Look. I like the idea of rainbow-ordered bins and labeled pantry shelves just as much as anyone else. But the fact is, the crazier the system, the less likely it is to work.
It’s one thing to see a beautifully organized room online and admire it. It’s quite another to bring it into your real life. So, let’s leave all those expensive and unrealistic strategies behind. It’s time for some simple home organization that actually work.
It’s time to open up a kitchen cabinet and not feel your whole body tense as you wonder when that tower of leftover containers will fall out. An organized home is so much more pleasant to be in. It will improve your mood, save you money, and make life at home so much easier. Really! And you’re going to get there ❤️.
Remember the one cardinal rule as we work through each room. Store things where you use them. If you can’t get that one right, nothing else will matter.
This is your ticket to a more organized, peaceful home, where everything you need is an arm’s reach away.
Our Guiding Principle: Store Things Where You Use Them
I said it already and I’m going to keep saying it. This is the game changer.
Point-of-use storage is straightforward. Keep things where you use them. Sounds simple, right? But it’s surprising how often we miss this. We store the scissors in the junk drawer, even though we always use them in the office. We keep our favorite cooking spices in a cupboard across the kitchen. We don’t keep them next to the stove where we need them.
Adopting this philosophy means rethinking how we store things. It’s about breaking habits that don’t serve us. It involves asking, “Where do I use this the most?” and then storing it there. This approach not only saves time but also reduces frustration.
Imagine never having to run around looking for your keys. They’re always by the door, where you use them. That’s the practical beauty of point-of-use storage.
This approach transforms your home into a space where finding things is easy. Putting them away is easy too. This means it actually happens. Amen.
Remember, if things are too hard, they don’t get done.
Simple Kitchen Organization
The kitchen is the heart of the home. But let’s face it, it can also be the epicenter of clutter. The key to keeping your kitchen organized is not about tidiness. It’s about functionality. Imagine your kitchen as a chef’s workstation. Everything you need should be within arm’s reach when you’re cooking.
Sounds obvious, but we often get this so wrong. Do you stand in front of the pantry and wrap up leftovers in mid-air? No? Then why is your aluminum foil in the pantry?
Some ideas to make this concept work:
- Spice Rack Near the Stove. Install a spice rack or use a drawer close to where you cook for easy access to spices and herbs.
- Utensil Holder on the Countertop. Keep a utensil holder with your favorite tools (spatulas, ladles, tongs) next to the stove.
- Cutting Board Storage. Store cutting boards near the food prep area or chopping zone for quick retrieval.
- Drawer Dividers for Cutlery. Use drawer dividers to organize forks, knives, and spoons close to the dining area.
- Pot Lid Organizers. Use pot lid organizers inside cabinet doors near the stove for easy access while cooking.
- Coffee Station: Set up a coffee station with a coffee maker, mugs, sugar, and creamer in one convenient spot.
- Snack Drawer: Create a snack drawer in a reachable spot, perfect for kids and quick bites.
- Wraps and foil. Put these in a drawer below the countertop you use them.
- Hanging Pots and Pans: Install a ceiling or wall-mounted pot rack near the stove for easy access to pots and pans.
- Magnetic Knife Strip. Use a magnetic knife strip on the wall near your food prep.
- Favorite Appliances on Countertops. If you use something every day, keep it on the countertop for easy access.
This means your giant walk-in pantry around the corner is not a practical place to store ingredients you use all the time. But don’t worry, it’s still handy! Think of it as your mini grocery store. Keep canisters of flour, sugar, etc easily accessible. Refill them from bigger containers you keep in your pantry. It’s also a great place for very infrequently used items like holiday cookie cutters and cake pans.
Living Room: Creating a Cozy and Organized Space
The living room should be a haven of relaxation, not a hotspot for clutter. Here, the point of use storage method shines. Start by looking around. What do you do most in this space? Watch TV? Read? Play games? Your answers should guide your organization.
If you love books, it makes sense to have bookshelves within arm’s reach of your favorite reading spot. If the living room is where everyone gathers to play games, store these near the sofa or the TV console.
It’s about creating a space where every item has a purpose and a place.
Tackling the Entertainment Center: Simplifying Your Setup
Now, let’s talk about the entertainment center. This area can become a tangled mess of wires, remotes, and devices. The key is to streamline and simplify.
First, assess what you use. That old DVD player collecting dust? It’s time to say goodbye. Use cable organizers to tame the wire chaos.
Then, think about the ‘point of use’ approach for remotes and other devices. Keep them in a small basket or a drawer within the entertainment center. That way, they’re out of sight but still right where you need them. The goal here is to keep your entertainment area functional but uncluttered. No one wants to sift through a pile of remotes to find the one they need!
Decorative Storage: Keeping It Stylish yet Functional
When it comes to decorative storage, the key is finding a sweet spot between style and function. Use decorative baskets or boxes for storing things like magazines, blankets, or children’s toys. You can tuck these under coffee tables or on shelves, keeping them accessible but not in the way. Consider using furniture that doubles as storage, such as ottomans with hidden compartments. You might also use coffee tables with drawers.
Remember, these are to store things you use, not to stuff them with unwanted junk!
