Make a Space

Getting your home guest ready this summer starts with streamlining your stuff.


My home has such limited closet space! Where am I supposed to keep everything?

First reassess whether you absolutely need to keep all of your stuff. Do you really love it? Do you actually use it? After you’ve ensured that everything you want to store is actually going to enrich your life and make it better, then you should consider just how often you’ll need access to these items.

For less-used or out-of-season items, consider attic space or high cabinets and shelving. For items you use all the time, discover newfound storage by adding hooks, shelving, and/or exposed clothing racks to your room, including on your closet and room doors. Just because it’s out in the open doesn’t mean it isn’t “stored.”

My parents throw nothing away. They will be downsizing soon. Is there such a thing as an organization intervention?

Actually, yes! There are professional organizers who are specifically trained to assist clients with hoarding tendencies and to support their families in this effort. Find a well-reviewed professional organizer who has experience working with hoarders and downsizing. Visit for a directory of professional organizers in your area.

We get lots of guests during the summer, but my guest room becomes a junk room over the winter. How can I clear it out and keep it guest-ready year round?

First step, get rid of the junk by sorting in four categories: recycle, throw away, give away, keep. If you haven’t used it in the past year or two, it might be time to let it go. Once you sort, then get it out. Follow through with getting it out of your house, otherwise your junk room will just move from one end of your house to the other. For those things you do decide to keep, give them an appropriate and uncluttered home in your house. Be very stingy about what you hold onto. And once your guest room is cleared, do not allow yourself the option of leaving “junk” in there. Give things a home as soon as they come into your home.

Merritt Chesson is the owner and founder of Simply Kept, a Durham, N.C.-based clutter management and organizational design service company that focuses on making living spaces “more simple, aesthetic, and livable.” Simple means keeping only what you know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. Aesthetic means eliminating and hiding clutter while retaining and then staging the beautiful and inspiring. Livable means ensuring that what a homeowner needs is when he or she needs it when it is needed.




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