Organizing Ideas for Every Room

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By: , – Sarah Stebbins, Family Circle
3/5/2013 6:00 AM   :  16 comments   :  23,444 Views

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Problem: Kitchen
"I'm a good mother, cook and entertainer, but organizing eludes me," says Jen. The entire family—Jen, her husband, Rich, and their two sons—dump everything on the kitchen counter, including phones, iPads, keys and papers. "When guests are coming over, I just throw it all in what I call 'the party bag' and shove it out of sight," she says. "Problem is, later nobody can find their stuff." Jen also uses the area to display snapshots and post notes, but the jumble created visual clutter and got in the way of the cookbooks she refers to on a regular basis.
 
Pro organizer Julie Morgenstern, author of Shed Your Stuff, Change Your Life (Touchstone), suggests a number of simple storage systems. Shallow bins, situated beneath an outlet, provide a place to charge electronics, deposit mail and empty pockets without junking up the area. A sleek metal organizer strip displays photos and papers. Bins in the cabinets below can corral chargers and kitchen items, as well as handbags, hats, gloves and anything else that doesn't make it into the main closet, located a few rooms away. "The key to containing clutter is to catch it where it lands," says Morgenstern. 
 
Click here to watch a behind-the-scenes video showing how we de-cluttered the kitchen from Family Circle.
 
 
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Tell us what you think. How do you keep your house organized and clutter-free?


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Comments

  • 16
    Flylady sent WAAAAY too many emails and I eventually got rid of it. I think much decluttering is answered by organizing and not being lazy. When you use something, put it back. Have a place for everything and simplify, simplify, simplify. - 4/28/2013   5:34:49 PM
  • 15
    Flylady sent WAAAAY too many emails and I eventually got rid of it. I think much decluttering is answered by organizing and not being lazy. When you use something, put it back. Have a place for everything and simplify, simplify, simplify. - 4/28/2013   5:34:49 PM
  • 14
    Flylady sent WAAAAY too many emails and I eventually got rid of it. I think much decluttering is answered by organizing and not being lazy. When you use something, put it back. Have a place for everything and simplify, simplify, simplify. - 4/28/2013   5:34:45 PM
  • 13
    everything needs a place (basket, shelf or drawer). I take 15 minutes before bed to walk the house and put things in their place. that way I don't waste time trying to find things - 4/10/2013   9:54:49 PM
  • 12
    can someone come over soon. ? I need help - 3/9/2013   10:04:10 AM
  • AZURE-SKY
    11
    I tried Flylady. But the constant emails really started to annoy me. I don't need an email every morning to tell me to get dressed or unload the dishwasher or wipe out the sink, and I found that I spent so much time reading those darn emails that I got more behind on my chores. So, I simply decided to start putting things away when I was finished with them. We load dirty dishes in the dishwasher when we're done with them & I run it when it's full.

    As for the video about organizing the kitchen, I have a question - why would that family keep the laptops & cell phones in the kitchen anyway? That's not the place they're used. Kitchen counters are meant to be workspaces for the kitchen. The laptops & cellphones don't need to be stored or charged there. Each person should have a place to store those items when not in use - and not in the kitchen. Keeping those baskets on the counter is just wasting space.

    I keep a recycle bin in my home office. I open the mail there, and drop the junk mail & recyclables right into the bin. That's also where I have my shredder. I keep a small basket on my desk next to the shredder, and when it's full, I shred everything in there. You don't have to have a home office for this, just a room with an outlet for the shredder and room for a basket & recycle bin - which is just a plastic storage bin - the kind used for storing clothing or other things.

    I subscribe to 2 newspapers, a daily & a twice/week local paper. I read them both online - no newspapers to recycle. I cancelled my magazine subscriptions, and read the articles online.

    I have baskets in my walk-in closet where I keep small items, and I keep all of our prescriptions & vitamins/supplements in a basket that is stored in the pantry. Each Sunday we refill our 7-day pill holders with everything we need for the week. Those small containers are kept on the kitchen counter, but all the rest of the bottles are out of sight.

    My hubby installed pull out shelves in all of the lower kitchen cabinets. I now have more room, because I couldn't store things in the back of the lower shelves because it was too difficult to get to.

