Since our homes are no longer just a place to relax and recharge, many of us are struggling to stay organized. Read on for tips on keeping clutter under control as your finite space has taken on more roles.
1. Set Up Your Space Properly for Working From Home
Back in March when many of us began sheltering at home, you may have scrambled to set up a temporary home office. Since then, many companies have recommended that employees work from home through the remainder of 2020 or, in some cases, permanently. Now might be a good time to look for a more permanent home office solution.
The best way to keep your professional life organized at home is to create a dedicated space where your work supplies won’t be disturbed. Ideally you can set aside a small portion of your home for this purpose. Many people find that even though their home has a dedicated home office, sharing that space with a family member just isn’t viable — they simply may need a quieter place to work. If that’s your situation (or if you don’t have a dedicated home office), perhaps you have a living, dining or guest room that could accommodate your needs.
Once you’ve found a spot, the most painless and economical solution is to invest in a desk and chair. There are many attractive and functional desks available that won’t distract from your decor. If your job requires only a laptop and limited supplies, a small desk with minimal storage might work well in the corner of a living room, dining room or bedroom.
Lewis Alderson & Co.Another good option is a drop-front or secretary desk where work can be hidden away at the end of the day. These desks often provide storage for a hanging file box, printer, laptop and other office items. They come in a variety of sizes and are available in attractive styles that won’t look out of place in a living room or dining room. They often have holes in the back to allow cords to reach an outlet.
PreviousNextItem 1 of 6Kropat Interior DesignAnother option is repurposing a closet as a home office. The easiest approach is to remove the closet’s doors and add a desk, file cabinets and shelving. You might also consider installing bifold doors that you can close at the end of the day to hide your office, which can help you separate your professional life from your personal one.
If your budget allows, consider researching companies that build custom closet systems. Many provide solutions that include built-in desks, file cabinets, drawers and shelving. These companies might be able to coordinate with an electrician to install electrical outlets and lighting. The design can be tailored to fit your needs and the size of your closet.
A professional home organizer can help you create your perfect workspace. A good organizer can inventory your belongings, assess your working style and advise the closet designer on how to best lay out the space to fit the way you work.
Do keep in mind that you’ll need a source of power for your electronics and you may need to install lighting.
2. Make Room to Exercise at Home
Gyms and exercise studios remain closed in many areas, but some are streaming classes online. Many of my friends and clients also enjoy the abundant cardio, yoga, strength training and other exercise videos available on YouTube. Some of these classes require equipment such as mats, hand weights, resistance bands or medicine balls — which need to be stored somewhere so they don’t create clutter.
I recommend corralling exercise equipment in a storage container that you keep in the room where you exercise, ideally tucked away in a cabinet or closet. If built-in storage isn’t available, a large basket in the corner of the room can be an unobtrusive way to store your workout equipment.
You may also want to stash a spray bottle of household cleaner and a few small towels to wipe down your equipment after you use it. Be sure to clean and store equipment immediately after exercising to keep clutter from building up.
3. Find an Indoor Place to Relax
Our homes may be more crowded now, as some college students and young adults have been forced to move home due to the pandemic. Teenagers and children are also spending more time at home as we all socially distance. And of course the adults in the house may be working form home. Many of us aren’t used to having so many people around and patience may be wearing thin.
Downtime and personal space are more important than ever as we all try to maintain our sanity. I recommend making it a priority to find a place to unwind within your home. Perhaps there’s an empty corner of your bedroom where you can put a comfortable reading chair and a small side table. Add a small plant to create a more calming environment. Make an effort to keep this area free of clutter. That way you can take a 15-minute break without thinking about all the things you need to put away.
4. Spruce Up Your Outdoor Space
Studies indicate that time spent outdoors is beneficial to your health and well-being, and I certainly find that to be true. If you have a deck or patio, even a small one, it’s worth improving it so that you glean even more enjoyment from the time you spend there.
For those of us lucky enough to live in temperate climates, we can enjoy our outdoor spaces for months to come. While summer will soon come to a close in some parts of the country, it’s worth squeezing out the last drops of outdoor time while you can.
Start by clearing any clutter that has accumulated. Sweep the area and remove any spider webs and dust on outdoor furniture.
If your budget allows, consider shopping end-of-summer or Labor Day sales for new outdoor furniture. Even the addition of a colorful umbrella and outdoor cushions can make a space more inviting. A small patio table and chairs can create a place for you to drink your morning coffee — this can be an ideal, and safe, way to feel like you’re on a mini vacation.
Potted plants are an easy way to add color to an outdoor space, even if you don’t have a green thumb. They generally thrive if watered regularly. If you have planters, consider cleaning them out, filling with new soil and planting with foliage that you can purchase relatively inexpensively at a local hardware store or nursery.