5 Weeks to Organize Your New York Apartment: Join the Challenge

5 Weeks to Organize Your New York Apartment: Join the ChallengeA disorganized apartment can be miserable, and clutter prevents you from relaxing. Whether you need to start purging unwanted items or just need to get everything in its place, an organized apartment is more enjoyable and welcoming. You could take your time getting organized, enjoy the journey and eventually get there, or you could take the five-week challenge and enjoy a calm, orderly space in a little over a month. If you like fast results and don’t want a long wait, then use these tips to take the five-week challenge.

Start with the Closets

The closets may be hidden, but they lie at the heart of every organized house. When the closets are orderly, other areas start falling into place. As you purge the closets of unwanted and unnecessary items, you open up storage space for the things you really do want. The next time someone asks where the jewelry cleaner is or if you have more hand soap for the bathroom, you won’t have to search through piles. You’ll know exactly where it is, and that’s a great feeling.

Start at the top of the closet and work your way down. You should have a trash can nearby for items that can go to the landfill. Set a cardboard box next to the trashcan for those items that can be donated or given to friends. Finally, have a table for those items that need to be organized and put back into the closet.

Whether you are organizing a bathroom, bedroom or linen closet, bins and baskets may become your best friend. Plastic bins with lids are perfect for medications, shoe-cleaning supplies and your collection of nail polish. The bins can be stacked to fit more in the same space, and spills will be contained. Choose clear bins or label them to make finding items in the future easier.

From clothes to shoes, most people have an entire wardrobe of clothes that they no longer wear. Whether the problem is that they no longer fit or they are somehow damaged, start the purge in bedroom closets by pulling out these articles. If you have not worn it in a year or more, you can safely get rid of it. This opens up space for the items you love and still wear.

Move to the Kitchen

With the closets purged and organized, you are probably looking at new space and getting some ideas. When you expose a shelf in the linen closet, you suddenly have a home for that cool new paraffin dip bath you picked up last week. Imagine what you can accomplish by doing the same thing in the kitchen.

As you move through the kitchen, be prepared to pare down, trim back and let go of items. If you have not used it in more than a year, then you probably can live quite happily without it. Check all food for expiration dates and dispose of anything that is expired. Cracked dishes, plastic containers with no lids and lids without bases are all examples of items you can safely throw out. When it comes to the appliances and gadgets, be honest with yourself about how often you use it. Letting go of something you never use opens up space for something else you will love. Here are some other tips to help you get the kitchen organized.

• Just as plastic bins are handy for the linen closet, they are also a time saver in the kitchen. Choose a small plastic bin for your envelope seasonings for tacos and gravies. Invest in another bin just for cooking extracts. Your cabinet will be clean and orderly, and cooking will be easier when you can find what you need quickly.

• You may enjoy saving money by recycling plastic grocery bags, but those bags can start to take over the kitchen. Tuck them into special bag holders, or get really crafty by putting them in an empty tissue box stored in a drawer.

• Make the switch to nesting containers for food storage. It doesn’t matter if you choose a basic plastic set or a high-end glass set with lids. Choosing containers that fit neatly inside each other is one of the best ways to get organized and open up space.

• Over-the-door storage racks and shelves create extra space in the kitchen without requiring a full renovation.

• Put turntables in cabinets to make it easier to find the canned goods and spices you are searching for.

• Corral recipes to save your sanity. Use a simple index card box, or you can put recipe cards in a photo album to protect the recipes and make looking for the right one easy. It will save having to search through the house for that specific recipe. Another option is to scan them into searchable database on your computer.

• Enjoy more space in lower cabinets by investing in special drawers and baskets. Eliminating the partial shelf along the back of the cabinet, sliding baskets and drawers instantly create more space while making it easier to access the items stored in these cabinets. They are even available in free-standing models that sit in the cabinet and are easy to assemble and install.

Let the Kids Help in Their Bedrooms

One of the most dreaded chores may be helping the kids organize their bedrooms. If you have gone into the bedrooms countless times and organized it only to have it fall apart, then it’s time to change tactics. Kids are more likely to maintain what they create, so let them have some say in how their rooms will be set up.

In addition to knowing and understanding how the room should be maintained, your kids may have some fresh ideas. Their rooms will be organized better, they will appreciate having more control over the setup, and they are more likely to maintain whatever system they put in place.

Pinpoint Challenges to Find Solutions

Now that you have created space in proper storage areas, you are ready to start organizing the rest of the house. Coats that won’t fit in the hall closet will go neatly in a bedroom closet. The shoes that normally clutter your apartment foyer can be relocated to bedrooms. As you move through the home, you will start pinpointing challenging areas and coming up with solutions. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

• Create a charging station for the tablets, smartphones and other electronics. It may be a neat shelf on the kitchen counter or a special charging station on the bedroom dresser. Bundle cords and keep them neat by tying them up with zip-straps or even bread ties.

• Put gloves and hats in their place. Winters in New York can be brutal, and you probably have a healthy collection of gloves, hats, scarves and mittens. Consider getting a nice dresser for the foyer that will hold these items. Another option is to give each family member a basket they can keep in their room for outdoor accessories. Hang a fabric shoe organizer with pockets on the back of the closet door and put the accessories in the pockets.

• Buy a used wooden dresser for your child to use as a toy bin. It’s easier to organize toys in the dresser, and they won’t have to search through a cavernous bin to find what they want.

• Buy a nice basket for mail. Whether you are in the habit of opening mail as soon as it arrives or not, you should put the mail in that basket. When the basket is full, you know that it’s time to sift through the mail and either file or dispose of items.

Avoid the Common Mistakes of Organizing

Getting organized isn’t always easy. If it were simple, there wouldn’t be a market for professional organizers. However, there are some very common mistakes that you can avoid. Rise to the five-week organizing challenge by avoiding these pitfalls.

• It’s not about the products. While plastic bins are great for hall closets and sliding baskets work wonders in the kitchen, the answer does not lie in finding the right product. What matters is that you take the time to get rid of clutter and start organizing what’s left.

• Stop rearranging everything. While moving things around will make the room look different, it’s not the same as actually getting organized. Take the time to assign a purpose and space to the items in your home to get organized.

• The stash-and-dash never works. It’s a habit for most people who are struggling with organization, but stashing something in a drawer is not the same as getting organized.

• There is no magic solution. What is a great idea for one family is impractical for another. Look for solutions that will work for you. More importantly, look for organizational remedies that you will actually stick with and use on a regular basis.

You may be feeling overwhelmed right now, but there’s no reason to let disorganization and clutter win this battle. If you are staring at burgeoning closets and wondering how you will ever make more space, let 1st Class Cleaning help you with this chore. Call us at 800-309-7881 to let us organize the closets and help you find the extra storage space you need.

As the closets become organized, you will find it easier to organize the rest of the home. Once the home is organized, you can contact us to make an appointment to have your entire house cleaned. Consider it your own reward for meeting the five-week challenge, and prepare to enjoy the ongoing benefits of an organized and clean home. Contact us today to help you with your cleaning!

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