Sort Through Those Problem Areas

Want to de-clutter but you just don’t know where to start? Professional organizers Linda Chu of Vancouver and Jane Woolsey of Toronto offer tips for three common problem areas – your drawers, the kitchen and, of course, the bedroom closets.

Sort Through Those Problem Areas


Divide and conquer, says Chu. That means putting containers or dividers in your “junk” or desk drawers, so that everything has a place and is visible and accessible. You can get all sorts of organizational products at office supply shops, dollar stores and the like, but any plastic containers or baggies can do. As a bonus, sorting through your drawers may force you to toss some items.

For papers, Chu says, you don’t need a fancy system. Just get folders to keep papers in basic clusters, like invitations, projects, bills or receipts.

Kitchen Cabinets

The counter is your “prime real estate”, so you can de-clutter and gain space by mounting as many appliances as possible (e.g. coffee maker, toaster over, microwave) under the cabinet. Inside cabinets or under the sink, says Woolsey, use tiered shelves to expand your space and keep things more orderly.

For groceries that are staples (e.g. flour, sugar, cereal, etc.), take them out of their package and put them into a permanent container in your pantry. It’s harder to fit many different shaped packages, and you can stack the containers.

Bedroom Closets

You waste a lot of space by mixing different types of hangers, says Woolsey. It doesn’t matter if they’re straight or curved, wood or plastic, but be consistent. To find clothes easily, group like items together, by category (i.e. your tops, pants, skirts, suits, etc.) and/or colour.

Take advantage of items that can maximize your space, like hanging shoe bags, double rods, and special hangers for ties and scarves. Store out-of-season clothes somewhere else, and keep a giveaway bag handy for clothes that are out of style or no longer fit; that way, you won’t hang them back up.

An easy way to check if it’s time to get rid of some clothes – reverse all your hangers. As you wear something, turn the hanger the right way. In six months, see what you haven’t touched, and get rid of it.