This summer went by so quickly that I think if I blinked, I might’ve missed it!
While we are embarking on my favorite series of seasons and the beloved (or dreaded depending on your perspective) “Hallowthankmas” series of holidays, September and the months to follow certainly tend to derail any of my summer-accumulated simple living lifestyle.
I have discovered a few tried and true organizational hacks and hope that they are as helpful to you as they have been to me!
• See Your Space: Uncluttering the home is an ongoing battle but there are some things you can do to streamline this.
Take everything off your counters and walls and see what you think of how that room looks without it. Seriously. It might make you feel as though you just moved in and you hate it — and in that case, put things back where you had them, no worries!
If you can’t bear to part with an item or decorative hanging, think of ways to cluster things together to one area. This might be done by purchasing some fun storage bins to keep items in or adjusting your decor to allow for more open and uncluttered spaces in the room.
Are there things on display that don’t mean anything to you or provide any real function?
As Marie Kondo so famously reminds us, if it doesn’t spark joy, you can let it go! Sometimes we simply stop seeing things because they have been fixtures in our home for so long.
Take some time to inventory what you need, what looks good and pitch what does not fit into either category!
• Kitchen Clutter: I used to keep every single appliance that I owned on my counter. I tend to buy appliances in pretty colors and prints and loved to show them off. To add to the noise, I displayed almost every cookbook in a neat nook in the corner and I had storage crocks and cookie jars galore. I never noticed how this practice was actually making my kitchen area feel smaller and less functional until I paid attention to other people’s kitchen areas, which were decidedly less busy! I loved how it looked so I tried it in my kitchen — and found that while I loved how clean and sparse everything looked, the practical utility of having nothing that I needed when I was preparing a meal was lacking! My compromise that works very well for my kitchen is this: I keep my top five kitchen supplies within an arm’s reach from my main cooking area — and everything else has its own dedicated storage space. For me, that means just a few of my regular pots and pans in the lazy Susan next to the stove, a small crock with my favorite spatula, wooden spoon and other cooking utensils on the counter next to my prep area, a large cutting board, my spice rack and a knife block. To do this in your own kitchen, start with your pots and pans — pick two or three that you use frequently and store those in a spot that is easy to access and put the others away. Now, move on to your kitchen utensils. If you have all of your small appliances on your counter, do a week-long inventory of how often you use them. Maybe the coffee pot stays but the blender is only for your Saturday morning smoothie? Move that blender into a storage space and enjoy the extra space on your counter! What you keep on the counter may change — I am swapping out my summer blender for my fall crockpot!
• Restful Rest Rooms: If you are like me, sometimes the cleaning and decluttering gets a bit out of hand. If and when I don’t know where to begin, I tend to start with a smaller and more manageable room, which in many cases, is one of the family restrooms. For some reason, if I can check one room off my list, I get my second wind to tackle the more challenging and larger living areas of my house! As you work on decluttering your bathroom, use that hack we just used in the kitchen to open up some space.
You don’t need every hairbrush, hairdryer, waterpik and other toiletry on your counter. Buy some fun baskets to keep everything in and again, choose those things you use every day and keep those on the counter or in a basket just nearby. I always tell folks to think about when you stay at a hotel — they usually have a basket of the things you need on the counter.
Aside from the shower caps, most of those items fall into that daily use category and certainly have earned a spot on your counter. If they don’t — find a home that is hidden away yet still close and enjoy a far more relaxing vibe in your restroom! If you are like me, that room may be the only time you get any peace and quiet!
• Resort Living Room: Do you have a beloved family vacation destination? Find ways to bring those vacation memories to your daily life into your living room area for an added pop of zen to your overall decor. If all of your best vacations are spent at the beach, bring those beautiful muted tones and themes into your home with painted walls, subtle décor or even those aforementioned scents. You can create shadow boxes with souvenirs or simply add textures and colors that evoke a feeling of vacation relaxation. If hiking and camping are your go-to happy places, bring some of those outdoor elements into your home via color schemes, Google your favorite theme or vacation spot and see what colors appear — then try to emulate that in the room of your choice.
For me, our family Disney trips are a great memory so I love to add polka dots and the occasional Mickey shaped decor to add some extra magic. Plants, terrariums, fresh flowers and indoor fountains can help bring the outside in and help filter the air at the same time. Finally, get those photos off your phone and into enlarged photo frames for the ultimate in custom decor that will evoke happy memories every time you walk into the room.
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)