Organization By Design – No more Spring Cleaning…

permanent solutions that you can incorporate into your home to keep things in their place all year long… 

Everyone knows the dreaded chore that is ‘Spring Cleaning” … it seems that over the colder months we allow things to somewhat pile-up and then come spring, when the sunshine pours in, we suddenly notice that abundance of clean up that is needed. But some extra dusting and garden preparations aren’t necessarily the tasks that we dread… spring cleaning seems to come with “junk” … a clutter of stuff that we either need to get organized and find a proper home for, or to purge out of our lives altogether.  

Some people are better at the purge than others, and some are downright terrible at it, never seeming to be able to release anything that could prove necessary in the indeterminate future. There are several reasons that this could be the case… and while we aren’t going to analyze the reasons that as humans we hold onto ‘stuff’… we do have some suggestions as to how you can get yours organized once and for all, know what you have (so that you don’t unnecessarily purchase another one), and be able to keep things in their place all year long, so that when the beautiful spring days arrive, you can enjoy them! … rather than undertake this annual chore. 

Custom design considers how a home’s people live and function within the house, this includes creating that ‘place for everything to keep everything in its place’. We aren’t talking about a colour-coded storage tote stack in your garage, when a designer helps clients get organized, it is on a macro level; looking into how they really live, what is important to them, what kind of stuff they have, and even what they could foresee having more of. These elements of home design reduce the need for those aftermarket organizer solutions that never seem to fit quite right or stick out as an eyesore in your otherwise beautiful home.   

Closets – to be seen, is to be worn. 

How many times have you caught yourself in the ‘I don’t have anything to wear’ loop? despite having a jam-packed closet full of clothes, have you bought another black t-shirt to discover, come laundry day, an over-abundance of black t-shirts that you own? Do you wear the same 3-5 items on rotation all week long?… believe it or not, this could be (somewhat) a design dilemma.  

If you can’t see your clothes, how do you expect to keep them in the rotation? Busy mornings call for a quick grab, that tends to be what’s most accessible. The other issue with many closets is that without proper organization components, it may become so jam-packed that putting away clean laundry never fully happens, then we find ourselves pulling the same outfit off the top of a pile and rarely venturing into our closets at all!  

What if your closet was a place that you loved and getting dressed became an enjoyable part of your day? With some proper planning and design input, that is exactly what can happen – the right amount of shelving, hang bars at proper heights, drawers and baskets for a quick grab of loose items, and racks for all your shoes – when you can see all that you have, you will wear it more… you can be inspired to create outfits and better coordinate the pieces you have… this will save you time, and money. 

Here are some ideas you can incorporate to make friends with your wardrobe…  

Mudrooms – prevent the most common trip-up. 

Mudrooms used to be a common inclusion in times past, mostly in farm homes where muddy boots needed to be discarded before entering the main area of the house, hence the name. Recently mudrooms have made a major comeback, and we are finding that most of our custom home designs factor in a space like this, and many renovations are making room for them as well. Quite often these spaces are accessed using a side or rear entrance and can be achieved by sharing space with the laundry room. Having this dedicated area to contain the mess of entry and the dirt that comes with shoes and boots, allows the rest of the home to stay cleaner longer.  

For young families with school aged children, and for those who work or play sports out of doors, the speed at which the dirt enters the home can be shocking. The ability to leave it in one area of the home that is designed to be able to endure and contain it, is a game changer. An optimal mudroom has a tiled floor that is easy to mop, dedicated space to hang coats, and store shoes for each family member. Some closed cabinetry is also an asset to keep seasonal accessories like scarves, toques, gloves, and out of season jackets so that only the most utilized items are immediately in reach, and the space is kept uncluttered. If you have a smaller area to work with, this can also be achieved by adding some shelves with baskets to tuck things away. All those excess seasonal items that are often forgotten or misplaced, leading to a big closet and clothing clean out – so designing this type of organization space will help avoid that bigger spring-cleaning project. 

When you have a beautifully designed home, you want it to make a great first impression and stay looking good, keeping the trip-up of discarded shoes, coats, backpacks and purses out of sight and out of mind. Mudrooms also make a great place to keep doggy dishes and wipe muddy paws! 

There are several ways that a space like this can be created – depending on how much room you can dedicate to it, and what your needs are…  

Kitchen Solutions – plan in convenience and storage functionality.

Everyone has at least one kitchen cupboard or drawer that could be named ‘Disaster’! Usually, it contains Tupperware, glassware, or specialty utensils… sometimes it contains everything that has no other home… ‘junk drawer’ as well got named for deserved good reason ????  

