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With so much out of our control right now, cleaning and organizing can offer the same dose of zen as a meditation app. Start with a list of all the zones in your house that aren’t working for you – the kitchen junk drawer (aka the Bermuda Triangle for pens), the front-hall closet, the full-to-bursting space under your vanity – and create a declutter calendar. Just don’t try to tackle them all at once; you’ve got the luxury of time on your side.

Whenever you’re decluttering, take everything out to assess what you’ve got. Banish whatever doesn’t belong – why is there a blender in the front-hall closet? – and send it back to its rightful home. Then, make piles based on what you need and don’t. Be ruthless and realistic with yourself. If you haven’t used or enjoyed a thing in the last year, will you ever? Finally, put the “no thanks” items in clear garbage bags to ensure you don’t accidentally toss or give away the things you meant to keep.

While thrift stores and charity organizations are currently not accepting donations, some local and national junk-removal services are still in operation. If you’d rather wait to donate, stash your castoffs neatly in the basement, garage or trunk of your car until things change.

With your drawer, closet and cupboard now hodgepodge-free, give the area a good clean and consider how to create new systems – you don’t want to fall back into old habits, after all. Labels help create order from chaos, especially when the whole family is involved in the effort. If you don’t have a label maker, washi tape or adhesive stickers from an office-supply store will do nicely.

When it comes to corralling bits and pieces, clear bins with compartments are your friend. I also recommend using baskets, trays, bowls, vases or boxes to add some texture and personality. You can also line drawers with wrapping paper or wallpaper remnants, paint the insides of cupboards or organize items (whether shoes or skincare bottles) by colour. That way, you get a pleasant visual surprise each time you look behind closed doors.

For me, that last part is the secret to success. Years as a procrastinator and confessed clutterbug have taught me this: If you make something both orderly and pretty, you’ll be more likely to keep it that way.

Need some advice about interior design and decor? Send your questions to personaldesigner@globeandmail.com.

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