Want an organized home (but hate organizing)? You’ve come to the right place. Yes, we’re here to tell you that achieving a chic-looking space doesn’t necessarily require a degree in interior design—or even a knack for space-saving. All you need are few handy hacks to take your abode from arg! to ahh.
1. Make your bed.
We know, we know. This seems obvious. But making your bed (and maybe fluffing a pillow or two while you’re at it) goes a long way in making your space feel tidy and buttoned-up.
2. Put like with like.
Have a bunch of rogue candles lying around? Or a handful of helter-skelter jars all over the place? A good way to create a sense of order (without actually putting anything away) is to simply group like items together. This can make your space seem more considered, both visually and categorically—and it can be a choice opportunity to consolidate the collections you currently have.
3. Look to the wall.
Utilizing wall space is a great way to showcase the belongings you don’t have room to store at home. Pressed for space for an extra bookcase? Try floating shelves instead. They’re functional *and* visually appealing. No room left in your closet? Hang bags and scarves to save space, and to infuse your walls with your personal style.
4. Clean your fridge.
Chances are, you’ve got an expired bottle of ketchup or an old jar of jam crammed in the back corner of your fridge. Take 30 minutes of your day to go through the contents of your ice box and discard items that are old or expired. It’s basically the easiest way to reap the rewards of organization without doing much. And hey, you might be so inspired by the extra shelf space that you’ll feel compelled to give them a good clean.
5. Makeover your medicine cabinet.
Sure, perishable foods and liquids have clear expiration dates. But a lot of people don’t realize that cosmetics and creams expire, too. So that tube of mascara you’ve been using for the last year? Get rid of it. Those vitamins you never ended up taking? Toss ‘em and recycle the container. Consider it making room for a new-and-improved set of personal care items.
6. Recycle, recycle, recycle.
Once more for the people in the back: Recycle! Have old papers and documents lying around? Coupons you never got around to redeeming? Put them in the trusty recycling bin. For important paperwork, scan what you need, then get rid of the hard copy. You’ll be surprised how much lighter you feel after cleaning out your drawers—and you might find that half the papers you thought you needed are actually unnecessary or outdated.
AUTHOR: ERIKA JORDAN
Erika Jordan is the Copy Lead at MakeSpace. When she’s not working her magic with words, she’s doing yoga and/or eating peanut butter (she’s still trying to figure out how to do both at once).
A well-packed MakeSpace bin is a work of art. That’s not hyperbole. That’s fact.
And we believe everyone has the ability to be an artist. You just need the right tools and some creative inspiration.
Packing your bin properly not only gives you an excuse to post a #belfie (bin selfie, duh), but it also ensures that your items will remain protected and organized throughout the storage process.
We’re all for creative license when it comes to expressing yourself through your art, but when prepping a bin for pickup, there is a right way to do it. Follow this step by step guide to a perfectly-packed MakeSpace storage bin.
Step 1: Check the Storage Rules
Before you show off your packing prowess, make sure the items you’re storing adhere to our Storage Rules.
We can store the Uncle Sam costume you don each Fourth of July; however, the leftover fireworks from last year’s celebration have to stay with you. Similarly, we’re happy to safely store your spice rack, but it has to be empty—perishable and non-perishable food items are forbidden, so we won’t be able to take your turmeric and thyme.
Our Terms of Service go into all the details of what can and can’t be stored and how the whole experience works, so check those out prior to packing.
Step 2: Gather like items
Similar items packed in the same bin will make it easier to request one bin back that holds all the necessities.
No more digging through one bin for your party shoes and another for your cocktail dress. By keeping like items packed together, you’ve created a quick one-stop-shop for your essentials.
Step 3: Create boundaries
Your stuff is important to you, and if the option to hire full-on bodyguards to protect your things was offered, you have to admit, it’d be tempting.
While jacked dudes with ear pieces aren’t part of our protection plans, it is possible to build in some extra security to each bin you pack at home.
Take sturdy items like books and wooden accessories and place them around the perimeter of the bin. This will create a rigid barrier against the sides that will prevent the rest of the contents from accidental damage or shifting during transit.
Our bins are pretty tough, but we don’t take any chances when it comes to your items, and we know that you don’t plan to, either.
Step 4: Lay down the base
When you pack a bin that’s all about the base, you can rest assured that there will be no trouble.
Now that the sides are secured with books, take your extra towels, blankets, thick jackets, sweatshirts, etc., and use them to line the bottom of the bin. This extra-cushiony layer will give your belongings a soft spot to land. Plus, these bulky items tend to be difficult to pack otherwise, so you’ll be giving them dual purpose while ensuring the rest of your things are well-protected.
Step 5: Roll them up
If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck out of each bin, consider rolling (not folding) your clothing.
Although the jury is still out on which method will leave your clothes wrinkle-free upon unpacking, rolling your jeans, t-shirts, and yoga pants will save space and is best suited for fitting the most items possible.
Pro Tip: Some items might benefit from being rolled inside out, like those adorned with sequins or delicate embroidery, or pieces that are dyed, like dark-wash jeans. Since there will be less friction against the decorations as the clothing is moved from the truck to the storage facility, you won’t have to worry about wear and tear or color transfer.
Step 6: Top it off
Just as you gave your items a cushioned base, adding another soft layer on top of them will safeguard everything as the bins are stacked and moved.
