This Queer House, Vol 10: New Year, Newly Organized Queer House

New Year’s resolutions don’t work for me. They’re are too absolute, too black and white, to ever be realistic for my lifestyle. For instance, I have already broken every 2018 resolution I made — both the ones I said out loud and the ones I kept in my head. But I also love New Year’s Resolutions! They represent all those wonderful concepts of change and growth and striving to be better, however you choose to define it. In that spirit, January’s This Queer House is all about organizing your space.

What You’ll Need:

  • Cleaning supplies – The actual supplies will depend on what kind of space you’re organizing. A whole room? You’ll want a vacuum or broom and mop. Just tackling your desk? Maybe a spray cleaner is all you need. (See the end of the column for an all-purpose DIY cleaner recipe.)
  • Scrap paper and marker/pen
  • Space – Be prepared for this project to take up more physical space in your home than you expect it to.

What To Do:

1. Identify the area. If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of organizing your home, it’s totally okay to start small. Instead of trying to declutter a whole room right off the bat, just aim to organize one section — maybe a shelf or other surface that tends to collect junk. For our project, my wife and I chose the guest room closet and surrounding area.

Our guest room closet aka the place where random junk goes to die

2. Completely empty the space. This is where having extra room will come in handy. Things will definitely get worse before they get better, and it’s good to just let the mess expand at this point.

Taking over most of the house

3. Sort everything. Use the paper and marker to make signs so you can group various types of stuff together. If you have enough space, it can be helpful to create piles in different rooms so things don’t accidently get pushed from one heap to the other. For our closet, we grouped things by the following categories:

    • Trash/shredder
    • Donate/give away
    • Move to basement
    • Keep in closet

We tried to limit the “keep in closet” pile as much as possible

4. Clean thoroughly. This is your chance to really deep clean a spot that may not usually get much attention. Maybe I’m weird, but I find that extremely satisfying.

5. Implement an organization system. Once you’ve gotten rid of the trash/donate piles, it’s time to put things away. The goal here is to set up a system that will allow you to use your space well — and won’t devolve into a total mess again in a few months. Think realistically about which items you truly need often so they can be the most accessible, and give every item, no matter how small, an assigned place.

This closet is now much less anxiety-inducing for me!

And there you have it! It’s okay if your end result isn’t completely bare and minimal and perfect; the most important thing is feeling in control of the spaces you create. As I mentioned before, you can apply this basic technique to any or every part of your home to get organized in 2018.

All-purpose cleaner recipe

My wife and I use this daily for general surface cleaning around the house and it works great! Every now and then we have to bust out the big guns for the stove (Magic Eraser), but this spray is perfect 90% of the time.

  • 1 part water
  • 1 part white vinegar
  • A few drops of dish soap (you can use essential oils instead, but we never have any)

Author’s note: this is my last monthly This Queer House column, but I’ll still pop up every now and then with new DIY projects and crafts. Please do let me know if there’s something you want to see here in the future! You can email me at jenna@autostraddle.com or find me on twitter @jennalykes.


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Jenna is a designer and writer who lives in Boston with her wife, Stephanie, and their two cats, Flapjack and Ellie. She is very passionate about fictional queer women, interspecies friendships, and food. She's still hanging onto a semi-impressive DVD collection. Just in case, you know? You can find Jenna on twitter, instagram, or check out her design website.

Jenna has written 30 articles for us.

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