Storage & Organization
Stay Home and Declutter on Black Friday With These 93 Brilliant Tips
Avoid the masses out shopping this Black Friday and clear the messes out of your house. These tips will help you declutter on your day off.
Focus on One Room at a Time
The first trick to decluttering your home is to focus on one room at a time. In larger rooms, focus on one zone at a time. When you’re done with one area, move to the next. Try these 15 tips for decluttering during the cold months.
Needed: Six Boxes
To declutter your home, you don’t need any fancy tools. However, before you get started, make sure you have six boxes or bins. One for items destined for the trash, a second for items to recycle, a third for items to donate, a fourth for items to save for a garage sale, the fifth for items that belong in another part of the house and a sixth for items that need to be fixed. If you’re planning a garage sale, here are 14 tips for success.
In the Bathroom
The medicine cabinet and bathroom drawers are often full of unnecessary items. The easiest way to declutter is to pull everything out at once so you can see everything you have. Discard any outdated medications, toiletries and makeup. Toss items such as hair ties you no longer use or empty lip balm tubes. Moving forward, organization experts suggest you should stick to one lip balm tube at a time, one shampoo and conditioner, one face wash, etc. This will help cut down on the number of products you have out at one time. And, those little toiletry samples and hotel soaps, find out if you can donate them to a shelter because it’s unlikely you’ll ever use them. Turn your empty lip balm container into a secret spot to stash cash.
Clean Out Your Nightstand
Check your nightstand drawers and pull out anything that doesn’t belong there. Put books you’ve already read back on your bookshelf, return them to the library or donate them. Throw out or recycle old notes, empty pens and any used tissues. Make a rule for yourself that you can only have a certain number of books out at a time to help cut down on clutter. These 12 ingenious bedroom furniture ideas will help you make the most of your space.
Sort Clothes and Shoes
A couple times of year, go through every piece of clothing in your closet and in your dresser drawers. Toss or donate old items or pieces of clothing you haven’t worn in a year. It’s easiest to start by clothing type—so start with shoes, then socks, T-shirts, etc. These 12 awesome closet storage hacks will help keep clothing clutter at bay.
Declutter the Entryway and Mudroom
Entryways are often magnets for clutter. From mail to car keys to your child’s permission slips and school artwork, clutter can build up quickly in these areas. Toss old items and add some decorative, yet functional bins or baskets to the area to help collect items and keep it tidy. Vow to put items in this area away as soon as possible, instead of leaving papers sitting around for long periods of time. Try these 15 tips for an organized mudroom.
Banish Living Room Clutter
Now is the time to figure out what all those cords, chargers and remotes are for. If you don’t use it or need it, toss or recycle it. Create homes for all items. For example, keep all remotes in one drawer, all cords and chargers in another. Label items if necessary. Keep a designated spot for magazines and newspapers you have yet to read and recycle those that are old. Here’s what you should do with all those old chargers, wires and cables.
Tackle the Kitchen
In the kitchen, empty all the cabinets, cupboards and drawers. If there are items you no longer use or that are broken, toss the broken ones and donate the others. Consider ways to come up with better storage solutions. For example, can you store your spices on the side of the refrigerator for easier access? Will roll-out cabinet drawers help you stay organized and cut down on clutter? You can build these seven roll-out cabinet drawers yourself.
Organize the Office
Your home office is likely full of old papers, out-of-control office supplies and bundles of cords. Try using an old muffin tin to store office supplies such as paperclips, push pins and various binder clips. Feed cords through a hole in the back of your desk and try color coding files. Try these 10 easy DIYs for your home office.
Create a Command Center
Create a command center or message center for your family. This is a good place to keep mail and bills you can’t tend to right away, store grocery lists and leave important notes. Add a calendar everyone can use and you’ll never miss an appointment or a child’s sports practice again. Get organized by building this handy message center.
