11 Brilliant Tips to Help You Organize Your Home During Quarantine
Get the most out of your indoor time with these simple tune-ups that'll keep your house in order.
The COVID-19 pandemic has sent millions of people into quarantine around the globe, with stay-at-home orders shuttering business, offices, and public gatherings. But doing your part and staying home may have you feeling a little claustrophobic about all the items you've accumulated and are now surrounded by. Thinking it's time to tackle those reorganization projects around the house but not sure where to start? To help you clear the clutter and get things in order, we've consulted the experts to come up with the most brilliant organizing tips for your home during quarantine. Get ready for your space to feel as good as new!
Get your beauty products under control.
Building a new skincare regimen usually takes a fair bit of trial and error. Unfortunately, that also means your home is likely bursting at the seams with bottles and tubes of products that you don't even use.
"Not only do new lotions, colognes, and make-up all add up over time, but they can also go bad over time," says certified professional organizer Amy Trager. She suggests collecting everything from your bathroom, bedroom, and wherever else they've landed, grouping like items together, and then making decisions about what you can toss. "From there, decide which categories should live where and if any containers or trays are needed to corral items coherently in drawers or on countertops," Trager says. "If it helps, you can measure your storage spaces and likely shop for containers right from home."
Pare down your bookshelves.
By now, we're all familiar with Marie Kondo's infamous "get rid of your books" philosophy. But for bookworms and avid readers, there's no way you'll ever be able to part with so many stories that still spark joy. Fortunately, a well-maintained bookshelf can actually be a great focal point for décor, if it's done right.
"If you're the proud owner of an overflowing bookshelf, then that's where reorganizing your home should start," says productivity expert and organizational coach Linda Morgan. "Your bookshelves can often get cluttered and messy without you really realizing it. Reorganize them into themes, color code, alphabetical order, or any other arrangement that makes sense to you." It's the easiest way to bring order to some of the only visible storage space in your home. And for more storage solutions, here are 20 Gorgeous Pieces of Storage Furniture That Will Save You So Much Space.
Tackle your fridge.
Over the course of the last few weeks, pretty much everyone has become reacquainted with cooking for themselves. And with increased kitchen production, there's even more of a need to keep things neat and tidy in your fridge. "Frankly, it's often the messiest 'cabinet' in the home," says Orion Creamer, CEO and founder of Big Chill appliances.
Creamer recommends installing clear plastic containers and organization bins to best utilize precious cooler space, assigning drawers or spaces to specific food categories for quick and easy access, and using masking tape and a Sharpie to label and date your leftover containers. He also suggests going through your fridge at least once a week to throw out any old or expired items. "Keeping anything that will go bad the fastest at the front should prevent any 'Oh no, this went bad two days ago!' moments," he says.
Clean out your cupboards and pantry.
Much like fridges can get overrun with moldy leftovers, pantries and cupboards can become a graveyard of expired spices, stale crackers, and "never gonna eat that" products. Take the time in quarantine to perform a full pantry inventory and reorganize in a way that makes things easier to find.
"If there are open items that have gone stale or aren't a part of your diet anymore, toss the food and recycle the packaging, if possible," says Trager. "Anything else you don't want should be boxed up for donation. Food pantries are still open! Do a quick online search to find one near you, call for their current quarantine hours, and drop everything off at a no-contact location."
As for the rest of it? Jemma Lane, interior design and marketing expert for Arbor Living Cheshire, suggests introducing jars and boxes to "help group items together and know exactly where they'll be when you need them next." That also helps you avoid accidentally buying duplicate products. And for more kitchen tips, here are the 27 Best Ways to Upgrade Your Kitchen, According to Experts.
Implement feng shui in your bedroom.
The ancient practice of feng shui, which revolves around the idea of harmonizing individuals with their surrounding environment, still plays a major role in interior design philosophy. And it can be an easy change to implement in quarantine, especially in your bedroom.
Try reorganizing your bedroom by putting a small night table on each side of the bed with matching lamps, says Tsao-Lin Moy, acupuncturist, Chinese medicine expert, and founder of Integrative Healing Arts. "This signifies there is a place for a partner and is also a feng shui cure," she explains. Moy also recommends shifting the energy of the room with a new set of matching pillowcases.
