Want to learn how to declutter your bathroom? We feel your pain. Despite often being the smallest room in the house, it is also one of the hardest to keep organized. If you’ve ever been late to work because you couldn’t find that new can of shaving cream you know must be stashed somewhere, you also understand that decluttering your bathroom could seriously change your life.
We can help! In this second installment of our 2018 Declutter Your Home Guide—a series of articles that will pare down your possessions room by room—we tackle this oft-neglected space and show you how to declutter a bathroom correctly. Try some of these tips to bask in a cleaner, calmer bathroom (ahhh).
Nab every inch of space
The first step is to find a home for everything: Take advantage of any place you can carve out some real estate. Consider the back of the bathroom door, the inside of a closet door, or a mounted bin or rack on the wall.
“These spots are often overlooked storage opportunities,” notes Katie McCann, an organizing pro with Maeve’s Method.
Installing shelves over the toilet is smart, too, adds Marty Basher, a home expert at Modular Closets.
If you don’t have a product shelf in your shower, pick up a caddy or small plastic basket, suggests Jacquie Denny, co-founder of Everything but the House. “This way, you can easily move items from the shower to replenish it and then back again in one motion,” she explains.
Give it a spin (or use bins)
A Lazy Susan under the bathroom sink to house products makes decluttering easy, says Julie Coraccio, the organizing genius at Reawaken Your Brilliance. “Take everything out, remove what you no longer need, put your essentials back in, and you’re done,” she says.
The same principle holds for pull-out bins.
“With baskets or bins, you can stop clutter before it starts, because you’re less likely to add more items than you can hold in each one,” she points out.
Go a step further and label your containers, as seen above, or invest in dedicated drawer dividers, suggests Basher.
Break up with your makeup
Face it, ladies—you’ve probably got too many eye shadow palettes, and they’re getting old, too.
“Many women keep makeup much longer than they should,” notes Coraccio. Pitching expired items should be a no-brainer, she adds, and it’s an easy step if you’re having trouble decluttering this area.
Not sure if something’s too old to use? Go to the Cosmetic Calculator and find out.
Group like items
As you plow through each drawer and shelf, create piles with similarities so you can put them away methodically. Makeup, of course, will have its own section, and the rest should be easy to arrange, too (hair care products, body lotions, perfume).
And to keep toiletries from piling up, commit to a single item at a time.
“Half-used bottles and tubes become clutter in a hurry, so be disciplined—use and finish what’s already open before trying a new product,” urges Basher.
Check your meds
Keeping unused or expired medications in the bathroom adds to clutter and can be dangerous. Kids may sample a pill, or you might inadvertently take something in the dark when you’re half-awake. The best advice: Let those meds go.
“Why put your health at risk?” asks Coraccio.
But please don’t be lazy and toss them down the toilet.
“Make sure you dispose of medications properly as some have been making their way into municipal water systems,” she notes. Most cities and counties have drop-off locations or specially designated days when they take unused medicine (check with your local health department).
Learn the difference: Regular vs. Special
Not every product deserves a spot on that Lazy Susan or in the bins close at hand.
“Keep items you don’t use regularly separate from those you grab on a daily basis,” suggests Basher. This means special fragrances, expensive body cream, and once-a-week hair and face masks can live in their own drawer or basket. You’ll streamline your products and won’t be waylaid pawing through the bin during the morning rush.
Corral kid stuff
Sharing a bathroom with children? Their things need an overhaul as well. Pitch toys they’ve outgrown as well as those threadbare towels, and create separate storage for the under-10 set. Wire baskets, a plastic bucket, or mesh bag that hangs over the shower rod are a few options for storing toys.
Say buh-bye to samples
The smaller the product, the harder it can be to locate. We’re talking about those hotel-size shampoos, lotion samples you’ve ripped from magazines, and the tiny makeup tubes that come with larger purchases at department stores.
“Donate these unused items,” says McCann. There are many worthy groups that’ll gladly take unopened toiletries, including homeless shelters, church committees, and school drives for the needy.
Posted by Jennifer Geddes on realtor.com
Experts share their top clutter-smashing strategies, so you never have to let clutter take up space in your home, budget, or mind ever again!
