Solutions: In January, thoughts turn to home organizing

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

When it comes to chaos, you can run, but you can’t hide. That’s one of the lessons I’ve learned from the frequent condition of my home and often life in general.

If you ignore something that’s bugging you, there could be a snowball effect over time. This might apply to those extra 10 pounds that eventually become a bigger number, or a junk drawer that turns into a junk room.

In honor of National Get Organized Month and New Year’s resolutions, I vow to get my house in order once and for all. I can easily relate to my sticky notes that say: “I had a handle on things, but it broke.”

■Just the recent act of giving away a dozen drinking glasses makes a difference in our kitchen cabinets.

■I’m hopeful that the simple deed of downsizing my purse will prevent me from filling it with a bunch of stuff that I shouldn’t be hauling around. It should also make it easier to find things while creating less stress on my shoulder and back.

■Another quick fix on my organizing to-do list is untangling the costume jewelry that I hang from decorative hooks. The concept seemed like a great idea at the time until I managed to go overboard with too many necklaces next to each other.

■Taking down the holiday decorations is a great start because it inspires me to keep the momentum going with a “less is more” approach.

■I’d like to resume my plan to organize a drawer a day in the hopes of tackling more than 30 this month. I feel like my house might actually shift from the weight reduction. Empty boxes that are sitting around just waiting to feel useful can fill in as drawer organizers.

■In December, my daughter and her friends helped me with a project they were able to complete in record time. Once upon a time, I had a decent system for storing hard copies of the newspapers and magazines I write for, but that practice lapsed at some point, making it difficult for me to find anything I need to see for reference.

The girls were so efficient that I had them sort my greeting cards by category and go through my coupons (most of which were expired because that’s what happens when they sit in a drawer) and some other papers.

When I failed to find the right cardboard storage boxes at the store I took it as a sign that I didn’t really need them, especially since I already have a few filled with odds and ends that can be emptied.

Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned along the way is that the last thing I need to do is to fill my home with more stuff while trying to sort through my existing belongings, so for Christmas I asked for slippers and a massage. Both bring me comfort and alleviate stress, exactly what I hope to have in more organized surroundings.

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