Five Tips for Home Organization

organized wine cellar

It's that time again when the year is new, and the motivation to get organized is high.  But as we all know, it doesn't take long until the motivation levels drop.  The next thing you know it's spring time and you can't even remember what your new year's resolutions were.  Well, if home organization is one of your resolutions then it doesn't have to be like that.  We've got five simple tips for keeping your home organized year round.  The best part is that unlike other resolutions, it doesn't involve going to the gym.

Tip 1: Plan Ahead

Obviously it's not always practical to start every year with floor plans for a new home or remodel.  But one of the best ways to keep your home organized is to set yourself up for success from the very beginning.  One of the most obvious features to plan for are closets.  Having ample closet space and properly located closets makes staying organized a lot easier.  The best plans have closets located within a few steps of the main entrances.

post and beam kitchen

This post and beam home has a sizable pantry adjacent to the kitchen. It allows for great organization, and also has a pocket door to close it off from view should it get too messy for guests to see...

However, one of the often overlooked features to design for is a useable pantry.  It is so helpful for storing kitchen items which are used infrequently (i.e. ice cream makers and food dehydrators.)  But it also helps keep your everyday food staples organized as well.  A properly designed pantry keeps everything visible and at your fingertips.  No more will cans of San Marzanos slip to the back of a cupboard not to be discovered for years.  Nobody likes to think, 'When did I buy this tahini?'

Tip 2: Don't succumb to temptation

At some time we all feel the temptation.  When our arms are full of mail, and various other items, we see a clean surface such as a counter top or a table beckoning us to set the items down and forget about it.  We reason with ourselves that certainly we'll come back and properly sort the items later.  Then later becomes days and soon your clean surfaces are mired with mail, children's art projects, magazines and shoelaces.  Set yourself some firm guidelines here to resist the temptation.  For every flat surface set a limit on how many items can rest upon it before action is required.

post and beam entry foyer with staircase

A table inside an entry is a very tempting place to leave clutter. Set a limit on the number of items that can be placed here. A few magazines is fine, a week's worth of mail is not.

Tip 3: Do yourself a favor

Certainly cabinets and hutches which display your cherished possessions are a wonderful concept.  Who wouldn't like to show off their antique delftware?  But be realistic with the ratio of open/visible storage and storage which is behind closed doors.  A cabinet of all glass requires the items within to be displayed artfully and thoughtfully, while closed storage requires only functionality.  Do yourself a favor and plan to have both types of storage.

post and beam open floor plan

This post and beam home shows open shelving in the great room, as well as a cabinet with solid doors. Likewise the kitchen has one cabinet with glass doors, and some with solid wood doors.

Tip 4: Design for what you love

Hobbies such as canning, gardening, painting, woodworking and quilting all require space.  If you know that you're an avid woodworker, then plan for ample space in which to pursue your hobby.  Having a dedicated space for hobbies means you won't be cluttering the main living areas of your home with your hobby supplies.  And while it's an important consideration when designing a home, it's also possible to take your existing home and re-purpose a space into a hobby room.  For example space above the garage can often be transformed.  But, make sure to consider the electrical and water needs of your hobby so you don't end up having to walk across the home to wash your paint brushes. (see the story behind two versions of this timber frame floor plan here)

timber frame loft craft room

This beautiful room has been made into an inspiring art studio. The room sits in the space above the garage.

Tip 5: If you don't need it, don't buy it

Tip five is perhaps the most preventative measure to keeping a home organized.  It may be our Yankee roots, but we also feel it's the most common sense.  Do you need a dried wreath the 4th of July when you already have two other summer wreaths?  If you're not convinced of the need, AND where you will store the item, then it's better to just say no.  Or, if you must, make sure that when you add, you also remove. Feel free to share your tips as well.  If you have a great before and after photo to showcase your organizational efforts, we'd love to see.  Happy organizing! Ready to get started on your timber frame or post & beam home today? Feel free to contact us directly with questions or to get started on your project today.