When your home surroundings start to feel heavy and uninspiring, it's a surefire sign that your space needs a refresh. Organizing a home properly can radically improve your living space and will have a positive effect on your wellbeing too. And, believe it or not, getting organized is not rocket science but, there are better ways to tackle it.
We spoke to some home organization experts to pull together their most clever and creative organization ideas, for every room in the house. From organizing a kitchen to tackling your garage, no space will be left behind.
Rachel Fernie, spokesperson for home interior experts at Hilarys (opens in new tab) says, 'When looking at organizing your home as a whole entity it can be very overwhelming and seem like a task that will never get done. For this reason, it is best to sort room by room. '
'Begin with the smaller rooms and then work to the bigger rooms. Your bathroom and spare/office room can be a good place to start, followed by the bedroom, then the living room and kitchen. Once you have organized your personal areas, you can make room for the other bits and bobs that are cluttering the joint areas of the house – they can be moved or put away in there.'
'Remember, take it little by little, being thoughtful about how to make the space work the best for you. It will take time, but it will be worth it!'
Whether you’re hoping to add some aesthetically-pleasing order to your entire home or just your closet, if you want a fridge á la Clea and Joanna, or need a bigger overhaul to help clean up your spare bedroom or your garage, the following ideas are super practical and will make your home feel instantly more pulled together.
Home organization ideas to keep your space tidy
Before going on a shopping binge at The Container Store (opens in new tab), it’s vital to really consider exactly what your household really needs. Think about the types of items you need to store and organize: what sizes are you dealing with? How frequently do you use each item – are they pulled out on a seasonal basis or do you need them more frequently? Do you want to have everything on display, or would you prefer subtle organization solutions that get stored away?
After taking an honest inventory of exactly what areas of your home could benefit from organization and potentially even doing a quick purge of unwanted or unused items, you’ll have a clearer idea of what you really need and what will work for your household in real life. Then you can pick and choose which ideas to implement and/or which rooms to focus on.
Copy these tips to instantly foster a sense of calmness and zen in your space, even if you’ve never really considered yourself to be all that organized...
1. Focus on one room at a time
As Fernie said, trying to organize your entire home at one time is a recipe for overwhelm.
Instead, smart small. Identify a room in the house to organize, and begin by choosing one project in that room to focus on at a time. For example, if it's your kitchen that needs help, start by creating an organized spice drawer, perhaps with a matching set of labeled spice containers (opens in new tab). Then, move on to the pantry, then tackle the fridge.
2. Use matching containers
If you're going to spend time organizing, you don't want to create visual chaos in the process. Decide on a type of storage container for each space in your home. All the containers in your refrigerator should match, for example. as should the baskets in your closet and pantry. Many stores offer matching storage sets in various sizes so you can accommodate various items.
3. Invest in a label maker
Part of getting organized is creating systems that help you stay organized. Creating a place for everything and putting everything in its place only works if you remember where that place is. Once you identify a basket, a bin, a container or a shelf for a group of items, label it. This will also help family members and guests figure out where to put things.
4. Consider glass cabinets
If you’d prefer to showcase your worldly possessions rather than store them away for no one to see or appreciate, a glass cabinet will be a great addition to your space. While it does offer a peak at what you’re storing, it still helps contain and control the amount of stuff you keep in storage.
The only downside is that, since it’s see through, you’ll have to ensure you’re committed to keeping it tidy and organized—no hastily shoving in rogue paperwork or boxes when guests drop in unexpectedly.
5. Downsize your wardrobe – and keep everything visible
Before doing anything drastic in terms of wardrobe storage, take an honest look at what’s hanging in your closet and see if there’s anything you no longer wear and consider donating it if it’s still in good shape. The rule of thumb: If you haven't worn it in a year, toss it, this will make closet organization much easier.
From there, try to keep everything hanging and visible so that it’s easy to grab when getting dressed in the morning. Consider taking clothes out of drawers and putting them on hangers or even getting rid of the doors if you have a larger-sized closet.
