In light of current events, we’re all spending more time in the house. Why not take advantage of that extra time to revamp and reorganize your space? It’s the perfect time to get organized and build a “clean” aesthetic throughout your home. Purge, edit, organize, and streamline your in-home storage solutions to achieve a decluttered lifestyle that will last you through the warmer months. Read on for some fresh inspiration from designers, as well as shoppable storage solutions, to bring to your home this spring when you throw open the windows and begin cleaning away the winter mess.
Spring is a great time to get a fresh start, and why not start with your home? With all of the hype around minimalism, more homeowners recognize the positive effects of a decluttered home and lifestyle. A clean space leads to a clean mind, and minimizing clutter can actually help to create calm and order during an uncertain time. “This change may not seem monumental, but it usually has profound effects in other areas such as your health and relationships,” says Melanie Charlton of Clos-ette, a holistic organizational design firm. “Designing your way out of clutter clears up things you never thought possible!”
Charlton suggests editing and organizing your space at least four times a year at the turn of each season. “If you want to achieve a truly holistic, healthy, and organized home, make editing and organizing a part of your daily routine, and you will be witness to life-changing moments in your home,” Charlton says.
“Personally, I loathe clutter and tend to lean to more edited layers,” agrees interior designer Stefani Stein. “I definitely advocate for a seasonal refresh, particularly in the spring. Even though we have mostly sunny days here in Los Angeles, there is something psychologically gratifying about shedding unwanted or unneeded items just as the flowers are blooming.”
Cleaning and organizing can be made simple in two ways — editing, as mentioned above, and through carefully thought-out storage solutions for the home. Not only is creating a clean interior easier with these integrated solutions to your home, but it makes it a lot more enjoyable.
Armina Kasprowicz of Armina Interiors considers storage and organization deeply when embarking on a design project for a client. “On most of my projects, I provide clients with storage and organization solutions,” she says. “Many times, it becomes an integral part of the architecture of the space, such as built-in cabinets.”
In a well-designed home, everything should have its rightful place. Stein loves “when there is a place for everything,” and therefore storage needs and daily functionality are always on the top of her mind when working on design-build projects and remodels. “Spring cleaning can be daunting, but also a bit cathartic,” she says. “I recommend starting small and tackling one area at a time. Sometimes the chaos gets worse before it gets better, so keeping it contained can be key to keeping one’s sanity during the process.”
When it comes to storage solutions — custom seems to be the way of choice by designers. While new custom solutions aren’t always feasible, especially for a spring refresh, the ideas below cover a slew of other resources and ways you can reorganize, or use the built-ins you already have in your home in the most productive and useful ways possible.
Ready to get started cleaning and organizing? Let’s break it down, room by room.
The mudroom is the perfect space for storage, whether you’re using shelving, built-in cabinetry, or a display of baskets and bins. For busy families, the mudroom is an important feature in a home; it’s a space to leave shoes, jackets, and any outdoor accessories. Whether stowed away in tall cabinets or hidden away in a storage bench, use the mudroom to any store items that would typically clutter up an interior.
“For this client’s coastal home away from home, there was a great deal of functionality needed in a small space,” says Stein of a mudroom with custom cabinetry serving as functional storage. “As a shoe-free household, a spot to immediately and comfortably remove and store their shoes, and perhaps hang a jacket or hat, was a top priority. A wishlist item was to try and incorporate bins for each member of the family. As we delved into household habits and preferences, it became clear that bins didn’t provide the ideal visibility. I sourced the trays and designed the cubbies around their footprint.”
If you don’t have the luxury of custom solutions, baskets and bins can be a fantastic alternative. Use an ottoman or a bench with built-in storage to add a stylish design touch, as well as an extra element of organization. Another way to easily incorporate storage solutions in a foyer or mudroom is through installed coat racks or hooks.
“We consider storage and organization on every single job,” says interior designer Sarah Blank of Sarah Blank Design Studio. “How do you design a kitchen successfully if you don’t? It can’t just be a pretty room — it has to function, and the way it functions depends on each client. I cannot tell you how many times a client comes to me and says that their last kitchen was not designed by a kitchen professional and the wall cabinets are not deep enough for the dishes.”
Blank and her team considered intricate and abundant custom storage solutions for this contemporary kitchen. Besides storage design, she offers some tips for spring cleaning that can be applied to any home in need of de-cluttering for spring. “For a kitchen, spices only last a year so the older ones should be tossed.”
