The calendar says it’s winter, and your cabin may be under a snowdrift. But now is the time to plan ahead for the upcoming spring and summer seasons. Take this lull in the year to get organized.

Chances are, your home-away-from-home could use some fine-tuning. Ask yourself what worked last season and what didn’t. Get out a pen and paper (or your favorite digital notepad) and start listing.

Think about those areas that cause the most frustration: kitchen drawers and cupboards, the laundry area, the entryway, a garage or shed, etc. Plan out how to keep things simple – a place for everything and everything in its place. Set up a template that everyone can follow. It is important to keep everyone on the same page. That way, no one is wasting time looking for things or wondering where to put them.

Here are seven solutions to common cabin organization challenges:

1. Things a little too jumbled together? “Container-ize” when possible, and keep like things together.

2. Minimize the number of items that take up kitchen counter space. Ask yourself honestly how often you use each item. Countertops are for those items and appliances that you use on a daily basis. If drawer space is limited, use a crock to store your cooking utensils to the right or left of your stove. Drawer dividers help contain other kitchen utensils and gadgets.   

3. Need a solution for all those wet towels? Try installing a retractable clothesline inside or outside.

4. Stumbling over shoes, sandals and flip-flops? Consider a storage bench with cubbies or baskets in your entryway. Hang hooks overhead for jackets, sweatshirts and baseball hats. Make sure there is plenty of space for guests to use, too.

5. The space underneath beds is often wasted. Under-bed storage bins can be used to keep extra linens, sweatshirts, etc.  

6. Garage or shed a mess? Peg-Boards can help you organize tools, extension cords, rakes, gardening equipment, etc. Install hooks for fishing poles, life jackets and anything else that is taking up floor space. Use the overhead rafters, if possible.

7. Got other projects too big to tackle? If there is any task or project you can hire out, do so to free up your time.

When organizing, start in the area of your cabin that bothers you the most. Seeing progress there will energize you and motivate you to continue to tackle the smaller projects.

Remember, the cabin is your retreat – a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. A little organization and planning will go a long way to ensure a great vacation season ahead.

Kim Schlichting is a professional organizer, www.northlandorganizing.com.

Pottery Barn