Share this article


Your message has been sent.

    Send Email

    North of NYC North of NYC By Houlihan Lawrence By Houlihan Lawrence by

    This isn't about "staging," it's how to make your home environment more enjoyable for you now and relieving stress by dealing with projects soon that will most likely have to be dealt with in the future.

    Let's start with organizing small jobs. A good philosophy is that you start with a small task that can be accomplished quickly, preferably in the morning when you are fresh. Remember to say over and over to yourself: Let it go!


    Linen Closet:
    Take everything out and put it on the floor, clean the closet thoroughly. Have a plastic bag handy and put sheets, towels, old curtains and drapes in it that you haven’t used for years. Put it aside to take to the recycling center or the nearest animal shelter. Fold by color and size the ones you want to keep. You will be so happy you have done this simple task that you will pass by and open the doors to take a peek at your handy work.

    Kitchen Drawers and Cabinets:
    Go through your kitchen drawers and cabinets and get rid of stuff you don’t really need or use. Do you really want 5 can-openers, 50 coasters and 20 different pitchers? I did this with my reluctant husband, we filled 3 grocery bags and took them to a thrift shop.

    Oh how it piles up! Doesn’t it just drive you nuts when you can’t find the bill that you know is due or an invitation and you just cant recall the time you should be there? Here are some tricks. Make a separate folder for bills, invitation and bank statements that are right where you open the mail. Put your coupons in an envelope and leave them in the car. If you really want to look at those catalogs, put them in a basket so you can keep them together to carry to the office, bedroom, den, etc. Same with newspapers.

    Old Paint Cans:
    Get rid of paints you will never use again because your den is now gray instead of purple. If you fill the paints with kitty litter or can-dry and give them a day or so for the paint to be absorbed, you can put them out with your trash. This is only for latex based paints. Oil based paints need to go to a recycling center.

    Think about all those photographs on your piano, end tables, counters, refrigerator and hall walls. I recommend donating all those frames and putting your cherished photos in a beautiful album for your coffee table. It gets rid of clutter and saves dusting time too. You will look at the album frequently and so will visitors.

    Every house I go in seems to have tons of books collected and adored over many years. It is good to go through them and take your treasures and put them on a shelf or two. Give others away to your local library where you can go visit them. If you neatly line up your remaining books by size on your shelves with all binders in the same location, they look really smart.

    Cook Books:
    I love cookbooks although many i have not looked at in years as so many wonderful recipes are online now. I have been taking cook books on car trips and while I am not driving, you’ll be glad to know, I go through the old books and tear out the recipes I really care about and file them away and then throw out the books.

    If you haven’t worn something in 5 years, give it away. If you don’t really like something because you made a mistake in buying it last year, give it away. If you think you might wear it again when you lose weight, give it away. There are so many families that need clothing. Marie Kondo of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up says that dealing with clothes is the biggest challenge for families. She says you really need to love the items and to not keep them “just because”. I recommend her motivating book.

    To sum up, start now to organize your home for your own enjoyment and peace of mind. You will feel so much better even when the little tasks are done. Remember to just let it go.

    Lynne Clark is a Scarsdale native, community activist and accomplished agent at our Scarsdale brokerage. Visit her page here.