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Published on November 25, 2022

Pro Tips

Ultimate Guide to Home Organization and Storage

The key to a well-organized home is decluttering and proper storage. Taking it room by room can also seem a lot less intimidating than tackling the whole house at once. This practical guide will walk you through the step-by-step process.

Organize and Optimize Every Room in Your Home

A clean, organized, and decluttered home offers many benefits, from increasing your productivity to lowering your stress and anxiety. You’ll even be less likely to lose your belongings! The process can feel overwhelming at first, but you just have to break it down into manageable projects.

Before You Begin

“Decluttering” and “storage” are two helpful terms to keep in mind:
  • Decluttering means getting rid of items you don’t need, don’t use, or simply don’t want.
  • Storage means keeping any remaining items neatly put away using a number of available solutions.

Woman cleaning a playroom

Organizing and Storage Checklist

These universal tips are a great starting point for any room in your home:
  • Remove clutter from all of the surfaces and floor.
  • Use this opportunity to clean the space.
  • If something doesn’t belong in the room, put it away.
  • Remove items that you don’t want to keep.
  • Put away items you do want to keep in their proper places.
  • Keep similar items together to make them easier to find.
  • Install storage solutions in unused space (e.g., wall shelves, wall hooks, cabinets, storage benches, over-the-door hooks and organizers, and shelving units).
  • Maximize your storage with additions like dividers, bins, drawers, and extra shelving.
  • Corral smaller items in decorative boxes or bins.
  • Wrangle electronic cords with hooks, cable management sleeves, or zip ties.

Pro Tip

Furniture can also double as storage that helps keep the room tidier, so keep that in mind when shopping for new pieces

Mudroom with storage cabinets

Organize the Entryway or Mudroom

The main entrance to your home, whether an entryway or a mudroom, receives a lot of traffic and can quickly get cluttered with shoes, coats, accessories, and outdoor equipment. A clean and tidy entryway makes a good first impression on anyone who walks in.

To keep the entryway in order:
  • Clear out the drawers of existing storage pieces.
  • Add new storage solutions like a storage bench, a shoe rack, a console table, and a coat rack.
  • Use a small plate, bowl, or catchall for items like keys, wallets, and sunglasses. Clean it regularly to keep clutter from accumulating.
  • Protect the floors and catch dirt and debris with a durable doormat.
  • Give every family member a dedicated space for their personal belongings, like a hook or a cubby.
  • Move out-of-season items like winter coats into basement or attic storage.

Organize the Kitchen and Dining Room

The kitchen is often considered to be one of the most important rooms in the home, but clutter can get in the way. Create a more enjoyable space for meals, entertaining, and holiday celebrations by organizing your kitchen with the right storage strategies.

To keep your kitchen in tip-top shape:
  • Go through all of your kitchen tools and utensils and remove duplicates, as well as items that you don’t need or don’t use. Make sure every item has a home.
  • Reserve the countertop for items that you use regularly or that have an aesthetic appeal, like decorative bowls.
  • Empty out your pantry and discard anything that you don’t need or that is expired. When putting everything back, group similar items together to make them easier to find.
  • Invest in clear food storage containers that let you see what’s inside and what’s running out at a quick glance.
  • Look into storage solutions that can help you better utilize the available space in cabinets, drawers, cubbies, and pull-out shelves. Small containers, racks, bins, extra shelves, caddies, turntables, and tension rods can create an organization system that serves all your needs.
  • Consider some storage solutions for the fridge and freezer as well:
    • Use stackable bins and Lazy Susans in the fridge, repositioning the shelves if needed.
    • Use dividers in the freezer to stack food and save space.
    • Remove bulky and excess packaging from food before putting it away.
    • Flatten food before freezing it to save even more space and make stacking easier.
  • Install a ceiling rack to hang pots, pans, and other types of cookware.
  • Install hooks inside cabinet doors to hold utensils and measuring cups.
  • Find a dish drying rack that sits over your sink and doesn’t take up precious counter space.
  • Designate a junk drawer for odds and ends that have nowhere else to go, but be sure to clean it out on a regular basis.

