In a perfect world, you would have purged and decluttered before the movers arrived. But who are you kidding? Even the most together people tend to throw anything and everything in boxes and garbage bags at the 11th hour. That’s why unpacking in your new home can be daunting, to say the least. On the other hand, it’s a chance to start fresh when it comes to home organization and figure out what you really need. “Moving really makes you realize how much stuff you actually have,” says Yasmine El Sanyoura, interior designer for Opendoor, a site that buys and sells residential real estate. Indeed, according to data from Opendoor, 49% of people believe they have less space since the start of the pandemic. “With new hobbies, pandemic puppies and home offices, organization and extra space are lacking,” says El Sanyoura.
Before tackling each piece, consider the bigger picture. Instead of taking things out of boxes and sticking them anywhere, do another purge. As you open boxes and bins, El Sanyoura suggests making a donation pile for items you don’t use or think are obsolete. Ask yourself: why did I wrap this? When was the last time I used this? Why am I keeping it? Would it be more useful to someone else? Think of your new home as a blank canvas that lends itself to a place for everything.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed, Leanne Stapf, COO of home cleaning services company The Cleaning Authority, advises unpacking one room at a time. “Don’t worry about decorating your home when you unbox,” says Stapf. “Unbox, then play with staging your furniture and décor.”
Here’s a room-by-room guide to the smartest home organization tips that will set you up for success with clutter-free neighborhoods.
Too many items on counters or hanging in the kitchen can give the illusion of clutter, making your cooking space look smaller. According to Sanyoura, the key to kitchen organization is finding creative and functional storage solutions. Start by taking inventory of all your items. Next, store by group of types: spices, oils, cereals, cans, and even cleaning supplies should have their own designated areas. Take this opportunity to invest in spice jars and airtight food containers that you can decant things into to avoid clutter inside cabinets. “My favorite organization tip is to use adhesive hooks inside your cabinets or on the door to maximize storage and functionality,” says Sanyoura. “I personally use them to hang my dishwashing gloves and keep them out of sight until I need them.”
Silverware and knife organizers are an obvious must, she says, but take it a step further with cutting boards and cookie sheet dividers for long vertical cabinets. Keep the colorful and chic appliances you use most often, like a Keurig coffee maker and toaster, on the counter for a pop of color. Organizing your pantry with risers, bins and baskets will go a long way to maximizing space.
Since bathrooms are typically smaller spaces and toiletries are easy to retrieve, they can be the most cluttered room in your home. The first thing to do, says Stapf, is toss out expired products and place a Lazy Susan on the bottom of your bathroom vanity to store face creams, sunscreens and other daily care products. The rotating platform will help you find them easier without knocking everything over. To maximize efficiency, keep the items you use most in accessible places and store products you only turn to occasionally. For the latter, Stapf recommends dividing products by type with stackable bins and labels. Instead, decorate countertops with decorative baskets for towels and paper goods.
3. Bedroom and closet
According to data from Opendoor, 23% of people wish they could increase the size of their bedroom more than any other room in the house. Creating storage areas can alleviate some of the clutter. Start with a storage ottoman, or better yet, upgrade to a bed with built-in storage. This will prevent all the pillows and blankets from spilling around the room. To avoid throwing clothes on a booster chair, place a nice laundry basket nearby for easy access.