When you think of spring chores, you probably think of “spring cleaning.” But before you can really clean, you need to get organized. We talked to Jennifer Roach, a professional organizer on Thumbtack and owner of Organization Fabulous in Southern California who helps people organize their homes, offices, wardrobes, and more, to get her tips and tricks for where to start.
Jennifer’s biggest piece of advice? Make it fun. “You’ve got to put on music.” And when it comes to getting rid of stuff and de-cluttering, she suggests having someone to bounce ideas off of. “Invite your favorite positive and perky person over and let them know that you’re not trying to keep stuff. Music and fun people are key.”
But it doesn’t stop there. Read on for Jennifer’s 10 fun and inspiring “mantras” for getting organized this spring.
And One Place for All
“Create a communication station,” Jennifer says. This station should be very close to where you come in the door or car. “You can use a little table or a tiny part of your kitchen counter. This is where your mail gets dropped, your keys go in a key bowl or on hooks, and you have a calendar so you can communicate with your spouse or children where everyone is at any given time.”
The Trays Have It
“Trays are the coolest things. You can buy them for $10 to $20 and they are an easy way to control the clutter.”
Jennifer suggests using a tray to make a valet tray. “Especially for men. They can put their watch, wallet, charging station, and a little bowl where they can drop their change.” This is helpful for someone who may tend to leave things all over the house, she says. Now they know: if you don’t know where something is, it’s going to be on the tray.
Trays are also great for kids with projects. “At the end of the night, you put all of the Legos or the puzzle on the tray and then there’s no disruption for projects that are going to be continued the next day.”
Trays are also an easy way to create a “bar” with all of your entertaining essentials, keep kitchen pieces handy and neat, or organize bathroom clutter. They help bring together like items and give them a streamlined look.
Look Up, Look Down
Use walls for storage in small spaces, Jennifer says. “I have no cabinets in my tiny bungalow in California so I wasn’t sure what to do with my pots and pans. I put hooks on the wall and it’s cool because now I love looking at my really cool pots.”
Taking advantage of wall space is a great way to keep things handy, but also out of the way, especially things you want to stay visible and neat. And it doesn’t have to be an eyesore; spend a little time making it stylish so that when you look at whatever is hanging on the wall, it brings you joy.
Hook ‘Em, Y’all
Hooks are a great way to manage clutter, Jennifer says. “Use hooks for pots and pans, hats, backpacks, hand towels, and more. Cup hooks in the closet are a great way to keep jewelry organized. You can see what you have and it doesn’t get tangled.”
The Land Down Under
Beneath your bed (and anything space under it) is prime storage real estate. “You can buy bed risers so you can store more stuff,” Jennifer says. “Or get bins with wheels and use it as a drawer system.”
Typically it’s probably easier to use under-the-bed storage to put clothing that’s not in season, extra blankets, or luggage. And no matter what, you still want to keep that area clean and tidy so that you’ll sleep well at night knowing everything is organized and in its place.
“Folding the right way will change your life,” Jennifer says. The key is to fold everything in equidistant thirds so everything is the same size. That will enable you to store things like shirts standing upright in the drawer, so you can see everything you have and nothing gets lost at the bottom of a pile.
One Off, One On
If you don’t want to live in a cluttered space, Jennifer says you must follow this rule: For every one thing that comes into your home, one thing must go out. That means if you buy a new piece of clothing, you have to remove one item from your closet (and donate it) when you come home. This will keep your space clutter-free and organized.
Toss It, Baby
Don’t keep things you don’t need, Jennifer says. “Take pictures of the barcodes on your electronics boxes and then toss them,” she says. “People think they need to keep the boxes for everything, but it’s a waste of space.”
Other things you can throw away (or recycle) without guilt: outdated electronics, old paperwork/files, anything that’s expired (medication, spices, etc.), anything that’s broken that you haven’t gotten around to fixing.
Release and Release
“You’ve got to release your attachment to things,” Jennifer says. “My motto is either honor it, store it properly, or donate it to give someone else joy. We put too much importance on things. All we need is our memories.”
Do It Now.
“Don’t procrastinate. Whatever it is: if something needs to go upstairs, or be put away: do it now. That will help you with de-cluttering.”