Bedroom Bliss: Organizing Your Personal Space
Your bedroom is not a place to store old boxes, workout equipment, or other thing you aren’t sure what to do with. The guiding principle here is simple: keep what you need at hand, and the rest out of sight.
For example, if you love to read in bed, having a small bookshelf or magazine rack within reach makes sense. The same goes for other personal items – if you use it in the bedroom, store it there. This might sound obvious, but it’s surprising how often we store our bedroom essentials elsewhere.
Efficient Closet Organization
Here, ‘point of use’ storage means arranging your clothes based on how frequently you wear them. The things you wear often should be front and center. Store seasonal items, like heavy coats or swimwear on higher shelves or at the back of the closet.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of good hangers and shelf dividers. They can keep your clothes in good shape and make them easy to find. Remember, a well-organized closet doesn’t just save you time in the morning. It can also bring a sense of calm and order to your start and end of each day. You have to look at your closet a lot. Don’t make it stressful.
Nightstands: Organizing for Better Sleep
A cluttered nightstand can be a silent disruptor of good sleep. Keep your nightstand simple and functional. Store only what you need for your bedtime routine – a book, a lamp, maybe some hand cream or lip balm. If your nightstand has drawers, use them wisely. The top drawer is prime real estate for items you might need in the middle of the night, like earplugs or a sleep mask.
A word about electronics: keeping your phone right next to you is tempting. Consider a charging station elsewhere in your house to cut distractions.
Most people do not need very much in their bedroom. Stop seeing it as overflow storage. If you don’t use it in the bedroom, get it out of there!
Bathroom Basics: Streamlining Your Self-Care Space
The goal here is to streamline your space so that everything you need is right where you need it, when you need it. This might mean rethinking where you store your toiletries and bath products.
Those items you use every day should be the easiest to reach. This could be as simple as keeping your daily products in the top drawer.
Remember, your linen closet is not a convenient place to store anything. Like your pantry, keep it as a place to store extras, and refill from there.
- Shower Caddy or Shelves. Install a shower caddy or wall-mounted shelves for easy access to shampoos, conditioners, and body wash while in the shower.
- Vanity Drawer Organizers. Use drawer organizers to separate and store smaller items, such as makeup, razors, and dental care products.
- Wall-Mounted Toothbrush Holder. Place a toothbrush holder on the wall or mirror near the sink. This keeps toothbrushes and toothpaste within easy reach.
- Towel Hooks or Racks. Install hooks or a towel rack close to the shower or bath for convenient access to towels.
- Magnetic Strip for Bobby Pins and Tweezers. Use a magnetic strip on the inside of a cabinet door to keep small metal items like bobby pins and tweezers organized.
- Under-Sink Storage Solutions. Put cleaning products in each bathroom to make it easy to clean a little bit every day.
- Medicine Cabinet Organization. Organize your medicine cabinet by the frequency of use. Keep daily medications and first aid items at eye level.
Home Office: Boosting Productivity through Organization
Organization isn’t just about a tidy space; it’s directly linked to your productivity. A cluttered desk can lead to a cluttered mind, and that’s the last thing you need when working from home.
Note: Home offices, like bedrooms, can become overflow storage for random stuff. 99% of that belongs in the trash. Don’t let clutter steal your right to a peaceful office.
Essentials at Your Fingertips
Desk decluttering is not about having a bare desk; it’s about having the right things on your desk. Start by identifying what you use daily. These are the items that deserve a spot on your desk. Everything else? Find it a home that’s out of sight but still within reach.
Most people don’t need physical supplies like pencils, staples, etc. out on their desks. If everything you do is digital, move those things to a drawer so you can get to them, but they aren’t in the way.
Practical Organization for Your Office:
- Cable Management Solutions. Use cable clips or a cable box to keep wires from your computer, printer, and other devices organized and out of the way.
- Printer Station. Create a dedicated space for your printer within reach. Include a small storage area for paper and ink cartridges.
- Filing System. Use a filing cabinet or file holders for important documents. Categorize them for easy access.
- Digital Filing System. Organize your computer files with a clear folder structure. Group related documents for easy access.
- Cloud Storage. Use cloud storage solutions for backup and to access your files from any device.
- Email Organization. Create folders or labels in your email for different categories (like work, personal, bills, etc.). This will improve email management.
- Bookmark Management. Organize your web browser bookmarks into folders. This allows for quick access to your favorite sites.
- Calendar. Use a digital calendar with reminders for managing appointments and deadlines. It is accessible from your desktop or mobile device.
- Task Management Apps. Use task management apps to keep track of your to-do list and projects. This ensures everything is in one accessible place.
Do you really need a home office?
If you work on your laptop in other rooms of the house, you might not use your office as an office. Perhaps it has become a messy walk-in closet. Think of the taxes you pay for that room. The cost to heat it. The cost per square foot to buy a house where you live. All to store a bunch of Amazon boxes? No. Use your space!
If you don’t need a home office with a desk, rolling chair, and all the rest, that’s fine. Don’t force it. Set up a shelf to store your printer, office supplies, and other essentials. Then, put the rest of that space to use.
