WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — There are two main motivations for getting organized during the global coronavirus pandemic: staying healthy and making the most of your time at home.
Professional organizer Korinne Kubena Belock is the founder of Urban Simplicity. She has helped to organize political campaigns but also clients’ spaces and lives.
Belock said there are three main clusters of spaces to consider during this time of social distancing.
The first is organizing to stay healthy. Belock suggests you tackle the refrigerator, pantry, and bathroom. They are spaces that are used most often and they can most easily pick up germs and bacteria.
When it comes to a household filled with people who are using the refrigerator, put the healthiest snacks in places that are easiest to grab, particularly in reach of the youngest members of the family.
"The first step with organizing your fridge is always to pull everything out and wipe down every surface. So start there. And look at expiration dates. Don’t be afraid to toss things if they’re not going to be used. Because right now you need in there what people are going to use and grab and need," Belock said.
Getting these spaces organized will also make them easier to clean, Belock said.
Organizing things on the countertop and beneath the sink starts with decluttering.
"Imagine that you’re wiping down an area around the sink and you’re not having to move 70 bottles to get in there. So that’s the first major reason why it’s going to be so much healthier for you if you can get that decluttered," Belock said.
Next are small projects with big impact that any anybody can handle. These are zones like the kids’ art area, linen closet, and junk drawer. These smaller efforts will give a sense of satisfaction every time you use them.
When it comes to the kids’ art supply area, Belock suggests you find portable containers that are easy to grab and go. Labeling everything will give every item a home and help even the youngest members of the family to put things away.
Belock uses clear plastic shoe boxes because they are stackable no matter the height, while they continue to be uniform and easy to move.
"Kids will put things back if they know there’s a system. And if it’s something they’re involved in, and they can kind of enjoy, it makes a difference, so always label. And right now they’re home using the art supplies, because you’re trying to keep them busy. So this is something the whole family can do together," Belock said.
The linen closet can become jammed with enough towels and sheets for a small army. Belock suggests you use shelf dividers to tame tall stacks and a math equation to whittle the numbers.
"Count the number of members in your family. Count your guest rooms. Multiply it by two. And that’s how many towels and sheets you need. So you don’t need 60 towels for a household of four," Belock said.
As for the junk drawer, it’s time we all rethink this space.
"I always say about junk drawers, think of it as a utility drawer, not as a junk drawer. A junk drawer gives us the right to just throw stuff in it. And a utility drawer is the most useful items in your home, the things you need to grab. Notepads, scissors, candle lighter, whatever it is," Belock said.
There are also more ambitious spaces, like the master closet or craft closet area.
These require a deeper dive, but they can have huge impact on the organization of a home. Perhaps now is the perfect time to declutter, reorganize, and reimagine a large space.
Pulling everything out of the closet first allows you to reimagine the space.
"Don’t just say, oh, that’s where my shoes always lived, I’m going to put them back there, or that’s, so it gives you an opportunity to re-envision everything completely, thinking about your priority levels. So you might be a person who wears only workout clothes, but for some reason they’re shoved in a lower drawer. That doesn’t make any sense," Belock said.
Belock has been taking virtual appointments as a small business owner and connecting with people on social media. She said it’s allowed her to help others take hold of their lives in a challenging time, improving their lives with clarity and organization.