Most of us have it, but none of us want it. Clutter can overwhelm our lives if we let it — even our wallets can take a hit. According to the National Organization of Professional Organizers, unnecessary spending related to disorganization eats up as much as 20% of our annual budgets. Excess stuff, no matter what form it takes, can really take a mental toll, even making you less productive and more irritable.
The good news? Kicking off a full-on clean sweep isn’t as hard as you think. If you ask professional organizer Maria Gracia, founder of Get Organized Now!, spring is the perfect time to tackle clutter once and for all. “I prefer spring cleaning to involve the purging of anything that’s weighing heavy on you, whether it’s a cluttered garage, an overclogged to-do list, a bursting email inbox, or an ongoing argument with a loved one,” she says.
Are you ready to declutter your home? Follow these time-tested tips from organization experts.
- Follow the one-in, three-out rule. To declutter like a pro, first you have to think like one. That means throwing out the old “one in, one out” system, which “doesn’t do a thing to declutter your home — it basically just evens things out!” says Gracia. She instead sticks to a “one in, three out” policy: When you bring in anything new, three items in the same category (clothes, jewelry, toys, etc.) must be donated, recycled, or trashed.
- Don’t store beyond your space. A good rule of thumb to ward off clutter from the get-go is to purge all items you don’t reasonably have room to store. “If you own a house with wall-to-wall shelving in the den, you’ll have a lot of space for books,” says Jodie Watson, founder of Supreme Organization. “But try to keep a library’s worth of books in a studio apartment, and you’ll run into clutter issues pretty quickly.” The same idea applies to kitchen appliances, dishes, shoes, you name it — keep this in mind especially if you’re moving to a studio apartment for rent in Austin, TX, and closet space is limited.
- Color-code your closets. While you’re in the closet, arrange garments by color. “This will help you see if you have been accumulating black T-shirts over time or have an excessive amount of pink tanks,” says Ashley Murphy, co-founder of Neat Method. “You really won’t know until they’re all grouped together, and it makes the purging process much easier.”
- Sort the fridge. Similarly, Murphy suggests grouping like foods — such as sweet treats, salty snacks, and fresh fruits — in baskets in your fridge or pantry. That way, you can see exactly what you have. “It forces you to not overbuy. If it doesn’t fit in the designated basket, you don’t need it,” she says.
- Put hard-to-reach storage to work. Murphy advises clients to commit all of the out-of-reach spaces in a closet (the highest shelf, back corners, etc.) to special-occasion pieces. For example, you might stash dress shoes if you do most of your day-to-day work in a casual setting, or swimsuits if you live in a climate that’s typically cold. Then keep the heavy-rotation wardrobe items within easy reach.
- “File” everyday shoes. Closet on the small side? Consider loading flats, flip-flops, and sneakers vertically in a basket. “It takes up such a small amount of space but holds a ton of shoes,” says Murphy.
- Ditch packaging ASAP. As soon as you bring a product home (or as soon as something comes in the mail), take everything out and recycle the box or package immediately — and instantly reclaim that space. “Unless you plan on returning the item soon, there’s no reason to hold on to it,” says Julie Naylon of No Wire Hangers. “If something goes wrong, most companies won’t require the original packaging anyway.”
- Opt for paperless manuals. Yep, go ahead and recycle that product manual too. Steal this trick from Naylon before the paper piles up: “Whenever I buy a new product, I go online, type the model number into Google, and download a PDF of the manual onto my computer.”
- Organize first, then declutter. To make organizing and tossing easier, Watson suggests separating paperwork into categories first. “It’s much easier to address a smaller stack that’s either medical, financial, or home-related than to mentally jump back and forth and make decisions on each document pulled from a random pile,” she says.
- Toss excess office supplies. “There’s not one house I’ve been in that didn’t have an overflow of office supplies,” says Naylon. “If you can’t part with of some of your pens or paper clips, pack them up and keep them in back stock. You don’t need every pen you own cluttering up drawers.” This goes double for any freebie promotional pens that you rarely use.
