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A professional organizer shares five easy tips for tidying up the heart of the home
The holidays can take a toll on our homes—especially our kitchens, which play host to countless dinner parties, family get-togethers, and the like. As a result, many of us are left with a less-than-pristine space after the seasonal rush.
“People have routines, and the holidays—as wonderful as they are—take us out of them,” notes professional organizer Marie Potter. “Sleeping, eating, and exercising routines are thrown off, all of which are the bases for energy; and energy is a prerequisite for getting organized.”
Ahead, Potter shares five easy organization tips for tidying up the heart of the home for the New Year.
This first step may seem counterproductive, but Potter notes that it’s important to feel energized when starting a cleanup of any kind—especially after a busy holiday season.
“One of the things I ask of my clients is to ensure they have a great sleep, eat right, and are hydrated before we start organizing,” shares Potter. “This is especially important at this time of year.”
So, take it easy and make sure you’re feeling 100 per cent before tackling the mess.
Now that you’re well-rested, Potter suggests returning any seasonal items, like dinnerware and Christmas décor, back to their original homes first.
By stowing away your “special occasion” objects—many of which only make an appearance in the kitchen during the holidays—your clutter immediately becomes a lot more manageable.
Be sure to go through your cabinets and drawers, too, in case any well-meaning guests have misplaced a particular item. This will reduce feelings of disarray and make your kitchen tools easier to find.
Whether you played host to a few get-togethers or attended enough holiday dinners to avoid a grocery store trip, you may find that your fridge and pantry are in need of a serious restock.
“Make a list and stock up on depleted inventory,” says Potter.
If you find that you have an excess of leftovers in your fridge, Potter suggests using bags rather than containers to free up more space. Leftover wine can even be frozen in ice cube trays and used for later recipes that require it.
If you have any lingering items left on your countertops or in your cabinets or fridge, ask yourself if you really need them. If not, toss them—it’ll free your kitchen of visual clutter and allow space for more essential items.
“Clear counters, clean the fridge, and make it a habit annually of going through your kitchen to get rid of any expired food if this is not something you do regularly,” says Potter.
Don’t fall victim to what she coins “holdontoitis”—the act of keeping too much Tupperware, not purging expired food, and generally hoarding useless objects—that, according to Potter, is “seen in almost every kitchen that needs organizing.”
Once you have your kitchen neat and organized, try to allot some time at the end of each day to keep it that way.
“Each night, spend 10 minutes clearing away ‘homeless’ items and putting stuff away,” Potter says.
It’s a small commitment that keeps your kitchen from being overwhelmed by clutter—and it makes future cleanups a lot more manageable, too.