When the Get Organized Already team is out working around Glendale and Pasadena we often learn organizing tips from our clients. Not everyone who calls us for help is completely disorganized. In fact I think everyone is organized in some way.
OXO pop top containers are my favorite for their transparency and uniformity. I also love funky and colorful containers as long as you can quickly tell what’s in them. Use labels if you need to, and try to always store the same type of snack in the same container.
For groups of like items that may be too small to decant (think nuts and dried fruit or cough drops and gummy bears), put all the similar bags in a lidless container you can grab and pull out. I like a shoebox sized container so it isn’t too heavy. Also closing the bags by rolling them up and using a rubber band feels less cumbersome to me than using clips to close them. If the snack is crunchable and you can’t use a rubber band, decant it!
No linen closet?
Older homes like mine do not have central linen storage. That means I have to cut back on how many sets of sheets we have for each bed. Two sets per bed is a good rule of thumb. One set stays on the bed and one set gets stored in a drawer in the room. I store my extra duvet cover in my pants drawer under all the pants because I only swap it out twice a year. (Yes, I wash it more than that. ew.)
Not having a linen closet also means you have to store every bath towel you own in the restroom. They seldom fit into a cabinet and folding towels to fit 2 on a rack is a recipe for mildewed towels. Double ew. So, we suggest rolling up clean extra towels — even beach/pool towels — and storing them in a bucket or large basket in the restroom. I prefer a bucket because you can disinfect it easier than a basket. Again, you only need 2-3 extra towels.
With minimal storage space you must be more selective in what you keep.
Dirty clothes pile-up
Persistence is the nature of a pile of dirty clothes. The pile is never gone. You are never done with laundry. Even when you are actively washing or folding one load, more dirty clothes start to pile up.
If you hate picking up the interim pile when you return the hamper to it’s spot, buy 2 stackable laundry hampers. This way there will always be a receptacle for the dirty clothes. Stack the empty one on the bottom once clean clothes are put away.
(This is a little weird to explain, so just watch the video.)
Keep a donation bin
Everyone has a system for moving trash and recycling out of their house — trash cans. So why not use another new trash can for donations? If there is a convenient container for things you are ready to donate, you and your family will be more likely to develop a habit of letting things go.
If you have a large home, you may want multiple donation bins. Whatever it takes to keep things moving out of your house when your family is done with them.
Keep a bag/liner in the donation bin just like you do in the trash bin for easy removal and transport to your car.
In the same way, if you have cousins or neighbors to whom you are always giving hand-me-downs, keep a lined container going for them. Something that’s easy to hand over whenever you see them.
Tips from other professional organizers
Also published on Medium.