
Step 2: Pad the insides of the boxes with towels, sweaters, or sweatshirts.
Your glassware and dishes need a soft bed of packing material to cushion them through transit and while in storage.
Crumpled (not folded) packing paper, bath towels, sweaters, and sweatshirts are all great shock absorbers. Use them to pad the interior top, bottom, and sides of the boxes so your items are protected from all angles.
Step 3: Wrap each piece individually with packing paper first, then bubble wrap.
Fragile items need all the protection they can get. Wrapping each piece separately is your best defense against accidental damage.
Using one sheet of white packing paper (you can use newspaper, but there is potential for ink transfer), insert one corner into the open end of the glass to provide cushioning. Fold both sides of the paper up and over the edges. Tuck sides in as you roll each piece. Do this separately for each glass or dish.
If you must use bubble wrap, do not apply it right onto the glass. If the bubbles come directly in contact with the glass, they could have a sticking or suctioning effect that could break it. Wrap the glass in paper or tissue first, then follow with bubble wrap.
Step 5: Fill any empty space with rolled up packing paper, clean socks, or air-filled packing pillows.
Glasses and dishes prefer to be snug. Fill any empty space between each piece with rolled-up paper, clean socks, air pillows or partially-inflated balloons.
Pack the boxes about three inches from the top, adding a crumpled layer of packing paper or other packing material as the final layer. When closed, the top flaps of the box should be difficult to push down. That way, anything stacked on top of the boxes doesn’t break your items.
Step 6: Tape the boxes shut with packing tape, and label them as “FRAGILE.”
All packed and ready to go?
Schedule a MakeSpace pickup, and let us know you’re storing fragile items. We’ll pick up your stuff, stick a “FRAGILE” sticker on your box containing fragile items, and store everything in our secure storage facility.
The best part:
When you need something back from storage, we’ll deliver it to you.
For most of us, finding things when we need them is a daily struggle. One of the most frustrating feelings in the world is looking for something you could have sworn you put right there just a minute ago.
While Chipolo (your personal remote-key-wallet-and-other-items-you-hate-losing finder) is always on, singing its song to help you save precious time, staying organized can go a long way, too.
Finding the perfect spot for something means it will be out of the way and less likely to be hiding your keys from you.
Here are five low-budget items that will blow your mind with their organizational power. As an added bonus, you can find them in almost any corner store.
1. A magnetic strip for storing beauty supplies
By now you’ve probably heard of using a magnetic strip for bobby pins, but it works just as well with other bathroom supplies. Stick it to a drawer’s side and never rummage around for your nail clippers again, and always keep your tweezers on hand.
Outside of the bathroom, add it to your kitchen as a spice rack or a mounted knife holder. Use it in your garage to organize nails and small tools.
2. A hanging fruit basket for levitating bath toys
Traditionally used for fruit and flowers, the hanging basket just got upgraded to one of our favorite storage hacks.
If your bathroom is lacking in shelves, hang a basket from your shower curtain rod to keep your bath accessories or bath toys high and dry. Or hang it from your clothing rack and use it for belts, caps, scarves, your winter wear, and accessories.
3. A magazine holder for organizing cans
With its multitude of uses, you’ll quickly realize one magazine holder is just not enough. Attach it to the inside of your bathroom cupboard and use it to hold hair tools, cleaning products, or toilet paper. It’s also a great helper in the kitchen, holding cutting boards, lids, shopping bags, and canned goods.
4. Shower curtain rings for holding purses
Tell your other organization tools to hit the showers, because the possibilities with shower curtain rings are endless.
Hang them from your closet rod and use them for your accessories like purses, belts, or scarves, or put a few on a hanger and use them to hang your tank tops.
Closet space is precious, and who likes folding anyway?
5. Tension rods for hanging cleaning products
Super adjustable and able to fit between any two vertical surfaces, tension rods won’t leave you hanging when it comes to quick storage. But they will organize any item that can be hung.
Any of the above storage hacks will help you organize your home better, but sometimes, a little decluttering can go a long way too.Not sure what to do with your winter stuff in the summer? Or your camping and sporting gear?
Not sure what to do with your winter stuff in the summer? Or your camping and sporting gear?
Here’s an idea:
Have someone else worry about that.
Like the people at MakeSpace — they figured out that your time is as precious as your space and are willing to make that extra step to save you both.