Fernie notes that sorting out clothes storage and organizing shoes is a must for all seasons. 'There is nothing worse than not being able to find your outfit when you’re in a rush to get ready for work or take your children to school. Organizing your clothes and shoes will mean it is easy for you to grab what you need and go. More importantly, organizing these items in your bedroom and ensuring everything has its place will make your space feel much clearer and calmer.'
6. Go multifunctional
And, for everything that you don't need to see. Organize it tastefully with multi-functional furniture. Ottomans make great bedroom storage for sheets and spare pillows so that you can keep them concealed but in an orderly fashion.
Sam Baldry, Head of Design at Swoon (opens in new tab) comments, 'One of the best examples of good organizational habits is utilising multi-functional furniture. Whilst having a highly organized house may be satisfying to begin with, if your interior is purely functional it will be difficult to make your abode feel like a home. By utilising furniture with hidden storage, such as ottoman beds, you can achieve the cozy look without having exposed clutter.'
7. Favor clear fridge containers
Organizing a refrigerator can be overwhelming at the best of times and to look into the yours and see a sea of produce bags, cardboard boxes, and various other unnecessary containers equals stress. Instead, ditch all the extra bags, boxes, and containers and immediately place groceries into clear containers.
Not only will this allow you to fit even more into your fridge and inspire you to get cooking, it’ll also help ensure that nothing gets pushed to the back of the fridge to go bad.
For extra credit, use a label maker to assign a job to each box.
8. Color code your bookcase
Whether you love your packed, messy bookshelf or you’re longing to find a way to optimize it in order to fit in more books, color-coding your books is one of the easiest, and most satisfying, ways to make a messy bookshelf look much more put together (even if it’s packed to the gills).
9. Add interesting shelving units
Organizing a small bedroom? Go vertical! The space above your bed is the perfect spot to install an interesting shelving unit. Not only will it allow you to get various items up and off the ground but it creates an opportunity to turn your clutter into an interesting work of art.
10. Don’t overlook the dead space in the kitchen pantry
A pantry is a true blessing in terms of storing and organizing food items—but it can easily become overrun with spices, over-purchased items, and extra appliances. If you’re struggling to find the space to organize a pantry properly, look to the door! The vertical space on the door can easily be transformed with an over-the-door storage rack (opens in new tab) for spices, dry pastas, and other small kitchen essentials.
11. Go compact in the bathroom when short on space
A non-existent bathroom counter can be tough to navigate—but a compact cabinet is a great option for storing things like toothpaste, skincare, towels, and even extra toilet paper and shampoo if needed. Kickstart your bathroom organization by using small storage boxes to separate makeup, toiletries and the like so that you don't figuratively lose sight of anything. Alternatively, swapping out a plain mirror for a hanging mirrored cabinet can work for smaller bathrooms.
12. Make organization part of the fun in the playroom
The playroom can present a whole host of home organization issues—you want something that’s easy for kids to grab-and-go and also makes storing and tidying something the kids are inclined to partake in. Aim for something that looks fun and fits into the vibe of the space, like this Giraffe-shaped wicker basket (opens in new tab), but also allows for a quick and easy clean up.
Fernie adds, 'Parents will know how messy a room can get with children’s toys... The simplest and cheapest fix for this is to have a big box to put all the toys into at the end of the day. This means your living room is free from clutter, but your children can also have easy access to their toys.'
13. Make the most of every nook and cranny in the hallway and entrance
Whether your entryway is big or small, optimizing its nooks and crannies (especially the vertical space), will allow you to grab everything you need before heading out the door—and dropping everything at the door once back home. A cabinet that offers open shelving and closed storage makes it easy to prioritize what you use on a daily basis versus what you only pull out every now and then.