Rolled up newspaper and scrunched up plastic bags are handy if you’ve run out of sweatshirts and coats. And, of course, bubble wrap is the old standby that keeps your belongings guarded against heavy bins and other objects set on top.
Step 7: Write that down
With our online photo catalog, you never forget what you have in storage. However, these pictures are not an item-by-item photo album. While we recommend packing bins in such a way that it’ll be clear to you what each one holds, writing down their specific contents before they’re sealed can help ensure exactly what you ask for is delivered back.
Each bin features a barcode, which helps our team properly manage it once it enters our facility. When the bins are still in your home, copy down this barcode and list the individual items in each bin. Once we’ve picked up your stuff, hauled it to our facility, photographed each bin, and the photos are available in your online photo catalog, you can edit the information associated with the bins to keep track of their contents, piece by piece.
This will come in particularly handy if you have multiple bins-worth of holiday decorations, but only need the one that holds the inflatable menorah. Listing what’s inside of each bin will make finding what you want and scheduling a delivery a piece of cake.
After you’ve sculpted the masterpiece of all MakeSpace bins, what do you do next?
Our SpaceMakers will pick up your perfectly-packed bins, wardrobe boxes, and anything else and transport them to our safe and secure storage facility. You barely lift a finger.
Whenever you’d like some or all of your things back, simply schedule a delivery with a few taps in the app and we’ll bring them right back to you. This saves time and allows you to do the things you really enjoy, like painting the next classic work of art or filling in a page of a coloring book.
However you choose to express your artsy side, get creative with MakeSpace.
Now your apartment seems tiny and depressing. Was moving to such an exciting city worth the trade off for space?
Of course it was.
There are simple tweaks you can make to your apartment that will have it looking and feeling more spacious without the need to book it back to the ‘burbs. Watch your apartment grow with these nine tips:
1. Lighten Up
You may like the drama of black walls, but your tiny place will look less like a dungeon if you use more cheerful colors.
Try painting all walls vibrant colors like sky blue or daring yellow and enjoy the enlightening difference. Even bright white can add some refreshing pizzazz, and as an added bonus, it reflects sunlight to create a more open feeling overall.
2. Drop it down
Your giant platform bed towering three feet off the floor has you sleeping like The Princess and the Pea, but royal vibes notwithstanding, it’s using up valuable space.
Instead, choose a style that drops it low and hugs the floor. With your bedroom more opened up, every night can be crowned a restful night’s sleep.
Ever go into someone’s house and see a wall completely covered in a mirror? They’re not just extremely vain. By strategically placing a mirror across from a large light source like a window or chandelier, a depth effect is created that makes the whole room appear twice as big.
Great lighting + huge mirror = ultimate selfie station.
4. Fold it up
Remember your mom’s ironing board that folded up into a closet door? Borrow from the same principle when creating some extra space in your own apartment.
Foldable chairs, hidden storage behind artwork, and footboard drawers are all great ways to have your stuff available when you need it, and tucked away when you don’t.
5. Multi-functional pieces
Seek out furniture that pulls double duty. An old-fashioned Murphy bed or a coffee table that doubles as a desk are two helpful possibilities that let you make the most of your space. Now if only they could clean the place.
6. Pop out those ceilings
Yes, we told you to paint walls white, but to create the illusion of taller ceilings, go dark up top. A ceiling painted black, dark grey, or navy suggests height and will make your your eight-foot ceiling take on twelve-foot penthouse vibes.
7. Move it out
This one is a little counter-intuitive, but stay with us: If you move furniture a little bit away from the walls it can create a feeling of spaciousness. A sofa and chairs butted against walls tend to look very confining, whereas providing a little wiggle room gives the appearance of more room to breathe. Your living room will look larger, and your furniture won’t be left holding its breath.
8. Leave the windows alone
Overcrowding a room with excess furniture is already a small-space no-no. Covering a window to allow more stuff to fit? Unforgivable.
If windows are blocked, everything quickly looks smaller and cramped, and the lack of light will give the room an eerie cave-like feeling. Resist the urge to squish lots of furniture pieces in one room, instead opting for a few solid pieces that balance the area while showcasing the natural light.
When making the move to a smaller apartment, it’s inevitable that you’re going to have more stuff than can fit in your new space.
Consider a yard sale to help you get rid of unneeded things. Starting with an almost-clean slate will make it easier to visualize where to place your favorite things, rather than wasting time and energy packing up stuff that you simply no longer need.
Still have too much? Schedule an appointment with MakeSpace. They’ll pick up your stuff, transport it to their secure storage facility, and deliver it back whenever you decide that, yeah, actually, the foosball table will fit.
It may be challenging to get that big apartment feel you’re used to in a smaller place, adjusting doesn’t have to be difficult. Give these simple tricks a try and embrace life in the city, with room to spare.
Sam Radbil is an author at ABODO Apartments, an apartment marketplace website that makes apartment hunting easier for people all across the country. Check out their available apartments in Chicago, IL and follow along on Twitter at @ABODOapts.
When guests arrive to stay in your home with a little to no notice, providing an inviting, relaxing space for them is one of the best ways to show your hospitality. Impromptu visits are bound to happen, but with these simple tips for being guest room-ready, you can be assured your family and friends will know they are always welcome!
1. Clean Up
The first step in welcoming guests is to provide a clean, uncluttered environment. Quickly freshen up the room by opening the curtains and windows. Let the sun shine in as you vacuum and dust the windowsills, furniture, and picture frames. Clear floors, furniture, and counters to make sure there is adequate space for your guest’s suitcases and belongings.
