Tips for Organizing for 2014

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On today’s Please Explain, we spoke to Apartment Therapy CEO and founder Maxwell Ryan about how to get organized and cut down on clutter as we head into 2014. Here are some of the highlights.

Plenty of New Yorkers rent their homes, but Ryan says that shouldn’t keep you from organizing your stuff while you live there: “Your home starts now...The home you own, the space you may rent.”

For those trying to reorganize a closet, he recommends open shelves, like Elfa shelving, because they allow you to see all of your clothes and have access to them. Winter clothes, especially down jackets, can pack really small, especially if you use those plastic bags where you suck the air out using your vacuum cleaner.

Lots of us struggle with how long to hold on to certain documents and when it’s okay to toss them. Ryan recommends keeping mortgage statement, bank statements and invoices and deductible receipts for 7 years. But your taxes…well, “you have to keep your taxes forever.”

To cut down on space, Ryan recommends putting files and photos in DropBox. It’s also handy in case something happens to your computer.

Ryan says that the front door has to be a filter – things either get to come into your home, stop, or go out again. Create a landing strip – coat hook, places for your keys, phone and wallet, dog leash, waste basket for sorting mail, and storage for mail you want to keep, a mirror, and a place to take off your shoes. “It’s an intentional clutter zone.”

Bottom line: “You have to get life down to its essentials.”