As we all self-isolate and quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, many have used this time as an opportunity to finally clean and declutter their homes. And while it seems like a productive and inviting idea, it can also be an overwhelming process. Luckily, we had the chance to speak with Toronto-based Professional Organizer and Owner of Space in the City, Nicola Masterson who shared her top tips and advice on how to properly organize your home.
Go room by room. Take photos of things that need to be repaired or hung up, make a list of all the things that need to be spring cleaned, decluttered and organized.
Now that you've paired and eliminated, time to organize. Get drawer dividers or sock organizers. Divide your socks by category. Put all your odd socks in a small bag in the back of the drawer because you won't be able to match them all right now. Then come back to the odd socks in a few weeks and you should be able to match the rest. At this stage, it's time to let the remaining lone soldiers go.
Write down a plan of attack and stick 20-minute chunks of time in your diary with 10-minute breaks in between.
So basically use this general strategy throughout! Move on to the next biggest category in your closet, underwear, then nightwear, sportswear, tops pants, shoes etc. Write down a plan of attack and stick 20-minute chunks of time in your diary with 10-minute breaks in between. Do bit by bit. You will make a bigger mess in the process and get overwhelmed, but just keep going, you can do it.
Make sure you purge as you go and donate as much as possible, there are lots of people in need right now. Most donation centers are currently not accepting anything at the moment, so put the clothes in a bag and get them out of your closet until after Quarantine. For your designer items, you can sell these in consignment stores once they open up again.
Now, for those of you who are already fairly organized, what a fun time to go to that next level. For me, I'm starting to curate a capsule wardrobe, something I have been wanting to do for a while. I've been carving out mental space and creativity to figure out my style and what pieces function for me that will see me through the season. It's such a great time to let things go and make room for all the new that's coming our way
Stores are currently closed but retailers are still offering online shopping. Where would you say is the best place to shop for organizing solutions?
After you have done all your decluttering in an area you can now see what space you're left to work with and what products you may be able to fit in that area.
Presuming we've first shopped our house for everyday items we can use (more on that later), I recommend trying to support any local stores in your area, most are offering curbside pick up and free delivery and returns at this time.
It's a little harder to choose items online when you are not familiar with the product so make sure you check the reviews
But for those of you who are reading this and are ready to get stuck in. Here are a few tips.
SET UP A ROUTINE
Set a routine for you and the kiddos, so 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM breakfast, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM schoolwork, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM playtime etc. Colour code it and put it up so everyone knows what's happening next and feel like they have some structure.
SET UP WORK ZONES
Set up work zones in the home, "Here's my office zone, here's Dad's work zone and here are each one of the kids." Point it out to everyone and be respectful of everyone's space.
MAKE A MEAL PLAN
Make a meal plan based on what food you have already, what food you need to eat next before it spoils, let's aim for zero waste, at this time especially. Maybe you can cook big batches of food and freeze some for the days you don't feel like cooking. Schedule who's cooking what each day. What a great time to learn new recipes! Next on my list is learning how to make Irish soda bread, one of those things I've been putting off for years.
MAKE A RUNNING GROCERY LIST
Make a running grocery list for your weekly shop or delivery, you could use Evernote to keep a list on your phone and take photos of your fridge and pantry for when you're shopping too. I do this for spices, I can never remember what ones I'm missing, so I check the photo. While on the topic of spices, organize them by alphabet, so much easier to find.
When it's time to declutter, use music to motivate you
Cause mess = stress, and we don't need any more of that if we can help it.
Organizing Toronto's most glamorous closets and homes, Nicola Masterson is a Professional Organizer and Owner of Space in the City. She has been featured as the Professional Organizer on blogTO's House of the Week. You can find her on Space in the City and on Instagram at @spaceinthecity