By Jaimee Hood
Tim Bischke has owned Storage Solutions in Jordan for more than 20 years, and he’s seen a lot of messy closets.
Though the messes he’s seen over the pandemic haven’t been anything out of the ordinary, he knows not everyone necessarily wants an outsider to come into their home due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure.
If you have an organization project you’d like to tackle in 2021, Bischke has a few tips to overcome overwhelming feelings and get your clutter under control.
1. Get rid of what you don’t need
The biggest way to reduce clutter is to conduct a “purge” of items you don’t need, Bischke said.
“Almost everybody has more than they need,” said Bischke.
Bischke says we have a tendency for re-using certain items over and over again, so the most efficient use of space is to prioritize those you use most.
“Usually people use 20% of their stuff 80% of the time,” Bischke said.
He recommends taking everything out of the area you’re organizing and asking when you last used each item. Though it depends on the item, if you haven’t used it for a given period of time, it might be time to throw it out.
2. Rotate items seasonally
One strategy Bischke uses when sorting his own closet at home or when working with a particularly limited space is separating items by season in which they’re used, then packing away those that won’t be used for a few months.
He recommends using compression bags to save even more space when packing away bulky items like winter layers.
To keep your de-cluttered areas clean, he recommends doing the sorting process periodically — like at the change of seasons, or the start of a new year.
You don’t always have to throw excess items in the trash. If they’re still in good condition you can donate them to a local thrift store or nonprofit of your choosing.
“There are all kinds of places that could benefit from the stuff that you don’t use,” Bischke said.
3. Invest in high-quality equipment
If you’re looking to add an organizational system to an area of your house, Bischke cautions against going with the cheapest option at the grocery store.
“The old maxim is true, you get what you pay for,” Bischke said.
When Bischke and his Storage Solutions team go into a project, they first make an attempt to reuse what a homeowner already has.
But he also says it’s best to let a professional come in and do the job so you don’t have a closet avalanche on your hands.
4. ‘Don’t make a tunnel’
Though making the most of a space is key to organizing it well, Bischke says you need to keep accessibility in mind when working on a project.
“Sometimes using up every square inch of space makes it hard to access stuff,” said Bischke. “You need to make sure you can still access everything. If you have to wiggle yourself in sideways you haven’t accomplished anything.”
Keep in mind what will go into the area you’re organizing, whether it’s a closet, dresser drawer or under-bed storage, before creating a “tunnel” that makes your life more difficult than necessary.
“If it’s hard to get at it doesn’t do you much good,” Bischke said.
Storage Solutions owner Tim Bischke says his primary goal is to optimize space while still making it accessible for everyday use. The company services homes throughout the southwest Twin Cities metro area.
Storage Solutions, Jordan