To tackle a separate dining room:
  • Add a beautiful storage piece like a credenza, a buffet table, or a sideboard to elevate a formal dining space while adding storage for your fine tableware. A repurposed bookshelf or chest of drawers will also do the trick.
  • Install built-ins like shelves and cabinets into empty architectural features like corners and alcoves to save space and provide extra storage.
Well organized kitchen drawer
Kitchen accessories hanging on a wall
Well organized pots and pans

Pro Tip

Save room in a small kitchen with solutions like fold-down counters and pull-out cutting boards that create additional workspace when you need it and extra floor space when you don’t.

Shower caddyWoman holding wicker basketsYoung woman in a laundry room

Organize the Bathroom and Laundry Room

The bathroom can quickly become cluttered with hair, makeup, and skincare products, which also makes it more difficult to clean. A good storage plan will help you stay on top of bathroom mess.

To overhaul your bathroom organization:
  • Throw away any bottles, tubes, and containers that are empty, expired, or you don’t use anymore.
  • Use a combination of bins, baskets, drawer organizers, and dividers to keep the items in your drawers organized.
  • Try to keep makeup and hair tools off the countertop by finding spaces for them.
  • Use clear canisters or even cut sections of PVC pipe to organize makeup and other small accessories you want to keep on the countertop.
  • Maximize the storage space under the sink with solutions like expandable shelving units and plastic drawers to hold toiletries, cleaning supplies, and other bathroom necessities.
  • Consider a variety of other storage solutions for different areas of the bathroom, including:
    • Floor and shelf storage baskets
    • Wall nooks
    • Magnetic strips and sheets
    • Over-the-toilets shelving or cabinets
    • Cabinet door storage
    • Wall-mounted toilet paper holder
    • Medicine cabinet and vanity organizers
  • Try not to keep items on the shower floor or tub edge. Use solutions like a shower caddy or a shower curtain with pockets to keep the area tidy.
  • Tiered shelving is also a good option for storage in the shower or above the bathroom counter.
  • If you don’t have a linen closet, then use a cabinet, shelving, or baskets to store your linen.
  • If you don’t have a separate laundry room, then pick up one or two hampers to keep your clothing sorted and hidden away in the bathroom.

To spruce up a separate laundry room:
  • Use decorative bins and baskets to hold items like detergent, dryer sheets, dryer balls, stain removers, and other cleaning products.
  • A hanging bar will make it easy to air-dry delicate clothing, and matching hangers will create a coordinated look.
Toys in transparent plastic bins

Organize the Living Room and Family Room

Shared living areas in larger households can quickly attract clutter. Coffee tables and side tables also need to be cleaned of messes, stains, and dirt.

To get and keep your living room tidy:
  • At least once a day, take the time to pick up clutter. Designating a “drop zone” for random items can speed up this process.
  • Think about the items you want to keep in your living room and consider suitable storage solutions like shelving, storage furniture, and built-in storage.
  • Make an executive decision about which items will stay out on the room’s flat surfaces (like the tables and TV stand), and don’t let other clutter accumulate. Using them to hold decorative items like potted plants and picture frames can remove the temptation to set down odds and ends.
  • Aim for decorative solutions that match the style of the room to optimize your storage space without adding to the visual clutter.
  • If you have children, keep toys corralled to one area of the room. Pick up some baskets, bins, and boxes of various sizes to keep toys organized, and use a rug or a room divider to encourage your kids to contain their play.
  • File cabinets, lidded boxes, magazine racks, and even folders can all help you get a handle on paper clutter.
  • Organize your electronics by keeping various components together. For example, dedicate one area for your gaming console, cords, and games.
  • Digitize media like CDs and DVDs onto a hard drive to save on precious shelf space.
  • Find extra storage in underutilized areas like behind the sofa or under the coffee table.
Bedroom with a large organized closet

Organize the Bedroom

The bedroom should not be a place that accumulates junk and clutter so that it can help encourage relaxation and a good night’s sleep. It may be harder to organize a smaller bedroom, but it’s well worth it.