If space allows, a comfy chair in the guest room is ideal for putting on shoes, reading, or relaxing. Keep air filters updated to ensure the room is kept as allergen-free as possible. While sprucing up, don’t forget to tidy the guest bathroom, as well.
2. Create A Cozy Feel
Because the majority of time is spent resting and sleeping in a guest room, you will need to make sure the bed has a set of soft, freshly-laundered sheets. When making the bed, keep in mind the time of year. You may need to add warmer blankets during the winter season, and in warmer months, lighter bedding often works best. It’s always a good idea to have extra quilts available in the closet.
For rooms with hardwood floors, consider placing a cozy rug near the bed for additional warmth. As a final touch, one or two decorative pillows that make family feel especially welcome.
It is important to have your Wifi password handy for guests. Keeping it in a stylish frame on the bedside table will make it easily noticeable and works much better than a piece of paper that could become lost.
3. Provide Some Basic Toiletry Items
It is beneficial to know what makes your guest feel at home. Keeping a well-stocked decorative basket with items such as fresh toothpaste and toothbrushes, dental floss, soaps, travel-size shampoos and conditioners, body wash, hand lotion, band-aids and cotton balls can do wonders for your guest.
In the guest bathroom, always set out fresh towels, hand towels, and washcloths that are kept especially for company. Time permitting, adding a fragrant vase of fresh flowers from your garden is an added touch your guests are sure to enjoy.
4. Snack Basket
If you have a few extra minutes, another thoughtful way to care for your guests is to set out a basket filled with some easy snacks and beverages. Water bottles are especially nice to have in addition to an assortment of fresh fruit, granola and/or protein bars, small packages of crackers, or a variety of chocolates treats.
5. Personal, Comforting Touches
Last but certainly not least, set out some personal touches for your visitors to enjoy. Framed photos of fun memories give the room an added cozy feeling. Proper lighting is important in the room, and it is a good idea to make sure all light bulbs are in working order. Candles are a great way to add ambiance and tranquility. It is best to use soft, subtle fragrances that are not too overpowering. A selection of coffee table books, magazines, and even local travel guides are a nice touch in the guest room. And finally, nothing is more welcoming than a personalized notecard expressing to your guests how wonderful it is to have them there!
These simple and easy tips for getting your guest room ready that take minimal effort, but speak volumes to make loved ones feel welcome. In turn, you can know that these little details mean so much to your guests and will make their stay all the more memorable.
Annie Grace Fleming is a Public Relations Specialist for Crawlspace Depot. She regularly produces content for a variety of blogs that cover topics from insulation to air filtration systems.
Hand-picking a laundry list of new items for your wedding registry can be exciting—until you realize you need a place to store it all. If you live in a small apartment, it can feel daunting to build a registry if you can’t imagine where to put all those gifts.
The good news is that with just a bit more planning, you can create a useful and meaningful gift list that you, your future spouse, and your guests will love. Here are seven of our top tips for creating a registry perfectly suited for your space.
1. Take a moment to take stock
Whether you’re already living together or will be moving in after the wedding, it’s essential to take some time to figure out what you both already own. Schedule some time together and go room by room, listing any must-haves you currently lack. Then, you can identify any duplicate items that can be sold, donated, or thrown away to make more space.
2. Don’t be afraid to upgrade
Now that you’ve gotten a clear picture of your belongings, it’s time to think about upgrading. You may find it hard to replace an item that still works, even if it’s out of style, part of a mismatched collection, or if your future spouse is not a fan.
Now is the perfect time to upgrade to a piece that you both love and that reflects your combined tastes as a couple. Plus, swapping out an older item for a newer one won’t take up more of that precious space in your apartment. You have the added benefit of donating the older item to someone who needs it.
3. Ensure that you have the essentials
Think carefully about your list of core, everyday items before deciding what to keep and what to upgrade. Even in the coziest of apartments, most people will need:
dinnerware and flatware sets
drinkware, including water glasses, mugs and wine glasses
bedding, including sheets, blankets and a duvet or comforter
bath towels and bath mats
cookware sets, including a frypan, a saucepan and a stock pot
4. Understand your entertaining priorities
Traditionally, couples are advised to register for both everyday dinnerware and fine china for special occasions. Small apartment dwellers, though, are less likely to host a sit-down meal for 10 additional people. You may not even have enough cabinet space to store 12 place settings, let alone a separate collection of china.
Consider two options: Register for more than you’ll need now and store extras separately, or register for only what fits in your current home. If you know you love to entertain and you don’t mind stowing a box or two of belongings in a storage unit (or a friend’s spare room), go ahead and register for a separate collection of fine china in addition to your everyday plates. However, if you don’t anticipate hosting a large group of guests, consider skipping the china and opting for a basic set that can transition effortlessly from formal to casual.
Instead of registering for 12 complete place settings, consider sticking to eight sets and expanding your collection when and if you move into a larger apartment, condo, or house. Your best bet is to choose a pattern that will stand the test of time. Ask a store associate what their customer favorites are for a collection will likely still be around for years to come. Otherwise, you can select a classic white dinnerware set and add to it over time. Classic white will easily complement other dish patterns and colors. You can also swap pieces in and out as seasons change—simply sign into your MakeSpace account and have them scheduled for delivery.
