Ugh, stuff. No matter how much you clean, tidy, and declutter, it seems to creep back in. Clutter messes with your peace of mind and overall aesthetic. According to the age old design philosophy Feng Shui, our home and therefore clutter is an extension of ourselves. By taking control of the clutter and releasing it we are then able to move ahead more freely in our lives. In this post, I’ll walk you through how to organize your home room by room so you’ll have a place for everything and a way to keep things organized.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to organize your entire home in one day. Try tackling one room at a time. If you take on too much, you’ll just get exhausted and frustrated. Let’s break this down into small tasks so it’s not overwhelming. Ready?
How to Organize Your Kitchen
What to get rid of: expired food, never-used appliances, extra water bottles, chipped mugs or bowls, anything badly stained.
Photo: Ramsey Beyer
Home organization starts with decluttering. Take out everything inside your cabinets, put it in the middle of your kitchen, and only put back what you love or use. What can you give away? What can go in storage? Throw away anything you can’t donate.
When you’re ready to start putting things back, think about what you use most often. Things you use a lot should be in arm’s reach; everything else can go up higher or farther back. A good suggestion from Better Homes & Gardens is to group things by activity — so put all of your baking things together (mixer, bowls, baking sheets), and so forth.
Photo: Pottery Barn
To organize the rest of your kitchen, make things as easy to reach as possible. Put a lazy susan inside cabinets. Use your vertical space: Hang pots, pans, lids, and potholders. Add storage inside your fridge — you can also put a lazy susan in there to make condiments easier to grab, or try little bins or racks to organize food.
Photo: Crate & Barrel
I’ve seen several clever ways to organize spices, from magnetic spice containers on the fridge to racks inside cabinets. Dividers can help separate utensils in drawers and baking sheets in cabinets. A magnetic knife strip will free up counter space. And try putting your trash and recycling bins on slide-out tracks for easy access.
How to Organize Your Living Room
What to get rid of: old magazines (unless you regularly use them for arts and crafts projects), as well as board games, DVDs, books, and video games you don’t use anymore.
Photo: Land of Nod
What clutter does your living room attract? See if you can sort it into categories like mail, knitting stuff, kids’ toys, remotes, cat toys, and so forth. Just like with the kitchen, get rid of things in poor condition or that you haven’t used recently. Organize what’s left based on where you need it — dog leashes by the front door, remotes near the couch.
Photo: Wicker Paradise
If you ever read the blog The Inspired Room, you know the author (Melissa) loves baskets. Whether you prefer wicker or wire, baskets are an easy way to transform a mess into something classy. A small wicker basket by your couch can hold those remotes and knitting supplies. A big wire basket by the front door can hold umbrellas and slip-on shoes for walking the dog. If you have shelving by your front door, a labeled basket above eye level can house hats, scarves, and gloves.
Make use of the space under your coffee table — you can slip boxes or baskets of DVDs under there, too. Or as lifestyle blogger JaMonkey suggests, hide your DVDs in this binder that looks like an old book.
Photo: World Market
And I can’t discuss how to organize your living room without mentioning the ever-popular launch pad concept. Even if all you have room for is a tiny console table, having a flat surface and some wall-mounted storage by the front door will give you a place for your keys, mail, and purse. It makes grabbing everything as you breeze out the door so much easier.
Photo: Pottery Barn
How to Organize Your Bedroom
What to get rid of: Clothes and shoes you never wear, anything that doesn’t fit, sheets you don’t like, books you have read or will never read.
Organizing the bedroom is fairly straightforward. Store sheets under the bed in slim bins, pick a nightstand with some storage (like a tiny dresser), and keep clutter off of surfaces by using cute bowls.
Photo: Pottery Barn
How to organize the closet is the tricky part. Start by getting slim no-slip hangers to free up room. Consider adding a closet organizer and/or shelf dividers to maximize your space. Just like in the kitchen, think up, and use the vertical space (especially above eye level). Since it’s hard to reach, keep out-of-season clothes in clear containers up high, and swap them out when the seasons change.
Organize your shoes with a simple, attractive shoe rack or even small bookshelf to display your heels and handbags. If they’re pretty, why hide them in the closet?
How to Organize Your Bathroom
What to get rid of: old makeup and nail polish, expired medicine, stained towels, tiny bath and body samples you’ve never used or dislike the scent of.
Organizing the bathroom is important, as it’s usually one of the smaller rooms. I love this tip from Better Homes & Gardens: Add an outlet inside your cabinets. That way you don’t have to drag out your hairdryer, flatiron or electric razor every time you use it; you can leave it where it is. Another bathroom hack is to use a magnetic strip — the kind you’d use for kitchen knives — to hold your tweezers, nail file, and bobby pins.
A few more tips on how to organize your bathroom: Keep your everyday makeup or toiletries in one place, and tuck special occasion supplies out of sight in a separate bag. Roll up towels so they’re easier to grab and prettier to look at. Things like cotton swabs and Q-tips are more attractive and handy in small containers, like a mercury glass candle holder:
Photo: World Market
I’m going to sound like a broken record, but use your vertical space! Add a shelf above the bathroom door or several above the toilet. Add pull-out racks under your sink, or try a lazy susan there, like we did in the kitchen.
There’s your basic primer on how to organize your home room by room. If you’re the checklist type, House Mix Blog has a great room-by-room guide you can print or download here. Maybe in the future I’ll do a follow-up post with tips on how to organize your laundry room, garage, and office — what do you think?