10 Storage and Organization Tips for Your New Home
Moving into a new home is an opportunity to start fresh and organized. Use these ideas to get settled with a plan that works for you and your family.
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Consider What Worked
Before you begin unpacking a single box, take a few minutes to reflect on what worked well before you moved. Were there certain areas of your previous home that stayed clutter-free due to effective organizing systems? If so, think through how to build those strategies into your new home.
Also, take the opportunity to consider areas where disorder built up. Were there items or activities that didn’t have a convenient home or enough storage space? Pinpoint the root cause of past disorder and use the following ideas to solve them in your new spaces.
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Assign a Purpose to Each Room in Your Home
When you designate a purpose for the rooms in your home and assign specific places to do activities, it takes the guesswork out of what to store where. Make a list of the rooms in your new home and designate a spot for activities such as computer work, reading, relaxing, watching movies, playing board games or enjoying favorite hobbies.
Some activities have obvious homes, such as cooking and baking in the kitchen, but others may take more thoughtful consideration. Where will you handle paperwork, use the computer or do school work? Consider if you need a quiet place to handle these activities, or if a shared space would work better for you and your family.
Assigning names to storage areas such as linen closet, coat closet, cleaning closet and long-term storage area can also help determine what to store where.
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Declutter as You Unpack
It doesn’t make sense to spend time or money finding storage for items you no longer use or need. Declutter accordingly.
As you unpack, cast a discerning eye on your belongings. Which items are you happy to see and excited to use in your new space? Which things don’t fit your vision for the life you want to live in your new home?
If you own multiples of a single category of items, keep your favorites and let go of the others. Also consider donating belongings that don’t fit the decorating style or color scheme of your new home.
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Make It Easy to Use Your Spaces Going Forward
As you set up each room, resist the temptation to put items away haphazardly wherever they will fit. Instead, refer to your list of which activities will happen in each space and keep items in the rooms where they will be used.
Keep convenience in mind as you put items away. Picture yourself living in the space and performing the designated activities. Store items that are used most frequently in the storage spaces that are easiest to see and access. In the kitchen, keep your daily-use dishes in eye-level cabinets close to the dishwasher. Store special-occasion dishes, glassware and serving pieces in harder-to-reach cabinets.
Outfit Your Storage Areas
To keep your home organized, take steps now to establish user-friendly storage areas for long-term and seasonal storage. Depending on the setup of your new home, you may need to use the garage, an unfinished area in the basement or various closets to serve this important purpose.
Ensure your storage areas are up to the task by adding freestanding shelving units. Shelves will establish tidy limits to your storage zones and keep items off the floor, providing added protection from possible water leaks. Most importantly, belongings stored on shelves are easier to access and put away than when stored in stacks.
Plan for the Future
Your organizing needs will change throughout the years, so consider investing in basic storage containers that can be used for any purpose anywhere in your home.
These storage baskets from The Container Store would be equally good storing onions in the pantry as corralling craft supplies or out-of-season clothes in a closet. The white color is classic. The optional bamboo lid makes them stackable and elevates the look, making them suitable for open storage as well.
Set the Stage for Organized Comings and Goings
Eliminate a source of stress in your new home by setting up an organized entryway. While this may not be the first area you think about setting up, spending time on this project will pay dividends when unpacking ends and day-to-day living begins.
Install a wall-mounted shelf with hooks near the main entry. Use the hooks to hang bags, in-season jackets, umbrellas and keys. Then place a basket on the shelf as the collection spot for mail. Store out-of-season gear in a nearby coat closet and plan to swap out items as the seasons change.
This launch pad and drop zone will reduce the stress of getting everyone out the door in the morning and help prevent clutter from making its way into your living spaces.
Make It Simple for Children
A new home is an opportunity for everyone in the family to create different habits. Everything in your home will be in unfamiliar places, so you’ll learn new ways of doing things as you use your new systems. Set your younger family members up for success by making it easy for them to access (and put away) items they use regularly.
Store kid-friendly snacks on low pantry shelves and put their books and toys in baskets on the low shelves of bookcases. Retrofit closets with a double-hanging rod so kids can reach hanging items and take ownership of picking out their clothes and getting dressed. Determine what makes sense based on your child’s age.
Organize the Bathroom
Assign each family member a bathroom drawer or plastic bin to store their personal care items. Your family members can open the drawer or pull out their bin for morning and nighttime routines, then tuck everything away when they’re finished. Keep shared items like tissues, cotton balls and cotton swabs in decorative containers on the countertop.
Use the storage area below the sink for extra soap, toilet paper and refills for the dispensers on the counter. Plastic drawer units make it easy to put the awkward space around the drainpipe to use for storage while keeping items protected from drips.
Set Up a Command Center
Establish a spot for conducting the business of life, like paying bills, meal planning and handling school work. Set up your command center in a central part of the home, such as in the kitchen or dining area, and equip it with office essentials like pens, envelopes, stamps, paper clips, a stapler, tape, scissors and so on.
Use a bamboo organizer to corral important paperwork and charge devices. This centralized charging station will help keep devices out of the bedroom at night, which is another terrific habit to bring into your new home.