“I always make sure that when storage containers are stored they have their lids on them and the pots have their lids on them,” says Blank. “Why are we piling up tops and lids? If there is a stray lid or container at the end of the year, recycle it. Frying pans with lids should not be stacked. Storage needs to be grouped in categories and work with the flow of the space. You don’t want everyday dishes and glasses on the other side of the room. They need to go from the dishwasher to the storage area and then to the table. If there are no wall cabinets in a kitchen, then a nearby closet or a base cabinet.”
“Laundry rooms are an important supporting room. So make sure the cleaning supplies, ironing boards, and rotary irons have a home,” says Blank. “A laundry room, much like a kitchen, needs to function and work like clockwork.”
“Two laundry baskets aren’t going to do the job,” adds Blank, who advises baskets for clean darks and lights, dirty darks and lights, and hand-washing needs. “You also need a hanging area and a sweater rack for drying. The laundry is folded and brought up into the rooms or the linen closets.”
“Keep all your linens and towels categorized so each bedroom has its own section in the linen closet,” advises Blank. Spring is the best time to clean untouched linens, or purchase fresh, crisp ones. This walk-in linen closet by Douglas C. Wright Architects is a luxurious option for storing all the necessary bedding for a home’s bedrooms.
CLOSETS / DRESSING ROOMS
When it comes to creating beautiful, organized closets, Charlton says the most important thing is the inventory of the client. “Current and future inventory is our secret sauce. It’s our unique and custom way of analyzing people’s ‘stuff,’ whether a wardrobe, kitchen or collection, and then plan for the design,” she says.
While built-ins are great for closets, dressing rooms, and mudrooms, customized furniture can be used for vanities and bathrooms. If built-ins aren’t an option, there are plenty of storage solutions you can purchase for the home, such as shoe racks, armoires, and dressers. “We chameleon into the project’s aesthetic because we have no ego in the design intent — only that it be functional, organized, beautiful, and high-quality,” Charlton says. When it comes to keeping organized in the closet, Charlton advises: “Start by finding a partner or professional organizer to keep you honest. Edit and then edit again! Take stock and then begin to plan it out.”
It’s important to design a dressing room with functionality and efficiency in mind.“For a dressing room, the process goes from getting dressed to putting on shoes and accessories,” says Blank. “You don’t want to walk back and forth trying to find things.”
When it comes to purging unworn clothing or accessories, spring is a great time to organize your dressing room. “If you did not wear it in the last two years, it can be donated,” Blank advises.
Don’t overlook books when it comes to spring cleaning. If you glance at your library, you’ll probably be able to pick out a handful of titles you haven’t read, and which you probably will never open. This is the perfect opportunity to get rid of those — pass them along to someone that will enjoy them, or bring them to a local library.
If you’re a book lover, this category may stress you out the most, but narrowing down to a collection full of your favorite titles will make you cherish your library even more. When it comes to finding a place for them, a library to suit the size of your collection is needed, and this structural framework will inspire you to purge when it starts overgrowing its designated space. Consider storing them by color to add a spectacular design statement, as seen in this library design by Nest Design Company.
If there’s ever space in the home that should be de-cluttered, it’s your home office. Analyze the storage and organization solutions you have in place in your office and how it affects your productivity. See if the office can benefit from shelving, cabinets, or simple paper organizers — anything to keep papers and books from piling on your desk and preventing you from having a clear mind to get your work done. Then, go through your papers and get rid of anything you don’t need, file away important documents from the past year, and make a mental clean slate for the work to come this spring.
You’d be surprised how much decorative storage can come in handy in the home — an ottoman in the bedroom, coffee table in the living room, or shelving in the home office. Decorative boxes make a statement and also provide a safe and convenient place to hide away items that you may not have the perfect place for. Find creative ways to store miscellaneous items throughout your home. The best place to start is by providing small boxes and bins for them. This vignette by Maureen Stevens Design features vintage accessories that most likely double as storage for a stylish homeowner.
“Don’t forget our furry friends!” says Blank, who recommends a pet area where food, vitamins, medicine, leashes, and coats are stored. As mentioned above, a home destined to stay clean and organized is one with a home and a place for everything, including pets. “There should be a designated eating area for pets so one doesn’t trip over their dishes.” Spring is also the perfect time to refresh your dog bed, and provide a thorough cleaning to their cage, throw away old toys, or donate untouched pet items to a local shelter.
In the spring, you should also give some attention to one of the most neglected, and probably disorganized spaces in the home: the garage. Garages are useful to store things that shouldn’t be brought into the home, or can’t fit in the home. But in reality, a lot of the items in the garage can be thrown away or donated, especially if it’s been untouched for months or years. What better time to clear away the clutter and make some room for activities that can be moved to the garage, or to finally have a home for your car?