5. Choose kitchen multi-taskers
Before you step foot into any store or create an online list, it’s a good idea to do some research and look for pieces that serve more than just one function. In any small space, choosing furniture, housewares, and decor that multi-task is the key to creating a home that is both stylish, functional, and scaled to your square footage. My favorite kitchen multi-taskers include:
coffee makers with integrated bean grinders
toaster ovens that can bake, broil, and roast
tools and accessories that are pretty enough to store in the open, including marble storage canisters, a matching set of cooking utensils in a decorative container, and a brightly-colored stand mixer or Dutch oven
nesting mixing bowls that double as serving bowls
durable, stylish cutting boards that you can use as serving platters
blenders that have food processing attachments and motors powerful enough to tackle a wide variety of cooking tasks
6. Find dual-purpose furniture
Just like in the kitchen, pieces in your living area work best when they serve more than one function. Stools and poufs are the perfect apartment accessory, since they can act as seating for guests, side tables or coffee tables, and even plant stands by sunny windows. Nesting coffee and side tables can expand or collapse depending on your needs. Ottomans that turn into a single bed for overnight guests can also serve as oversized coffee tables for impromptu meals in front of the TV.
These on-trend pieces are once again all the rage. Apart from providing a chic way to serve cocktails and snacks during parties, they can store anything from wine bottles to books to decor, including plants, candles, and picture frames. Extra points if you find one on wheels for easy room rearranging.
Even storage pieces can serve a decorative function. Woven rattan baskets can hold throw blankets and pillows, magazines and books, pet toys, or even extra phone chargers and TV remotes. The nice thing about a pretty basket is that it can also be used for other purposes as your storage needs change—as a planter (just keep a plastic tray in the bottom to contain any water), a laundry hamper, or even a carryall for trips up and down the stairs. Wall-mounted or leaning shelving units are another great option, as they not only provide essential storage and have a small footprint, but they also add an architectural element to the room. Look for customizable shelving units that you can mix and match to fit your needs.
7. You CAN think big in a small space
Group gifting is growing in popularity, and living in a small space doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t register for a bigger purchase. Your wedding is a great excuse to pick out a few larger items that both work in your current space and could also fit seamlessly into any future homes.
A storage bed is a great option. A bed frames that incorporates drawers underneath the mattress makes the most of bedroom space. Many storage beds don’t require a box spring.
If you already have a bed you love but need something for your living area, consider an apartment-sized sleeper sofa. This is the perfect upgrade for those who enjoy hosting visitors but lack a spare bedroom. Another smart choice is an area rug that can pull any space together to create a finished, curated look. For smaller rooms, choose either a monochrome rug or one sporting a subtle pattern, so you don’t overwhelm the space.
Laura Love Bardell writes for Crate and Barrel, where she creates design-savvy content on the latest home-furnishing trends. Laura enjoys providing inspirational and practical guidance for couples who are creating a registry.
Spring is in the air, and with the flung-open windows comes the urge to clean and fix everything immediately. This is great! This is also unsustainable if it’s been, well, a pretty long time since the last “fling open the windows/clean/fix everything” session.
Ease back into a Spring Cleaning plan with these quick, satisfying household fixes, decluttering tips, and easy cleanups using things you probably already have around the house.
Let the sun shine in! (And then take a nap. You’ve totally earned it.)
1. Put stuff into timeout boxes
Sure, this one works best for kids’ toys, but who among us doesn’t turn into a—ahem—less-poised version of ourselves when faced with giving up our prized possessions?
Create a “maybe” pile of books, mugs, knick knacks, and housewares that everyone’s feeling medium about, and store them in stackable plastic bins. Don’t panic—they’re not going far. Keep them nearby in a closet, garage, or accessible attic space for a month (or slightly longer, if baby steps are needed).
Don’t need ‘em within that time frame? Guess what? You don’t need ‘em.
2. Dust with dryer sheets
Feel like you’re forever wiping stuff down? Extend a little more time between dustings by using a dryer sheet to clean surfaces, baseboards, and shelves. Not only are they great cleaning cloths, but their anti-static nature repels dust, pet hair, and everything else that settled between the last time your parents visited and now.
3. Turn that shoe around
File this one under the “Is this really going to make a difference?” category (with the subheading of “Yes, do it now”): When putting shoes back in closets or on shelves, turn the right shoe in the pair backwards and keep the left one facing forwards.
When placed this way, the shoes naturally form a yin/yang shape—and save a ton of space for more pairs to be stored, too. You’ll notice a crazy difference with high heels, the kind that normally take up a disproportionate amount of shoe real estate.
4. Refresh mattresses
If you’ve got the kind of mattress than can be flipped, now’s a great time to do so. If it’s a pillow top, just rotate it and strip all blankets, sheets, and mattress protectors. Sprinkle the bare mattress with a good layer of baking soda, let sit for an hour or two, and then vacuum it up. (Psst: While you’re doing this one, feel free to clean your comforter. It would love a little field trip out into the sunshine or to the dry cleaners.)
5. Flip your hangers
Here’s a great tip if you aren’t really sure if it’s time to part with that jacket or skirt: Put every last thing in your closet to the test by turning each hanger backwards. When you wear an item, replace it with the hanger turned the other way.
With the exception of special occasion garb, get rid of everything from that season still facing the opposite direction at the end of three months. If you didn’t wear it, you certainly won’t miss it.
6. Oil down fan blades
Ceiling fan blades are gross.