    He also installed extra shelves in all of the closets and pantry, including a 2-inch wide shelf on each side of the pantry door that's the perfect size for storing seasonings and small pkges of jello/pudding, etc.

    He also installed adjustable shelving in the guestroom closet, and that's where I store craft supplies. Everything has its place, and I can find whatever I'm looking for when I need it.

    I have opted for no-paper billing for all my accounts, so now I get an email from each company with the amount due. I pay my bills online, the same day the bill comes in. That has freed up a tremendous amount of space in my desk, and I know that all the bills are paid on time.

    - 3/6/2013   8:17:26 PM
  • IAMTOLOSE
    10
    I'll try flylady as I am constantly needing to pare down my belongings. Thanks for the blog entry and the suggestions! - 3/6/2013   3:17:34 PM
  • 9
    Definitely reccommend flylady! You'll revamp your life 15 minutes at a time! I especially like her fling boogies! - 3/6/2013   1:46:00 PM
  • JMB369
    8
    I'm another fan of Flylady (free web site). Until I ran across her site ten years ago, I found no permanent solution. Basic idea #1: you can't organize clutter. You've got to get rid of all the stuff you don't love, don't use.

    And, like losing weight, you've got to take it in small steps. Fifteen focused minutes a day will make a huge difference in 6 months. And who among us can't find 15 minutes?! (How much time have you spent looking for misplaced keys, or scurrying to clean up the house for unexpected company!) Example, when is the last time you went through your sock drawer? Or threw out expired medications? or got rid of all those plastic containers that clog the kitchen cabinet? The key is, don't take on the entire dresser, the entire bathroom, all the kitchen cabinets. Just pick one task, do it, and then go on to something more enjoyable. Flylady also recommends using an ordinary kitchen timer. One of her inspirational brain washings says, "I can do anything for 15 minutes."

    A few baskets can be useful for coralling small items, but I find that keeping the clutter to a minimum is even better. For example, when I bring the mail into the house, the junk mail goes immediately into the trash/recycling; bills go into a special spot (yes a basket) in the office, tax information goes into a folder marked 2013 taxes. Once a week I spend 2-3 minutes shredding whatever needs to be shredded. BTW, bill paying Online and getting on a "no junk mail" list have eliminated 75% of the paper mail coming into my house. - 3/6/2013   7:25:11 AM
  • 7
    I use small containers, bins, and baskets. I also use ideas from Flylady. De-cluttering 15 mins per day has helped me to organize a lot ad put things in it's own place not just hear and there. Still a work in progress! - 3/5/2013   5:21:26 PM
  • 6
    when things are organized, you not only save time and money, but have a sense of peace about life in general. A place for everything, and everything in its place. - 3/5/2013   1:26:11 PM
  • 5
    I have the baskets the strips and designated spots. But stuff still ends up all over there must be a mental piece that I am missing. Even have a designated mail sort station and you should see the clutter on the dining room table - 3/5/2013   11:45:14 AM
  • 4
    Rest ideas when having small amount of space. I need to find ways to condense my stuff - 3/5/2013   11:20:13 AM
  • 3
    We live in a small space and have a three step process to keep it from getting overwhelmed with clutter: assign a place for everything, use fabric bins (essentially baskets) to store items in those areas, and 5x5 as often as possible during the week. "5x5" is spending 5 minutes on each of 5 different straightening up chores. - 3/5/2013   9:43:04 AM
  • 2
    I second baskets. I couldn't figure out how to keep my home more organized, but I wanted one of those houses that looks like it is out of a magazine (not possible, I know). I discovered baskets this year. Everything looks more organized in a basket. I got one for my bathroom counter. Now all those things that you never put away fit into a basket rather than strewn all over the bathroom, I have one on the bottom shelf of each nightstand, one under my ottoman.... they're everywhere! :) I even organize closets with those milk crate baskets. - 3/5/2013   8:35:33 AM
  • 1
    I used to display baskets over my cabinets, but now use one of them to store my hats, mittens, gloves and scarves in the winter, It really makes a difference when I'm going out the door on a cold day. - 3/5/2013   7:00:38 AM

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