Smart Solutions: A little organizing goes a long way to helping house feel more open

A storage bench can help you stay organized.
A storage bench can help you stay organized.


Ever since the beginning of the school year, our lives have been in overdrive, a complete whirlwind of work, our daughter’s activities and other commitments. It’s all good, but not necessarily for the condition of our home.

When life gets chaotic, our surroundings tend to follow suit by revealing the lack of time we’ve devoted to keeping them in order. At least that seems to be the case where we live. Even our daughter has inherited some of my bad habits as her room starts to look like the result of a tornado when she becomes inundated with homework, extracurricular interests and social events.

Every time we make the slightest dent in our messy environment, we end up right back where we started. That’s exactly what happened during a particularly packed week when our daughter decided to go to a second homecoming dance with a friend. While I knew they planned to take a few pictures at our house, I wasn’t expecting the girl’s father to come inside.

All I can say is that the house was a disaster. Though he was extremely polite about the situation, I still found myself scrambling to straighten up when he stepped on our deck to take their photos.

That night, my husband and I happened to have plans as well, so we headed to a party a friend was hosting in her new home. Just to spend some time in her tidy interiors had such a calming effect on me. In fact, when we got back to our place, I realized that my clutter was worse than the condition of her house after she had a large crowd.

This led me to take action and though I often stop and restart my organizing projects when life gets in the way, I’ve made enough progress for others to comment, like someone did recently about our laundry room.

It doesn’t take much for this tight space to become overloaded and stay that way because it’s easy to leave something there only to let it sit for too long.

Now that I’ve finally done some much-needed editing like putting seasonal items in storage and recycling random papers that came from my car (like my daughter’s field hockey banquet program from a year ago that I found in the laundry room closet which tells me how long that was left there) I am less inclined to return to my old ways.

Besides, the space looks so much bigger and better ever since I cleared the junk from the tops of the washer and dryer. We can finally see the control knobs without searching for them per my daughter’s request.

The truth is that a little organizing goes a long way in a small space and the end result not only looks good; it makes you feel good too. Now when I enter our home from the garage and step into the laundry room, which is my first impression of our home, it gives me hope that I can keep up with the rest of our rooms.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at




Share This Story