Tips for Organizing New Home

vtchewbeccaApril 9, 2007

My DH and I are in the process of purchasing our first house. Closing is the 26th of April. We're in the process of throwing out or donating stuff we don't want/need. We've currently been in this apartment for 3 years - the longest we've spent anywhere. I'm amazed by the amount of clutter we've accumulated - not out in sight, but in the closets, etc.

Do you all have suggestions for organizing, etc, our new home so we can attempt to avoid accumulating clutter? Any tips/suggestions, etc would be greatly appreciated!

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Congratulations! If this is your first apartment - house transition you'll probably have more space. You'll also probably be acquiring things over a period of time to use on your new house/yard.
ADJUSTABLE SHELVES: In the garage and the basement. Store plastic bins on. For holiday decor, paint cans, etc.
TOOL RACK: For rakes and shovels, etc
SMALL TOOL RACK OR BOX: For the cordless drill, screwdrivers, hammer etc.
You probably have more space, more closets, more cabinets. Think about how you want to use them and where you'll store your stuff. As you declutter those closets are you finding tons of clothes...put in two hanging rods in your clothes closet. Are you finding tons of craft the plastic cart with the sized plastic drawers??? Maybe you have room (and the need) for an extra dresser? Having assigned places and functioning storage will go a long way to keeping things organized and decluttered. Good luck, this is so exciting!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 8:37AM
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Don't store things in damp areas. We have a crawl space under our house, but no basement. Neighbors warned us not to use the crawl space ,as they had put some furniture under there and it got ruined by the elements. Me, I'm creeped out at the thought of centipedes and spiders in my house!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 1:06PM
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Thanks for the advice! It's actually our 3rd apartment, but the house is over double the square footage. Definitely more space!

We have a 600sqft area (unfinished) in the basement where we were thinking of putting shelves....I will definitely store the items you suggest there! I hadn't thought about tool racks, which is perfect (of course, we'll have to accumulate tools). I'll look into that.

Jannie - thankfully we don't have a crawl space...I would NOT want to run into the organisms that live down there! My FIL collected black widow spiders from under his house when he was a kid (about 20 in a's a wonder he's still alive). Just to think of that makes me shudder.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 5:08PM
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When storing things in the basement you defenitely want to plan for the worst...water in the basement. On ground level use plastic bins with lids. If not using bins make sure things are elevated. I hate all those creepy crawly things so I like bins that seal!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 5:46PM
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I say, install infrastructure (shelving & hooks in closets, etc.) at the very beginning. It's really hard to do later, I found. (maybe you're more determined than me, but I have a hard time being wiling to take everythign out of the closet to put shelves in)

Also, what works now, in terms of where you store it? Can you duplicate that in the new place? (i.e., if you're used to getting the mop from the kitchen, see if you can keep the mop in the kitchen in the new place)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2007 at 10:10AM
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If I understand the question, you want advice on not accumulating, not on how to store what you already have. I would suggest adopting the 1 in, one out, mentality. Settle on what you think is a reasonable number, for wooden spoons, pairs of socks, white blouses, black T-shirts, in short, every category of items you own. When you reach that number, every time you buy a new one, you must get rid of an old one.

It also helps to have a list of whats in every closet, taped to the wall of the closet, so you know what you have.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 6:51PM
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tre - our apartment currently has basement level storage, so we do have containers that seal. I hate creepy crawlys, too! We're trying to get some shelving to elevate our containers.

tally sue - our house will have more than double the space of our apartment. I'm looking at finding better ways to store stuff! Some things I will definitely keep in similar areas (cleaning supplies, etc), but others I want to put in a better system than the one I have now.

HTH - I have seen the 1 in and 1 out strategy here. I am definitely going to employ it. Your suggestion for a list in closets, is great. Often I forget what I have put away.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions so far, I'm filing them away for when we move at the end of the month so I can get organization schemes in place as soon as we move. I have to get my DH in a good habit quickly after we move, as he is definitely not an organized person.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 10:30AM
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Storage!!! When moving in -- consider buying steel shelving for the garage and/or basement. Worth every penny! :)

And when you move in -- watch and learn from "where and how" things work for you ..... like creating a Coffee Center. Or baking. Always remember to "re-think" -- and switch things around to make the whole room work better.

And write things down! Keep a "House/Home" notebook. Measure rooms (including windows and doors). Keep those with you at all times! You never know when a bargain might land on your lap! Consider buying a label-maker -- VERY handy!

Next write down "Possible Problem Solvers"

More shelves? -- see-through boxes with labels? drawer solutions? Measure, Measure, Measure!

Better Lighting? Maybe a small accent lamp on the kitchen counter -- under the cabinets? Maybe a standing lamp behind a reading chair? Maybe a couple of tall buffet lamps for a desk or a console table? Maybe change a closet light to a track light system?

Just some thoughts! :)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 12:50PM
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Oh, well, we've been in our current house since the middle of January, and still not completely unpacked. Mostly just books and vases left to go, still in boxes in the garage. (Plus a few boxes of sentimental stuff that I don't know what to do with.)

So I would say, "Don't sweat it too much." Unpack and put away things you need right away, but remember that just because you put it somewhere doesn't mean it has to stay there.

The cupboard you think will be just right for storing pots and pans may be the place you decide later on is just right for storing the baking dishes, instead. Or the closet you were going to use for the cleaning supplies works out better for sports equipment. That sort of thing.

Be flexible and think how *you* want to use the house. We have a foosball table in our den where the tv is. Works for us right now, but we may move it somewhere else later. Our dogs have their own space that leads outside ... I think the previous owners used it as a breakfast nook.

And shelving is always a good idea. I'm a fan of having enough boxes and shelves and cupboards. Having things where you can find them is a big step toward not owning too much - no duplicates purchased in a hurry because the originals couldn't be located.

And congratulations! A first house is exciting.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 2:45AM
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Before my computer decided to go kaput, I was going to suggest that you just live in the house for a bit and see what happens. It's pretty easy to know you need some shelves in the garage or basement, but you don't know how you are going to LIVE in your new space. Where your new piling spots are going to happen. How you will really work in the kitchen until you start putting out some meals.

It took me almost a year to get myself acclimated to our current house. We did a whole house remodel, so I was able to set up storage places where I wanted them, but we still had to really adjust to where items seemed to naturally congregate and then I knew I needed Talley's infamous infrastructure in those areas. I wouldn't have been able to figure that out before we lived in the space for a few months.

As far as accumulating new clutter, that can be tough when going to a much larger place. You seem to gather quite a bit before you realize you are cluttered. Just try and remember that open space is good. I tend to do better at resisting clutter if I remember that I'm really saving money by not purchasing and bringing items into the house.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 3:21AM
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teacats...we were considering shelving downstairs. We'll move up our timetable for getting it in the house. I like the notebook idea. And I will definitely have to reconsider moving things that don't work. I've never had this much space to work with, so it's going to take some time. My DH and I have been creating a list of problem-areas we have with clutter and ideas to fix these problems.

minet - thanks for your advice. With me being a first year teacher - it will probably take me at least the entire month of May, though I'm sure I'll go into June, to get stuff unpacked! Perhaps not rushing is the best, so I can get an idea of where I want to put things.

Gloria - Good point on not knowing where the pile-places will be. I plan on being on the look-out. Open-space is most definitely good. I am actually pretty good about keeping clutter out of the main living-space. It's closets and storage that get me. Will definitely have to have a plan to keep the stuff in storage/closets to a minimum.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 7:29AM
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