It's easy to succumb to the chaos ultimately resulting in overstuffed closets, expired canned goods, and misplaced tools that come with maintaining a beautiful home. The trick to maintaining order and corralling clutter is to organize your home room by room.
Whether you choose to start with something small and simple like the laundry room or you are ready to dive headfirst into the dark depths of your closets, don’t be afraid to take the plunge and get started down the road to organization with a:
- Closet Clean-Out
- Pantry Purge
- Office Overhaul
- TV Room Transformation
- Mudroom Makeover
- Garage Grooming
Keep reading for expert advice on how to organize your house from top to bottom and inside and out by tackling it one room at a time.
Organize Your Closet
There is a reason an entire industry is devoted to closet organization. After all, people tend to cram a lot into their closets. At the bare minimum, your closet needs to hold all of your clothes, shoes, outerwear, and accessories. One of the best ways to maximize space is with custom closets.
Custom closets make it easy to stay organized because they are designed to offer a specific place for everything. For instance, hanging sections placed at various heights can accommodate both short – think shirts or blouses – and long – think dresses – articles of clothing. Built-in drawers can hold undergarments and t-shirts. Sweaters can be delicately folded and placed on shelves, using dividers to keep the piles neat.
The first step to organizing your closet is to clean it. Start by taking everything out and wiping down all surfaces, then vacuum, sweep or mop depending upon your floor surface. Be sure to look for evidence of mold and mildew while cleaning.
The next step is to sort through your stuff and decide what you want to keep, what you want to donate, and what you need to throw away. After you have whittled down your wardrobe, you can start putting things back into their proper place. The experts at Connecticut Closets & Garages have compiled an arsenal of 5 Tips for Organizing Your Custom Closets .
You certainly don’t need to adopt all of the above suggestions, but you may want to adopt one or two. One of the best ways to keep your closets organized is to sort your clothes by season. Store the items you aren’t using right now in open boxes or baskets on the top shelf. You can then organize the items you are currently wearing by color to make putting together outfits a snap. That means putting all of your work clothes in one section, workout wear in another, and so on.
Keep in mind that custom closets are an investment, although costs vary widely depending upon the materials used and the size of your space. However, it is money well spent because the cost is often recovered when it comes time to sell. As Built-In Closet and Garage Designs point out, custom closets can also increase the value of a home .
The kitchen pantry is another place that tends to quickly spiral into an unorganized mess. Start by taking everything out and cleaning the shelves. You want to make sure you wipe up any spills and clean up any crumbs.
Before you start putting stuff back, sort through your grocery necessities to get rid of anything that has passed its expiration date or looks or smells spoiled. This is also the time to get rid of food products your family does not like or use. If the food is unopened, consider donating it to a local community pantry or homeless shelter.
When it comes to organizing your pantry , place commonly used items front and center. (As an added bonus, this ensures that your snacks are always easy to access.) Store lighter items, such as cereal or boxes of crackers, up high, and heavier items, like cans of soup or cases of juice boxes, on lower shelves or even the floor.
A selection of small baskets or containers is a great way to keep smaller items, such as hot chocolate mixes and packets of taco seasoning, from getting lost. You can also use them to organize items by category, such as drink mixes, snacks, seasonings, etc. Instead of a standard spice rack, consider using a Lazy Susan so that you can quickly find the jar you seek with a quick spin.
Here’s another helpful hint for organizing your pantry and keeping it clean: Store oil and vinegar bottles in a plastic bin with a paper towel laid on the bottom to soak up any drips.
A home office can quickly succumb to clutter. The best way to manage your workspace is to effectively utilize storage. Start by clearing off your desktop and organizing your office supplies. There are plenty of products made specifically for this purpose, but why not show some personality?
Instead of a pencil holder, you can stash pens and pencils in a mug from a beloved vacation destination or maybe one that shows support for your favorite sports team. If you’re even slightly crafty, use your creativity and ingenuity to come up with a few DIY desktop organizational projects. One simple solution for storing small items such as paper clips and rubber bands is to upcycle aluminum cans, like those from soup or even tuna fish. Wash them thoroughly and then paint the cans or cover them with decorative contact paper or washi tape.
