Home Makeover Series Part 2: How To Get Organized

How many times have you looked around your home and wished you had the know-how to jazz it up with style? Yeah, we’re right there with you. That’s why we’ve enlisted carpenter-painter-interior-designer extraordinaire Carmen De La Paz from HGTV’s Hammer Heads to walk us through choosing color, designing for closet-sized apartments and not blowing our budget in the process. Now, design away!

Getting Organized
Sometimes the idea of getting organized is enough to make anyone quit before they’ve begun. But it doesn’t have to be. “Store things as you go instead of creating one big pile,” De La Paz advises. Once you’ve started, it’s all about the upkeep. Create a system and then stick to it—even when you’re tired and would rather dump your clothes on your bed. You’ll be glad you did the next time mami pops over for a surprise visit.

Small Spaces
The key here is to keep the place light and airy so sticking to lighter colors—especially on ceilings—is best, De La Paz recommends. “You also want the room and the furniture to feel proportionate to each other; you want everything to be balanced out.” So pick smaller-scaled pieces for tiny rooms. And because clutter makes a space look even more cramped, keep messes tucked away in boxes or behind closed doors. If you don’t have tons of closet space, keep labeled boxes on open bookcases and hang curtains along the front to hide the shelves.

Money Savers
Before you dive into those aisles grabbing everything in sight, check out the ends first. “All of the sale items are on the end caps so you’re going to save all your money on the outside. Then work your way in,” De La Paz says. Also, stick to your style and color palette so that everything will match when you get it home, and don’t reach for discounted items you never needed in the first place.

DIY Carpentry
To start making shelves and spaces to keep your stuff organized you might have to break out the serious equipment. When the call of power tools beckons, please bear in mind these safety tips:
• Always wear safety glasses and shoes that cover your toes. You never know what will come flying at you!
• Whether you wear gloves or not depends on the equipment. If you’re using a cutting tool where a blade is in motion, De La Paz recommends skipping the gloves. “If the glove gets caught in the blade, the glove will pull your hand into where it’s going.” On the other hand if the machinery throws sparks, gloves will prevent any burns.
• Read all the instructions from the manufacturer before you begin operating any equipment. And go slowly. “It’s better to take double the time to do something and be safe,” she adds.

And Always Remember...It's OK to Break the Rules!
When it comes down to it, if you really like an element that might not fit within your chosen theme, go for it anyway! You don’t want to be kicking yourself in six months. “If you like it, it’s your style,” De La Paz says. “You are influenced by who you are, so then let your space reflect that.”

—Dorkys Ramos

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About this author

Mariela Rosario,

I'm a raging opinionista and I love to share my ramblings on everything from pop culture to food to stuff that makes me laugh & cry! I've worked in all types of media (TV, film, print) and was previously the online editor at Latina magazine before joining Mamás Latinas. On most nights you can find me working my way through my library of cookbooks or playing with my puppy Lola (my only child so far). I have a wonderful hubby who shares my passion for any and all kinds of travel. Together, we've formed a semi-professional wine drinking team.

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