Why You Should Deal With the Clutter in Your Most Functional Rooms First

Photo: Stocksy/Bisual Studio

In a world with constant stress, memes-a-plenty, and news that never stops, sometimes you might just wish you could send yourself to savasana mode. Here's a one-way ticket to that state of mind courtesy of Athena Calderone, founder of the Eye Swoon blog and author of Cook Beautiful, who has created a swoon-worthy ethos in her well-edited Instagram. The feed will send your stress levels plummeting, and at a time when the new year asks us to start fresh, banish bad habits, and quite simply reset, that could come in rather handy. Here, she turns an eye to how to tidy up and create a blank canvas for major magic to occur in your home.

We're all so busy that over the course of the year, things have a way of piling up and creating a mess out of our sanctuaries. The home is meant to be an intimate place, where your guard is down, where your heart is more open, where there is room for connectivity—and nothing kills that faster than clutter, turning your beautiful oasis into a stressful mess. 

I know this doubly from having just moved into a new place in Brooklyn, so as the beginning of the year coincides with a new address, I'm definitely in a tidying-up frame of mind. That rings especially true in the bathroom and kitchen, where items that are functional can sometimes wind up strewn about rather easily. Because when you use something every day like an antioxidant serum or SPF at your bathroom cabinet or spices in your kitchen, it can be easy to leave them on the counter, rather than putting them back where they belong.

In the name of starting the new year with mindful strategies to get organized, here are ways to turn a editor's eye to your kitchen and bathroom, keeping only the things you really need and creating systems that work well for you.

Keep scrolling for strategies on how to address common organizational problems in your space.

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Streamline your beauty routine

The ritual of self-care is an important one, but as makeup products and skin-care tubes begin to takeover counter space, an easy way to simplify can be to look at your beauty regimen and think about ways that you could use one product instead of two. Rather than having jars of moisturizer that serve only one purpose, begin researching multi-taskers for your routine so that you can ultimately reduce the number of items that you use on a daily basis.

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Be mindful of expiration dates for cosmetics

Once you’ve done that, begin to go through your beauty routine step-by-step, and rid your makeup bag of products that you’ve been hanging onto, but don't ever use. (Eyeing you, purple eyeliner!) I read once that you should only keep products that touch your eye (like mascaras and eyeliners) for three months and that you should toss old moisturizers and serums after year. An easy solution to remember how long you’ve had something on hand? Try writing the open date directly on the tube.

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Create a system for your spices

Once the bathroom has been taken care of, turn your focus to the kitchen cabinets, which can get cluttered and out-of-sorts after extensive holiday baking. It's true that organizing your kitchen cabinets can take extra prep work and planning, but I find that if I have things in order in my cabinets, I set myself up for success in the clean-eating department for the week.

After experimenting with different methods, I finally found a hack that works for me: Bring your commonly used spices to the front and create a simple DIY tiered storage system by stacking different heights of wooden blocks so that you can see the spices labels. If you’re prone to hoarding individual bulk spice containers, take a moment to comb through each container and discard any that you no longer need. You and your space will feel lighter.

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Organize your dry goods

One of my favorite ways to set myself up for the week is to shop at farmers markets on the weekends, and then grill veggies for the week ahead. It feels like I'm doing something nice for myself and again, setting myself up for a win. A project centering around your dry goods can also put you in this frame of mind. If you're anything like me, you likely don't want bulky boxes and bags spilling out from your pantry, so instead, try placing pastas, sugars, and other staples in simple Mason jars with individual labels. The uniform, easy storage options will make the space feel functional, organized, and inviting.

Athena Calderone
Photo: Nicole Franzen

Athena Calderone is a celebrated interior designer, chef, entertaining expert, and creator of the award-winning lifestyle site EyeSwoon. Whether layering flavors in the kitchen, setting a bountiful table, or designing a room, she's known for her use of graceful yet juxtaposed pairings—finding yin-and-yang in all that she does. Fueled by her belief that beautiful food and design bring us together and turn little moments into lasting memories, Athena remains committed to push the boundaries of her craft. With her cookbook, Cook Beautiful (released this October) Athena shares how to achieve her impeccable yet approachable cooking style in every season.

A new year calls for ch-ch-changes all around. Once your home is in order, take a peek at how you could revamp your recipes, beauty regimen, and even your finances

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