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‘Tis The Season To Organize

January 12, 2009

They really should change that New Year’s exclamation “ring out the old and ring in the new” to “throw out the old and organize the few.” This is the time of year when even the most disorganized clutter bug gets the urge to tidy up – even if the results only last till March.

There’s something about purging that feels good. I feel the high for days after cleaning out a closet, taking things to goodwill, placing old dressers, pots and pans out by the curbside, or organizing the garage or attic. The spirit needs a good cleaning once in awhile, and it never fails that I find things I’d forgotten I had. It’s always a treasure hunt.

Let’s see what’s cookin’ in the organizing department.
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Build in flexibility
Photographer – Jen SiskaSource: Sunset
Cubbies are ideal for storage and display ― and are easy to stack. “I’m constantly changing that area as we acquire new art and books,” says Maybelle. Cubes $60 and $80 from Stumasa. Office Basics accordion-style organizer $36; seejanework.com

Bonus tip: A tower of books makes a great display pedestal.

Put furniture to work
Multipurpose furniture is a must. “We don’t have an entryway closet, so this storage bench holds anything I need to unload,” says Maybelle. Westport storage bench $379 and baskets $15 each from Stumasa.

Bonus tip: Forget folding chairs ― move the bench for extra seating.

Maximize wall space“Freestanding wall units can be much less expensive than built-ins,” says Maybelle. Custom wall unit $3,800 and wire baskets $29 each from Stumasa. Chalkboard by notNeutral, $36; seejanework.com

Bonus tip: Create a niche in the unit for a workstation to add even more function.
Access what you often need
Open shelves are all about easy access, but they force you to edit. “When it’s in plain sight, you know what you’ve got,” says Maybelle. “You forget about things behind cupboard doors.” Oaktown cubby unit $399 from Stumasa.

Bonus tip: Group displays of utilitarian items by color.

Hide what you rarely use
Any unused space is fair game for storage. Drawers on casters conceal seldom-used items under the bed. They also work well for storing toys in a cramped kid’s room. Under-bed drawers $75 from Stumasa.

Bonus tip: Use garment bags to keep dust out of stored linens.

Designer, illustrator, and calligrapher Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls shares advice for living minimally:

Any unused space is fair game for storage. Drawers on casters conceal seldom-used items under the bed. They also work well for storing toys in a cramped kid’s room. Under-bed drawers $75 from Stumasa.

Bonus tip: Use garment bags to keep dust out of stored linens.

Think ahead If you don’t love it or need it, don’t bring it in the house.

Continually edit Especially your book collection and your closet. Maybelle keeps a “to donate” bag in her car for regular clothing purges.

Recycle magazines Tear favorite ideas and recipes from magazines and store in folders.

INFO Stumasa

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