Ceiling fan blades in areas like the kitchen are even grosser. But guess what combats greasy buildup? That’s right, more grease.
After wiping down each fan blade with a pillowcase (to trap dust and prevent a greasy, dusty mess on the floor), wipe down the top of each blade with a little vegetable oil on a cloth. Rub in circles, repeat, and enjoy the fact that your ceiling fan no longer flings dust around your main living space.
Keely Flynn is the creator of Tidyish, a site that touts decluttering and design from a decided non-minimalist. Check our her DIY tips, organizational tricks, and more hyperlapse cleaning montages than you can shake an 80s flick at. She loves your stuff (and she loves you, too).
Anyone who has worked in an office would be familiar with the seemingly lifeless 9 to 5 routine. That stress and sedentarism is often considered bad for health and creativity for obvious reasons.
Working from home eases the gridlock and brings some balance back into your life. However, a lot of people tend to fall off the eco-friendly wagon when designing the home office. So, why not take a creative step forward to conserve energy and utilize even the smallest of space to create an eco-friendly workspace?
Check out these five amazing ideas for going green while working from home:
1. Let there be [natural] light
Good lightning is an essential part of an office. If you are going to spend a lot of time in the space, and the structure of your home allows for it, installing an energy-efficient skylight is a smart option. You’ll infuse the room with natural daylight while cutting down on electricity costs. Just be sure to actually head outdoors at some point in your day, too. Vitamin D does the body (and your productivity) good!
A reclaimed wood desk, cork stool, or chairs made of recycled plastic can all contribute to your efforts to make the workspace as eco-friendly as it is efficient. You can also shop your home and give new life to bookshelves or cabinets that are simply collecting dust in the back of a closet.
3. Flourish among indoor plants
Nothing beats bringing the great outdoors inside. Placing plants around your home office can improve air quality, decrease stress, and create a more peaceful environment, which are all important when you’re working on a deadline.
Incorporate greenery in the form of breathtaking terrariums, hanging planters, a miniature herb garden, or simple potted plants (English Ivy is an office favorite: It filters chemicals from the air).
4. Imagine your office in a closet
If all of Narnia can hide inside an old closet, so can your home office.
When you’re tight on space but your daily to-do list is overflowing, a spare closet is the perfect place to secretly tuck away your work area. Measure the closet to make sure you find a desk or other work surface that fits, add some chic desk organization tools, and slide in a slim office chair or stool.
When your workday is done, simply close the closet doors. You can get the big jobs taken care of without creating a big footprint to match.
5. Declutter with recycled shelves
You’ve heard it a thousand times: When looking for new ways to organize, look up! Utilizing your walls to create more storage space just makes sense. Buying brand new shelves, however, doesn’t.
Instead, install recycled, reclaimed, or salvaged wood panels. You’ll create a unique, rustic look that boasts the added bonus of being good for the environment (when properly sourced, of course). With a little touch of creativity, these shelves can be gussied up to further help declutter your desk by holding extra office supplies, documents, books, and more, leaving the surface of your space clear for, you know, work.
Creating an eco-friendly office shouldn’t mean more difficult tasks. Some quick research, selective purchases, and a keen eye taken to items you already own can infuse your area with style while being good to the environment.
This post was written by Tom Jennings, a freelance writer at Primero who is binging on Netflix series and food when not expelling some wisdom. Catch his words, he loves playing with them.
I always thought it was funny how we have a “spring cleaning” season. That one time of year where everyone looks at their homes and thinks, “Time to clean house!” And every year, people across the country trash heap-loads of stuff in order to declutter and cleanse their homes.
So why is it that every year people find themselves right back where they started — amidst a pile of clutter that has no true purpose?
What people should be thinking this spring isn’t, “Time to clean house!” but, “How and why did this stuff find its way into my house again?”
Unless you fix the root of the problem, the cycle of clutter > declutter > clutter will continue.
1. You haven’t self-examined or self-reflected on why there is clutter to begin with
Before you do anything to your home and the stuff in it, consider why every item is there in the first place: Did you put it there? Was it a gift? Is it something you use regularly in your daily routine? Does it bring you happiness? Can you live without it?
We need to ask ourselves these hard questions in order to effect change. Decluttering will not work for those who do not self-reflect on why things come into and remain in their lives. Neither will it explain your attachment to items and objects that have sentimental value.
Decluttering can change your home temporarily by removing the obvious things (junk, trash, expired foods, etc.). However, it cannot change your lifestyle and/or personal habits (what and how often you buy things, etc).
Stuff is imminent, and will always come into and out of your life. But you can control what stays and what doesn’t…
…for the most part. This brings me to my next point:
2. You may not have considered the other people who live in your home
The above sentiment is also true for any other person living in your home. Decluttering is simply about removing stuff that shouldn’t be there, so it won’t change the habits of your husband, wife, partner, kids, mom, dad, etc.
If you want to bring permanent change to your home, then make decluttering a family affair. Sit down together and discuss a plan of action, and small changes you can each make to work toward your collective goal.
If you have kids, this can be especially tricky. One small way to help children make changes is to set ground rules for new things that come into the house: if a new piece of clothing or toy comes in, then a piece of clothing or toy goes out.
This small act of continual decluttering can also teach responsibility and charity. In our home, we love supporting our local shelters and non-profit organizations whenever possible.
3. Your possessions give you an inaccurate view of your financial standing
We all buy things with the understanding that they are worth something. Everyday, people invest in things (food, wares, services, etc.) that they view as essential to living. No one would spend money on something they thought had little or no monetary value.