Not only do they pick up your things and store them, they also provide an online catalogue of what you stored, so you don’t have to rummage around looking for it.
And the best part? When you need something back from storage, they’ll deliver it to your doorstep.
A storage hack on a whole new level!
This article was written by Chipolo, a slim and colorful device that helps you find your belongings by sound, see them on a map, or use community search to recover lost items.
Congratulations on your new home! Before you pop the champagne, it’s time to get down to business. Moving is no small feat – the sheer amount of planning and coordinating involved is enough to make even the most organized person feel panicked.
No need to stress. These comprehensive moving checklists tell you exactly what to do before and after you’ve settled into your new place, so you can focus on the task at hand instead of worrying you might be forgetting something important.
The list is long, but take it step by step. Soon enough, you’ll be relaxing in your new home, completed to-do list and celebratory glass of bubbly in hand.
As soon as you know you’re moving, walk around your current home and make a list of all the pieces of furniture and indoor and outdoor decor you plan to sell or donate. From there, determine which pieces you can realistically live without until you move into your new home (like the accent chairs you never sit on), and either drop them off at a nearby donation center or begin the selling process online with an app like OfferUp.
Declutter by category and start with whatever feels easiest to you, whether it’s books, clothes, or decor. As you sort through your things, try not to overthink it: If you love something and use it regularly, keep it. If not, let it go.
And remember: Every item you get rid of before your move is one less thing you have to bring with you.
After you scour online reviews and testimonials, narrow your list of moving companies to three or four, then make some calls to get direct quotes. The cost shouldn’t be your sole deciding factor, though – inquire about the company’s insurance policies, timeline, method, and liability practices, too.
4. Stock up on moving supplies.
When you finally get in the flow of packing, you don’t want to halt your progress with a trip to the store for more boxes. Save yourself the hassle and pick up everything ahead of time. Collect different-sized boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap or padded blankets, scissors, trash bags, and tools.
5. Take photos of your house before you pack.
Walk through your space and snap photos of each room from at a least a couple different angles. Include close-ups of gallery walls, styled bookcases, and tabletop surfaces.
That way, when you’re setting up your new home and can’t remember where you hung the bird painting or how you arranged your coffee table books, you’ll have a solid resource to refer to.
6. Complete a change-of-address form.
If you’re game to wait in line, you can do this at your local post office. Otherwise, the quickest and most convenient way to update your address is to visit USPS.com/move.
7. Transfer your utilities.
Gather the contact information for your various utility companies (internet, cable, gas, water electric, trash, sewage), then sit down to make some calls. Schedule the shut-off day for the day following your move, then pay off any existing fees. If you’re using the same providers, you can update your mailing address and schedule an activation day for your new home.
If you’ll have different providers, follow these two steps:
1. Call and schedule activation dates for the day before your move.
2. Give your previous providers your new address in case they have final bills or deposits to send.
8. Back up your computer.
Don’t take any risks when it comes to your computer – back it up in at least two places, like the cloud and a hard-drive backup disk. Do the same with your phone. Your digital information is just as important as your physical stuff, so make sure it’s all protected.
9. Arrange transportation for your pets.
Several weeks before your move, figure out where your pets will be during the process. Are they going to hunker down in the backseat of your car with blankets and toys? Rest in pet cargo on a plane? Stay with a friend until you’re settled in your new place?
Once you’ve taken care of logistics, pack your pet’s food, favorite toys, and medication, as well as any other essentials like pet beds, collars, and leashes.
Moving homes is the perfect excuse to assess whether or not you actually want the newspapers, magazines, and catalogs that arrive in your mail. If you don’t want them, cancel them and rejoice in the extra money you’ll save. If you do want them, call customer service and update your mailing address.
11. Double-check the dimensions of your new home.
You fell in love with a sectional and think it’ll be perfect in your new living room. There’s just one problem:
Now before you start ordering furniture for your new place, be sure you have the measurements and scale right. Note the square footage, ceiling height, and window height of each room, as well as its general configuration and any stand-out characteristics like pony walls or chair rails. Then invest in any of these stylish space-saving sofas that will actually fit in your home.
12. Make copies of important documents.
Dedicate an afternoon to sorting through your files and making copies of insurance papers, medical records, birth certificates, social security cards, and tax returns.
Better yet, scan these papers to your computer (or phone with Scanbot) in case the hard copies get damaged or lost during the move. If you’re worried about keeping private files on your computer, store them in a password-encrypted folder.
