Professional Organizer Shares 5 Quick Home Hacks for a Nice & NEAT New Year

4 mins read

Well, we’ve made it to January 31st, 2022. One month down, eleven to go. I’ve not been the best keeper of new year’s resolutions, but I did make a new friend who can help me with one goal which is to better organize our home and office with fresh storage and cleaning solutions for a more tidy 2022.

Her name is Kathryn Gute and she recently moved to Barrington from the Philadelphia area with her husband and three boys. As a Barrington-area Realtor since 2004, I also wanted to get acquainted with Kathryn’s work to connect her with our Luby Group real estate clients who will benefit from her services and our new partnership this year.

The owner of NEAT Method CHICAGO NORTHWEST SUBURBS, Kathryn and her team help people maintain an organized home by implementing customized solutions that are effective, sustainable and beautiful. Who couldn’t use a new friend like that!?!

I thought maybe you could, too, so I asked Kathryn to share some of her best organizing secrets to help increase our sense of calm over chaos in 2022. She’s starting with a few quick tips to tidy up some of the spaces we rely on to keep life running smoothly.

5 Quick Home Hacks for a NEAT New Year


We all know life gets hectic and maintaining an organized home can become a challenge. But if keeping things NEAT is on your list of new year’s resolutions, don’t give up just yet. With just three simple steps each, here are 5 quick hacks to make your home feel just a bit more organized before you flip that calendar to February!

Kitchen Counter

Step 1: Clear your counter and give it a good wipe down. I like a homemade mix of 1 part rubbing alcohol, 2 parts water and a drop of dish soap for a streak free, disinfected shine.

Step 2: Put items away that aren’t meant to take up permanent residence on the counter. Now assess what’s left. Can those small appliances live in a pantry or cabinet? How about those cooking utensils in the crockery…if you can tuck those away in a drawer you’ll feel the instant gratification of a clutterless counter.

Step 3: Create a drop zone by placing a small beautiful basket near the high traffic area to catch items as they come in the door for review later when you don’t have your hands full – think keys, mail, the pacifier, bag of goldfish and juice box…sound familiar? (But…promise me you’ll come back to this beautiful basket and clear it out as soon as your hands are free so you can keep that clutter free win streak).

* Photos courtesy of New Orleans NEAT Method, NW Chicago NEAT & NEAT Method


Step 1: Dump upside down and empty it out – be sure to check those tiny pockets inside.

Step 2: Sort all those treasures – garbage, loose change, lip balm, lotion, legos, fruit snacks…you get the idea.

Step 3: Those items that don’t belong back in there…go ahead and return them to their homes. Take the items that you WANT to have in your purse and place them back inside, making good use of the pockets within your purse to compartmentalize the contents and keep everything in its place. Consider a purse organizer or small cosmetic pouches to keep things NEAT in there.


Step 1: Empty your dishtowel drawer. You know…take out all the towels…and all the things that aren’t towels that shouldn’t be living there in the first place (read: twist ties, the toaster oven manual, batteries…you know what I’m talking about). Then give that drawer a quick wipedown.

Step 2: Take a good look at those towels…see those ones that are tattered and stained? Let’s give them a new home. You pick…you can give them a new life where they will live a few more years with your cleaning supplies…or…you can bid them farewell and drop them in your trash bin.

Step 3: Fold or roll your towels so that you can place them back in the drawer with a clean folded edge or roll facing up all nice and NEAT.

Food Storage

Step 1: Gather all the food storage containers from your kitchen and make sure each piece is happily married to its lid.

Step 2: Set aside all the stray lids and bottoms. Now look at what’s left…are there any that are stained or warped or otherwise look as though they have lived a good life and you could do without? Set those aside then donate or toss this pile.

Step 3: Take what is left and stack them in a cabinet or drawer. If you don’t have the room to stack them together with the lids, grab a bin to keep the lids and then nest like containers together in your cabinet or drawer. Use a drawer divider to keep your system easily maintained going forward.

Medicine Cabinet

Step 1: Remove all items and safely dispose of all expired items.

Step 2: Sort and categorize into separate bins (pain, cold/allergy, kids, etc) and label accordingly.

Step 3: Store out of reach of children – but also consider a spot that is convenient for you when you’re not feeling your best.

Bonus One-Step Hack to Clear Some Clutter

Are you hanging on to all the instruction manuals? Electronics. Appliances. Toys. Vacuum Cleaners. Cars. There. Are. Just. So. Many. Well….I’m going to let you in on one of my most loved tips. Are you ready?

THROW THEM DIRECTLY IN YOUR RECYCLE BIN. You heard me. We have been blessed in today’s world with an incredible resource that has led to the extinction of the need to keep those instruction manuals…it is called the WORLD WIDE WEB, often referred to as Google.

When your vacuum is making weird noises…let me ask you…are you digging up the manual or grabbing your smart phone to google “my dyson is making a whistling sound?” Free your home and your headspace of instruction manuals. This takes 10 seconds. Done.

So, don’t let that ticking calendar get you down. You have 10 minutes? Go ahead…pick one of these quick makeovers and you’ll be feeling like you’ve won the day before your coffee even gets cold.

Stay tuned in February when I will be back to talk all about LOVE! The top 5 organizing products that I love most! ❤️

About the Author

Kathryn Gute is the owner of NEAT Chicago, Northwest Suburbs, with NEAT Method, a lifestyle service committed to providing a more luxurious and smartly appointed living space.

Recognizing that life gets hectic and that maintaining an organized home can become a challenge, Kathryn and her team design and implement customized solutions that are not only effective but sustainable and beautiful. They offer home and corporate organizing for all spaces and move/relocation services that ensure every detail is complete. Click here to learn more about Kathryn, give her a call at 440-668-0311 or send her an email at

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