Baton Rouge-based professional organizer Martha Carol Stewart has seen it all, from small messes to hoarding disasters. There’s no closet, kitchen or cupboard she can’t conquer.
For many of us beginning 2017 with all of 2016’s baggage and clutter, it feels like we’ll never get it all together. But after cleaning out her home in the aftermath of last year’s flood, Stewart knows better than ever what it’s like to work hard for a fresh start.
We caught up with her between organizing sessions to get her top five tips for decluttering and organizing your home for a new year.
1. Take out the trash. “I would get three containers: one for trash, one for donations, one for things that belong in another room. Get rid of anything that’s just been lying around and accumulating, like junk mail.”
2. Remove clutter from flat surfaces. “When you pick something up in your house, you either love it or you’re like, ‘Eh. I like it, but Aunt Susie gave it to me so I feel like I should keep it, but I don’t love [it].’ Get rid of the clutter that you do not love.”
3. Set a timer. “Focus on one room for 30 minutes at a time. Trying to do the whole house at once is overwhelming, but you can do anything in 30 minutes.”
4. Organize and contain like items together. “If you have a lot of bath items, instead of clutter all over the vanity, put them together on a tray. If you contain the clutter, it looks neater visually. Get stackable containers for items like candles and batteries so things aren’t falling out of your cabinets.”
5. Prepare your closet for a new year. “Turn your hangers around backwards. After you return an item that you’ve worn, hang it the correct way. [By the end of the year], you will know what items you’ve worn and which ones you should let go.”
“Don’t forget your fridge, freezer and pantry,” Stewart says.
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This article was originally published in the January issue of 225 Magazine.