Could it become a laundry room? A place with just a comfy chair and small table for someone who needs to get away or make a quiet phone call? What would you really use?
Utility Spaces: Turning a Chore into a Breeze
Mudrooms and laundry rooms aren’t just for passing through or doing chores. They can be organized zones that make daily tasks easier and more pleasant. Remember, they are not catch-alls! Only store what belongs.
Let’s tackle the laundry room first. Start by thinking about what you need at each stage of the laundry process. Think about sorting, washing, drying, folding, and ironing. Then, organize your space accordingly.
- Wall-Mounted Detergent Shelf. Install a shelf above the washer and dryer for laundry detergent, fabric softener, and bleach. Don’t throw random cleaning supplies up here. Laundry supplies only.
- Ironing Board Hanger: Hang your ironing board on the wall or behind the door to save space.
- Hanging Rods or Hooks: Use rods or hooks for hanging clothes that need to air dry or await ironing.
Now, for the mudroom. This is your home’s first line of defense against outdoor messes, so it’s crucial to keep it organized. Start by considering what comes into your home daily – coats, shoes, bags, and so on. The goal is to create a space where everything you need to head out the door is at your fingertips. This will make your daily comings and goings smoother and more organized.
- Coat Hooks or Rack. If your family won’t put coats on a hanger, give up the fight. Hooks are good.
- Shoe Storage Bench. Use a bench with storage underneath for sitting while putting on shoes, and storing them when not in use.
- Boot Tray: Place a boot tray near the entrance for wet or muddy shoes.
- Basket for Accessories. Keep a basket or bin for storing miscellaneous items.
- Wall-Mounted Shelves. Use shelves for organizing items that need to be grabbed on the way out, like dog leashes or keys.
- Key Hooks: Install a small hook or shelf near the door for keys to keep them handy.
- Pet Supply Corner: Choose a spot for pet supplies like leashes, collars, and outdoor toys.
Kids’ Rooms: Fun and Functional Organization Tips
Organizing a kid’s room is a unique challenge. It’s not just about keeping things tidy; it’s about making the space fun and functional for them.
Kids are more likely to keep their room organized if they’re part of the process and the system is easy for them to use. Point of use storage is perfect for this.
For instance, store toys in bins or baskets at a height where kids can easily reach them. This encourages them to take out and put away toys themselves. Also, consider labeling these bins with pictures or words, depending on their age. (Labels are more useful for kids than adults!)
Toy Storage Made Easy
Toys can take over a kid’s room, but with the right storage solutions, it doesn’t have to be that way. The key is making toy storage as straightforward as possible. Use open bins or shelves for toys they play with regularly, so they can easily see and access them.
For smaller toys, like building blocks or action figures, use clear containers or bins with dividers. This not only keeps them organized but also makes clean-up time faster and more fun (like a puzzle where every piece has its place).
Rotating toys is another great strategy. Keep some toys out of reach and rotate them in and out. This keeps the number of toys in the play area manageable and makes old toys new and exciting again.
Creative Ideas for Organizing Books and Crafts
Books and crafts are some of the best things for kids, but they can also be a source of clutter. When you notice something is not getting played with, put it away for awhile. Pieces missing? Broken? Aggravating you? Throw it out.
- Low Shelving Units. Use low shelves for easy access to books and toys, enabling kids to reach and put away items themselves.
- Clear Storage Bins. Use clear bins for small toys like LEGO, action figures, or doll accessories. This makes it easy for kids to find what they’re looking for.
- Toy Boxes on Wheels. Consider toy boxes with wheels. They make clean-up fun and practical by being easily moved around the room.
- Dress-Up Clothes Rack. Set up a child-height clothes rack for dress-up outfits. This makes them easily accessible for imaginative play.
- Craft Corner with Organized Supplies. Set up a craft supply area. If your kids craft at the kithcen table, put there!They encourage kids to engage with their toys and books and learn to keep their spaces tidy.
What About Stuff That Doesn’t Get Used in a Specific Room?
Yes, this is a real thing. Most of it can be thrown out. But some can’t. Here are items that you can store in weird places, like under your bed:
- Seasonal Stuff
- Gifts for the Future
- Extras (like long-term pantry storage)
More Organizing Resources
Stay focused! Don’t go buying label makers, buying insane shelving systems, or vacuum-sealing old blankets. Store things where you use them! That being said, there are lots of fun and creative organizing ideas for when you’re ready.
- From the Family Handyman: Ideas like using an under-cabinet coffee maker to save counter space, a storage bin index system for large plastic bins, and innovative ideas like using rain gutters as storage shelves on the side of kitchen cabinets
- Platforms like Reddit (subreddits like r/declutter or r/organization) can provide a sense of community and support.
Daily Habits for Long-Term Organization
This method works so well because things are easy to put away. When something is easy, people do it.
That’s why finding the right storage spot for every single thing in your home keeps it so much neater.
There’s a real joy that comes from living in an organized home. It saves time and reduces stress. You’re not searching for misplaced items or feeling overwhelmed by clutter.
Keeping your home organized helps you show love to your home and your belongings. And you’ll find that a neat and organized home loves you right back. Good luck ❤️.