- Purge idle projects. We all bite off more than we can chew at different times in our lives. If neglected projects (a half-knit sweater, a travel scrapbook you never got around to putting together) have been sucking up visible space around the house, it’s time to move on. “Be realistic about the projects you’ve been planning to do. Decide not to do two or three of them and let go of any items you’ve been keeping around ‘just in case,’” says Watson.
- Make things visible. “If kids can’t see what’s in a storage bin, they’ll never put things away properly,” says Murphy, who recommends see-through or mesh bins for toys and other kids’ stuff. Her pick: colorful locker bins from The Land of Nod, because they look great and “let little ones see that games go in one, dolls in another, and so on.”
- Use the right-sized containers. An overstuffed bin isn’t useful to anyone — you’ll never want to dig through it to get what you need. “If an entire group of items can’t fit inside one container, find a bigger one or break it up into two,” says Watson. On the flip side, don’t keep too few items in a larger container. That just wastes precious space.
- Conquer your inbox. Digital clutter weighs just as heavily as the tangible kind. To keep it from spiraling out of control, Gracia suggests making a standing daily date to deal with it. “Give yourself a set amount of time, like 15 minutes, to delete or respond at the same time every day. Set a timer and keep going until it sounds,” she says. On lighter days, take a few minutes to unsubscribe from newsletters and companies you’re no longer interested in, set spam filters, or sign up for a service like unroll.me. If things have gotten really dire, consider deleting all of it. Highlight everything and press “Delete” or change email services. “Then contact those in your address book, asking anyone awaiting a response to resend their question,” says Gracia.
- Use the rule of four. There’s nothing more intimidating than an overloaded to-do list. That’s where Gracia’s “rule of four” hack comes in: “Keep two lists: one master list for everything, and one called ‘To Do Today.’ Move only four items from the master list to the ‘today’ list, and only focus on those four until they’re done. At that point, you can move four more over. Every time you complete a set, reward yourself!”
Posted by Jill Russell on Trulia
Our bedrooms may be our private retreat from all of life’s stresses, but let’s face it: Most of the time, this place is just a mess. We pray people won’t pop their heads in there to witness the piles of clothes, the cluttered nightstands, the unmade beds. But it doesn’t have to be that way—all you might need is a little advice on how to organize your bedroom right.
Here are seven steps to a shipshape space.
Step 1: Clean out your closet
Regardless of how messy the rest of your bedroom is, your closet is almost certainly a disaster zone. Sort through all of your clothing and donate everything you haven’t worn in the past year to your favorite charity. Consider investing in a closet system—Ikea offers a number of inexpensive options to keep your shoes, clothing, and foldable items in order.
Step 2: Make use of hidden space
Unless you’re sleeping on a platform bed, there’s plenty of room for storage underneath it. Keep winter clothing out of sight when the weather warms up by tucking it away in an under-bed box. Wheeled varieties give you easy access when that first autumn chill comes rolling through. And as a bonus, those annoying dust bunnies have less room to hide when the space underneath your bed is filled with boxes.
Step 3: Tuck away electronics
Long cables mar an otherwise attractive bedroom. Keeping them out of sight (and mind) goes a long way toward making your space look clean and organized. For a bedroom TV, use a simple cord cover to keep the cables hidden. For your collection of nighttime-charging electronics, consider creating a charging station inside your nightstand drawer.
Step 4: Create footboard storage
There’s a reason designers love to push chests against the end of a bed: Not only do they look stylish and awesome, but they also provide serious storage space—especially in small rooms. Use them for bulky items like extra duvets, chunky sweaters, and Butkis the Belgian sheepdog’s entire collection of Halloween costumes.
Step 5: Add a desk or vanity
These pieces of furniture don’t take much space, so go ahead and carve out space for one if that’s your desire. Add a small table with drawers on which you can perch your laptop or (if you’re going for a vanity) a lighted mirror. Include a cute but comfy chair and—if your collection of lipsticks and eyeshadows is a cluttered mess—an acrylic makeup organizer.
Step 6: Find your weak points
Last but not least, take a look at your surroundings. Where does mess accumulate most—on top of your dresser? Beside your bed? Is your nightstand a disaster? Single out the worst offenders. Then, spend a few days observing your own behavior to understand why these particular locations are such clutter magnets. Do you leave water glasses on your nightstand every night? Do all your clothes somehow wind up in a pile on the floor?
