Experts, charities can help organize your home for the new year

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published January 9, 2019

 Gary Dion, the owner of Closets by Design, said that redesigning storage space is key when organizing a home. “What we do is take  an existing space and redesign it,” he said.

Gary Dion, the owner of Closets by Design, said that redesigning storage space is key when organizing a home. “What we do is take an existing space and redesign it,” he said.

Photo provided by Gary Dion

METRO DETROIT — The holidays have come and gone, and with the new year upon us, folks may be wondering how to get their homes organized in 2019.

Gary Dion, the owner of Closets by Design — which in addition to organizing closets also organizes garages, home offices, laundries, pantries and hobby rooms — said that redesigning storage space is key.

For instance, Dion addressed what his business does when tasked with designing a closet to ensure a neat space.

“What we do is take an existing space and redesign the interior of it with panels, shelves, rods, and hampers and drawers to better utilize the space,” he said. “We provide a place to put your clothes. We don’t touch any of your clothes. We can build up to double your usable storage space.”

Dion said that customers don’t necessarily make mistakes when organizing their homes.

“They buy a house with a closet that has a rod and a shelf,” he said. “We come in and design it so there can be more features in it to make it not only more functional, but a showpiece.”

He believes that closets can be more susceptible to cluttering and disorganization than other areas of the home.

“They need more space to hang things and put their shoes,” Dion said. “What we see a lot of is mudrooms — when people come in from outside, where everybody puts their shoes and coats.”

Closets by Design, located in Oxford, recommends installing a bench in a mudroom with an area to hang clothing and drawers so that items can be stored off the floor.

At the end of the day, Dion said that customers want better organization of storage space in their homes.

“When they’re done with it, they can bring stuff in the closet they couldn’t before, and it’s also a good chance to get rid of a lot of stuff,” he said.   

That’s where the Furniture Bank of Southeastern Michigan comes in.

The Furniture Bank’s goal is to make sure that every family in metro Detroit is living in a properly furnished home.

“We take in donations of gently used furniture and we provide it to families who are in poverty, transitioning through homelessness or working with Child Protective Services,” said Robert Boyle, executive director of the Furniture Bank of Southeastern Michigan.

The Furniture Bank picks up what it considers “essential items” like beds, dining/kitchen tables and chairs, sofas, and dressers. The bank comes directly to people’s homes or workplaces to pick up tax-deductible furniture donations, which are then provided to local families in need.

“If you shut your eyes and thought about your home with nothing in it, and then consider living that way for a day, month or — heaven forbid — a year, you get a good idea of just how important furniture is,” Boyle said. “It’s often overlooked, but it’s really important to have the basics in a house.”

Folks can donate to the Furniture Bank by calling (248) 332-1300 or by visiting its website at furniture-bank.org. Boyle expects the Furniture Bank to make about 2,700 furniture pickups this year.

“Many of us are blessed and have things that we don’t need and things we want to upgrade,” he said. “The things we are discarding are still in good shape, and those items are desperately needed by thousands of local families.”  

The Furniture Bank receives referrals from agencies such as the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Lighthouse of Oakland County and Community Housing Network.