There’s something worse than really losing something valuable…and that’s constantly misplacing things for ten minutes at a time. Be it your phone, wallet, keys, hamster – nothing is more stressful than misplacing things over and over again, even if it’s just for short periods. On those mornings your apartment becomes a tornado, and you sit in the middle of random piles wondering how you got here after feeling so good waking up that morning. When you’re having that happen constantly, chances are it’s time to Feng Shui your life.
We consulted one of our go-to designers and expert pattern-mixer, Rebecca Atwood, on ways to be more efficient and keep an organized living space. If anyone can help keep our apartment looking chic and optimally organized, it’s her. Read below for Rebecca’s tips on keeping your space clean and hence, your sanity intact…
From Rebecca Atwood
Hi there! I’m Rebecca Atwood, a home textile and product designer living in Brooklyn and author of the new book Living with Pattern: Color, Texture, and Print at Home. I believe in creating beautiful designs that can effortlessly be mixed and matched so that you can create inspired, unique, and imagined spaces that represent your story. I also believe that an organized space helps your mental space, too. I’m focusing on the old adage: “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” Here are my top ten tips for staying organized.
1. Start at the beginning – and for me this means the entryway. That’s where a lot of the mess is coming from in my home: work bags, gym bags, shoes, coats, scarves, and mail are all coming in through that front door and often just get dumped. Define your entryway, even if you don’t have a physical one. For me, it’s an old chest with a mirror over it, but there are so many options. It could be a bench, or even a chair. Defining that space—whether it’s with a chest, a bench, a mirror, or even a wallpaper—helps signal you to stop and take a moment to unload.
2. Once your entryway space is defined, visually make sure you’ve got the tools you need to organize your belongings. Do you always lose your keys? Then designate a hook just for them. Are you always overloaded with bags? If you don’t have a hall closet, a bench to stow them on or even a big basket underneath it can be a good spot for tucking them away. Always overloaded with mail but no space? Consider hanging a wall file organizer by your door to store mail until you have time to sort it. Think about what your most common problems are and create targeted solutions for them.
3. Baskets are an amazing tool for keeping things tucked away, and there are so many beautiful options. Here are a few of my favorite uses for them: A large yet low basket is ideal for spare throw blankets and pillows, and can easily be tucked away in a media cabinet or under a coffee table. Magazines and books tend to add up quickly and can easily overwhelm a space, but a tall basket keeps them all in one place. Bathrooms often have a lot of clutter, but a short, narrow basket helps store a few extra rolls of toilet paper, and a wicker or metal basket for storing bathroom cleaning supplies hidden away in a bathroom cabinet makes them easy to access for quick clean-ups. In the kitchen, low rectangular basket are perfect for storing dishtowels, napkins and linens you need to grab on a regular basis while still looking pretty if left out on the counter. And while I don’t have kids, I do have cats, and I keep their toys and other essentials organized in baskets.
4. In the kitchen, keep items near where they will be used, as it makes putting them back much easier. For example, I keep my water glasses right next to the fridge as they’re high use items, and I keep my coffee cups above where I make my coffee.
5. Try to have more storage space than you need – an extra drawer, basket, or shelf can be a lifesaver with the inevitable influx of “stuff”! On that note, try to also buy only what you need. In New York, many of my friends have a “one thing in, one thing out” rule as space is limited.
6. In the bedroom, tidy your night side table with a tray, bowl, box, or a combination of the three. Use containers you actually want to look at as it will make you much more likely to use them. This same concept applies to other spaces, too – a ceramic or marble vessel for storing kitchen utensils, patterned paper boxes for your desk, a pretty vase for pens, and a catch all tray in your living room for remotes and magazines.
7. Extra clothes are always a problem in our bedroom. Instead of dumping yesterday’s clothes on a chair, have a plan. I love pretty hampers that are easily accessible for sorting clothes that need a wash. For clothes that can be worn again, consider having a drawer specifically for those pieces.
8. In your closet, group clothing by type so it’s quick and easy to find the items you’re looking for. And utilize thin velvet hangers, which make all the difference for saving on space in your closet.
9.Extra cords should all be stored in one spot so they’re easy to find when you’re looking for them.
10. Lastly, try not to be too rigid about it all. An organized home makes for a clearer head, but it’s not something to stress about.