Add a Rack for Storage
Hanging a rack can be a great way to declutter your home. Consider installing a rack in the kitchen to hang items such as utensils or towels and get some items off the counter. A rack in the bathroom can be used to store items such as razors, sponges and toothbrushes. Try these nine organizing ideas for your kitchen.
Logs and Firewood
There’s nothing more cozy than curling up before a log fire or wood-burning stove in the depths of winter, but where do you store a winter’s worth of logs? And buying in bulk is often cheaper (see our tips for buying firewood), but finding a place to keep logs looking tidy can be tricky.
For in-house storage, firewood stacked under a stair alcove makes a great focal point, or try a shelter built on to a shed or outer wall for an outside solution. Then keep a few logs by the fire (but not too close) in a wicker basket or brass scuttle for genuine rustic appeal.
Christmas Decorations and Accessories
Wind tree lights around boards or onto a reel to avoid frustrating tangles next year, and keep artificial trees in a large storage tube. Check out our other Christmas decluttering tips.
Hats and Gloves
There’s nothing more frustrating than searching for a lost glove or hat when you’re in a rush, so take control of those warm clothing items by giving them a home of their own. And just string clothespins on aluminum wire (it won’t rust) and stretch it between screw eyes on the back of a closet door. These winter preparedness tips will some in handy, too.
Coats & Jackets
Bulky winter coats and jackets take up a lot of space and you’ve got to consider how to store them when they’re wet. And when considering decluttering tips, the simplest solution is a line of coat hooks in your entryway. Make sure they’re well spaced to allow for drying.
A free-standing storage unit like this one gives you a lot of versatility. Also, you can include shelves and cubby holes for accessories, or leave the inner shelves out to accommodate longer coats.
Whether you like a huge golfing-style umbrella or a compact handbag design, an umbrella is essential for braving the unpredictable winter weather if you’re not in a snow zone. And wet umbrellas that leave pools of water seeping across the floor are unsightly and can cause accidents.
Umbrella stands allow you to hook your umbrellas off the floor, and usually have a drip tray to catch stray raindrops. And, these stands allow you to find your own umbrella quickly when you’re heading out. But umbrellas are just as happy in a storage container, such as a brass pot, a plastic tub, or an open design with elastic sides for maximum aeration.
Sort Mail Every Day
Don’t let mail pile up. Jeanne Taylor, a professional home organizer, says mail can be a major source of clutter in many homes. Make a resolution to sort through your mail each day and toss or recycle pieces you don’t need. Create a space to keep bills so you don’t lose track of them. Better yet—go paperless! You can build a DIY mail organizer from a repurposed closet door!
Lifestyle blogger Chloe Ciliberto believes a good resolution to curbing clutter is to purge more often. Set aside some time a few times a year to get rid of things such as clothing you don’t wear, kitchen items you no longer use and old toys your kids have outgrown. Here are 10 things to know about Swedish death cleaning. (It’s much more fun than it sounds!)
Take 10 Minutes Each Day
If you take 10 minutes each day to tidy up a room, that’s more than an hour a week to clear clutter throughout your home. While some rooms such as the kitchen and living room may take a little more time, rooms such as the bathroom and guest room may take even less. Try these clutter-busting strategies for every room.
Adopt the One In/One Out Philosophy
Whenever you buy a new item, consider getting rid of an old one. This philosophy will help you keep clutter out of your closet, off counters and even your child’s toy room. Build a low-cost custom closet to stay organized.
Organize Your Laundry Room
Laundry rooms are often cramped spaces and clutter from them often makes its way into other parts of the home. To keep the laundry area clutter free, set up a drying rack to hang items. Take it a step further with these tips from Martha Stewart and add a shelf unit for laundry products and, if you can, create a spot to fold and iron items.
Mop and Broom Organizer
Say so long to brooms and mops that always seem to fall over. This mop and broom organizer holds up to 11 tools, perfect for a garage, basement or mudroom. Try these 10 tips for organizing your garage and keeping it organized.
