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13 Ways to Organize Your Home

13 Ways to Organize Your Home

From kids’ rooms to bathrooms and the kitchen, experts share easy solutions to keep your home clutter-free.

This time of year is not only the ideal time to do a big day (or two) of spring cleaning, it’s also one of the most ideal times to look at each room of the house in a different way, especially if it feels like there’s a little mess in every room. Interestingly, those messes usually take hold because we don’t have any method of staying organized and this is key to keeping the house tidy.

“Often we create messes because we don’t know exactly where to put something or the item itself doesn’t have a home,” says Piper Gore, owner of PS de Resistance, a home organizing company in New York City. “Even a pile of loose papers that need to be looked at some point should have a specific place—and only one place—that it’s kept in the home. The good news is that once you and your family know where things go, you’ll save time, find things faster, and spend less time organizing as you will already be doing it as you go along.”

Read on as we guide you around your house, room by room, with some helpful organization tips—and great products—that will forever change the way you stack your towels, keep every last Lego tidy, and transform your kitchen into a place you actually want to cook in.

 

All hail a tidy kitchen

No matter how large (or compact) your kitchen is, it’s easier than you think to keep it organized, says Natalie Schrier, owner of Cut the Clutter, an organizing company in New York City. And, since this is the one room that can easily get disorganized—fast—Schrier shares three of her favorite tips for what is often the hub of the house:

Double your shelf space. “To do this, shop around for freestanding shelves that will fit in your existing kitchen cabinets,” Schrier says. Swing by the Container Store to shop a variety of shelf options and sizes.

Rethink your spice rack. “A tiered spice rack paired with printed labels on bottle tops makes it easy to find seasonings in a snap. To make things even easier, hang your measuring spoons on the door inside the cabinet in which your spices are stored,” Schrier says.

Stand frying pans upright. “This will save space and make it easier to retrieve what you need—you won’t have to unstack anymore,” she says. The Iris Chrome Cookware Organizer ($19.99) at the Container Store is a great option to keep pans vertical.

 

Kids rooms can be streamlined

If it feels like your kids’ rooms are bursting at the seams—your kids are in a major growth spurt and some clothes fit and some don’t, toys are strewn every which way, and Legos are perpetually under foot—it’s time to sort, dump, or store. Here are four tips to get this room under control:

Corral hand-me-downs. “It can be hard to keep kids’ clothes under control since they outgrow them so quickly,” says Lisa Zaslow, owner of the NYC-based Gotham Organizers. “My best tip: Keep a spare shopping bag in the closet to stash too-small clothes and shoes as soon as you realize they don’t fit,” she says. “When it’s full, donate, sell, or give those items away. If you’re saving items for a younger child to grow into, use a zippered clothing storage bin and label it with the size.”

Divide—to conquer—drawers. “When it comes to underwear and socks, it’s almost impossible to have kids keep those drawers organized,” says Jennifer Nevins, founder of Savor, a Tribeca-based company that designs and manufactures organizational boxes. “Dividers make it easy to keep like with like and makes it easier to see what you have and stay organized.”

Have the right organizational tools. To get your kids’ room looking streamlined, use a label maker to indicate what’s in which storage box, put a cheery laundry hamper in your child’s room to ensure socks don’t end up on the floor, and never underestimate the space below the bed, a perfect place to tuck under-bed storage bags or boxes.

Do a regular toy review. “One thing we see people struggle with is the fact that toys usually end up all over the house,” says Ben Soreff, owner of House to Home Organizing in Norwalk, CT. “Step one is gathering all the toys and games for review. Some may be broken or missing pieces and should be recycled. Others have been aged out of and should be donated (preschools make great toy donation spots) and some may be keepsakes that should no longer be considered toys and live with the keepsakes.”

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As for storage, consider this: “One or two baskets with handles make for good traveling toy carrying bins for when you have company over and need to take the toys out of the living room and kitchen and move them to the kids’ room,” Soreff says. “Often younger kids don’t want to play in their room as they want to be in eyesight of the parent. These bins allow for quick clean up.” The rugged Canvas Storage Cubby Tote ($34.95) from L.L.Bean might be just what you need to keep those toys from scattering.

 

Bathrooms can feel zen-ready

The bathroom is another room in the house that can easily become a dumping ground for everything from wash cloths and oversized bottles of mouthwash to cleaning products and bath towels. Here are three ways to transform this room into more of spa-serene space:

Baskets are everything. “Storage baskets, boxes, and crates are key ways to keep the bathroom organized,” Gore says. “It doesn’t matter which you use, though I prefer to use pretty baskets whenever possible. Remember: Everything that you would normally just put on a shelf, store in these instead. Then label the basket and keep like items together.” And, with the Sea Grass 3 Piece Wicker/Rattan Basket Set ($41.99) from Wayfair, you can do one basket per person to keep everything organized—and stylish—too. As for keeping your cleaning products nearly stored in their own separate compartments, consider the Bee & Willow™ Home Metal Cleaning Caddy ($12.99) from Bed Bath & Beyond.

A lazy Susan isn’t just for the kitchen. “These spinning trays are heaven-sent when you’re trying to reach things on a shelf,” Gore says. “If you have lots of supplements or lots of bathroom products, these work anywhere there are lots of little jars, bottles, or vials. One tip: Try placing one on a shelf where you haven’t already implemented the basket strategy. I love the ease of reaching my products just by spinning the tray instead of knocking over everything to get to the one item in the back of the shelf.”

Keep items low enough for kids to reach. “Hooks are super helpful ways to stay organized, but they have to be hung at the right level,” Nevins says. “Height is important—our bathroom hooks were hung at adult size and that means our kids couldn’t reach them. Low hanging hooks are key for having kids take responsibility for their stuff.”

 

Expand whatever closets you have

If your home is closet-challenged and it seems like every time you open a closet door something falls down and hits you in the head, not to worry, say our organization experts. Here are three tips for making your closets seem spacious even if they’re packed with everything from vacuums and ski equipment to winter coats and luggage.

Think vertically. “One way to maximize your vertical space is by either stacking labeled boxes or using risers on a shelf,” says Katy Winter, owner of Katy’s Organized Home in Chappaqua. “Risers make it possible to add a box on top or on the bottom and easily slide them out.”

Use the wall. “The easiest and least expensive option to use the space you have is to use peel and stick hooks,” says Jamie Novak, owner of Novak Organizing in Scotch Plains, NJ. “This allows you to hang a variety of items like statement necklaces, belts, scarves, bags, jeans by the loop.”

Maximize your closet door(s). “Over-the door organizers work beautifully to give you tons of pockets where you can stash things and then find them again,” Novak says. “Even if you can’t use it over the door you can still hang it on a wall or from a hanger.”