With the start of a New Year, everyone is in ‘go’ mode: from cleaning out long-neglected closets and sifting through abandoned pantry shelves, to rethinking how your scheduling systems work, a fresh start naturally leads to fresh perspectives. And when it comes to getting your home organized, what better time to do this than the onset of a new season?
But what does it mean to truly get organized? Beyond the basics, there are a few essentials that you need to have in order to get the edge on your home organization. Whether you’re a seasoned organizer and this is a yearly ritual, or you’re deciding to jump on the organization trend for this first time, here are the must-haves experts recommend.
One of the most often overlooked areas in your home—and more specifically, your kitchen and office—are your drawers. Typically filled with important documents, writing utensils, and coins, or every random knife, spatula, and measuring tool, these drawers get overcrowded and frankly, frustrating.
Drawer organizers really do the trick—and not only for usability but for your peace of mind, too. Plus, organization is an area where we have the opportunity to prioritize both sustainability and reusability.
"Whenever possible we try to use sustainable products," shares Kate Pawlowski of Done & Done Home. "In the kitchen, we love bamboo drawer dividers and silverware organizers. They keep cooking utensils from getting entangled and make the chore of cooking a bit easier!"
You can also vary the size of the organizers depending on your drawers.
"I love individual bamboo drawer organizers in the kitchen; you get a custom look without paying a fortune," shares Meredith Goforth, Founder of Prim Living. "For your deeper drawers, make sure to go with the deep option—these are perfect for holding taller or bigger items."
And to keep the dividers in place, Goforth recommends a little Museum Glue on the bottom.
Rotating or Rolling Storage Centers
If you’re thinking about making your home more efficient, then a few items you can’t go without are turntables and Lazy Susans for smaller items, or movable carts for larger items. With a turntable, you can easily access all of your spices, cleaning products, and more, without having to search in the back of a cabinet or endlessly reorder stacks of items. With a rolling cart, you can just bring whatever you need to wherever you are.
“Rolling carts are my favorite way to organize arts and craft supplies,” says Jessica Litman, founder and CEO of The Organized Mama. “Because you can roll the cart from one area to another and easily slide it into a closet, it makes the perfect storage for things you don’t want out all the time, but still want to use with easy access.”
Family Command Center
Getting your home organized is one thing; getting your family organized is another. However, these two things go hand-in-hand. And if you’re serious about getting you and your family’s lives on a better path, then adding or creating a family command center is the move.
A family command center is a place where everything you need (important documents for appointments, backpacks for school, phones and keys, and a digital/physical schedule, etc.) are all centrally located. This way, everyone in the household has everything they need, or at least knows where to find it.
Whether this looks like a chalkboard within reach of all household members, an erasable whiteboard and copious sticky notes plastered on the fridge, or something as tech-savvy as a digital display, your command center will help you to physically, emotionally, and intuitively get organized.
A (Digital) Calendar
Many organization experts advocate for a calendar—either physical or digital—to help create a sense of seamlessness throughout the home.
While a calendar doesn’t necessarily lend itself to physical home organization, the principles of focus and responsibility can be applied. When your family knows what’s going on and what to expect, naturally, more order will be kept. Now, the biggest decision is whether this calendar should be on the wall or attached to your phone.
“The best tool to help you get more organized is to start using calendars online to help keep track of your everyday affairs,” says Karen Lee, founder of Smart Robotic Home. “There are so many apps and services available to help keep your life organized by keeping track of your appointments, sending you reminders, and keeping other important information for only you to see.”
Whether you decide to keep everything virtual, add a physical calendar to your wall, or perhaps both, this will undoubtedly help you and your family or roommates to stay on track.
An Essentials Zone
Rather than a cluttered catch-all for everything from our keys and mail to our grocery lists and loose change, Jaclyn King, professional organizer at Sort of Space, shares an alternative to the junk drawer: “Create an ‘essentials drop zone’ close to the entrance of your home,” King says. “Make a designated place to put your keys, wallet, masks, and other daily necessities you need for when you are coming and going.”
Even if you don’t have an entryway table you can create this zone, she says. “[Just] attach some hooks by your front door for keys, add a ledge or wall caddy to hold your wallet, and a basket for your mask collection.”
If you rent your home, you can affix hooks with adhesives. If you own, and you want something a bit more stable and permanent, you can use screws. Regardless of how you add it, this will be a game-changer.
“Having a dedicated place for these items will eliminate the frustration of searching for them when you are heading out the door!” says King.
When it comes to organizing your home there are, of course, the essentials: storage bins, clear stackable drawers and shelves, movable racks, and more. But beyond these items, there is one thing that’s often forgotten—your adhesive labels.
“Adhesive labels can be used to label storage bins, clothing, and almost anything else,” says Zac Houghton, CEO at Loftera. “Label containers with the contents so it's easy to find what you need when you need it.”
He suggests putting labels on bins to make sure you know where and what everything is. He also encourages labeling clothing, too, so that as you sift through you or your kids’ closets you’ll know what size every item is.
You can also make your own stickers, which, if you’re all about the DIY, is a great option for more specific labeling.
“For those trying to organize their home and living spaces, a label maker can be such an amazing
tool,” says Brianna Nitsberg of Simply Life By Bri. “[A label maker] will help you create functional and sustainable systems in your newly organized spaces."