Perfect for storing jewelry at home or away, this hanging jewelry organizer has 32 pockets for storage, along with 18 hook-and-loop closures. Unlike jewelry boxes, this organization system makes it easy to find just what you’re looking for and takes up less space as it can hang in your closet. Need to hide something? Check out these secret hiding spots, perfect for stashing cash and jewelry.
All those cables don’t stand a chance of getting tangled with a cable clip. This handy organization tool will help you solve all that cable congestion when it comes to all the cords around your desk, television and charging station. Here are 15 easy home office organization ideas you need to try.
Perfect to keep all those permission slips, homework packets and school folders organized, this over-the-door hanging organizer is the perfect organization tool for busy families. The organizer is easy to attach to the door and is the perfect addition to any home message center. Build a home message center with these complete how-to instructions.
Storage Rack Organizer
Gain more kitchen storage space with this handy six-hook organizer. Easy to install, this organizer lets you hang items, such as coffee mugs and utensils, in the pantry or cabinet. Here are 12 clever kitchen storage hacks you’ve never thought of before.
Need more storage space in the refrigerator? These clever storage shelf organizers are the perfect spot for fruits, cut vegetables and small snacks. These six simple steps will prevent refrigerator breakdowns.
Give your cosmetics a new place to call home with this organizer kit. Easy-to-use, it will keep all your items out of sight and in the proper spot just behind the cabinet door. These 20 bathroom storage hacks are perfect for your small space.
Kitchen Sink Organizer
This sink organization tool will help keep all your dishwashing supplies in one space while freeing up valuable counter space. The organizer has two drain holes and uses suction to fit perfectly in the corner of the sink. Check out these 30 ways to revolutionize your kitchen space.
Pantry Organizer Rack
Keep all those pans and lids in their designated space with this cabinet and pantry organization rack. It has six compartments and fits most pans and lids. Check out these 16 pantry organization ideas you’ll wish you knew before.
Keep all those home office items within reach with this rotary desk organizer. It has plenty of compartments to hold pens and scissors, paperclips, erasers and tacks. Use it in your home office or craft room. Here are eight home office organization ideas your can DIY.
Get all your socks and undergarments organized with these drawer dividers. This set includes four bins and fits easily into most drawers. Check out these 15 tips to help you reclaim closet space.
Find Unused Storage Space
Whether it’s in the rafters of your garage, between joists in the ceiling of your basement, inside a cabinet, etc., maximize your home’s storage space by thinking outside of the box! For example, The Family Handyman reader David Ojala uses gutters as storage shelves on the side of kitchen cabinets for one of the most clever home organization hacks we’ve seen:
Vinyl rain gutters are fairly inexpensive and great for storing small items. They come in 10-ft.-long sections, so you can cut them up with a power miter saw or hacksaw and make several shelves out of them. I just snap an end cap on each end, drill a couple of holes and attach them to my cabinets with wood screws and finish washers. For heavier stuff, I attach them with fascia gutter brackets, which you’ll find at the home center right next to the gutters. — David Ojala
Spice Gripper Clips
Keep your K-Cups close
Two-Tier Spice Drawer
Instant Laundry Room Cubbies
Add some cubbies to store toys, books and art supplies. You can add some bins to hide items, such as remotes and cables that you may not want to see displayed. Depending on your space, you can also use the design as a media console.
Photo: Courtesy of Ana White
Better in a Basket
When it comes to bin I.D. tags, we like adhesive storage pouches that let you slip index cards in and out easily. You can find these at office supply stores or online retailers.
Find out another reason why three-ring binders come in handy around the house.
Plastic Bag Holder
Flip-Down Paper Tray
This tray is perfect for pens and paper. When closed, it’s mostly hidden by the cabinet face frame. Hinges and magnets hold this tray in place under an upper cabinet. To install the tray, screw on the hinges first. Then open the cabinet door above and clamp the tray to the underside of the cabinet while you screw the hinges to the cabinet. Need a more robust command center? Here’s how to build a message center in your kitchen instead.
