Simple Solutions: Organizing clutter

Simple Solutions: Organizing clutter


by Erica Heartquist

Bio | Email | Follow: @EricaHeartquist

Posted on October 25, 2012 at 7:04 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 26 at 12:10 PM

These days, who isn't looking for help to make life a little easier? On Thursday, we started a special series to do just that.

At KGW, we're going to bring you "Simple Solutions" to common concerns. First up, does even the idea of organizing your home exhaust you?

You're not alone.

KGW went to a Tigard home with a professional organizer who had some simple solutions you can apply right now to clear the clutter.

We started in a place that's a dark secret for many of us: a 16-year-old girl's closet. It could be anyone's. Professional organizer, Mary Ann Hackman with Organizer's Northwest had several simple solutions on how to get it in order.

"She's kind of overstacked her momento boxes. Those, ideally need to live in an attic area," Hackman said while talking about clear plastic tubs stacked up in the girl's closet.

Clear floors can clear your mind, she said.

"So I'd like to see these shoes up on shelves and all of this (papers and posters) in bins and labeled. You can't even see what she's got here," said Hackman.

She also recommended separating winter clothes from summer clothes and had a simple solution for keeping track of what you're wearing.

"We start the clothing out basically this way (turning the clothing on hangers around on the rod) because that's a little less convenient. That way, when grabbing the clothing, she'll take it off and hang it back. We'll know (what's clothes she's worn) for the season if the clothes are facing forward," said Hackman.

If and item is still facing backward on the rod, she said, it's time for that item to go. Next up, the family mud room.

"They've started out, really, with some good ideas," said Hackman.

But, she said, things were in disarray. Several items hadn't been put away properly.

A simple solution: baskets. Just make sure they're thin, said Hackman

"These baskets are great, but they're a little too deep because things are getting lost," she said. Also, find a way to keep cords and wires together, like a charging station, she said. Another solution? Labeling a cubby for each family member.

"So that each of them have a spot for their backpack or briefcase so it's not lying on the floor."

Down the hall, the children's playroom. Here, Hackman said labeling can also be a teachable tool to get your kids to put their toys away.

"Labeling helps kids recognize immediately where things need to be both retrieved and put away," said Hackman.

Another simple solution - clear, plastic bins for storing things like crayons and legos. That way, your child can see what they're pulling out and putting back into their closet. Hackman also said make what your child loves to do most, the focal point of the closet.

"Let's say your child loves to color and they're getting things out often to do art. We want to keep that in prime real estate area," said Hackman. "Keep an artwork area, puzzle's in one place, games in one place - and keep everything off the floor," she said.

Hackman said give your kids the responsibility of going through their toys twice a year and donating some of their stuff, especially before the holidays when they're excited about the influx of new toys. The idea is to make the area welcoming for your kids,

"Space for him to see things and enjoy and want to come in here and interact. That's what you want to help facilitate that ease in the family," said Hackman.