After spending months at home trying to survive a pandemic, balance new work schedules, and tackle virtual schooling, you might be starting to feel like the walls are closing in on you. If clearing the decks was on your resolutions list, there’s no better time to get on top of things than January—National Get Organized Month. New Year, New You—amirite? Whether you’re looking for advice from a local expert or need some new mess-management products, we’re here to help you leave the chaos and clutter in 2020.
Declutter Your Closet
When clothing starts piling up, the Rubbermaid Configurations Closet Organizer Kit can transform your closet back into an area you love. The customizable racks, bins, and baskets make it easy to maximize your space, no matter the size of your closet. No more time spent searching for your favorite pair of pants. “I share a small closet with my SO and before this organizer, all of our clothes would spill out into our room and organizing was always a daunting task,” says Fresh Chalk user Peter. “This organizer allowed us to separate our clothes into neat sections and it's versatile enough that if we need to change the layout, it's a breeze. It's a system that I will always recommend, regardless of closet size.”
Store your hats in the Happibox Hat Storage Box to keep them from getting crushed. The storage system can also be used to keep toys, scarves, sheets, or blankets safe whether you’re at home or on the go. “My wide brimmed hats were all floating around my bedroom and I had no idea where to store them without risking damage to the brims,” says Fresh Chalk employee Brooklyn Benjestorf. “I only really wear them a few times a year, mostly on vacation, so they were collecting dust as they were shuffled around the room. I order this hat box and boom, problem solved. Bonus - it doubles as a travel box so I can just toss this sucker in my suitcase when the time is right.”
Bag up clothing items, shoes, and accessories that you no longer wear and consider consigning, selling, or donating your lightly used items. Taking clothing items to consignment shops like Editor Consignment Shop will eliminate clutter while making sure your items end up with someone who will love them. “Great Ballard neighborhood shop,” says Fresh Chalk user Ricklie Stone. “Recycle, resell, reuse and be rewarded with stunning items at a fraction of the cost for new.”
Tidy Up Odds & Ends
We all have a junk drawer where random items get thrown. Reclaim this space with the Three by Three Drawer Organizer. The rainbow organizers come in stackable shapes and sizes that will fit in any drawer space so that your knick-knacks have a place. “Rainbow colored and functional? Sign me up,” says Fresh Chalk user Jennifer Kyle. The shallow size is perfect for the middle drawer of a desk that generally turns into a s**t storm of junk, and the little grippy mats on the bottom mean you won’t lose them into the abyss.”
Stop mail from crowding your precious counter space. Hanging the Three by Three Magnetic Wall Pocket in your home is a great way to keep mail, bills, and magazines filed in an easily accessible place. You can even hang to-do lists and reminders on the front of the pocket so you can stay on top of things. “I am big on making a command center in your home and using that vertical space to see everything in a non-cluttered way,” says interior designer Sara Eizen. “I usually recommend having one for every family member or you could have one for bills, mail, homework, etc.”
Hang the 24-Pocket Peva Over the Door Shoe Bag in your home to keep easy-to-lose items all in one spot. “You could find a use for this in almost every room of every home,” says Sara. “I like the clear pockets over the canvas ones because the clear pockets allow you to easily see what’s inside. It’s perfect in a kid's room for all their random items, in bathrooms for random toiletries, laundry room for cleaning supplies, etc. My favorite use is in a coat closet, it's perfect for gloves, hats, even dog leashes and poop bags!”
Control the Kids Room
Are you tired of stepping on tiny Lego pieces? Swoop Bags are a must-have for cleaning up after playtime, according to Sara. “What I love about this bag is that it works for so many purposes: train tracks, Legos, blocks, or really any kind of kids toys. You just undo the drawstring for easy access to what is in the bag, and then just pull it up for an easy pick up when playtime is over! They also have smaller bags you can use for art supplies or even make up – there are so many creative uses if you think outside the box!”
Organize Your Workspace
If spam emails are bogging you down, SaneBox can eliminate the messages you don’t need so you can focus on reading what matters. The email management platform automatically identifies important messages in your inbox while moving distractions elsewhere so you don’t have to spend a second scrolling through spam. “This product has transformed my relationship with email,” Fresh Chalk user Lindsay Pedersen says. “It filters out emails by priority, and gets smarter and smarter as it views what you read and what you don't read. I think it's shaved an hour of thankless email time off every week.”
Your time is your most important asset. Keep track of upcoming events, tasks, and to-dos all in one place with the Happy Planner. The planner makes it easy to see your week at a glance and comes with stickers and accessories so that you enjoy the planning process. “From a work meeting to personal appointments, to making your grocery lists, these planners can do it all,” Fresh Chalk user Carly Canter says. “They are very much reusable and you can insert new pages as necessary. I love mine. I use planner stickers from different users on Etsy to help me stay organized and work more efficiently.”
Rehome Items You No Longer Need
Pack up items you no longer need and donate them to a local charity. Humble Design, a top-rated donation center on Fresh Chalk, accepts lightly used furniture and household items that are used to furnish the homes of those in need. “They are my top go-to for donating client's belongings,” says Fresh Chalk professional organizer Amy Woidtke. “Sometimes they are able to send you pictures of your client's items in their new homes. For one project, their stuff was already in a new home by the end of the week for a kid's playroom. They sent up pictures and my client was so happy to see them.”
Recycle old electronics that no longer work at an e-Stewards certified recycler like Friendly Earth. Whether you need to get rid of a laptop or a lawnmower, Friendly Earth makes sure that your old gadgets are refurbished and reused to conserve natural resources and protect the environment. Drop-off your items at their Seattle location, or schedule an at-home pickup to make sure your electronics don’t end up in a landfill. “Friendly Earth is the best place to recycle electronics,” Fresh Chalk user Alex Folger says. “I recently dropped off an old laptop, and it was quick and easy. They are also e-Steward certified, so you have peace of mind knowing your items are recycled responsibly.”
If you’re unable to find a location nearby accepting donations, try Give Back Box. Give Back Box accepts donations of clothes, shoes, toys, and more via the mail. You’ll be happy knowing the items you no longer need will make a difference in someone's life. “I started using Give Back Box during the first wave of COVID so that I could get rid of the growing give away pile in my living room, and I’m so glad that I did,” says Fresh Chalk user Christina Nelson. “Give Back Box makes it so much easier to donate items to local charitable organizations while repurposing my empty Amazon boxes that would otherwise end up in the recycle.”
Hire a Professional Organizer
Finding a place to get started can be tough. Luckily, a professional organizer can help make everything easier. They’ll work with you to create a system fit for your lifestyle so that you feel happiest in your home. Here are a few pros recommended by Fresh Chalk users who can help organize your space without the stress.
Interior designer and professional home organizer, Sara Eizen, works with clients to create affordable and efficient organization systems that help busy families reclaim their space and style their home. “Sara is AMAZING! She's a great listener, she has a spectacular vision and she knows everyone YOU need to know,” says Fresh Chalk user Shannon Garbaccio. “Her design projects speak for themselves and her organizing tips and tricks are second to none. She has a very large skill set, she can do anything! If your house needs remodeling or refreshing, call her immediately.”
We want to know what products and pros help you kick the clutter and stay organized. Leave a recommendation of your own to earn good karma and share your top home organization tips with the Fresh Chalk community.