Now’s the time to organize
Spring is synonymous with a lot of things — budding trees and flowers, spring showers, and spring cleaning. While the latter may not appeal to all, this season is the ideal time to get started on that to-do list that you’ve been putting off.
After all, you’ve likely been switching out winter clothes for summer ones, as well as changing bedding and maybe even items in a garage or storage shed (out with the snowblower and in with the lawnmower), so why not ensure that you go about it in a systematic way so that it’s not only organized from the onset but actually stays that way?
“When we finally emerge from winter, especially in Montreal, people crave a fresh start, which makes it a great time to tackle some lingering organization projects,” said Allison Weigensberg, owner of Everything In Place and the national conference committee lead for POC (Professional Organizers in Canada). “For instance, it is a great time to go through all of your cold-weather gear (clothes, outdoor wear, sports equipment, etc.) and evaluate what you actually used during the winter.
“Chances are, if you didn’t use it you won’t be using it in the future and you might want to consider selling or donating those unused items. Why let it take up space in your life?”
“The main thing is to not get overwhelmed,” advised Daniella Condello, a professional organizer and owner of Bien Rangé. “There’s so much to do when it comes to projects, inside or outside, so make a list of everything you want to do — not chores but to-do projects, such as pool setup, repairs, and changing linens, and then prioritize them.
“Allocate a certain amount of time for each project and tackle it with enough time to complete it, so you feel good about it. And mark these projects on the calendar. People often play it by ear, but a structured plan helps you maintain the spring change.”
There are slews of “organizational helpers” on the market that can make projects that much easier, but DIY devices can also aid in decluttering.
Spring is the opportunity to go minimal — we want everything to feel a bit lighter ... DANIELLA CONDELLO, professional organizer
“Whenever possible, I try to reuse or up-cycle things that my clients already have in their homes — some pretty shelf liner in a cute pattern can instantly transform a shoebox or a boring bin,” Weigensberg said. She’s also a fan of trinket trays, especially on the dresser or kitchen counter, to decrease clutter — and a stick-on folder on the inside of the cupboard door for coupons, bills and the like.
“Paper clutter really tends to be an issue in most households,” she said, “and having a folder that is out of the way helps keep the paper off the counter until you are ready to deal with it.”
Labels are also a must-have for most professional organizers. “My all-time favourite organizational tool is, by far, labelling — and you don’t have to have a label maker. All you need is a permanent marker
and a brightly coloured Post-it secured by some tape,” Weigensberg said. “This has really helped my husband and kids keep up with the organization in our house. Chalkboard labels have also been a recent favourite of mine as they are super easy to change and easy to draw pictures on.”
So this spring, stop putting off the things on your to-do list and follow a simple plan to optimize your time
and your efforts.
“Spring is the opportunity to go minimal — we want everything to feel a bit lighter, so minimize what it is you have lying around,” Condello said.
“Keep a minimum amount of things out, and use the things that you haven’t used in a long time just to switch it up, like a vase for utensils instead of waiting for that dozen roses to appear at your door.”
Custom shelving from companies such as Ikea or California Closets can help keep your possessions stored in an organized fashion. In this image, for example, a couple of rods allow for hanging clothes, while shelves accommodate everything from towels to bedding to footwear. A set of built-in drawers can hold socks and underwear, as well as small items such as jewelry and the like. A couple of hat boxes and vintage suitcases on the floor add visual appeal as well as additional storage space.
It might be old-school, but shoeboxes continue to be handy storage receptacles — good for photos, bills, any ephemera and/or small items. Tote bags, too, are handy receptacles that can hold all manner of things and still look neat on a shelf. The trick is to think minimal; get rid of stuff you rarely use, and keep the stuff that you do use handy and well organized.
A decorated box filled with cardboard tubes makes for a handy place to keep markers, crayons, scissors and other stationery supplies neat and orderly.
A pair of faux wicker baskets tucked under a bench (above) provide a handy place to keep hats, sunglasses and sunscreen for those getting ready to go outside — or coming back in — this summer.