13. Pack fragile items first.
Before your energy flags and your motivation inevitably diminishes, focus on safely and efficiently packing fragile items like dishes, art, and holiday decorations. You can save the easy, no-brainer tasks, like packing clothes and linens, for last.
14. Pile heavy items inside your rolling suitcases.
Haul out your rolling luggage and fill it with all the heavy, bulky stuff you don’t want to carry. Think: books, boots, or even bottles of wine and jars of food.
15. Insure your stuff.
Everything you put on a moving truck, especially big items like pianos, chandeliers, and art, should be insured in case it gets damaged or stolen. Check with your homeowner’s insurance provider or ask your moving company if they offer insurance for an additional fee.
Afterward, take inventory of your valuable items. Record their current condition and snap photos in case there’s a dispute or mishandling.
Pack valuable items, like expensive cameras, laptops, jewelry, and passports, in a bag that you carry with you during the move.
17. Donate non-perishable foods.
Despite your best efforts to polish off everything in your pantry, you’ll probably still end up with a couple unopened boxes of pasta, cans of soup, or bottles of olive oil the night before you leave.
If you don’t want to lug these non-perishable foods with you, drop them off at the nearest shelter or church. You can also see if Move for Hunger serves your area.
18. Label your boxes like a boss.
The key to painless unpacking is to over-prepare. Search Pinterest and you’ll find countless ways to label your boxes. You can create a number key, use color-coded tape, or cover each box with detailed Sharpie notes.
However you decide to do it, make sure you record the following three things
Which room the box goes in
A general description of what’s inside the box
A detailed list of the box’s contents
That way you won’t have to dig through three boxes marked “Kitchen Utensils” just to find your whisk.
19. Pack an overnight bag.
Fill a carry-on sized bag with everything you’ll need to get settled into your new home, like toiletries, medication, pajamas, shoes, and a couple days’ worth of outfits.
1. Take photos of your place and note any damages.
Before you start schlepping boxes and moving furniture inside your new place, do a quick walk-through and record any existing damages. Take photos of broken window treatments, carpet stains, chipped paint, or anything else significant.
2. Inspect your boxes.
Go through your boxes and look for tears, dents, or any kind of mishandling so you can report it to the moving company if needed.
3. Clean up.
Even if you’ve already given your place a deep cleaning, it’s still a good idea to spruce it up before you move everything in. Vacuum the carpet, wipe down countertops, and dust drawers and shelves before you put anything away.
4. Set up the bathroom.
Right away, make sure you have a functional and clutter-proof bathroom. Hang a shower curtain and stock the bathroom with plenty of toilet paper and hand soap.
Your utilities should be activated by this point, but it’s still a good idea to double-check that everything is working properly. While you’re at it, make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are on and loaded with fresh batteries.
6. Set up your technology.
Take the time to hook up your TV or plug in your desktop monitor. The unpacking process will be so much more enjoyable if you can stream your favorite Netflix show or listen to Spotify as you unload boxes.
7. Check the fridge.
Plug in your fridge and set it to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Keep your freezer at zero.
8. Unpack the kitchen.
Unpacking the kitchen is a tedious process, so it’s smart to get started right away. Don’t worry about organizing everything in your kitchen perfectly yet. Start by putting away the basics, like pots, pans, dishes, mugs, and silverware. Go ahead and set up everyday appliances like coffee makers, toasters, and microwaves, too.
9. Make the beds.
Spend a few minutes making your bed with fresh sheets and your favorite comforter or duvet.
A cozy bed instantly makes a new space feel more familiar and lived-in, and you won’t have to stress about sleeping on a bare mattress when you hit the wall after a long day of unpacking.
10. Go shopping for essentials.
Before you’re completely zapped of energy, take a quick trip to the grocery store to load up on a few snacks and easy meal staples to hold you over as you settle in.
11. Let MakeSpace pickup and store your extra stuff
Moving: it’s exciting, exhausting, and seriously stressful. Finding and securing a new home is challenging enough, but the actual process of moving – the packing, the schlepping, the logistics – can easily send you into meltdown mode if you’re not properly prepared.
That’s why it helps to have a working knowledge of the most common moving predicaments you might find yourself in, plus how to handle them. Below, we talk to professional organizers and moving gurus for their advice about what steps to take to ensure a smooth, pain-free move.