14. Add a dedicated mail drop and 'stuff' spot
'Clutter can quickly build up with all the letters, bank statements and general post that we get through the door every day. An easy way to organise this is to have a literal inbox for these items, that way you can simply close the lid on the box, leaving it looking nice and tidy, or you can tuck away into a draw completely. Every time you get post, go through it and if you want to keep it pop it into the box, otherwise recycle it.' Adds Fernie.
15. Short on cabinet space? Tuck a buffet into the dining room
A small kitchen usually isn’t the end of the world—but a lack of kitchen cabinets can present a real problem if you’re trying to find a spot to store your various appliances, dishes, or all those novelty mugs we seem to amass.
Rather than stressing about finding the space in your kitchen or pantry, consider adding a buffet in the dining room. A long buffet offers heaps of space for storing and organizing kitchenware and also adds a touch of elegance to the dining space.
16. Create individual grab-and-go stations in the mud room
Struggling with keeping the kids’ gear organized in the mud room? Create individual grab-and-go stations for optimal mudroom storage! Think of these as locker for each member of the family; the schoolhouse-inspired allotted space will make it easy for kids (and adults!) to store their gear upon entering the house so nothing gets lost in the mix. Hall trees (opens in new tab) are the perfect solution if you don't have a mudroom with built-in space for storage.
17. Clear space to cook
Kitchen counters can easily get cluttered with non-food items – think keys, receipts and more. According to Fernie, 'The solution for this, while long winded, is to ensure that all of those things have a home. For the keys, try a nice glass decorative bowl near the door or key hooks. As for the receipts, if you don’t need them then recycle them. Lastly with all the snacks, it is handy to organise your cupboards so all the dry foods and snacks are together so you can grab one quickly. Don’t forget you can add small attachments to the inside of your cupboard doors for even more storage for those yummy snacks you want to reach for.'
18. Optimize spare rooms with subtle storage
Whether you have guests stay the night frequently or your spare bedroom rarely sees a visitor, there are super easy ways to optimize the space in the guest bed to create subtle storage solutions to make your day to day easier – your guests won’t even notice!. Consider adding a bench with storage at the end of the bed – or better yet, opt for a bed that has built-in storage space – and fill it with everything from color coded folders for work to stationary and more.
19. Maximize laundry room capacity
The laundry room can easily become a clutter drop zone if you’re not careful—but adding see-through drawers will ensure you keep everything you need clearly visible. The pared down storage will make organizing a laundry room way easier and you'll never have issues finding your fabric softener again!
20. Add storage that doubles as patio seating
Whether you’re big into patio gardening or you prefer getting your grill on during the summer months, organizing your patio gear is as easy as adding inventive storage that doubles as seating. The subtle solution will save you space and hide your gear when not in use—but also saves you from having to run inside when you need a barbecue brush or watering can.
21. Reclaim vertical space in the garage
The goal here is to get organized – but also save space for you to actually park your car in the garage. Using vertical space like bike racks and storage cubes is surprisingly effective when organizing a garage, easy to see and grab what you need when you need it, and actually looks quite cool.
22. Use the space under the bed
No more room in the closet? Make use of the space under the bed by storing out of season clothes there, neatly packed in boxes or bins (opens in new tab). Changing the clothes in your closet each season also gives you a chance to go through your wardrobe to decide what you wear and what you don't, and purge accordingly.
What are good things to organize at home?
'When it comes to home organization, it’s the smallest touches that make the biggest differences,' adds Baldy. 'One of my favorite tips is to utilise chic shortage boxes to store unsightly hoards such as paperwork. This not only helps to disguise the clutter, but also gives you the opportunity to organise your bills, receipts, and documents into an orderly manner.'
'If you are doing a deep dive into de-cluttering your home, it’s best to create a plan of attack before you begin. Which rooms are going to take you the longest? Which rooms have the most clutter? Do you need to plan waste disposal or purchase extra storage? Creating a plan may take a little extra time, however it will make the process a lot smoother in the long run.'