During the cold winter months, we are typically stuck indoors more often. That’s going to be particularly true this winter as we avoid both the seasonal flu and the global COVID-19 pandemic. While you are spending more time indoors with your family, you could take this opportunity to tackle some of the home organization projects you’ve been putting off. Here are 5 projects you can consider doing as the temperature starts to drop outside.
#1. Organize Your Pantry
Having a messy over-stocked pantry can lead to food waste. In fact, the USDA estimates that 30-40% of the food supply in our country is wasted. You can help reduce that waste by only buying what you need and not letting the food you buy go bad. If your pantry is overflowing and disorganized, you can’t see what ingredients you have.
Here are some tips for organizing your pantry:
- Use baskets on shelves to help organize small items.
- Keep spices and baking supplies together.
- Add inspiring wallpaper or shelf paper for a pop of color.
- Separate food from non-food items.
- Add pull out drawers under shelves.
- Use a lazy-susan for spices.
- Use rolling hampers to store lightweight bulky items.
- Use tiered shelving so you can see everything at a glance.
- Use glass or plastic containers with cute labels to store bulk goods.
- Turn your pantry doors into a chalkboard for meal planning.
- Store cans laying down in a pull-out drawer because from above they all look the same.
#2. Sort And Organize Your Clothes (Including Your Sock Drawer!)
It doesn’t take long for our clothing to get out of sorts. We have a tendency to hold on to clothes for their sentimental or financial value that either don’t fit or no longer have a purpose in our lives. If you have jeans in 6 different sizes sitting in your closet, then you know what we mean. The best way to regain control of your clothing is to gather it all up, yes all of it, in one place. Heap it all onto your bed and then go through it item by item. If it doesn’t fit or you don’t think you’ll wear it again, throw it in a donation pile. If it’s damaged or aged beyond repair, throw it out. Here are some additional tips for your closet and drawers as you put everything back.
Organizing Your Sock Drawer – Once you’ve thrown out all the socks with holes in them, find matching pairs and roll them or fold them up together. You can store socks, organized by use and color, neatly in your drawer. For more ideas on how to fold and store socks, see this article by No Cold Feet.
Organizing Your Closet – Sort your clothes by season, occasion, or color, depending on what clothes you keep in your closet consistently. If you have a small closet, you can store out of season items in plastic bins to make more room.
Organizing Your Drawers – Have a drawer for each type of clothing such as tops, pants, underwear, PJs, etc. Neatly fold your clothes to avoid wrinkles and make sure you can clearly view the clothing when you’re planning your outfit. You can even buy a professional folding board to help keep things neat and orderly.
#3. Finally Tame The Kid’s Playroom Or Bedroom
Are kids’ toys taking over your whole house? This winter is a great time to tame the toy box and get things organized before the holidays bring you even more stuff to store. Most toys should have a designated home either in a kid’s playroom or bedroom. Before you start looking for storage solutions though, have your children help sort through their toys to see what can be tossed out or donated. Toys that are broken or missing pieces can be thrown out, while toys in good condition they have outgrown can be handed down or donated. This also teaches your kids a valuable lesson in charity and kindness.
#4. Get Your Finances And Important Paperwork In Order
While you’re spending extra time at home, this is a great time to sit down with your partner and hash out a new household budget. You’ll need to gather receipts, bank statements, bills, and other important paperwork in order to do this. Speaking of paperwork, this is also a great time to find a safe and organized way to store it all. You can use files and a fireproof filing cabinet or lockbox, or you can go paperless and scan documents to store digitally. There are even some great apps and computer programs that will help you formulate and stick to your new budget. You can get more beginner budget tips from Forbes Magazine right here.
#5. Organize Your Garage So You Can Fit Your Cars Inside For The Winter
If you’re lucky enough to have a garage, then you can store your cars inside and keep the ice and snow off them. However, many people have a bit of a hoarding problem going on inside their garage which prevents them from fitting one or both of their cars inside. Take advantage of the early winter days to quickly sort this problem out. This is a great project to get kids and teens to help with and maybe pay them some allowance money to help you haul out the larger items.
Once again you’ll be making three distinct piles, one to keep, one to donate, and one to throw out. Make sure to do your garage clean up close to a bulk trash pickup day, so that you’ll have a place to go with all the discarded items. After you’ve whittled the piles down, it’s time to store everything in an organized manner. Garage shelving and plastic storage bins are a great way to store small and medium-sized items. You can even install overhead storage with rails and bins, as long as they don’t interfere with the garage door opening and closing.