For many homeowners, the onset of Spring means one thing: cleaning and organization. As temperatures rise and the snow melts, it’s a great time to tackle many home projects or consider a renovation that you may have been putting off all Winter long.
This month, we’ll highlight some great ways to incorporate organization into a home renovation project, as well as ways to tackle your Spring to-do list, including deep cleaning, decluttering, and optimizing space within your home. The best part is most of these can even be done year-round.
Ways to add organization during a home renovation
When considering updating your home, make sure to keep in mind ways to improve the layout and function of your home. Keeping organization in mind as you design will keep clutter and mess at bay and make living in your home more enjoyable.
A dedicated and organized landing zone
Photo: Basement storage in Nahant
Where does your family typically enter the house? Through the garage into the basement? At the front door? Since this will be where shoes and backpacks are immediately discarded, make sure to have a dedicated and organized space for every item. This will help your family put things away when they arrive, and quickly find what they need when it’s time to leave. Built-in benches and cubbies are great and can include a dedicated section for each family member. Make sure your landing area or mudroom includes specific and easy to access spots for coats, purses and backpacks, sports equipment, shoes, and cold weather gear.
Entryway storage – Arlington
Kitchen storage – Arlington
Some of our favorite kitchen customizations include:
- Toe kick drawers or double height cabinets. Both are a great way to take advantage of every inch of space, particularly in smaller kitchens.
- Specific built-In storage: Have a large collection of cookbooks? Consider adding a bookshelf to the end of the island or a row of cabinets. Carve out a space for a dedicated pull-out cabinet for trash and recycling which will eliminate the need for a stand-alone trash or recycling bin. Add slotted dividers in a cabinet to keep cookie sheets and trays organized.
There are also almost infinite types of aftermarket items, many available at Target or Amazon, that can up your organization game in the kitchen or panty. These are particularly helpful for dry goods items which are difficult to see and organize. Tiered pantry inserts or expandable drawer inserts for spices are a great way to make it easier to find spices on the fly. Round turntables for oils and vinegars or even canned goods make it easy to spot every item in your cabinet or pantry.
Laundry room: keeping clean
In an ideal world, a dedicated laundry room would be located near the main bedrooms in the house. However, here in New England we know the most likely spot for laundry is usually in the basement. If during a home renovation you don’t have the space or budget to move your laundry closer to the bedrooms, consider some other options to up your laundry game.
Here at Godfrey Design-Build we have helped many clients improve their laundry areas, making them a clean, bright, and attractive space, wherever they are located. Some great ideas for laundry storage and organization we’ve included in some recent projects are:
- Laundry sink
- Countertop for folding
- Cabinet storage for detergents and other cleaning products
- Enclosed cabinets so the washer and dryer can be closed off when not in use
Basement laundry – Arlington
Basement laundry – Marblehead
Basement laundry – Medford
Spring cleaning and organization
Make a list, but don’t get overwhelmed
When it comes to staying on top of a home cleaning and organization schedule, lists are key. Keep a running list of all cleaning, maintenance, and organizational tasks that need to be done routinely in your home. Not sure where to start? One way to not feel overwhelmed is to keep separate lists based on areas of the house, seasons, or the time needed for particular tasks. For example, keep a list of projects that can typically be completed in about an hour, another for those taking a few hours to complete, and finally those full day or full weekend behemoths.
You could also have seasonal or indoor/outdoor lists, since some projects may be dependent on good weather. You can create these lists in a Google Doc so they can be shared with or updated by anyone in the family or household.
Declutter – room by room
The long winter months and the gift-giving season can mean one thing: an influx of STUFF! Spring is a great time to declutter. While this can seem overwhelming at first, we have a few easy tips that should make purging and reorganizing a breeze.
- Go room by room: Tackling the whole house or even one floor can be overwhelming and time consuming! Pick somewhere small and start there.
- Remove everything other than large furniture pieces: Yes, everything! Once you’ve removed all decor and smaller items, it will be easier to decide which things you truly want back in the space
- Dust, vacuum, and wipe down all surfaces: Vacuum under rugs and large furniture pieces like couches and tables. Don’t forget to dust baseboards and wash windows, straighten frames, wipe down mirrors, etc. Vacuum out fireplaces and under couch cushions.
- Replace or repair any broken items: Think lightbulbs or mismatched coasters.
- Decide what goes and what stays: Make 3 piles: Trash, donate, and relocate.
- Only put back what’s worth keeping: Place other items in the trash or donation box, or in a separate bin to relocate to another area of the house.
Parting with your stuff: 3 easy ways
Luckily social media and technology have made it easier to sell, give away, or donate anything you no longer use or need. Here are some great resources to help make your purge easier!
- Facebook Marketplace: Have something in great shape and hoping to make a little money? Facebook Marketplace is an easy and free way to sell clothing, furniture, or home items. Want to learn more? Check out this Facebook link.
- Buy Nothing: The Buy Nothing Project is an easy way to have a positive impact. Giving away your unwanted items not only reduces trash and waste, it also fosters a sense of community, as you’re often able to meet new people. The project is typically organized through local Facebook. Search and join your local town or community’s page on Facebook, and be sure to read over the rules of your group, as they may vary from town to town.
- Donate: Don’t have the time or energy to sell or give away things you don’t need through online outlets? Prefer to give your items away to your favorite charity or to those in need? Search here to find organizations in your area and what type of donations they allow. The best part? Many pick up your items at your home for free!
- Stay Safe! Many local police stations are “Safe Trade” locations. If you’d prefer not to meet up at your home for a purchase or donation pickup, you can suggest meeting up at your local police station. Here is a great resource on staying safe when you buy, sell, or pick up an item from someone you don’t know.
You can do it – tackle the kitchen!
The kitchen can often be the most overwhelming room to clean, declutter, and organize. However, it is probably where you and your family spend the largest amount of time. Sprucing it up can make living, working, or cooking in the space easier and more enjoyable.
Before you start organizing food items, bakeware, glassware, etc., remove everything from each cabinet, one by one. Discard any opened and expired items. Instead of throwing away any chipped plates or glasses, try upcycling them! For larger items that are only used once or twice per year, it may make more sense to store them in a closet or boxed up (and clearly labeled!) in the basement.
Consider changing where your glasses and plates are stored. Keep glasses close to the fridge and consider moving plates and bowls to a large pull-out drawer so kids can easily access them.
With four distinct seasons here in New England, keeping everything from bicycles, to lawn tools to snowblowers in the garage year round simply may not be possible. Therefore, it’s extra important to declutter and reorganize the garage several times per year, perhaps at least once in Spring and again in the Fall.
If you have many items to discard, consider a junk haul service or “dumpster bag” from your local hardware store, who will then haul it away when it’s full. Make sure you are optimizing your precious garage space too. You can add a pegboard system to the wall or purchase garage shelving. These items will keep everything off the floor, where they are susceptible to water (or animals!) and also increase storage — is there ever enough?
Consider swapping out items by season. For example, if you have a bulkhead and easy access to your unfinished basement, keep items like bicycles and golf clubs there in winter, and shovels and sleds there in summer. Have a snowblower or lawn mower? Some repair companies will pick up and store for the off season if you regularly service with them.
Even the tidiest of homes will always need some cleaning. Don’t get overwhelmed, start small and have a plan! Before you know it you’ll have a mess-free, organized home that is easy to clean and maintain.