You know the feeling. That cathartic, zen feeling you get when your home is uncluttered, clean and organized. If your list of New Year's resolutions includes tidying, tucking and organizing your house, it's time to make good.
"I'm very busy," said Lisa Silsbee, owner of Get Organized. "This is the time of year when many people are dealing with the aftermath of Christmas -- trying to make everything fit back into the containers they came out of."
When Silsbee is commissioned to help with holiday decoration disarray, she looks for opportunities to repurpose as much as she can from the homeowner.
"I'll take used gift wrap tubes, cut them in half and wrap tree lights around them," said Silsbee. "It's a great way to keep them from being a tangled mess next year."
Ornament storage can be tricky, given their fragility. There are storage boxes made specifically for storing ornaments, but in the absence of a special container, Silsbee offers a few other suggestions.
"Always save the boxes your new ornaments come in," Silsbee said. "They are packed and shipped in those boxes, so you know they're sturdy. It's also a great idea to keep the tissue paper from all those gifts and use it for wrapping ornaments for storage."
Silsbee also encourages making use of Christmas stockings and other holiday linens and towels for packing your fragile holiday items.
"Use the tree skirt to pad that big, Christmas dinner platter, or wrap breakable knick-knacks in tissue paper and stuff them into stockings," said Silsbee.
Beyond holiday storage, Silsbee offers other suggestions for general home storage.
"For packing seasonal clothing, bedding, linens and such, vacuum storage bags are great," said Silsbee. "You can fit so much in there and then just slide them under your bed."
Silsbee also knows from years of experience in many homes that one of the areas in the home that typically needs organizational attention is the repository for mail. Whether it's the dining table or kitchen counter, most of us have a place where the mail gets deposited each day -- and often remains there for days until it is addressed.
"I suggest getting a paper organizer and garbage can that can live near the door. File the mail the second you step in the door," said Silsbee. "Create a place for bills, and every day when you walk in with the mail, file them immediately. Then, generally speaking, the rest of it can go right into the garbage. Or better yet, go paperless. Most bills can be paid online these days; sign up for electronic statements, and save yourself from a lot of mail."
Silsbee offers storage tips for other areas in the home:
n Use individual containers for make-up, medicines, hair care, cold care, etc., simplifying access to those items when you need.
n Routinely go through your medicine chest and remove expired medications, freeing up space.
n Utilize over-the-door hooks for towels and over-the-door shoe organizers for easy storage of lotions, perfumes, hair spray, hair accessories, nail polish ... many possibilities.
n Under-the-bed storage containers are perfect for shoes, purses and seasonal clothing, but they also work great in the kids' room for games, toys, stuffed animals, racetrack pieces and much more.
• Place over-the-door shoe organizers or individual baskets for each family member on a book shelf by the back or front door, whichever the family primarily uses. They're perfect for gloves, hats, scarves, wallet, keys, sunglasses -- anything you might need as you're leaving the house.