Pinpointing the biggest issues will help you make an actionable plan to turn these bad habits into good ones. For instance, vow to remove those water glasses first thing in the morning. Hang your clothes or toss them into the laundry. And last but not least, make your bed in the morning—the 5 seconds it takes to pull up the bedcover really does make a huge difference.
Then give yourself a little breathing room—research shows it takes 66 days to form a new habit. Your space might be in shape now, but the ultimate goal should be keeping your bedroom looking like a relaxing oasis 100% of the time.
Posted by Jamie Wiebe on realtor.com
This A+ plan will have your family ready to greet the first day of school with a smile.
As if summer isn’t crazy enough, the transition to school can make home life even busier and messier. Schedules are a mix of school activities and the last-hurrah-of-summer, and the house is strewn with important school papers and wet beach towels. Here are a few tips to help you organize the chaos this year.
Clean the fridge out (and off) and restock
Clearing the front of the fridge of summer camp art projects and already-happened wedding invitations will signal a new season and leave room for important phone numbers and all those A+ papers your young scholars bring home.
Then, clean out the refrigerator, tossing all those picnic leftovers, and get it ready for quick breakfasts, packed lunches and after-school snacks. Anything grab-and-go is sure to be appreciated, especially during the first few weeks of school while your family is still getting used to the new schedule. A basket of fresh fruit by the door is also handy.
Take stock of closets and clothes
A new first-day-of-school outfit is a childhood ritual. But before you add to your child’s wardrobe, take stock of what they’ve outgrown during the summer months. And don’t forget the weather will probably be changing soon. See if your kids will be needing any new warmer clothes for the coming season.
A clean and organized closet and dresser will make getting out the door in the morning easier for everyone.
Similarly, catching up with laundry and creating a laundry system if you don’t already have one will keep your life running more smoothly.
Create a scheduling center
This is Mission Control for the family, so it should be in a central place in your home, such as the kitchen or entryway. You’ll want to keep a calendar, filing system, address book, notepads for taking phone messages, and plenty of pens, since they always seem to go missing.
This is also where paperwork should go to be sorted and put away, or signed and sent back to school. Create a system for paperwork and scheduling the family so Dad isn’t slated to tee off with his co-workers at the same time he’s supposed to chaperone a field trip.
Make mealtime easy
Meal-planning will save you time and money — not to mention protect your sanity when you’re running home from work and PTA meetings.
To keep the grownups fueled, set up a coffee station in your kitchen where they can grab a to-go mug easily.
Create a menu, and make a master shopping list to prep for the week. That way, you’ll know exactly what to make when everyone’s hungry, and you won’t waste ingredients.
Keep a list on your fridge to remind you of the week’s menu. And when inquiring minds ask what’s for dinner, you can direct them to the menu.
Prepping a few extra meals to throw in the freezer now will ease the busy first few weeks of school, too.
Tackle the mudroom and entryway
School brings with it a lot of paraphernalia: backpacks, lunch bags, gym bags, artwork, and library books. The mudroom or entryway will be the drop-off point and can quickly become a disaster without a system.
Are shoes taken off here? If so, make sure everyone has a designated spot for their shoes. Same with coats and backpacks.
Lunch bags should go in a specific place, or back to the kitchen to be cleaned out for the next day.
Establishing these routines at the beginning of the school year will help them become engrained so by the time winter, with its extra layers, and spring, with its muddy boots, come along, you won’t be pulling your hair out.
While the transition will take some getting used to, having solid systems in place in your home can help you ease the stress, and focus on the enjoyment of an exciting new school year.
Get more home design ideas to keep you inspired.
Posted by Natalie Wise on Zillow
Downsizing the detritus of life is not an overnight event, so give yourself plenty of time.
Whether you’re moving into a smaller space, moving in with a significant other, or simply want to pare down as you look for a new place, downsizing your home is not always an easy proposition. Rather than tackling the task blindly, it’s important to make a plan and execute it with intention. Use the following expert tips to learn how to downsize your belongings and declutter your home this summer.
Posted by Robyn Woodman on Trulia
Where are the towels? Which box holds the can opener? Who packed the cat food? When you’re surrounded by boxes, what you need is a strategy.
