Easy Home Improvements That Can Counter the Winter Blahs

With rain, snow and ice in the forecast, the temptation is often to hole up and spend some quality time with the TV. But after you’ve shoveled the walk and streamed all of your programs, you may start to notice that your surroundings are looking a bit dingy. Fortunately, winter is a great time to pursue #home improvement projects large and small, whether you go with a professional contractor or do it yourself.

Get the ball rolling by #organizing a small space. #Donate or sell any clothes you no longer wear to ClothingDonations.org to give closets some breathing room. One good upgrade is to install shelves and bins that keep clothing neatly folded and grouped by color and category, The Washington Post says. Over-the-door #organizers can help store shoes and other garments.

Another simple project to consider is to #declutter the #garage and install more #storage. Garages often have lots of overhead space that can hold bins of seasonal #stuff such as sports equipment and #holiday decorations until you need them. All you’ll need is a drill and a few screws to get started on a new set of shelves or overhead racks.

People who work from home now have even more time to consider their home environment, and ample incentive and opportunity to keep things #clean (or not). Instead of thinking of #household #chores as insurmountable, time-consuming tasks, schedule five-minute breaks throughout the work day to do a load of laundry or scrub the sink; your productivity will skyrocket.

For a quick refresh, try painting a room. A fresh coat of paint in a new or tired-and-true color will instantly make the space look #cleaner and can take less than a day to accomplish, depending on the space. The secret is in the prep work: Sand uneven areas, fill nail holes, dust and tape before you start rolling out the new paint.

Another option is to upgrade the lighting in your home to counter the energy-sapping dark days of winter. Simply upgrade and replace the light bulbs already in use, install a “smart” lighting app, or opt for a new “statement” light fixture, Forbes says. All can help improve the warmth and livability of your space.

You can pursue most of these ideas in an afternoon or over a weekend, but larger projects are fair game for the winter, too. Take advantage of contractors’ slowest season if you’re looking at a larger home project, and get started today!

Dog Days: Decluttering With Pets

If you have #pets, you know that they can contribute to the #clutter and #grime that your home attracts. And the “dog days” of summer are as good a time as any to discover a few strategies to keep your space #organized and #tidy — whether you have a #dog, #cat, or some other furry, scaly or feathered friend.

First, tackle #decluttering #KonMari-style. “When going through your dog or cat’s items, focus on which of them bring your pet the most joy or serve a true purpose,” FreshPet says. “They usually make it pretty clear what they like and don’t like. Keep only the items that make your #pet the happiest.”

Try not to get too sentimental about pet possessions. If there’s something that has particular significance such as your pup’s first collar, frame it. Most other items can be discarded; #donate lightly used items to a local animal shelter or ClothingDonations.org. If something holds memories but is of little use, take a picture of it before letting it go.

Life Storage suggests creating pet “stations” around the house, designating bins and baskets for grooming items, outdoor/exercise needs, toys, and food and treats. If you house your pet in a crate, cage or aquarium, keep any related supplies #organized nearby for convenient care and maintenance.

PopSugar offers a list of 10 pet #organization products “sure to make your life easier,” or you can DIY your own storage solutions. Get creative with #thrift-store finds, shop the container section of a local hardware store or build an organizer. Consider labeling all boxes, baskets and bins as an additional #streamlining strategy.

Once your pet #stuff is organized and in its proper places, you won’t be tripping over toys or wasting time wondering where the leash went. And your home will be easier to #clean, too! Pets shed, track in dirt and leave other messes in their wake. But that’s a topic that The Organizing Blog will revisit another day. Enjoy the dog days!

Show Your Valentine You Care by Decluttering

You and your romantic partner probably have different #organizational styles and skills. And that’s OK — relationships demand compromise. But what can you do to meet in the middle this #Valentine’s Day?

Whether you consider yourself more the #hoarder or the #neat freak in the relationship, you must learn to respect their stuff, their attachments to it, and the ways in which they #sort and #organize it (or don’t).

“It’s rare that my clients have the same thought process, emotions and vision about the things that they own,” professional organizer Tanisha Lyons-Porter told The Washington Post magazine last year.

COVID-19 has only exacerbated these differences. The neat freak may have used their extra lockdown time to scrub down and organize every nook and cranny, while the #clutterer may have stockpiled canned goods and toilet paper.

Assuming that your differences are within the normal spectrum of neat vs. messy and not the indicator of a genuine psychiatric disorder, Valentine’s Day presents the perfect opportunity to join your partner in an effort to get more #organized.

Frustrated with your partner’s clutter? Have an honest discussion about the situation and dedicate a few hours of your time to help them get things sorted. If you are the #clutterer, ask for their help or make an attempt to rein in the #junk in an area you both use.

You can also hire a professional organizer to give you both a crash course in #decluttering — or if getting things #clean and #sanitized is the challenge, hire a maid service. Either service makes a great #Valentine’s Day gift that shows you care.

ClothingDonations.org is here to help! Once you declutter, we’ll pick up any lightly used items you decide not to keep with a free #donation pickup — and leave you to celebrate #Valentine’s Day in a more organized, clean home.

Decluttering the Home for Remote Learning

“#Organization and #clutter control are critical” to distance learning, says Boulder Valley Waldorf School. If you haven’t already #decluttered a space for your child’s remote and hybrid lessons, now is the time — COVID-19 may soon be less of a problem, but some of the changes it wrought will likely become permanent. Remove the visual chaos so that the kids can focus on schoolwork, and make #organizing a part of everyone’s daily routine. And as always, set aside anything you no longer need as you #delutter and contact ClothingDonations.org for a free #donation #pickup.

Maintenance Is Key to Organization

The key to #organization is regular maintenance, and nowhere is that more true than a child’s COVID-19–era remote learning space. Rolling carts can help kids #organize their paperwork, electronics and other supplies, professional organizer Wendy Buglio told The Boston Globe early in the pandemic: “A small rolling cart can be used to provide easy access during the school day, but can be tucked out of the way as needed.” Bins are a great option for keeping small items such as masks, chargers, pencils and pens from #cluttering the workspace.