But her biggest tip is resisting the temptation to install a TV and to limit electronics as much as possible. "These are not conducive to the rest and relaxation bedrooms are meant to bring," she says. And for more tips on cutting back on screens during quarantine, check out 7 Expert-Backed Ways to Cut Back on Your Screen Time Right Now.
Do a room-by-room spring rearranging.
It may be a coincidence that spring cleaning time happens to fall during quarantine, but simply being at home all the time doesn't guarantee you success in your reorganization efforts. Instead of biting off more than you can chew, take things step by step—or room by room. "Choose one room each day to do a deep clean on and then open the windows and let the fresh air in," recommends Lori Whatley, LMFT, clinical psychologist and author of Connected & Engaged.
"It's also a great time to rearrange furniture and freshen up the look for spring. Just moving furniture—even just throw pillows—can help you feel less cramped and trapped during a long quarantine," she says.
Whatley also suggests using this time to repair or discard broken items in each room, as well as to "get a Mr. Clean pad and finally clean the doors, walls, and baseboards of scuffs."
Bring your favorite belongings to the front.
When reorganizing your home, it's important to set yourself up for continued success by making sure you come up with a good placement system. Prioritizing your items and keeping the things you use most within easy reach can be one of the best ways to keep things from getting disorganized yet again.
"Take your kitchen cupboards, for example: Ask the question 'Do I use this every day?' If so, bring it to the front, so it's most easily accessible. If not, push it to the back, or move it to the top shelves out of reach," says Bella Middleton, founder of Norfolk Natural Living. This same philosophy can also apply to your bedroom closet, where special garments live behind your everyday wardrobe.
This not only makes finding what you're looking for quick and easy, but it also makes cleaning up and putting things away a breeze as well. And if you need help in your kids' rooms, check out 15 Genius Design Tricks for Hiding Children's Toys.
Perfect your new home office.
The beginning of quarantine also marked the first time tens of millions of people began working from home for the first time in their careers. If you're one of them, reorganizing your home to include a workspace that works for you should be near the top of your priority list. "Start by asking yourself questions about how and where you like to work and observe your own habits," says Jenny Kim, vice president and creative director at Convene. "Figure out what works best for you at different times of day with varying tasks at hand, and shape your environment and daily routine around it."
Kim also suggests bringing plants into your space to breathe some life into your home office, choosing an area that helps you feel energized, and optimizing your desk and seating setup by using ergonomic task chairs, footstools, and computer screen height adjustments.
Sort through your electronics.
Think back to 10 years ago: How many electronic devices have you owned and replaced since then? The answer will likely shock you, but probably not as much as the amount of clutter they and their components can create in your home without warning. Luckily, quarantine provides the perfect cleanup opportunity to finally ditch that iPod from 2006.
"Gather all of your electronics and cords and go through them all to see which actually work and which don't," suggests ArinMichelle Weisner, director of client services at RedPeg. "Once you've matched all your items with their respective chargers and figured out which you want to keep, make a pile of the rest and search online for safe disposal options. Places like Staples often accept old cords and electronics for proper recycling." And for more recycling ideas you probably didn't know about, here are 23 Things You Had No Idea You Could Recycle.
Make your furniture movable.
Spending all of your time at home may have you using rooms you've never used before. So if your guest room/office/yoga space/meditation room is going to be filling so many roles, you might as well make it as easy as possible to move things around.
"Invest in some casters and put them on chairs, ottomans, desks, and other furniture to be able to easily roll them around when you need to create more space for an in-home workout or a conference call," says Alicia Weaver, chief creative officer of Alicia Weaver Design. That way, you'll never bump into your storage bench while transitioning to warrior pose ever again!
Get your bathroom in order.
When it comes down to it, your bathroom may be the room in your house that sees the most week-to-week cleaning and scrubbing. Ironically, it's also usually the last room people remember to rethink and reorganize. "Many people have 'organizing bathroom drawers and cabinets' right at the bottom of their to-do list—which is unfortunate, because they're often filled with expired toothpaste, old prescriptions, spilled makeup, and worse," says Morgan.
She suggests sorting through all the products in your cabinets, drawers, linen closets, and shower area, just as you would a pantry or fridge. Then, ditch any duplicate, empty, or expired items. Another great way to cut down on shower clutter? Installing a soap, shampoo, and conditioner dispensing shower caddy. And for more great bathroom accessories to help you out, here are 20 Bathroom Accessories That Will Totally Reinvent Your Space.