While a filing cabinet is great, you probably also need something to organize paperwork at your desk. Artist and crafter Aunt Peaches created a homework caddy for her kids using empty cardboard containers from cereal and snacks and covering them with colored duct tape. You can do the same thing to sort your office paperwork, perhaps using patterned contact paper to add some pizzazz.
TV Room Transformation
Baskets and bins are a fantastic way to organize your TV room or kids’ playroom. Plastic storage containers with lids are best for smaller items such as Lego sets because they help keep all of the tiny pieces together. On the other hand, open-top baskets are better for bigger toys such as dolls or trucks.
While giant entertainment centers seem to have disappeared along with the bulky television sets from the aughts, many homeowners today are creating custom built-ins to surround their wall-mounted TV. Consider adding cabinets or drawers to your design to hide games and toys – even electronics – out of sight. If that’s not an option, a set of matching baskets can be neatly tucked away underneath a bench - and extra seating is always a good idea. A storage ottoman is another way to store toys and other items out of sight but still keep it handy when the kids want to play.
Nothing beats cuddling up on the couch under a warm blanket. Store a bunch of throw blankets in a wicker basket next to the sofa so they’re always within reach. Plus, if you roll them, they can add a nice decorative touch & a pop of color to any room.
In many homes, the mudroom has become the dreaded drop-zone. You will want to utilize as many organizational tips as possible to keep this space under control. If you are fortunate to have an actual mudroom, then optimize it with a bench, ideally one with cubbies underneath so you can add bins to stow seasonal items like hats and gloves, sports gear, activity bags, and such.
As an added bonus, a bench is a nice feature as it provides a place to sit down to put on or take off your shoes -- very helpful if you have little kids and need to tie laces. A shoe rack is another must-have item. Getting out the door quickly is much easier when everyone can find a matching pair of shoes.
Consider searching thrift stores or antique markets for a set of old-school lockers. These can add a touch of nostalgia to your space while offering plenty of storage. Even if you don't have a dedicated mudroom, you can always add hooks in your entry hall to hang up jackets and coats – and backpacks too.
Once you’ve tackled the rooms inside your house, it’s time to step outside. After clearing out the clutter in your garage, not only will you have plenty of room for your car, but you might just find that screwdriver you swear your neighbor borrowed and never returned.
Many homeowners opt to invest in a custom garage system that includes cabinetry and Slatwall racks . The racks off all sorts of accessories to store everything from tools and tennis rackets to gardening hoses. You can even cover up your stained concrete floor with Swisstrax rubber tiles that come in a variety of trendy designs.
When it comes to organizing your garage, follow the same steps used when organizing the rooms in your house. Start by sorting through all of your stuff and getting rid of anything that is broken or no longer usable. Paint and assorted cleaning products can go bad over time, especially with the fluctuating temperatures in the garage . These items must be disposed of properly. Look up the location of your community's household hazardous waste drop-off center.
After deciding what you want to keep, devise a storage plan. You could create a little workshop area to store your tools, along with picture hanging kits, tape measures, and other items commonly used around the house. Plastic bins are the perfect place to store out-of-season items like Christmas decorations or pool toys.
There are plenty of products on the market to store specific sports equipment, such as golf bags and fishing gear. Of course, you can always build your own system. To keep children’s basketballs, soccer balls, and footballs under control, Designed to Dwell suggests nailing a few scrap pieces of wood to wall studs and then attaching some bungee cords. This will the balls securely in place, but when it's time to play they'll be easy for your kids to reach and – more importantly – put away.
The key to keeping a tidy home is organization. Clutter can easily take over if you’re not careful. Rather than getting overwhelmed when trying to organize your home, it’s best to tackle one room at a time. From corralling clutter in baskets and bins to upcycling items that would have been destined for the recycling bin, there is a light at the end of your messy tunnel as you go through the process of organizing your home.