There are some very useful innovations that have come along to help these types of ‘domestic disasters’ from occurring. They require inventory, present and foreseeable future, as well as thoughtful planning. Yes, you should share with your interior designer just how much kitchen stuff you’ve got – don’t be bashful! – because otherwise how will we know what type of functionality and organizational elements to plan into your cabinetry? 

Properly planned kitchen storage doesn’t ‘hide the mess’ it contains and neatly stores all the things that you, as a home chef, have determined that you need to create your gourmet masterpieces. There is no reason not to have your gadgets and small appliances if you enjoy them, but let’s give them a good home, where you can find them with ease and therefore will use them more readily.  

Ingredients are another matter. We find the same kind of trouble in pantries that we find in clothes closets, where things get buried and forgotten if things are not organized and tidy. Trouble with ingredients is that things can go past their expiration date, and then be wasted. It is a lot easier to enjoy cooking if you know what you have to work with, and it is easy to find and grab because it has dedicated accessible space… that makes the grocery shopping easier as well!  

This next one is not so much about the spring-cleaning solution, but while we’re here, we thought we might as well mention prep kitchens… so that while you’re planning your kitchen functionality, you can be certain not to forget to include one of these… ????  
Prep kitchens are next level – prep kitchens DO hide a mess – and have become very sought after in our homes, largely as a result of the popularity of the open concept floorplan. Who wants to look at the kitchen mess while dining, or if you have guests and don’t feel like doing clean-up while entertaining, these spaces hide the mess out of sight, so you can at least momentarily forget about it!  

Millwork Built-Ins – create adequate space to begin with.

It seems that given the option, anyone would prefer a clutter-free household… but the reality is that families come with stuff. We need to keep ourselves entertained, keep the kids occupied, keep our brains busy and our creativity flowing. Hobbies and things to do indoors come with stuff that needs to have a home.  

Think back a few decades… all the fun stuff was generally contained to a space, endearingly referred to by some as a rumpus room, in the recesses of the basement where all the kids would be sent come family gatherings… it’s bringing back some good memories isn’t it? LOL No one had any expectations as to how that room looked, and it generally didn’t look too good – toys, books, boardgames strewn around, there might have been a freestanding bookcase to store these things, but they rarely made their way back to it. Tripping hazards abound as the cords to the videogame consoles strung like suspension bridges across to the hand-me-down sofas – and let’s not talk about all that was lost amongst the cushions of those sofas…   

This just isn’t how most people are living anymore, largely because real estate is just so valuable and these rooms (as fun as they could be) took up quite a lot of space. Most people do something more with their basement, such as a suite or a home gym, or when it still serves as a ‘rec room’ it tends to be a lot more refined entertainment venue, a home bar, or a man cave where the stuff isn’t welcome to be left lying around either… and so the main family room serves double duty. 

The other major bonus to custom built-in storage… It utilizes vertical space, which can be like discovering bonus room that might not necessarily have been counted on or configured in if a designer wasn’t involved to help you plan your home to function… just as good as it looks ????  just for you! 

Home offices are another place where messes pile up fast without dedicated space to shelve books, file paperwork, tuck away homework, stow stationery and supplies… and hopefully hide printers and scanners! 

SO… this means that we need to get creative with finding storage solutions in our homes – because the stuff isn’t going to go away, especially with kids – which is where custom millwork comes into play. Built-in cabinetry in rooms other than kitchens and bathrooms not only create dedicated space to store all the good stuff, but they also help to relieve the stresses of finding a place to put it, and they reduce the need for stand-alone furniture which makes your home feel more open and spacious. 

The storage ideas and organization options of custom design are limitless, and their benefits invaluable… they contain the stuff, to give you the freedom! Design your home to be able to stay organized, and you’ll never have to do spring-cleaning again! ☀️ 

What People Are Saying

Lawrence Green

"I was impressed not only by Sarah's design ability, but also with her level of construction knowledge. I have heard that a lot of designers are good at making things pretty, but are not that great at understanding how things are actually built- Sarah is fantastic at both. I recommend them to anyone and everyone I know without hesitation."

Diane and Vince Grdina

"We had the pleasure of working with Sarah on the construction of our new home. We had a lot of fun working with them and found them always thoughtful, mindful, and professional. We would highly recommend their firm and would use them again without hesitation."

Pete Rackow

"We were immediately impressed with Sarah's ability to assess our needs and understand the type of home my wife and I wanted for us and our 3 boys. Her attention to detail is flawless and every inch of our fully renovated home is thoroughly thought through. I felt like they cared about our home as much as we the homeowners did."