Read on for eight expert solutions to your toughest moving problems.
Problem 1: You waited too long to book a moving company.
If you wait until the last minute to reserve the help of a moving company, you may find that your top choices are already booked up. “This leads to customers having to go with moving companies with less-than-reputable reputations,” says Dan Heydebrand, Owner of Lift NYC Movers.
Heydebrand says it’s crucial to finalize your moving date as soon as possible so you can schedule a reliable moving company. “To find a good moving company, check reviews online,” says Heydebrand. “A few bad reviews is normal and OK as long as the vast majority of reviews are positive,” he explains.
Another pro tip: If your friend recommends a good moving company, ask if the company gives discounts for referrals, suggests Heydebrand. “Moving companies love repeat customers and usually have some incentive to keep them coming back year after year,” he explains.
“The most common problem I encounter with clients is that they leave the packing to the last minute,” says Professional Organizer Abbey Claire Keusch. Think: clothes still folded in the closet, art still hanging on the walls, and miscellaneous items covering every countertop.
When you’re scrambling to pack your stuff, you’re more likely to toss things in boxes without a clear organizational strategy. This can make the unpacking process much more tedious and confusing than it needs to be.
“As soon as you know you’re moving, start packing,” says Keusch. Gather packing supplies (like boxes, packing paper, bubble wrap, and tape), then start with the stuff you use less frequently or don’t need on a daily basis, Keusch says. “Pack like items together and clearly label each box. [Then] stack the boxes out of the way,” she advises.
Heydebrand also suggests reaching out to your moving company for extra assistance. “If you want help or feel overwhelmed by packing, just call the movers and let them know in advance,” he says. “They can bring extra guys or extra materials to ensure there are no last-minute surprises.”
“People often forget that some of their items need special care,” says Nimrod Sheinberg, Sales Manager for Oz Moving & Storage in New York City. Things like flat-screen TVs, art, mirrors, dishes, computer monitors, lamps, chandeliers, and certain pieces of furniture require extra time and attention. “Most of these items need to be disassembled prior to being moved, [while] others need specific packing instruction, like antiques that need crates and extreme care to prevent damage,” Sheinberg explains.
As early as possible, start gathering the necessary supplies for packing your fragile items. This includes the sturdy boxes your stuff was originally packaged in. As Sheinberg says, “Remember how things entered the apartment, because that’s how they will need to leave.”
A few weeks prior to your move, give your movers a detailed inventory of all your belongings that require special packaging or handling. That way, they can allot space for these items in the moving truck and schedule enough time to help you pack and transport them.
Problem 4: Your new building has time restrictions on service entrance or elevator access.
Many apartment buildings, especially in big cities like New York, have limited access to service entrances or elevators. “It happens a lot where a customer will ask us to be at their pick-up building at 8 a.m. because they want to get an early start, but most elevator buildings in Manhattan will not allow movers into the building until 9 a.m.,” says Heydebrand.
He also says certain housing complexes don’t allow movers to remain in the building past a certain hour, which could mean you won’t have enough time to unload everything if you schedule an afternoon move.
The best way to avoid a time conflict, Heydebrand says, is to speak with the building’s super or management about their policies and restrictions ahead of time, then plan your moving schedule accordingly. “Give your movers some extra time, considering traffic and other things that might cause a delay in getting to the new building,” he advises.
Downsizing your stuff is a key step in the packing process. It’s also one that, if you skip, inevitably complicates your entire move. Barbara Reich, Professional Organizer and author of Secrets of an Organized Mom, says not purging before your move means you either: 1) end up spending money to move things you’ll eventually throw away in your new home or 2) waste time trying to get rid of things as the movers help you pack.
“Whether it is something that you no longer find useful, that is broken, or that you just don’t want, take time before you pack up to get rid of the stuff that you should be donating or throwing out, anyway,” says Michelle Hale, organizer and co-founder of Henry & Higby. “Plus, getting rid of those items before the move helps make the move-in process quicker because you won’t be wasting time sorting the items in your new home,” she explains.
Problem 6: Your furniture won’t fit in your new home.
“If certain items do not fit in elevators or up the stairs, or even in the apartment with your other furniture, the movers will have to charge a fee to bring the items to the dump unless you can figure something else out,” explains Heydebrand. To make matters more difficult, “most buildings will not let you throw away bulky items such as furniture,” he says, “and you can get a ticket for leaving bulky items outside in the street.”
