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Organize + Energize: 5 Things to do When You’re Short on Space

Tuesday, March 06, 2018


Are you looking to move into a new home because you feel like you’ve outgrown the one you own? Stop and take a minute to re-evaluate the spaces in your home. Are you disorganized?  Are you maximizing the rooms to their fullest potential? Walk into your home with a pen and paper and go through each room and really take a look at what’s going on. When was the last time you actually did this?

Here are 5 things you can do now to see if you’re really short on space:

Declutter. Once you’ve completed your walk through, it’s time to make a plan to declutter every room. Take inventory of what you’ve been using. What haven’t you used and can you let it go? You may find that you’re getting rid of more than you thought you would. This is going to free up some space and make your home feel light and airy.

Maximize your space. I talk about this often. If you’re organizing a space, you have to take everything out of that space.  Take everything down to bare shelves so it looks like when you first bought the house. Now that you can see the empty space, you can get a better vision of how you want to function and you can map out the placement of items. You can’t maximize space if you just shift items around. It just won’t work.

Get creative. There are so many great organizing products out there that are meant to save space. Once you figure out what you need to contain, then you can purchase the perfect product. Space Bags are great products to contain comforters, linens, seasonal clothes, curtains, etc. They’re inexpensive and once they’re shrunken down, they take up very little space. Ottomans that open and have space inside are also great for storing extra toiletries, seasonal clothes, linens, etc.  Over the door organizers can maximize space also.

Designate spaces.  Keep like items together. Don’t have batteries, lightbulbs and office supplies stored all over the home.  Having only one designated spot for these items will free up drawers and closet space. Having one spot will also allow you to save time when searching for them and you’ll also save money because you’re not purchasing duplicate items.

Use organizing containers.  If you haven’t already, start using containers all over the house. Use them in drawers, linen closets, closets, kitchen cabinets, in the home office, bathroom, etc. You’ll maximize space in these areas by using these containers. Remember to always get organized first, and then purchase your supplies to fit what you need to hold. Everything should fit like a puzzle. Don’t forget to measure the height, width, and length and be sure to head to the store with a list.

Before you make a quick decision to move out of your home, try applying some of the above tips. You may find that, after all, you don’t need a bigger home; you just needed to declutter, get creative and get organized.


Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. She has also given over 70 presentations throughout the state. Watch Kristin LIVE every Thursday at 3pm here on GoLocal LIVE with Molly O’Brien.


Related Slideshow: 10 Areas You Find Most Challenging to Get Organized

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Paper in any form

This was the most challenging space! 91% of people surveyed stated paper was their biggest headache. Just because we are in this digital age, people think paper is going to disappear. As long as we have mail, and paper at work, kid’s school papers, etc., paper is going to be around for a very long time. We need to develop systems to organize and maintain our paper clutter.

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 To stay on top of an organized closet, you should be emptying your closet twice a year. Switch your closets in the spring and fall. This will force you to take inventory of the contents of the closet. You’ll never know what’s hiding in the back corners of your closet unless you take everything out.

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When was the last time you emptied your entire food closet down to bare shelves? I asked this question at my last presentation and not one person could remember. Some said the last time their food pantry was empty was when they first moved in and others stated it had been years. Have garbage bags on hand. In every kitchen I organize, we throw out at least three garbage bags of expired food.

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This is the black hole of the house. If an item doesn’t have a home, it usually gets thrown in the basement on a shelf. You’ll walk into the basement one day and wonder how did it get so bad? The first thing you need to do in the basement is declutter, then categorize items and then decide how you want to function going forward. Measure your space and choose shelving units that will fit what you need to hold. Block off 3 hours and don’t leave the basement during that time. Staying in the room will keep you focused.

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The garage is an area similar to the basement. The garage tends to be a drop spot for outdoor items and usually there isn’t any organization.  Most tend to regret not organizing the garage when they find they can’t park their cars in the garage in the winter months when it’s snowing. Put this project on your to-do list this fall.

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Office at work

Most will say they don’t have time to tackle this area, but think about the time you are wasting by not being organized. The office can be challenging for some because you have paper, closet space, desk space and bookshelves. Most get overwhelmed and stressed just thinking about tackling this space. They think it’s easier to function this way than to actually tackle the project.

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Kid’s rooms

If your kids are over the age of 6, incorporate them in this process. If you don’t have the skill set to help them get organized, call in a professional to work one-on-one with them. If your kids are craving structure, it’s time for them to get organized.

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Another one of those black holes like the basement. You rarely venture into the attic and you continue to toss items in there that don’t have a home. The garage, basement and attic are really challenging areas because you don’t spend much time in them. Think about how you want to function in these spaces. Streamline and maximize this space. This room should have a purpose.

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Linen closets

When items are just thrown into this closet without being contained, chaos will ensue. Empty the entire closet, categorize, itemize and then measure the space. Purchase containers to match the space and what you have to hold. It’s all about maximizing space in this closet and being able to put your hand on something without moving five other items out of the way.

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This is a tough project even for people who are organized. Memorabilia items and photos are a challenge because as you go through them, you tend to reminisce. Save this for the last project on your list of areas to organize. Once you begin, just focus on tossing and keeping and then reminisce when the decluttering process is completed.


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