With so much time spent inside during the pandemic, your house may be looking more cluttered than usual. Need some inspiration to tackle the chaos? A new HGTV show called “Hot Mess House” is here to help.
The show is hosted by organizing expert Cassandra Aarssen, who visits her clients’ homes by video chat. After surveying the space, she gives them pointers and sends furnishings to help them get organized.
From basements to playrooms and beyond, Aarssen has a host of cool ways to tame clutter. Here are a few lessons we’ve learned from the show so far.
1. Find the right furniture to contain the mess
In the series premiere, “Hide the Clutter,” Aarssen meets Tim, Brandi, and their three daughters. The Eldridge, IA, family has a large, finished basement, but the space is filled to the brim with junk. Brandi and Tim hope that their basement can turn into a multifunctional room: Tim’s office, Brandi’s crafts area, and even a home gym. That’s a tall order!
But this pro organizer is up for the job. She has some great ideas, including new furniture that will help the family stay organized. Aarssen sends the family a cabinet with lots of drawers so Brandi’s supplies can all be in one spot, rather than spread across various bins and cabinets. Plus, this cabinet closes up into almost nothing, making it the perfect addition to this multifunctional room.
2. Carve out more closet space with hangers on wheels
Also in the premiere episode, Aarssen works with Brooklyn, NY, couple Travis and Stephanie, who are having trouble with their awkwardly shaped closet. This closet is long but narrow, and Stephanie and Travis have haphazardly thrown their things into it, making it nearly impossible to reach the few clothes that fit on the rack at the back.
So Aarssen comes up with the idea to put rolling clothing racks into the closet. This way, Travis and Stephanie can hang up their clothes and roll the rack out when they want to choose what to wear. There’s more hanger space, too.
3. Weigh the pros and cons of clear vs. solid containers
Aarssen thinks that messy people fall into different groups. For example, some want to see their stuff displayed even as it’s tidied away, while others just want to hide their mess and don’t care if it’s relocated in a not-so-neat way, as long as it’s behind closed doors.
In the second episode, “Basement and Playroom Hot Mess,” Aarssen recommends different storage boxes to different couples, based on their type.
Knowing that Alexandria, VA–based couple Jaeda and Kevin would prefer being able to see their stuff, she sends them clear storage boxes for basement organization.
Meanwhile, on Long Island, NY, Kelly and Jason just want their clutter to be out of sight. Aarssen sends them organization boxes in solid colors for their family playroom.
In the end, these two houses both look tidy, just in slightly different ways.
4. Not enough counter space? Add more
In episode 3, “Small Space, Big Mess,” Aarssen meets Ben and Rachel, who live in a 350-square-foot New York City apartment. They struggle to find room to prepare meals in their tiny kitchen.
Aarssen knows that this space isn’t working, so she decides to give them more counter space. She sends them a small kitchen island that can fit between the stove and the counter. Just like a permanent island, this does double duty by offering extra counter space on top and more storage below.
5. Change paint color to make the space feel calm and organized
Also in Episode 3, Aarssen helps Alberta, Canada, couple Kendra and Brandon organize their guest room. While they do a great job clearing out their piles (and piles) of stuff, Aarssen knows that there’s a problem with this room that goes beyond clutter.
Aarssen explains that the loud purple hue in this guest room is making the space feel chaotic.
“Paint is magical,” she says, encouraging Kendra and Brandon to pick a more relaxing hue.
Once the couple finish painting the space light blue, they agree that it makes a big difference.
6. Choose glass kitchen cabinets to help you see what’s inside
In Episode 4, “Hot Mess to Less Stress,” Amy and Sam tell Aarssen that they moved to Leavenworth, KS, a year ago, but never fully unpacked. Amy is overwhelmed by the kitchen, convinced that the space isn’t functional.
However, Aarssen says that this is in fact one of the largest kitchens she’s ever seen.
Aarssen pegs Amy and Sam as the type who’d like to be able to see their belongings. Luckily, the kitchen has glass cabinets that are perfect for their needs. In the end, Amy and Sam are able to unpack and put things away—and they agree that their kitchen is perfectly functional.