There’s always a spark of hope that comes with every New Year. Changes are welcomed, new ideas are formed and resolutions are made. There’s no better time to hit refresh!
In the spirit of new beginnings, we connected with Louise Hopkins, a home organization expert with The Space Reclaimers to help University District residents, neighbours and beyond kick off the next decade with a fresh nest and some words of organizing wisdom.
Founded over five years ago, this Northwest Calgary soup-to-nuts home organization service began as a one-person operation on the heels of a new career adventure. Today, the team of four behind the local business is helping fellow Calgarians take control, get organized and reclaim their space.
Whether you’re hoping to transform your kitchen into a hyper-organized, easy-to-use space, or need some tidying solutions before guests arrive, these tips and tricks from the pros can save you the time, money and stress that come with living in a den of disorder. Let’s dive in and learn how you can spend more time enjoying your beautiful home than tidying it up!
We know getting organized at home can be easier vowed than done. While it can be overwhelming and daunting to know where to even begin corralling stacks of paper or organizing the overflowing pots and pans drawer, there is a starting point!
Begin by creating an inventory of every space in your home. Break it down by room, take photos and notes and identify categories for each space. For example, for your kitchen that can include cupboards, drawers, pantry and the junk drawer – you know, that one filled with old pens, phone cords, batteries and all other things without a home! This will allow you to take smaller and more manageable steps to getting organized.
Product Suggestion: There are many mobile app options that can simplify home organization, but Encircle is among the top when it comes to free home inventory apps. Simple to use, Encircle gives people the ability to upload unlimited photos and notes about each room and item in your home and even allows for easy creation and exports of reports. No wonder its University District approved!
Nip common mess magnets – like the living room or hall closet – in the bud with a room-by-room plan. Work your way slowly through the entire house and identify clutter hot spots, such as coffee and console tables that serve as “catch-all” places for items. Then create a list of specific actionable ways to get organized in each space. For example:
Pro Tip: Invest in a free app that lets you share tasks, set reminders and plan projects from your phone, tablet or computer! Instead of leaving your partner a to-do list for cleaning the kitchen or a chore list for the kids to tidy the living room, send them a digital nudge with Wunderlist.
You know your home better than anyone else. Put that use and fall in love with it again by creating a vision roadmap! Look to magazines and online resources for examples of what you envision each space in your home to be. Remember to think about your daily routine to create a more thoughtful and functional visual layout for each room.
Product Suggestion: All hail Pinterest! An online haven for crafty types who aspire to have a picture-worthy home, Pinterest is a dream resource for anyone seeking creative, fresh and colourful ideas to plan, organize and complete any home project. With millions of photos to sort through, this mood-boarding app is guaranteed to result in a slew of selections, all of which can be organized into individual boards for each room in your home.
Pro Tip: As you peruse Pinterest and its catalogue of exciting and stylish storage ideas, you may be tempted to go shop. Avoid buying any storage containers until you’ve purged. The goal is to reduce your junk – not find new ways to house it!
Keep your home from becoming a disorganized mess by investing in items that give everything a place, turning rooms into tidy, stylized, functional spaces. Transform the inside of a cabinet door into an undercover organization station with some chalkboard vinyl to keep important information such as a WiFi password, important cell-phone numbers, and even coupons. Or, buy a vertical file system to store and sort mail and bills, baskets for throws and tubs for toys.
From budget-friendly to splurge-worthy, items like magazine holders, slide-out cookware storage, closet organizers, a system to control cords, and functional drawers to story everyday items in will make life easier in the long run. You may have to spend some money up front, but it will be completely worth it. Remember, extra storage is never a bad thing! To keep your home organization spending in check, click here for some budget conscious tips from the pros at Scotiabank to help you save for any special project or occasion.
Pro Tip: Avoid stacking your shelves with user manuals for every appliance in your home. Go digital with Centriq! A virtual user’s manual to the home, Centriq is a free online app that stores appliance instruction guides and warranties in one place. It even goes so far as sending reminders for product upkeep!
Organizing your home isn’t meant to be a race. It will take time and effort. Before you get discouraged, remember to start small. Whether it’s the silverware drawer in the dining room, the mess of dishes that linger behind closed cabinets or the overcrowded bathroom shelves, it’s okay to tackle one space at a time. After tidying the dreaded junk drawer or disastrous linen closet, move on to the next space on your list and use that energy to fuel your motivation to maintain the organization train.
Product Suggestion: Use a label maker. Taking extra time to colour-code and label everything can keep organizational systems in place. From chalkboard and magnetic to adhesive vinyl and printed labels, you can get as fancy and creative as you want. Go nuts for labels!
Pro Tip: Don’t hesitate to walk away when you begin to feel overwhelmed (and you will!). Go for a short walk and come back when you are feeling refreshed and ready to tackle more. Don’t feel like going at it alone? Make your home organization project a fun evening with friends. Grab a bottle of wine, some appetizers and invite your pals over to help!
Getting organized can be a lofty goal for the year but thanks to these home organization tips from the pros, it is an attainable one. Whether it’s organizing the office desk or tidying up the shoe closet, we hope these suggestions will help you handle everything life throws your way and frees up more time in your day for what’s really important – family, friends and of course, yourself! If you would like more tips on home organization or are interested in the services The Space Reclaimers provide, including its online course – Reclaim your Space,, reach out to them here.
The University District blog is a resource for Calgarians who want to live, work, play, visit or buy in the northwest. We will provide you with information, stories, news and inspiration about the things that matter so you can live a more inspired, active and connected life in NW Calgary at University District… Life works here.