Pretty much every home has one of those rooms — a designated space for the things that don’t live anywhere else like laundry, tools, vacuum cleaner, cleaning supplies, wine racks, and everything in between. We asked expert organizer Peter Walsh to share his top tips for keeping this space under control.
“Often my clients say it’s a place for ‘all that extra stuff’ or it’s where ‘utility items’ go,” says Walsh. “The trick with any do-everything room is to apply these four organizing tricks to make it efficient.”
1. Divide your space into zones.
This is the most basic thing you can do and will have a huge impact. If the mop and bucket have a dedicated area, it’s easier to put them away and retrieve the next time. And if everything you use to clean your home is in one area, you won’t make multiple trips getting all of your supplies or waste money buying things you already own but can’t find.
2. Think vertically.
Most people don’t think to maximize the use of vertical space for storage in tight quarters. Old bookshelves, simple floor-to-ceiling shelving, or baker’s racks make organizing easier and use the space you have. Even well-placed hooks attached to studs in a wall allow you to get things off the floor — avoiding what I call “floor creep” — and neatly organized. Getting (and keeping) things off the floor is key to stopping disorder before it starts. If you go with shelving, then dedicate a specific area to items that you tend to use together. If you go with hooks, see how many of your current items can be attached to the walls.
3. Figure out how you use the space.
If it’s an area where you bring the laundry in to be folded, do you have a workbench there? And under that bench, is there a place to store the laundry basket, hangers, and pegs? Make this your laundry area. Next, see what other types of items can be grouped together. Perhaps tools can be combined into one box. Just be sure that you don’t mix areas that are primarily chemicals, such as cleaning supplies, with those that are primarily things you eat or drink.
4. Keep items your regularly use in reach.
As you’re re-organizing, make sure the things you use most often are the easiest to get to. The things you use least often or only seasonally should be as high up and far away as possible. Finally, you may want to invest in some clear plastic bins. These are great because you can see what’s in them without opening them up , plus, if they’re plastic, you can easily put a label on them to remind you what is stored in them.
Getting multipurpose rooms organized doesn’t have to be difficult. Use the space wisely and divide it into zones. Also, never overload the area — regularly discard items you no longer use. Once you’ve decluttered this way, you should find that you have enough room for everything that’s currently in there. Good luck!
If you only have 10 minutes…
These sorts of rooms tend to get junked-up pretty quickly. Say goodbye to the packets of half-used laundry soap, boxes you haven’t unpacked after the last three moves, or those miscellaneous items that you don’t need or use. Clean out all the clutter and free up much-needed space.
This article was originally written by Peter Walsh. For more, check out our sister site, Homes to Love.