Professional organizer Laura Suchy of Mandan has a message for people looking to organize their homes in the new year: start small.
“Start with something easy like a linen closet or a utility drawer in the kitchen,” said the owner of Kick the Klutter, who works primarily with families in Bismarck and Mandan.
Tackling too big a space -- or beginning in the wrong spot like an attic or garage where families tend to store more sentimental items -- can be overwhelming and discourage a person from continuing.
It’s best to create a home for each individual item to get it off a countertop or work space, and make it a point to return items to those places so they don’t float around, Suchy said. A utensil drawer organizer might be a good option for organizing smaller items such as nail clippers, but she warns not to go overboard purchasing new containers and organizing supplies before first getting rid of unnecessary items.
“Make sure you always have an ‘outgoing’ area for things that are leaving your life,” she said.
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As families purchase new items, they should make an ongoing effort to donate or get rid of older ones they no longer use, she said. People should be deliberate about the items they opt to keep out in the open.
“You need to be able to look around your space and appreciate what surrounds you,” Suchy said.
If, say, a mom or dad wants to keep the house organized as a New Year’s resolution, enlist the help of each family member in the process so each takes some responsibility, she said. Family members should talk together about how to create a system that works for their home.
Suchy suggests that families consider hiring a professional if they’re struggling to figure out where to begin or how to get started organizing. People who can’t afford to pay for such a service can invite a friend over to help them see their space from a different perspective, she said.
Some of her clients want a “picture perfect” house, like the kind photographed for magazines or on Pinterest or Instagram. That’s often unrealistic, she said.
Decluttering a space is just one step in staying organized. People also need to change habits and grow accustomed to putting items back in their place after use.
“Any step toward getting better organized is a step in the right direction,” Suchy said. “Make a long-term commitment to create a routine for yourself.”
Reach Amy R. Sisk at 701-250-8252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.