Once all the moving preparations have been made, all the arduous moving tasks have been taken care of, and everything has gone more or less according to plan on moving day, you finally find yourself in your new home, surrounded by piles of boxes, tired and glad that your relocation is about to end.
To fully complete your moving adventure, however, you need to unpack your belongings and make your new place feel like home. But how to even begin unpacking?
First things first
No matter how much you want to get it over with as soon as possible, there are several important things to do before you can actually start unpacking.
- Clean and prepare your new home. It’s easier to wipe down shelves, clean windows, and mop floors before your belongings have been put in place. Make sure your home-to-be is spotless when your items arrive. If you can’t get to your new place early enough to do a thorough cleaning, consider hiring professional cleaners to do the job for you.
- Inspect and organize your belongings. Check all the delivered boxes and household items against your inventory sheet to make sure nothing is damaged or missing. Then have each of your possessions taken to the room where it belongs. If everything was properly marked and labeled, sorting out your items will be a piece of cake.
- Open your box of essentials. There should be tools, toiletries, clothes, medicines, packed food, basic kitchenware, and other “lifesavers” in it that will allow you to refresh yourself, open the sealed boxes, reassemble your furniture, and so on.
- Set major furniture and appliances. Position your large furniture pieces and bulky household appliances first. Then you can put any smaller items you unpack later directly in their rightful places. Plan your interior design well in advance so you don’t end up moving heavy pieces around several times.
Tackle the necessities
What matters most when unpacking your items after a move is ensuring that your essentials are immediately accessible. So prioritize your belongings, and unpack only the necessities first.
You may not be able to unpack the entire bedroom right away, but you will definitely have to set up the bed the day you move into your new home. Reassemble it (if necessary), lay down the sheets, unpack the pillows, and spread the blankets so you can get a good night’s rest — you’re going to need it!
Provided that you have a change of clothes and some comfortable indoor shoes (as well as curtains on the windows to ensure your privacy), the rest of your bedroom items can wait until you find the time and the energy to deal with them.
Without a doubt, your personal care items, toiletries, and medicines should top the list of the most important items to unpack after your move. Put out toilet paper and soap, find your toothbrush and toothpaste, hang the towels and the shower curtains, and unpack any other bathroom essentials you’re going to need in order to refresh yourself and wash away the weariness and stress of moving.
Also, fill in the medicine cabinet with the medications you have brought, and don’t forget to take your prescription drugs on time.
You may have brought some food with you, or you may rely on delivery for the first day or two after the relocation, but you’re going to need a fully operational kitchen as soon as possible in order to prepare healthy, homemade meals for yourself and your family.
Kitchens tend to take a very long time to unpack and organize properly due to the large number of items that need to be sorted out and carefully arranged.
As soon as you’ve hooked up the large appliances, such as the fridge and the stove, move on to your smaller kitchenware. Plates, silverware and glasses should be the first to find their places in cupboards and kitchen cabinets, closely followed by cooking utensils, pots and pans, and pantry items.
Kids’ and pets’ items
If you have young children, you should unpack some of their favorite toys, books, games, blankets and such during the very first hours in your new home. Keeping your young ones happy and occupied will let you concentrate on your work and finish it faster.
Of course, you should also take care of your pets’ needs immediately upon arrival. It’s a good idea to pack adequate pet food, water and food dishes, and some of your animal friends’ favorite toys in your open-first box.
When you’ve unpacked the three most essential rooms in your home (bedroom, bathroom and kitchen), everything else can wait a bit. There are no deadlines to meet, so you can set your own pace when unpacking and decorating your new place — just unpack in order of priority and without procrastination.
If you stay organized, set reasonable mini goals and complete them promptly, clean after every unpacking phase, and dispose of the packing materials in a safe and eco-friendly manner, your new surroundings will soon stop looking like a warehouse full of boxes and start feeling like home.
If you have some fun in the process — listen to your favorite music, play “unpacking games” with your kids, and invite friends over to give you a helping hand — the exhausting unpacking endeavor may turn out to be much easier and faster than you expected.
Posted by Moving.Tips on Zillow