When clutter starts to encroach on every room of your home, it’s time to purge what you can and organize everything that remains. Finding a place for everything can go a long way in reducing your stress, making your home look more inviting, and removing tripping and choking hazards (especially if you have young children or pets). Check out the tips below to get ideas for how to better store a wide variety of common household items.
Food: Is your refrigerator nearing maximum capacity after an overzealous trip to the grocery store? To keep food from spoiling, familiarize yourself with what can go in the freezer—and how long it will last in there. Beef and chicken can both last up to a year in the freezer if they are tightly sealed in plastic bags or their original packaging, while bread products can last up to 6 months, for example. Dairy products shouldn’t be frozen and will last between 7 days (for milk and yogurt) and 3-4 weeks (for hard cheeses). Fresh produce will last between 2 days and 2 weeks, depending on the thickness of the rind and how ripe it was when you purchased it.
Clothing: If you have a lot of seasonal clothing or hand-me-downs that you’re just waiting fo your youngest child to grow into, you should consider moving it to a climate-controlled storage unit. The clothing should stay in good condition indefinitely if stored in a space between 66-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Whether you’re storing clothes in a closet at home or a storage unit, remember to rotate them every 18 months or so to keep them fresh.
Furniture: Climate-controlled storage units can also come in handy when you have too much furniture but don’t want to sell it because you’re anticipating moving to a bigger place. If you go this route, disassemble furniture as much as you can to make it easier to move and reduce the risk of damage. If you end up with a bunch of screws and bolts, put them in small plastic baggies that are clearly labeled with the name of the piece of furniture they go to. Clean fabric furniture before moving it into the storage unit, and cover it in plastic wrap to protect it.
Makeup: Small containers of makeup can become disorganized quickly, so get your makeup drawer organized by purchasing some drawer dividers. Keep any makeup brushes in a roll-up holder to protect the bristles, and store any unused makeup in airtight containers to make it last for longer. Mascara and foundation that you’ve had for more than three months or powdered makeup and lipstick that you’ve had for more than 18 months should just be tossed.
Jewelry: If you don’t already have a jewelry box with dividers and a soft fabric lining, it’s worth the investment, as it will prevent your jewelry from getting tangled or scratched. If you have a box without compartments, you can also prevent tangling by wrapping each piece of jewelry individually in tissue paper. Make sure you keep the box in a safe, dry area.
Medication: You’re probably using your bathroom’s medicine cabinet to store medication, but heat and humidity actually speed up many medications’ breakdown processes, so that may not be the best place to keep it. Look for a dry location away from heats, lights, humidity, and the reach of young children, such as a high shelf in your bedroom closet.
If you want even more storage tips for household items including electronics, facial creams, and ceramic dishes, check out this detailed infographic from Next Door Self Storage.