Summer is upon us when things seem to slow down a little bit once school lets out and the frenzied pace of spring abates. Summer is a great time to get your home organized and if you have children, it’s smart to make it a family affair. In fact, while the kids are at home this summer, it’s the perfect time to come together as a family to divide and conquer! Check out these ideas to inspire your summer organization and decluttering projects.
Some of these projects can be done in a weekend or even an afternoon, while others may take a little while longer. Don’t be afraid to break up the task into 15 or 30–minute installments, to keep everyone motivated. The secret to success is to start by making a list of goals, and getting your family on board with reaching them. Make it fun, finding ways to motivate your family, perhaps with games or treats at the breaks, or exciting outings once a project is complete.
- Clear out the paper clutter. This can be a challenge, but the beginning of summer is the perfect time to do it. In addition to your files and stacks, your kids probably have backpacks full of paper to sort. Allow them to keep a few things that are meaningful for them, finding a way to display artwork or making a scrapbook of notable school achievements. Binders and the boxes that are designed to hold magazines are good options for school papers, and you can label one for each year of school, for easy access to special memories.
- Organize your clothes closets. Now that school’s out, it’s a great time to sort the kids’ wardrobes. The change of weather also makes it necessary to prune out the winter wear and make way for warm weather items. Decide which items can be handed down to smaller relatives, which ones should be donated, and which are out of season and need to be stored. Then look for ways to make the closet more functional, perhaps adding a second clothing rod or some additional shelving for storage.
- Pare down your library. It’s easy for a house to become overrun with books, especially if more than one family member is an avid reader. Over time, kids outgrow books, and adults may bring too many books into your space. Go through your shelves with a critical eye, deciding where to donate books that are outgrown or under-read. Then organize your remaining books, sorting in a way that appeals to you, whether that’s by genre, dividing hardcovers and paperbacks, or categorizing books by color, condition, height, and other visual elements. Leave some room on the bookshelves for other objects, and use bookends to separate and add interest.
- Maximize your kitchen space. Declutter your cabinets, throwing away expired foods and donating non-perishables that you don’t think your family will realistically eat. Take everything out of the cabinets and wipe the shelves thoroughly before putting things back in a way that makes sense to you. Change things around where you need to, making sure to put things where they’re used: mugs by the coffee pot, baking supplies by the mixer, and so on. Prioritize, storing the things you use most where they’re easy to access, and things the kids will need on shelves they can reach. Consider moving little-used items out of the kitchen entirely, to free up storage space for things you use more often.
- Reorganize your bathroom. Toiletries and cosmetics do expire, so now is a good time to throw out anything that’s old or used up. Make the most of your bathroom space, using bins and baskets to keep things organized, and thinking vertically as well as horizontally. Can you put open shelves all the way up one wall? Is there room for a shelf above the bathroom mirror? If you don’t have much room for towel storage, consider baskets of towels. If you have a disorganized bathroom closet, look into custom built-ins to make it more functional.
- Makeover the kids’ rooms. Are your kids ready to graduate to rooms for bigger kids? Sometimes, making that move is as simple as putting up a new coat of paint and switching out bedding and accessories. Do you need more storage? Cubbies are extremely handy and can grow with your child, as colorful bins make way for more elegant storage solutions and books replace toys on the shelves. It’s important to involve your children in the process of redoing their bedrooms so that they approve the décor and understand the organization.
- Create a vacation-worthy guest room. Is your guest room really just a spare room with a bed? Get your family involved in brainstorming ways to make it more inviting, with fun décor and useable storage. If you don’t have space for a guest room, consider a murphy bed, which folds into the wall when it’s not being used. Whatever your space may be, make it inviting and comfortable so that your guests can feel relaxed when they visit.
- Manage the mudroom. First, get it really clean. Then, get rid of items that won’t be used over the summer, storing boots, hockey sticks, ice skates, and other seasonal items elsewhere. Next, consider some custom storage that fits the way you use the room, perhaps with personalized storage areas for each family member, shelves for shoes, storage bins for sporting equipment, and hooks, cabinets, and cubbies for everything else that calls the mudroom home.
- Set the games and crafts in order. Now that school is out, kids are going to have more time on their hands. If the games and crafts are well-organized, you’ll hear far fewer complaints of boredom and kids will find many more ways to get creative and entertain themselves. Sort through everything in this area, getting rid of dried-out markers, expired craft items, and games the kids have outgrown. Then get creative with your storage, creating areas not just for stashing things, but viable storage with tools like cubbies, hooks, and bins. Make sure there’s workspace available, and store any sharp or dangerous items in a locked cabinet.
- Tackle the garage. This may be a big job, but if everyone pitches in, you’ll be pleased with how quickly it goes. The garage tends to be a catchall, and it can be overwhelming, so it might be best to work on it in sections. Decide what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away, and then find the right storage solutions for everything that’s left. Wall-mount storage is great for keeping tools and bicycles off the floor, for instance, and a workbench with a pegboard, shelves, cubbies, and cabinets can keep your tools neat and well-organized. Chemicals, power tools, and other items that can be dangerous should be locked in a cabinet, while sports equipment can go in open cabinets, baskets, or bins.
One key to creating an organized home is having the right storage space. In the Bay Area, Bay Home & Window is your go-to source for highly functional and elegant built-ins, whether you’re in need of highly functional closets designed just for your family, a more efficient organizational system for your bathroom or garage, or a pantry that’s easy to organize. Our expert designers will work with you, taking stock of your space and your lifestyle in order to create the perfect configuration to meet your needs. We can create the perfect system, customized to meet your needs, with an emphasis on function, organization, and elegance. Call (925) 264-6746 or contact us for a free in-home design consultation.