Keep Your Spray Bottles in Line
Skinny Laundry Room Cart
DIY Tiered Hangers
Three-Ring Tool and Appliance File
Store your appliance and tool manuals in three-ring binders so you can find them when you need them. Insert labeled dividers to organize them for quick reference instead of having them scattered in different places.
Corral Sports Gear
This sturdy ball corral holds a herd of balls and lets kids easily grab the balls at the bottom without unloading all the ones on top. It’s built from 3/4-in. plywood and 2x2s. We made our ball corral 24 in. wide x 33 in. high x 12 in. deep.
The hooks on Bungee cords can be a safety hazard for kids and adults alike. So cut the hooks off the cords (or use elastic cord available at camping, sporting goods and hardware stores). Thread the cord through predrilled holes and secure with knots. Drill the holes slightly larger than the cords to make threading them easier.
We added plumbing hooks and short gutter troughs on the outside of the corral to make it easy for kids to stash smaller balls, helmets and mitts.
Looking for ways to store bikes? Check out eight products that can help.
Efficient Bike Storage
Hanging bicycles from the rafters is a great way to save garage space. But even hanging bikes can take up a bunch of room. Here’s a cool space-saving product that puts a new twist on the humble bike hook. The Saris Cycle Glide is a system of hooks mounted on glides. Once the bikes are on the hooks, they can be slid closer to the wall on the glides that mount perpendicular to the wall. And because the hooks slide back and forth on the lower set of glides, the bikes can be nestled neatly together, taking up a lot less space. This system also makes it easier to take down the bikes when they’re hanging over a parked car, a boat or a big mess like in my garage. That’s because you can pull or push the bikes clear of the obstruction before you lower it. You can buy a Saris Cycle Glide for $245 at bike stores or online.
If this style isn’t to your liking check out other bike storage ideas.
Turn Your Hangers
Once you’re gone through your closet and weeded out the unused items, turn all hanging clothing with the hanger facing outward. After wearing an item, return it to the hanging rod with the hanger facing the back of the closet. After one year, all articles of clothing still facing outwards were not worn, and you can consider getting rid of them. Find out how to get rid of anything.
Expand the Counter with a Kitchen Cart
A rolling kitchen cart is the next best thing to adding cabinets and countertop space. The top provides extra work space when you’re preparing that big Thanksgiving dinner. And the shelves below hold items that would otherwise consume countertop space. If you plan to use a cart for food preparation, choose one with a tough top like butcher block, stainless steel or plastic laminate. Some cart tops are glossy finished wood—beautiful, but not very durable. Carts come in a variety of wood finishes, so there’s a good chance you can match your existing cabinets. Or you can go for an eclectic look with a shiny metal or painted cart.
Tucked Away Coffeemaker
For serious coffee drinkers, stowing the coffeemaker inside a cabinet just doesn’t make sense; you’ll only have to pull it out again in a few hours. Here’s a solution: An under-cabinet coffeemaker is always available and doesn’t take up valuable counter space. Plus: here’s how to get those pesky coffee stains out of carpeting.
Under-Cabinet Knife Storage Racks
Pull-down racks give you instant access to kitchen essentials without the clutter of spice racks or knife holders. When the cooking is done, the rack swings up against the underside of the cabinet. The acrylic knife rack like the one shown here, or buy a pair of hinges only and make your own wooden rack to hold knives, spices or other small items that take up counter space.
Tuck the microwave under your cabinets to get it off the counter. Microwave ovens are the biggest space hogs on most countertops. With a few models, manufacturers offer optional mounting kits that let you mount the microwave under cabinets. To raise your old microwave, consider the sturdy brackets shown here. But first measure its height and the height of the space above the countertop; with a larger microwave, you might find that the space under it will be too small to be useful. Plus: check out more quick and clever kitchen storage ideas.
Tidy File Center
Closet Nook Shelves
Gino Santa Maria/Shutterstock
Open Your Mail Over Your Recycling Bin
That way, you’ll be less tempted to save unimportant things for later “when you have time.” You’ll keep what’s really important and immediately recycle the rest.