“Create a floor plan for the new space and map out where each piece will go,” Keusch advises. Measure your furniture, and be sure to take into account your new home’s square footage, ceiling height, and window height, as well as the specific layout of each room. “Leave yourself enough time to either sell or donate anything that won’t fit, or is no longer needed,” Keusch says.
Problem 7: You don’t know where things are going in your new place.
“Don’t let your movers (and their muscles) go to waste during the move-in process by having them put boxes and furniture just anywhere in the house,” says Hale.
If you don’t have a system in place for directing your movers and determining where your various boxes and pieces of furniture should end up, your stuff will be scattered everywhere.
“Take time before the move to plot out where all of your furniture and stuff should go, and then start packing accordingly,” advises Hale. She recommends labeling your boxes with their contents, then color-coding them by room so you know exactly where each one is headed.
“Then make sure you have at least one person directing the movers so boxes end up in their final destination and furniture is placed right the first time,” Hale says. “This will help minimize the amount of heavy moving you need to do on your own so that you save your back and can focus on unpacking and getting organized in your new space,” she explains.
Problem 8: You didn’t pack your essentials separately.
After a long day of moving, the last thing you want to do is rummage through five boxes marked “bathroom” just to find the toilet paper. Or spend 40 minutes ransacking every bag searching for your iPhone charger. Or wear the same clothes for two days because your extra T-shirts are piled beneath bags of shoes and winter coats.
You get the idea: Packing a separate bag with your MEIs (Most Essential Items) is imperative.
“Pack an overnight bag with jewelry, valuables, important documents, clothing for the next day, and toiletries,” advises Reich. Don’t forget other necessities like chargers, laptops, reading glasses, earplugs, eye masks, medication, and food for your pets (check out our ultimate guide to moving safely with your beloved cats and dogs).
We all want to get organized. But sometimes, reading advice from a stuffy expert can get awfully boring.
But you know who’s never boring?
Because professional funny people have a knack for making anything amusing — and typically have to keep themselves organized, thanks to their crazy schedules — we pulled nuggets of wisdom from nine comics on the best ways to declutter, organize, and decorate your home.
Granted, some of it is a little facetious. But there’s also real, applicable advice embedded in these zingers.
Get ready to laugh and learn from these accomplished writers and performers:
Make organizing a relaxing weekend ritual
Most people let their apartments descend into chaos because they see cleaning and organizing as chores. And they are! But you can trick yourself into thinking they’re not by taking a cue from accomplished comedian and person Amy Poehler, who makes organizing a peaceful Sunday routine. As she told Parade:
“On a really awesome day, I’ll spend the afternoon cleaning out my closets. I love to organize. To me, there’s no greater grown-up pleasure than cleaning your drawers while listening to This American Life or Fresh Air on public radio. Your brain gets organized, and so does your underwear.”
“When I finished the book, my apartment was a mess. … So I took everything off the walls, repainted and then had people come over and help me rearrange the artwork, decide what was going to go up and what I was going to put in storage.”
Be sure to provide food, drinks, and music to make all that rearranging and reorganization a true party.
A post shared by Whitney Cummings (@whitneycummings) on
Whitney Cummings fielded readers’ questions for Esquire ahead of her HBO comedy special I’m Your Girlfriend. When one reader wrote in asking how to rectify his messy habits, Cummings delivered this half-sarcastic, half-useful advice:
“Grow up? And have a yard sale. Put your stuff on eBay. As soon as you can get money for your c**p all of a sudden getting organized seems way more appealing.”
You should also consider selling stuff you don’t need, such as your old CDs and DVDs, on Craigslist, Offer Up, and Facebook. You might not want that old coffee table anymore, but your friend who just moved might.
Don’t get hung up on stuff
In some ways, George Carlin was the original Marie Kondo. Sure, he cursed a lot more, but he shared her views on clutter. As his famous bit goes:
I don’t know how you are, but I need a place to put my stuff. You know how important that is. That’s the whole meaning of life, isn’t it? Trying to find a place for your stuff. That’s all your house is, your house is just a place for your stuff. If you didn’t have so much g*****n stuff, you wouldn’t need a house… When you take off in an airplane and you look down, you see that everyone has got a little pile of stuff. And when you leave your stuff, you gotta lock it up. Wouldn’t want somebody to come by and take some of your stuff. They always take the good stuff. They don’t bother with that c**p you’re saving. Ain’t nobody interested in your fourth grade arithmetic papers. They’re looking for the good stuff! That’s all your house is, it’s a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.
