Each month, the AIWC organizes a Club Café to learn and share more about a specific topic/theme.  Past topics have included fall fashion trends, advice for newcomers to Geneva, medical advice, nearby travel destinations and more.  For November, we welcomed AIWC member Carolyn Carter, a certified home organizer, who spoke about the Magic of an Uncluttered Home.


It all starts with 3 key questions, she explained.

  1. Why am I doing this?
  2. What do I want to achieve?
  3. Where do I start?

The motivation differs if you are moving into a new home, your children are leaving home, or you have simply accumulated too many things over time.  The approach to organizing your home however is the same. Consider each room or closet as a separate project and give yourself time.


So where do you start?

  • Choose one room or closet (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom etc.)
  • Take a picture at the beginning and at the end of your project so you can take pride in your achievements and share your progress with others.
  • Walk through the area you have selected and begin by sorting everything that can go into the trash.
  • Then decide what you want to keep, what brings you pleasure and what fits in with your design scheme.
  • Consider what you can give away, recycle, donate or what can go to the basement if you have one.
  • Make sure you label and deal with each pile.

Before buying furniture or storage boxes carefully measure the surfaces so that you have no surprises and things fit together. Note all dimensions in a notebook.

  • Find attractive storage boxes such as wicker boxes to store things in visible areas.
  • Transparent plastic boxes are great for less visible storage areas such as your basement.

Next, proceed with a series of small steps:

  • Before you start, think carefully how you want to organize the space.
  • Note what you plan to do in a note book.
  • Use post-it notes to identify what goes where.
  • Sort bulky objects and things you don’t use frequently. Store them on the upper shelves.
  • Group similar items or things that fit together and determine where these should logically be placed (find them a ‘home’).
  • If you have duplicates ask yourself how many of the same thing you really need. Decide to get rid of the ‘extras’ or store them separately for later use.
  • Try to go through each room twice a year and throw out what you don’t need. If things are lying around reconsider how to organize the space!

                                                      Some Tips

The Kitchen

  • Dedicate a shelf or two (or a closet) outside the kitchen to be used as your pantry. Store food products that you don’t use daily as well as light bulbs, batteries etc.
  • Throw out outdated items or products you don’t use.
  • Place bulky items and things you use infrequently on top shelves.
  • Store similar items together, such as cans and bottles; cereals, pasta rice; baking products; oils, vinegar and spices; and non-food products such as aluminum, cling film, garbage bags etc.
  • Get rid of the duplicate kitchen utensils, Tupperware containers etc.
  • For two people keep a maximum of 6 sets of plates, glasses, cutlery etc. Any additional items for occasional guests should be stored elsewhere.
  • Use clips to close any open packages.
  • Create a drink station (coffee, tea, and related electrical equipment stored in the same area).
  • Try to keep the work surfaces clutter-free.
  • Use hooks- for instance to hang the bag in which you store plastic bags etc.


  • Throw out what you don’t use regularly, store duplicates elsewhere, use wicker baskets under the sink for the hairdryer and odds and ends (or furniture designed to go under the sink).


  • Be realistic. How many pairs of jeans do you need or wear?
  • Find a dedicated place for clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery, accessories.
  • Fold whatever you can. Don’t try to hang everything.
  • Hang clothes by category, color. For instance, jeans, skirts, sleeveless dresses, sleeved dresses, long dresses.
  • Buy expandable shoe racks for the bottom of the clothes closet.
  • Sort things in a way that makes sense to you. Consider hooks in your closet for handbags, necklaces etc. Store wrapped belts in boxes.
  • When you buy clothes, shoes, accessories think where each item will go and what you might be replacing!


  • If possible store sheets and towels in the room where they will be used.
  • Sheets and towels can be stored flat on top of each other or rolled up.


  • Use window ledges for photographs or consider creating a wall gallery.
  • Take photos of your children’s art work rather than keeping it all.


  • Keep the books you enjoy.  If you want to place objects on the bookshelf, try putting them decoratively between books rather than in front of them. 

Recipes, articles, documents

  • Find an attractive filing box for articles, documents etc.so you can retrieve these easily when needed.

In summary, by finding a ‘place’ for each object, you are more likely to maintain a tidy home. By sorting things logically, you and your family are more likely to find things when you need them!  Start one step at a time. Do what works best for you. Take pleasure in living in an organized, uncluttered home, not necessarily a ’minimalist’ home.

Our next Club Café will take place on Tuesday, December 3rd, from 10:00 – 11:30, with the festive theme of Amazing Cookies: Our Traditional Cookie and Recipe Exchange.

We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland.  If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/