Hi, my name is Danielle and I struggle with keeping my home from overflowing with stuff. Oh, you thought you were alone? The only one who ‘forgets’ to hang their clothes up after work, who has to spend five minutes searching the kitchen drawer for a big spoon and who loses things in their apartment because they never put things in the same place twice? Nope, I totally understand your pain.
However, this year we’re going to do more than start a prayer circle and hope that at some point we’ll find that dress we really liked from three years ago. Today’s the day we get serious about reclaiming our homes and getting organized. The state of our most sacred space sets the tone for our lives and the more cluttered and out of order our home feels, the more out of whack we’ll feel day-to-day.
Fortunately, there’s a #BlackGirlMagic solution for that.
Professional organizer and closet designer Ashley Jones Hatcher knows a thing or two about whipping a home into shape. As the Regional Director for the Northeast region of NEAT Method, a luxury residential home organizing company (with franchise locations across the U.S. and Canada), and owner of NEAT Method in Washington DC since 2016, Hatcher has helped hundreds of people get organized and stay that way. From small spaces to palatial mansions, if you need to get your ish together, she’s your girl.
ESSENCE caught up with the closet slaying Texas native to pick her brain and get her expert tips on how we can declutter our homes and get ‘NEAT’ this year.
File fold your drawers: At NEAT Method, we love file folding our clients’ clothing into their drawers. Not only will you be able to see what you have more easily, but you can often fit more into the same space.
Deal with your items every day: We all have a tendency to take off clothing, jewelry, and empty our pockets and leave it where it is. Take the extra few minutes to deal with each of those items, putting them in their designated places they belong rather than letting things collect and pile up.
Check your expiration dates: Many of us forget that almost all skincare and hair care products come with expiration dates, and makeup has similar criteria as well. By taking the time to review and remove items that have expired from your space, you can declutter and make items easier to find.
Measure your spaces carefully when adding organizing products: The bathroom is filled with spaces that aren’t always a perfect fit for items on the market, so precise measuring is important when searching for products to add to help keep you organized (especially under the sink or in narrow areas next to the toilet).
Organize your drawers to follow your daily routine: Most of us have a typical morning routine – wash your face, do your hair, masks once a week, etc. Allow your drawers to follow that same pattern, placing the items you use most frequently (and go to first in the morning) up top and items less commonly used on bottom.
Create zones: We want your kitchen to make sense and have found that having certain areas serve as zones makes your space more functional. So whether it is storing all of your bakeware in the same area to create a baking zone, or all of your kid cups, bowls, snack containers, and lunch bags in an area together to create a kid zone, having these designated zone areas makes it easier for everyone in the house to get on board and follow the system.
Look for items to add to your home that serve dual purposes: If you are in search of a coffee table, for instance, look for one that opens up to provide additional storage inside. Or a bench/ottoman that offers storage too.
Create a mail management system: Nothing can become cluttered quicker than your entryway space (especially if it’s small) and many times it is related to your mail and paper clutter. Set up a quick station that allows you to address each mail item as it comes in and designate a bin or basket for catalogs and your favorite magazines – like ESSENCE!