Save that Six-Pack!
To keep all of your condiments under control use an empty six-pack holder to hold and organize the condiments in your refrigerator door.
This organization solution is also great for transporting your condiments for a backyard BBQ or picnic!
Under-Sink Storage Bins
What’s hiding under your kitchen sink? If the space under your sink is anything like ours, it’s an overcrowded jumble of cleaning supplies, sponges and plastic bags. Here’s a great way to store these items right on the door of the sink cabinet. Cut a plastic storage tub in half with a utility knife and screw it to the inside of the cabinet door through the plastic lip at the top of the tub. Just make sure you position it so you can shut the cabinet door when all your bags and other supplies are in the bin.
Pullout Towel Rack
Pullout towel racks are typically meant for kitchens, but they’re also perfect for cramped bathrooms. They keep damp hand towels and washcloths off the counter so they can dry out of the way. You can find pullout towel racks at discount stores and online retailers.
Use Door Space Intelligently
Don’t forget the door when counting your closet space! Try an over-the-door shoe organizer on the backside of a closet door to organize scarves, belts and other accessories. Or of course, shoes too! Would you rather have your shoes out where you can see them? Make this easy-to-build shoe rack with modern style!
Instant Kitchen Cabinet Organizer
LIZ VAN STEENBURGH/SHUTTERSTOCK
It’s Time to Toss Those Takeout Menus
Though your takeout bag comes with a menu or two, the reality is, you end up stuffing all that wasted paper in a drawer. Then before you know it, menu after menu, it’s hard for you to close your kitchen drawer. Toss those suckers in the recycling bin and stick to looking up menus online. Don’t miss these quick kitchen cleaning tips.
Vases and Flower Pots
Vases and flower pots will accumulate with each growing season. Make sure you only keep what you need, otherwise you’ll start to get buried by them. You likely don’t even need another flower pot, you probably have the answer in front of you. Check out these awesome DIY planters made from kitchen castoffs.
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Plastic Storage Containers that no Longer have Lids that Fit
But if you like think you can repurpose those things, you’ll like creative storage options. You’ll never guess why you should keep an empty egg carton in the bathroom.
Games with Missing Pieces
Old Freezer Items
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There are plenty of ingenious hacks for PVC pipe that you can use when organizing your basement. This DIY PVC pipe wrapping station organizer is a great way to keep wrapping paper, craft supplies and even small toys neat and tidy.
Fill Glass Jars
Photo: Angela Thayer
We have a strict policy at our house about removing your shoes before entering the house. (It works most of the time.) Once we implemented the rule, the next problem was the clutter of shoes blocking the door. While I was looking at the coat rack in the entry, it dawned on me that I could do the same for shoes, so I built another one and hung it close to the floor. — Jimmy Keen. Get your mudroom organized with these 15 simple solutions.
Store Your Artificial Tree in a Tube
Need more more storage space for your tree and other Christmas decorations? Check out these great garage cabinets.
Corral Your Gift Wrap
Make Cardboard Storage Spools for Your Holiday Light Strings
Make Holiday Light Storage Stands
Storing holiday light strings without wrecking them is tough. Here’s a great idea: Just screw a dowel to each end of a wooden base cut to the size of a large plastic bin. Then wrap your lights around the dowels in a figure eight and place the stand in the bin. You’ll be amazed how many light strings you can wrap around the stands without them getting tangled or damaged. Check out these other great storage ideas.
Hose Reel for Holiday Lights
To keep holiday lights from getting tangled and make it easy to string them around the yard, roll all the strings of lights onto a portable hose reel with wheels and a handle.
Labeled Tree Layers
Artificial Christmas trees are assembled in color-coded layers. After a few years, the colors rub off (or you lose the instructions), and putting the tree together gets confusing. Try this simple trick. When you disassemble the tree at the end of the season, do it one level at a time. Once all the branches from one level are off, duct-tape them together and number each layer with a marker. Next year, the tree will go together in a snap!
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