Organizing the Attic or Basement Zone

November is a wonderful time to organize and clean out your attic or your basement zone. The temperature tends not to be too hot or cold for comfort. It is also an area where many of us store our holiday decorations.

As you prepare to work in this zone, first decide how you want to use this area in your home. You might include on your list storage of:

  • Seasonal decorations
  • Seasonal house items like fans or heaters
  • Household items you wish to keep but are not currently using
  • Toys, clothing, or other items you wish to pass on to friends and family
  • Out of season clothing or sports equipment
  • Suitcases
  • Archival paper
 Plan out a zone in your storage area for each category. Items you access frequently like suitcases or cat carriers should be near the entrance of this area and items you do not plan to use in the next year like unused household items are best stored furthest from the entry.
Attack the attic or basement zone by zone. Remove everything from the one zone you are working on and sweep down the area and look for any structural damage or infestations. As you place items back in the area, if you come across broken, unloved items, or multiple items (How many suitcases do you really use?) that have been hanging around for years, now is the time to let them go. You will feel so much lighter when they are gone. You will enjoy the room to move around.
Leave space between each zone so you can safely retrieve or store items.
Label all containers. Use large labels you can see from some distance. Even if a container is clear, it is hard to see what is inside if the lighting is dim.
It helps to locate different holiday items if you use colored or themed containers to store your decorations. Still label the containers with primary items. This keeps you from having to dig through multiple boxes to find the advent wreath or creche you want to use early in the season. Your organized attic or basement will make decorating and un-decorating a much easier task.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Tips on Organizing Your Attic or Basement Zone



November is a great time to organize and clean out your attic or basement zone. It is not as hot or yet too cold for comfort. it is also a zone where many of us store our holiday decorations.

As you prepare to work in this zone, make a list of all the items you store there. The list might include:

  • Seasonal decorations
  • Seasonal house items like fans or heaters
  • Extra household items you are not currently using but want to keep
  • Toys or items to pass on to family or friends
  • Out of season clothing or sports equipment
  • Suitcases
  • Archival papers
Plan where each category will be housed. Items you do not plan to use in the next year are best stored furthest from the entry. This might include the extra items you are not now using and some of the  archival papers.
Attack the attic or basement zone by zone. Remove everything from the one zone you are working on and sweep down the area and look for any structural damage or infestations. As you place items back into their area, if you come across broken, unloved items, or multiple items (how many suitcases do you really use?) that have been hanging around for years, now is the time to let them go. You will feel much lighter when they are gone. You will have more room to move around and when this zone rolls around again next year, it will be a much easier task.
Leave space between each zone so you can safely maneuver to retrieve or store items.
Label all containers. Use large labels that you can see from some distance. Even if a container is clear, it is hard to see what is inside if the lighting is dim.
It helps to locate different holiday items if you use colored or themed containers to store your decorations. Still label the containers with primary items. This keeps you from having to dig through multiple boxes to find the advent wreath or crèche you want to use early in the season. Your organized attic or basement will make decorating and in-decorating a much easier chore.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing the Bathroom Zone

If you are following my zone plan, this month is the month to work on organizing your bathrooms. If you have a linen closet, include it in this zone.

Your bathroom is one of the smaller rooms in your home but it is also one that holds many items. A bathroom can get disorganized and cluttered quickly, so it is important to have a vision and a plan for how you want to use this space. Keep clutter to a minimum.

Look at the storage space you have available. Do you have room to store your medicines and first aid material here? Do you have room to house any cleaning materials? To keep your bathroom uncluttered, some of what you store here can go somewhere else.

Use the medicine cabinet, drawers, or space under your sink to store items that you need and use regularly. Store your daily grooming supplies here. Use a bin, small basket, or drawer for cosmetics you use almost daily. A medicine cabinet can store toothpaste, dental floss, deodorant, q tips, and cotton balls. Hair dryers, curling irons, gels, sprays, and all items for your hair might be stored in a container under the sink. If your space is limited, you might also have a hanging bag on the back of your bathroom door for storage. An extra roll of toilet paper and personal hygiene items could also fit under the sink.

If you have drawers, designate each drawer as a container for like items. One drawer might hold everyday makeup, another might hold eye products, and a third hair products, etc.

As you are sorting your like items together, consolidate partial bottles and get rid of any items you are no longer using or items past their expiration date.

Shampoo, body wash, soap, and a wash cloth may be stored inside your shower or tub. There are shower caddies that fit over the door of your shower or over the shower head. Another option is to use a shower dispenser to hold shampoo or body wash.

Medicines can go in bins on a shelf in the linen closet or in the kitchen. Both spaces are better than the actual bathroom as moisture and heat can ruin some meds. Consider sorting your  medicines by type and placing them in separate bins. One bin might hold outdoor items like sunscreen, bug spray, or Benadryl. Another might hold Tylenol, aspirin, and cold/allergy medicines. Still another might hold harger items like hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, and mouthwash. Get rid of expired items while sorting. Not only do some medicines lose their effectiveness over time but they can actually become harmful. Dispose of these items safely. Do not toss medicines in the trash and never flush them into our water system. The DEA offers a Prescriptions Drug Take Back Day which occurs in October this year. Check http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html for more information.

If you have a linen closet, keep extra towels, cosmetics, and cleaning supplies there. The linen closet is also a good place to store any duplicate items. But as you organize, be ruthless about throwing out items. You don’t need 5 partial bottles of shampoo, 6 sample soaps, or that free sample in foil of a shampoo/conditioner that came in the mail.

If you don’t have a linen closet you may use towel hooks, over the toilet shelving, or baskets to store your extra towels, wash cloths, and toilet paper.

When you have your bathroom organized and decluttered, then work on a maintenance schedule to keep it under control. Next year, when you revisit this zone, it will be an easier process.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing the Attic/Basement Zone

November is a great time to organize and clean out your attic or basement zone. It is not so hot or yet too cold for comfort. Also, many of us store our seasonal decorations in this zone.

As you prepare to organize this zone, make a list of all items you store here. The list might include:

  • Seasonal decorations
  • Seasonal house items like fans/heaters
  • Extra furniture and household accessories
  • Toys or items to pass on to children or grandchildren
  • Out of season clothing
  • Suitcases
  • Sports equipment
  • Archival paper
Plan where you want each of these categories to live. Items that you do not plan to use in the next year or more should be stored the farthest from the entry. This might include the extra furniture, accessories, toys, and archival papers.
As you place items into their areas, if you come across broken or unloved items or multiple items (how many suitcases do you really use?) that have been hanging around for years, now is the time to let them go. You will feel so much lighter when they are gone and next year, when this zone rolls around again, it will be a much easier task.
Leave space between each zone so that you can safely maneuver to get or store items.
Label all containers. Use large labels that you can see from some distance so that you know what is in each container. Even if a container is clear, it is hard to see what is in it if the lighting is dim. It helps to locate holiday items if you use colored or themed containers to store your decorations, but still label the container with the primary items. This keeps you from having to dig through multiple boxes to find the advent wreath or crèche you want early in the season.
Your organized attic or basement will make decorating and undecorating a much easier chore.
Happy Holidays!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer