An Organizer Talks Renovation

Organizing and Renovating

Building or renovating a home is a large undertaking. The excitement of having something new and improved is often tempered by the pressure of having to make a lot of decisions. Professionals often can offer valuable information…

→ Realtors know what sells

→ Architects know what flows

→ Designers know what appeals

As a professional organizer, I’ve learned a few lessons of my own about what works. Here are my thoughts on how to maximize the functionality of a new space.


Closet Organizing Systems

Yes, these are expensive, and when you are in the middle of a renovation, it may seem like a luxury that can be postponed. But a closet that has nothing more than a single shelf and a bar across the top means wasted space. If possible, hire a company to consult with you and install a system before you move in.

Pull-Out Drawers

Cabinetry is lovely, but if you have to bend down and crawl around to access items, it can be frustrating. Before you move in, call a company such as Shelf Genie to talk about optimizing lower cabinetry, the space under the sink, and the corner cabinet of a kitchen. A small investment now can make a world of difference in an area you touch every day.

File Drawers

I’ve been in many homes where a desk was part of the design, but file drawers were not. Even in this age of “paperless”, everyone needs at least one file drawer, preferably more.

Mudroom Space

If possible, include a mudroom space somewhere in your home. A few cubbies with hooks and drawers will pay dividends for years to come. This space is so valuable that it may be worth sacrificing square footage elsewhere to ensure you have it.

A Pantry

At some point, pantries unfortunately went out of style. While kitchen cabinetry can certainly accommodate food, there is something so functional about a separate closet that can hold food, appliances, and bulk items. Build a pantry if you possibly can, and then get a closet company to install adequate shelving.

A Garage Organizing System

If you have a garage, you might as well make it work well. Think about this when you are in the design phase, and pick a solution that fits your budget. It can be anything from simple home supply store shelving up to a custom design from a company like Monkey Bars. The key is to include this expense in your budget so you can unpack efficiently right from the start.

A Laundry Room

Everyone has laundry, and having a nice space in which to work is a real plus. If you can, make space for a laundry room that is clean and well-lit, has space for some storage and an ironing board (one that folds down from the wall is even better!) and a flat surface for folding. A stack unit in a closet works if this is all you have space for, but consider all alternatives before making a final decision. 

Electrical Outlets

There are code requirements for outlet spacing, but these are often insufficient. Plan now for extra outlets while the walls are opened up. For example, most people benefit from double outlets underneath a desk. Or if you like to put electric candles in the windows at Christmas, put an outlet under each windowsill. The idea is to minimize the need for extension cords and outlet multipliers.

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Renovating or building requires a lot of planning, patience and money. An investment in functionality will ensure that your space functions as well as it looks.

What area or aspect of your home are you most thankful for?

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16 thoughts on “An Organizer Talks Renovation”

    1. Congratulations on the renovation, Janine! An open concept is great because it can flex with the needs of the day. Have you ever posted photos?

    1. Grat idea to repurpose the linen closets. Linens can be stored in a variety of places, including a box under the bed. Pull out drawers just make you happy every time you touch them:)

  1. AMEN, AMEN, AMEN to all your ideas!

    As someone with almost no lower cabinet pull-out drawers, zero closet organizers (when we moved in), no mudroom or garage organization system, the minimum number of outlets … and a laundry hall instead of a laundry room, I can testify to the value of your suggestions.

    1. Sometimes the most beautiful homes lack the necessary functionality! A laundry hall is difficult because there just isn’t much space to put the clothes. The good news about pull-out drawers is that they are an easy retrofit. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. The best kitchen I’ve ever had was one I designed myself. It was beautiful and had a pantry as well as a small desk with two file drawers. I didn’t have anything inside the cabinetry though – I don’t remember that being available then (late 80s) but it could be that I didn’t want to spend more than I already was.
    Janet Barclay recently posted…Why you need to check your linksMy Profile

    1. I think cabinetry pull-outs are do seem like an expensive luxury when we are remodeling and already spending so much. That is why I’m so glad they are available as an “aftermarket” addition. Sounds like you designed the exact kind of kitchen I would have, Janet!

  3. We definitely did the pull-out and soft close drawers when we did our kitchen, and I’m so thankful for them! And we put in extra outlets in the dining room given buffets with hot pots / slow cookers and they’re a lifesaver. I didn’t think about the Xmas candles though, good point!

  4. Great information! My sister is going through a major kitchen reno right now so I’ll be forwarding this to her! It’s also such a great idea to maximize space before you put everything back into the kitchen.

    1. Agreed, Autumn! How fun for your sister.. kitchen renovations can be stressful, so tell her I send her best wishes for tenacity through the process and a terrific outcome:)

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