Pretty and Smart: Organization Worth a Double-Take
How nice is it when you open the door to your pantry or linen closet and everything is easily accessible, properly in its place, and beautifully organized? It’s in that moment that you can breathe a sigh of relief and all seems right in the universe.
But if I’m being completely honest, this almost never happens to me as I am perhaps the most unorganized person you will ever meet. However, I dream of being organized all the time, thus giving me enough credibility to write this post. Things got so desperate for me at one point that I even had a professional organizer come and help me with my office and let me tell you, it was a huge help! Between my experience with a professional organizer and analyzing other people’s organized cupboards, here is what I have learned about how to keep your cupboards and shelves neat and organized so that you enjoy looking at the inside just as much as you do the outside.
Put like things with like things
It was the first thing I did with my professional organizer and one of the most obvious things to do, yet…I had never done it. We put highlighters with permanent markers and other pens, we put masking tape with scotch tape and packing tape, we put drafting pencils with drafting rules and tracing paper, and so on and so forth. This applies to any type of organizing anywhere and is such a perfect and easy place to start. Put black beans with refried and kidney, put flat sheets with fitted sheets and pillow cases, put shaving cream with razors and waxing supplies. Depending on your space available you can create broader or more defined groups.
Take a trip to your local donation center twice a year
This is a key component in your new organized life so make it a habit. My personal favorite is Goodwill because they will take anything with no questions asked. Something that I’ve learned from watching several episodes of Hoarders is…just because you own something useful that doesn’t mean you need to keep it, especially if you haven’t used or worn it within the past year. Something else I learned from Hoarders is that if you have too many things in a confined space, it doesn’t matter how useful they are because you can’t find any of them when you need them. Paring down what you own is essential and simplicity is everything.
Invest in matching linens/glasses/towels/etc
Image: Color Coordination
This will add to the overall aesthetic of your cupboard or shelf, which will be more pleasing to the eye and also create a greater desire for you to keep things in their place. A fully decorated room is easier to keep clean because I want to see it looking beautiful all of the time, but if I clean the room and it’s still not that great, I lose motivation for keeping it tidy. This same rule applies to closets and cupboards.
A major life changing purchase of mine has been a label maker. When baskets and shelf space have a specific label, something magical happens…it is almost physically impossible to put something under, in, or on top of, the wrong label. Thus, all things are in their rightful place at all times and easy to locate, stack, and organize. At first I got hung up on the labels from the label maker ruining the look of my bins and shelves. As it turns out, a neatly organized space with generic looking labels is waaaaay better than an incredibly messy space without. (Note: If you’re feeling super ambitious, which I usually don’t when it comes to getting organized, you can create much cuter labels than the ones that come rolling out of my label maker. Pinterest is full of inspiration, just search: “organizing labels”)
Frequently used items belong in the most convenient space
This means Christmas decorations are at the way top or way bottom and hand towels and body lotion are at arms-reach. This makes your life a little easier, increasing your determination to stay organized. Another helpful tip is to keep a step stool nearby each hard to reach location (I have one near the hall closet and another one in the kitchen) so that it isn’t so frustrating to get to the items at the top and so I don’t make a bigger mess knocking things down in the process of jumping for higher items or climbing on shelves (I’ve done both on several occasions – not recommended).
What tips do you have for keeping everything tidy behind your cupboard doors?