Adding more coffee bars and charging stations

As we emerge from what was hopefully the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, heading back to work, restaurants and public events, one thing is certain: Our homes will never be the same.

Weeks and months spent cooped up had many opting to buy bigger houses, install backyard patios and remodel and redecorate inside. If our Pinterest boards and Instagram accounts are to be believed, we’ve also gotten rid of a lot of clutter and tidied up our closets, pantries and junk drawers.

In the world of home organizing, experts are creating “zones” and “categories” to help us get the clutter under control and stay that way.

“People have decided they want a lot less to take care of,” said Ellen DeLap, a certified professional organizer and owner of professional-organizer.com. “Now, organization is about how we live our lives, not getting organized for the sake of organization itself.”

Those who love to bake are taking inventory of their measuring cups, mixing bowls and gadgets and storing them in a way that makes baking and decorating flow smoothly. Electronic devices have designated charging stations and drawers with organized cords instead of a tangled mess. And coffee bars are becoming as popular as wine rooms and cocktail carts.

Delap calls them “zones,” task- or use-oriented spots — similar to “drop zones,” only more intentional instead of accidental jumble of handbags, car keys, backpacks and Amazon boxes.

Ashley Barber and Jane McCullough of Simply Maven, organizers trained in Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method, refers to them as “categories.”

“We focus on your ideal lifestyle and what you want it to look like, not only your home but also how you spend your time,” Barber said. “When people think about their priorities, it translates to action.”

Her partner, McCullough, adds that being organized at home, work or anywhere else can also serve as a stress reliever.

“When there’s not a lot you can control, you look for what you can. You have direct control over what’s in your home or in your space,” McCullough said.

Areas that are priorities vary, but most common are kitchens and pantries — with garages, offices, primary bedroom closets and kids toys also ranking high.

DeLap, Barber and McCullough all said a general inventory is the first step. Take everything out of your drawers and cabinets or your pantry, and identify duplicates. If you really need two salad spinners and three vegetable peelers, OK, but you can probably get rid of some of your extras.

For many, extra gadgets can be overwhelming, so you can “joy-check it” as Barber and McCullough do. For those familiar with Marie Kondo’s Netflix series, “Tidying Up,” you ask yourself if an object brings you joy. That might be more appropriate for cleaning out your shoes or handbags — for kitchen goods, it’s probably enough to ask yourself if an item is useful.

McCullough offers this simple solution: “There’s one question that is most helpful. If you are in the kitchen, ask yourself, ‘What would I use if I didn’t have this?’ People start thinking, ‘Yeah, I use this instead.’”

“Do I need an apple corer or egg slicer or will a knife get the job done? Is it worth the space and the energy? It even gets into the entertaining things, the different dishes and coffee mugs,” McCullough continued.

If clutter isn’t your problem, it may be enough to focus on getting organized. That’s where “zones” and “categories” come into play — keeping like items together.

The tech drawer is a good example. You can identify a counter space with enough electrical plugs for USB and USC ports for charging electronics. A nearby drawer should be where you keep cords, neatly tied into a coil and placed in a container.

You don’t even need to spend money on matching containers; repurposing small boxes that fit in a grid is fine, Barber and McCullough said.

In a pantry, most wouldn’t be satisfied with repurposed, mismatched containers — especially if you’ve done a single “pantry organization” search on Pinterest. Before you know it, you’ll be buying sets of air-tight clear containers, lazy Susans and snack baskets.

Perhaps the most important new tool you can buy right now is a label maker. From the hand-held Dymo to a fancy Cricut machine, you can make labels that will stick to containers and boxes anywhere in your home.

When containers or drawers have labels, everyone will know where things belong.

Keeping your home tidy is a great way to model good habits for your kids, said Barber, who has little ones.

“Kids like structure and do well with structure. You can reset at different times of the day, before dinner or before bedtime,” Barber said. “Involving them as much as you can is really helpful and gives them simple tasks.’

DeLap agreed.

“One of the standard operating processes for families is to train kids on being organized — taking care of our stuff so we can find it when we need it,” she said. “Kids who are more organized generally feel more self confident. It helps people feel in control of their stuff and it gives them peace of mind. Our kids feel that, too.”

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https://www.houstonchronicle.com/lifestyle/home-design/article/Home-organizing-s-new-pandemic-variant-Adding-17073818.php

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