The value we give to an item in our home is it’s economic value. More often than not, our notion of the economic value of things in our home is significantly higher than other people’s perceptions.
Often, we hold onto things because we think they have value. But value to you might mean junk to someone else — the saying could just as well be, “One man’s treasure is another man’s trash.” If you have stuff you want to sell, go for it: but don’t hold onto it forever thinking it will eventually make you a pretty penny.
4. You aren’t actually removing the real clutter
Trash is trash, but that china from your wedding that you’ve never used? Clutter. The extra Christmas lights dad gave you just in case yours ever go on the fritz? Clutter. Those old college laptops you kept in case you ever needed something on it but haven’t touched since? Clutter.
Anything without a current, meaningful purpose in your life is clutter by definition. Anyone can throw out trash, but it takes a keen eye and serious contemplation to identify the real clutter in your home.
The important thing to remember when taking on a challenge such as decluttering your home is don’t despair: order can be created from chaos (and scheduling your first MakeSpace pickup is a great start). Truly decluttering your home will take longer than just a couple of days of spring cleaning, but with determination and the right guidance, you will be able to finally declutter your home — permanently.
Jennifer Ferrari is the owner of The Chaos Boss Organization Solutions. Through her work as a professional organizer and organizational strategies blogger, she helps clients consolidate, organize, and simplify in order to optimize their lives.
If you’ve been in the habit of carelessly cramming your books wherever there’s an extra inch of shelf space, it’s time to step up your organization game.
A solid book organization system doesn’t just make it easier to find what you’re looking for — it also makes you more likely to actually pick up a book and read.
Organizing your favorite reads doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming, either. We’ve rounded up a list of 12 easy, smart ways to organize your books — no professional librarian experience necessary.
Keeping all your books in neat rows is a thing of the past. If you want a handful of select books to stand out, stack ‘em. You can stack by theme, cover, or size, and keep stacks on their own or use them to break up a row. There’s no wrong way to do it.
4. Organize books by genre or subject
Group your mysteries together, your travel memoirs, your 18-century English literature novels, your cookbooks, and so on.
Organizing by genre and subject makes it a cinch to find the right book for your current mood and interests, so you’ll know exactly where to look when you need to satisfy your World War II curiosity or want a little romance story to spice up your Saturday night.
5. Display your favorite books front and center
Instead of lumping your favorite books in with all their mediocre peers (then frantically scanning the shelves every time you want to reread them), display them front and center where they can shine.
Alphabetical organization works best if you remember book titles and author names more than genres and plot points. It’s also ideal if your collection of books is so massive it’s basically a mini library.
Even better than the sense of accomplishment you’ll get from organizing your books alphabetically?
The satisfaction you’ll feel when your friends stop by to borrow a book and know exactly where to find it.
7. Organize your books according to how they made you feel
Maybe some books made you weep with sadness, while others had you laughing aloud to yourself at two in the morning. Maybe you read books so gripping you didn’t leave your couch for hours at a time. Maybe some books inspired you to pursue your passions, while others shattered your innocence. Maybe you read books that changed your life, and others that made no impression at all.
If you tend to have strong emotional responses to books, this organization method is an awesome way to categorize and distinguish what you’ve read.
8. Group together the books you haven’t read yet
Gather all the books you haven’t read yet and place them in their own special TBR (To Be Read) section so they don’t get lost among the other titles.
The best part?
You always have a book or two (or maybe five) to reach for when you need a fresh new read.
9. Arrange your books by height and size
Keep books of similar size and height together to give your collection a clean, uncluttered feel. The goal here is to create straight, even lines with the tops of your books — no staggered mountaintop rows allowed.
10. Separate your books by author: contemporary or classic
This method works best if you have a diverse collection of old and new books. We’re talking Stephen King and Toni Morrison types, plus your Fitzgeralds, Austens, and Hemingways.
You can define contemporary and classic however it suits you: living and deceased authors, books written before and after a certain date, or books published in specific time periods.
11. Organize books by the condition of their covers
This is another way to limit visual clutter on your bookshelves. Keep your torn, tattered, and weather-faded books all in one place, and your books with beautiful, well-kept covers in another.
12. Separate fiction and nonfiction
Every bookstore around the world employs this method because it’s simple and classic. Just group fiction books together and store everything else in another spot. Easy.
For all the books you can’t fit on your shelves but don’t want to say goodbye to, use MakeSpace.
Simply schedule a pickup and pack your stuff. We’ll grab everything from your home and transport it to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility.
And when you need that box of 1980’s crime novels back, just browse the convenient online photo catalog of your stuff, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it straight to you.
Whether your kitchen is large or small, after a few years, it always seems that storage starts to run short. If you can’t expand your kitchen, the next best option is to optimize the room that you currently have available.
There are several ways to do this that might not have occurred to you yet. Just by thinking outside the box, you can amplify the amount of kitchen storage you have with some fairly simple solutions.
1. Corner Storage
Almost every kitchen has at least one awkward corner cabinet where you can’t realistically store items because you can’t get to them. You can fill it with the stuff you never use, but why keep things you don’t need at all?
Instead, reclaim all of that space with a double-shelf corner organizer that pulls out, so you can easily access whatever you have stored on the shelves. These organizers come with wooden shelves and steel rails or are made entirely of heavy metal to last.
