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.