You've bought the baskets, the boxes, and the bins. Now what? Try these simple tricks for minimizing the mess in every room.

Need Better Kitchen Storage?

Sometimes getting rid of a mess-prone zone in your kitchen is easy: Just hide it. These homeowners thought their pantry's open shelving (shown at right) looked disorganized, so they covered it with a pair of antique doors. On shelves above, salvaged apothecary drawers hold kitchen utensils and knickknacks. Next time you're scouring a flea market, look for fun ways to store stuff. Vintage wicker bicycle baskets can be hung on a wall and filled with fruits and vegetables. An antique pitcher works perfectly for keeping spoons and spatulas at the ready.

Keys to a Well-Organized Kitchen

  • Pare down your plate collection and free up cupboard space. Pack away special-occasion-only dishes inside hatboxes with paper plates between each one for safe cushioning.
  • Line the insides of cabinet doors with cork tiles, and tack up recipes, grocery lists, and coupons. This will put an end to annoying paper trails on your countertops; plus, the front of your fridge won't look like the bottom of a trash can.
  • A helpful trick for de-cluttering your countertops: Mount your microwave and other small appliances, such as radios and can openers, underneath the cabinets. Home-organizing stores can help you with equipment and how-tos.

Stop Clutter at the Door 

  • Keep a small wastebasket near your entryway so you can immediately toss junk mail.
  • Tired of sending out search-and-rescue parties for your keys? Designate a decorative bowl near your front or back door as the drop zone for all car and house keys.
  • Assign each family member a basket for bags, purses, organizers, etc. Place them on a shelf or table by the most high-traffic entrance.
  • Pegs can be your new best friends when it comes to keeping kids' gear in order. In a mudroom, hang pegs about 3 feet high so little ones can hang up coats and backpacks as soon as they step inside.
  • Keep all sports gear in a deep plastic bin in the garage or near your family entrance to keep mud, dirt, and grass out of the house.

Take Control of Your Closets

  • In your coat closet, hang a shoe organizer on the back of the door. The pockets are perfect for storing hats, scarves, and gloves.
  • Linen closet overloaded? Use pant hangers to hang tablecloths from a rod instead of folding them. Bonus: They'll stay practically wrinkle-free, so you won't have to iron like crazy when company comes.
  • Listen up, ladies: If you haven't worn something in your wardrobe for two years, you probably never will again. Toss items in a bag, and drive directly to a local charity.

Streamline the Small Stuff

  • Constantly unraveling ribbon can irk you to no end. Try threading ribbon rolls on paper towel holders.
  • Make a habit of inspecting your bathroom cabinets every six months to weed out expired medication and old makeup.
  • De-jumble your junk drawer by placing ice cube trays or a muffin tin inside the drawer. Fill each compartment with a different item, such as stamps, batteries, paper clips, and pushpins.

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