2. Overhead Storage
Pots and pans are incredibly bulky and take up more room than almost anything else. An excellent option to get many of them out of the way is to put a pot hanger over your island or along one wall. Gorgeous options are available in stainless steel, bronze, copper, black matte, and even antique pewter so you can match your décor.
With a large overhead hanger, you’ll see most everything you own. You’ll also have immediate access to whatever you need without having to kneel on the floor and search your cabinets for a particular item.
3. Drawer Storage
Another area where storage organization often becomes a challenge is the silverware and steak knife drawers. You can double any space that you have with a two-tiered tray set. The top tray is easily removable and also rolls back and forth, so you can access the items in the bottom area effortlessly. These organizers come in multiple widths to fit various-sized drawers.
Noticeable lack of drawers in your space? Try these miracle solutions for organizing your storage-challenged kitchen.
4. Hidden Storage
Tip-out sink front trays with hinges are another great addition to any kitchen. These are installed right in front of your sink behind the cabinet. You just pull open the cabinetry which is hinged, and you’ll see a tray attached to the back side of the wood where you can store sponges, soap, scrubbers, and other small items. This kitchen storage option provides convenience and also opens up a bit of extra space under your sink.
Optimizing the storage in your kitchen will make meal preparation and cleaning up afterward more pleasant and much less stressful. The secret is not to waste an ounce of space while still keeping items accessible. Make sure your kitchen remains stylish yet functional no matter what.
This post was written by Kaitlyn Romero at House Tipster, a full-service website for homeowners, interior designers, and home service professionals. The company offers virtual design tools as well as DIY home improvement tips and a large selection of other resources to help people easily create a gorgeous and functional home.
Spring is officially here. But before you start scheduling outdoor picnics to celebrate that extra hour of sunlight, you may want to add one more item to your spring cleaning list.
The task in question?
Washing, organizing, and storing your winter coats. Because you don’t want a pile of sweat-stained, smoky, rain-splattered jackets and puffer vests cluttering your closet when you need to make room for shorts and open-toed shoes.
But before you set aside your winter outerwear for the next few seasons (with a MakeSpace pickup, perhaps?), read on to learn how to properly clean and store your winter coats to keep them in tip-top shape.
How to Wash Your Winter Coats
1. Check the care tag for instructions
This is the first rule of thumb when washing anything. The care tag will usually have all the information you need, like whether or not your coat is machine-washable, which wash cycle and water temperature it needs, special instructions about specific detergents, and how to properly dry it.
Needless to say, you should interpret these instructions as rules, not suggestions. Your coat will thank you.
2. Pre-treat stains
If you haven’t washed your winter coat all season, it probably has a few stains from food, dirty snow, puddle splashes, or just serious armpit sweating.
Pre-treat these stains with a stain remover or a squirt of Dawn dish soap. Apply the treatment to the stain, then let it soak for 10 minutes before tossing it in the washing machine or scrubbing it with a wet cloth.
3. Fasten all buttons and zippers
The metal teeth on zippers can damage other clothes in the washing machine. To minimize the potential of snags and tears, it’s best to zip, fasten, and button everything on your coat before washing it.
This also helps your coat retain its shape as it tumbles around in the machine.
4. Wash similar materials together
When certain opposite materials rub together, it can cause pilling, fading, or degradation to your clothes.
To keep your coats in prime condition, always wash them separately or with clothes of similar materials. Keep wool with wool, nylon with nylon, fleece with fleece, and so on.
As a general rule, nylon and puffy, down-filled jackets, coats, and vests can all go in the washing machine. Wash them on a gentle cycle with cold water and regular detergent.
You can dry your puffer coats in the dryer, too. Besides being way more efficient than air-drying, the dryer is actually better for your these types of garments since it helps evenly re-distribute the down material. Just keep it on a low or gentle cycle.
To help fluff up your coats, add a couple wool dryer balls to your load. Dryer balls are an easy, eco-friendly alternative to fabric softeners and dryer sheets — they soften and fluff your clothes, reduce wrinkling, and speed up the drying process.
If you’re in a pinch, clean tennis balls are also great fluffing tools.
Regular detergents, hot water, and normal washing machine cycles can all cause the fibers in wool to break down or shrink. That’s why it’s crucial to be extra gentle with your fancy wool coat.
You can either hand-wash it in a tub with cold water and baby shampoo, or put it in the washing machine on a delicate cycle. If you do this, make sure you use cold water and a detergent specifically designed for dealing with wool products.
To dry it, lay your coat flat and use your hands to gently reshape the shoulders and arms as it dries.
Fleece jackets are a year-round staple, but they do double-duty in the winter as comfy indoor loungewear and outdoorsy, sweat-proof outerwear. To freshen up your fleece jackets, turn them inside out, throw them in the washer, and set your machine’s settings to “cold” and “gentle.”
Your fleece will get linty and pilled — and may even become less water-resistant — if you wash it with materials like cotton, so be sure to keep it separate from your other clothes.
Hang it up to air-dry.
Leather Jackets, Suede, and Fur
Don’t even attempt to wash your fur coats, leather jackets, or suede trenches at home. Take them to your local dry cleaners for a thorough, high-quality cleaning.
4 Easy Tips For Storing Your Winter Coats
1. Use wooden hangers
Coats made of natural materials like leather, suede, wool, and down need a little room to breathe. Hang them on sturdy wooden hangers so they can retain their shape and stay wrinkle-free.
