SPRING CLEAN­ING

Now’s the time to or­ga­nize

Montreal Gazette - - New Homes + Condos - JEN­NIFER COX

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.”

COUR­TESY OF CAL­I­FOR­NIA CLOS­ETS, MON­TREAL GAZETTE FILES

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.

COUR­TESY OF BIEN RANGÉ

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.

IMAGES COUR­TESY OF EV­ERY­THING IN PLACE

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.

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