In comedian/writer Sara Benincasa’s advice book Real Artists Have Day Jobs, she tackles all sorts of topics ranging from flossing to fan letters. But she also imparts a useful organizing tip she’s used to keep her home tidy. It involves designating a so-called Purgatory Bag.
“The concept of the Purgatory Bag is quite simple. Once a month, or whenever you feel like it, you go around your house and throw a bunch of clutter in a bag. Not trash, mind you — you throw the trash out. I’m talking about clutter… Then, on a designated day, you have a Purgatory Bag session. You go through your most recent Purgatory Bag and decide what goes to Heaven (its proper place in your home or someone else’s home) and what goes to Hell (the garbage can).”
Benincasa insists the bag can be large or small, so long as you empty it completely on the appointed day. Also, she reminds you to remember that “Heaven” is a big place — if you don’t want to send something in your bag to “Hell,” there’s also charities to consider.
Clean before things snowball
It wouldn’t be fair to cite the late, great Nora Ephron as an organizational muse. She was very open about her messiness, as illustrated in her essay, “I Hate My Purse”:
“Here’s what happens with a purse. You start small. You start pledging yourself to neatness. You start vowing that This Time It Will Be Different, you start with the things you absolutely need – your wallet and a few cosmetics that you have actually put into a brand-new shiny cosmetics bag, the kind used by your friends who are competent enough to manage more than one purse at a time. But within seconds, your purse has accumulated the debris of a lifetime. The cosmetics have somehow fallen out of the shiny cosmetics bag (OK, you forgot to zip it up), the coins have fallen from the wallet (OK, you forgot to fasten the coin compartment), the credit cards are somewhere in the abyss (OK, you forgot to put your Visa card back into your wallet after you bought the sunblock that is now oozing into the lining because you forgot to put the top back onto it after you applied it to your hands while driving 70 miles an hour down the highway).”
Obviously, this is not how you want to handle clutter in your home. But you can glean advice from Ephron’s struggles with her purse. Namely, take care of messes while they’re still manageable. Sort through the stack of papers on your counter before they morph into a mountain, and break up the pile of scarves sitting on the floor of your closet before they blanket the whole thing.
“Envision where, say, your sofa is going to go, where certain pieces will go. And not that I believe in feng shui completely, but I do think there are certain aspects of it that make sense. Like, you want to have a clear path, you don’t want a lot of things in your way as you walk through a room. And you don’t want to see the backs of things when you enter – if you have to position the sofa that way, put a console behind it. And always remember: paint makes all the difference in the world.”
Decorate like an adult
Like Cummings, Chelsea Peretti took over the Esquire “Ask a Comedian” column ahead of her Netflix comedy special One of the Greats back in 2014. Here’s the sage wisdom she imparted onto a reader seeking to set up her first “adult” apartment:
Is an “adult” apartment covered in d****s? Does it read The New York Times? Does it take yoga? Does it drive a minivan and drop its little-kid apartments off at school in the morning? I’m very interested in this unorthodox structure you describe. There are a lot of different kinds of adults, but when in doubt get a gold log end table (Google ‘gold log end table’ to see what I mean) or DIY paint something gold for a warm yet sophisticated color pop. You can find more examples of fancy decor on Pinterest or interior-design magazines.
But in the end, the best advice on keeping up your home might come from Mindy Kaling. She wrote on her blog, “I figure, it’s best to live your life and decorate your house such as if you ever become mega famous and died, people would have a lot of fun touring your crazy house.”
If you’re looking for decorating ideas, check out Kaling’s Instagram for occasional glimpses of her L.A. home.
Invest in MakeSpace
What if we told you that you could be sitting in a blissfully clean apartment right now without getting rid of a single thing? You’d probably laugh and tell us to leave the comedy to Carlin. But this isn’t a joke. It’s the power of MakeSpace.
To get started, simply schedule a pickup. We’ll come get your things – whether it’s an old coffee table, extra kitchen appliances, window air conditioner, or surfboard – and transport it to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll even create an online photo catalog of your stuff, so you never forget what you have in storage.
That’s not all.
When you want something back from storage, simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.