These tips from interior designers and professional organizers can help tidy turn any pigsty
Professional organizer, Order by Kate
Think big. Consider the bulkiest items first. Pieces like throw pillows, shoes, crockpots, and bedding take up a lot of room, so getting rid of even a few pieces can immediately create more space, Swenson says. After you’ve gotten rid of everything you don’t use, reduce multiples. “If you have five strainers, keep the one you use most—and get rid of the rest,” she says.
Interior designer, Erika Ward Interiors
Limit time. “Tackle areas that can be finished in two-hour increments, and stay focused on that one area until it gets done,” Ward says. Think: your desk or the pantry, not your whole office or kitchen. “Being distracted by messes in other rooms and working in more than one area spreads your efforts too thin and leads to frustration.”
Interior designer, Stefan Alexander Interiors
Watch the walls. Don’t be afraid to curate photos and art to free up visual space. Consider grouping them by theme or color, and rotating throughout the year. “A museum doesn’t display all its artwork at one time—and neither should you in your home,” Alexander says. Plus, it’s okay to cheat a little. “Adding a mirror to a small room is the easiest way to create space.”
Interior designer, Balance Design
Start ’em young. Getting your kids involved in the process can plant the seeds for lasting habits, Andrews says. Ask your kids to bring five toys to the living room to be donated each week. “You don’t even have to donate all of them, but having a regular cadence for cleaning will make the process a habit, instead of a big to-do each time.”
Heather Hogan Roberts
Interior designer and shop founder, Ivy and Vine
Give new life. Roberts recommends online estate sale Everything but the House, a company that will photograph, catalog, pick up, and sell your donated items online for a commission. The Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta will pick up furniture to donate to families escaping homelessness or domestic violence.