If you want to go the extra mile, cover your coats in fabric garment bags to protect them from dust and mildew.
To save hanging space, store your fleece and nylon coats in plastic boxes. Gently fold and stack your coats so they don’t get misshapen.
If you have a pile of puffer vests and jackets made from polyfill (as opposed to down feathers), you can use vacuum-sealed plastic bags to squish them down to half their size and save double the closet space.
You’ve heard it time and time again: minimalism, tiny houses, downsizing, minimalist living.
And the thought of it sounds good — living with less things so you can live with more heart, passion, and joy.
But what about your perfectly curated wardrobe? All the dog toys you just bought? And that toaster from Aunt Gertrude that’s not quite what you wanted, but it’s the thought that counts?
And the big question: “Do I need to completely downsize?”
Here’s a secret:
You can still live a minimalist lifestyle and not live in a small 300-square-foot home. It’s possible to take some of the main ideas of minimalism and incorporate them into your own life.
Let’s call it a minimal-ish lifestyle.
If you’re looking for easy ways to become a minimalist, then check out these tips from Adventures with Asha. Asha is a personal growth and lifestyle blogger on a mission to help people slay their lives and start living according to their own terms. And today, she’s here to help you slay minimalism.
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Think about it: When you have fewer dishes, you spend less time washing and drying them. You don’t have to fight for room for that final stack of Tupperware (none of which matches, by the way).
Minimalist living allows you the freedom to spend less time and money on stuff, and spend more energy on actually living.
How to become a minimalist
Now that we have a basic idea of minimalism, let’s dive into eight easy steps to living a minimalist lifestyle!
1. Set your rules for minimalism
Minimalism is different for everyone. Some people define their minimalist lifestyle by only owning a certain number of items (like a capsule wardrobe).
Other people achieve a minimalist lifestyle by minimizing the actual space that they take up in the world, and may seek out smaller living arrangements like a studio apartment or tiny house.
And that’s the beauty of minimalist living: you get to look at your life — your job, the number of people in your family, your lifestyle, your needs and desires — and determine what minimalism looks like on a personal level.
As much as we all hate to admit it, there are some items in our homes that are just junk. The box that your Amazon order came in. Your favorite sweater that shrunk in the wash. The broken items that we say we will get around to fixing but obviously never do.
In reality, these items are wasted space, and minimalism is all about maximizing space. So the first step is to start with a literal clean slate and throw out all of the trash.
Put that to the test by implementing the Use It or Lose It Rule.
In the midst of your initial cleaning, you may come across some items that you have used before, but haven’t used recently. I call these “once upon a time items.” (As in, “Once upon a time not long ago, when people wore pajamas and lived life slow, I thought I could pull off patterned leggings.”)
When you find these items, use the Six Month Use It or Lose It Rule. If you haven’t used it at least twice in the last six months, then it’s time to toss it.
If it’s a seasonal item, like your winter coat or a swimsuit, then ask yourself if you used it regularly last season. If so, you can still temporarily remove it from your space with a pickup by MakeSpace, and have it delivered back next season. Eventually, try to work up to tossing things that you haven’t used in the last three months, and then items from the last month.
And remember, keep only what you need now, not what you think you’ll need in the future.
4. Organize items by category
The next step in your minimalist journey is to organize and declutter your home.
Some people like to organize everything by location. In this scenario, everything in the living area gets organized, and then everything in the kitchen, and then everything in the bedroom, etc.
But think about all the places in your house where you might keep a writing utensil. At quick inspection, I found five in my living room, one in my kitchen, three in my bedroom, and there was even one in a drawer in my bathroom. If I organized each location individually, I would still end up with 10+ writing utensils.
That’s where the KonMari method comes in. It’s one of the hottest cleaning, decluttering, and organizing methods out there right now, and one of the golden rules is to organize items by category, not by location.
Doing so allows you to easily get rid of the duplicates. You’ll see exactly how many spoons, towels, blenders, sunglasses, shoes, and books you have. Then you can make more educated decisions about what to keep and what to toss.
Looking for some guidance on how many of a certain item you need?
If you answer yes to any of the above questions, then it can stay.
You wouldn’t throw away your only blender if you use it weekly, and you don’t have to toss your grandma’s old photo albums (here’s how to store and preserve your old photographs). But you could throw out the second blender that you have, or that old postcard from grandma that is nice, but doesn’t quite tug at your heartstrings.
If you’re trying to have less, then it makes sense to have items that serve more than one purpose. This is especially easy to do with kitchen utensils and appliances (like a four-in one-grater or a single bottle opener for wine and beer).
It can also be done with other items, such as these space-saving furniture ideas for every room in your apartment. You can also buy a duvet cover that can be used unfilled in the summertime as a light comforter, and then filled with a heavy duvet in the winter.
7. Minimize space
Struggling to minimize items? Minimize the space they take up instead.
Hang your paper towel roll or mugs under a cabinet. Get wire shelving to maximize space in your cabinets. Instead of keeping all your old photo albums, scan the pictures to your computer. Your family will probably appreciate a slideshow of photos way more than crowding around one photo book.
8. Bring in less
Once you’ve minimized the amount of things you own, make sure that you start to limit what you bring into your home, as well. You didn’t do all this work to be undone by a few impulsive shopping sprees.
Try removing one piece of clothing from your closet for every new item that you purchase. Set yourself a spending limit for new items each month. And be sure to cancel those magazine subscriptions that you don’t read.