To get your bedroom neat and tidy:
  • Your nightstand should only be used to keep essential items nearby.
  • Declutter your bedroom on a regular basis and try not to leave items that don’t belong lying around.
  • Baskets come very much in handy in the bedroom. Not only do they look great, but you can use them to store toys, bed linens, shoes, clothes, and more.
  • Rolling clothes instead of folding them is an easy way to keep drawers tidy and organized, and drawer organizers can help your drawers stay clutter-free. You can also create your own organization system by cutting and painting pieces of PVC pipe to hold smaller items and accessories.
  • Try to find some hidden storage opportunities:
    • Use bins for organized storage under the bed.
    • Install a headboard with built-in shelving.
    • Place a storage ottoman at the foot of the bed.
  • If you don’t have space for new furniture, consider swapping your existing furniture with pieces that can double as storage, like a nightstand with drawers.

Additional Tips for Children’s Bedrooms

A child’s bedroom organization and storage needs depend on factors such as their age and the size of the room.

To get your child’s bedroom neat and tidy:
  • Some of the best storage solutions for younger kids are open shelving and bins clearly labelled with pictures of what goes inside for quick and easy clean-up.
  • Once children reach school age, they will generally need more room for clothing, a bedside table, and a desk area for crafts and homework.
  • Create extra toy storage on the wall with shelves, hooks, hangers, and even wall-mounted bins. Sections of PVC pipe are particularly useful for smaller toys and other loose odds and ends.
  • Does your child have a lot of stuffed animals? Pick up an extra laundry hamper and toss them in!
  • Ottomans, benches, and toy chests can all double as storage and as furniture, especially if your child doesn’t have a separate playroom.
  • Custom built-ins like floor-to-ceiling shelving, while they require an investment, are the most effective space-saving solution for a child’s bedroom.
  • If you still find yourself dealing with too much toy clutter, then adopt a policy that your child has to give away a toy they don’t play with each time they get a new one.

Organized closet

Closet Organization

Closets live behind closed doors, which means they can easily become messy, cluttered, and disorganized. Here are some organization tips that will give you extra storage and functionality:
  • Design and customize your closet organization system with drawers, closet shelves, hanging rods at various heights, clothing racks, cubbies, hanging organizers, drawer organizers, different kinds of clothes hangers, storage boxes, freestanding items, and more.
  • Use vertical shelf dividers to make space to stack things like pants and sweaters. Or use stackable acrylic drawers to organize small items in your closet.
  • Remove everything from the closet on a regular basis. Sort it by things you’ll keep, donate, sell, recycle, and throw away.
  • Use different types of hangers for hanging clothes and to maximize space:
    • Make sure to have matching hangers for similar pieces of clothing. All of your garments will be hung at the same height and width.
    • Pants hangers take advantage of vertical space, and can be used for any kind of garment.
    • Hangers that hold multiple items can also be a good use of extra space.
  • It’s entirely possible to just buy a built-in closet organizer or closet system that comes pre-built with a combination of hanging closet rods, hanging space, shelving, shoe racks, and other storage space.
  • As you organize your closet, make sure you have easy access to items you use most often. High shelves and deep drawers are for items you don’t need as often.
  • Use hanging organizers if that makes more sense for your needs than having shelving units.
  • Pegboards are great organization tools anywhere in your home, but they’re especially useful in the closet. Take advantage of wall space and arrange the pegs to create jewelry organizers or storage for any kind of accessory.
  • Use vacuum seal bags for bulky items that take up a lot of shelf or drawer space and don’t need to be used frequently: comforters and duvets, extra pillows, sweaters, and coats during warm months, etc., especially if you don’t have a separate linen closet.

Organize the Home Office

The home office is an important space for people who are self-employed or who work remotely. A tidy, organized, and clutter-free room will be much more conducive to productivity.

To get your home office organized:
  • Use filing cabinets, bins, and boxes to create a paper filing system and hold your important documents.
  • Consider digitizing some of your paper documents by scanning them and keeping them on a hard drive.
  • Restrict your desk drawers to work essentials and don’t let them become cluttered with random papers and supplies.
  • Use drawer organizers, dividers, and small baskets to keep your desk drawers tidy. Small jars are a great solution for smaller items like paper clips.
  • A bookcase or a cubby unit is an excellent option for storage to complement your office desk. In fact, such pieces can act as dividers in multipurpose rooms.
  • An L-shaped desk can also help you carve out an office area in a multipurpose space, creating both a physical and a visual partition.
  • Free up even more desk space by taking advantage of the wall space above your work area with:
    • Shelving
    • Cubbies
    • A corkboard, whiteboard, or pegboard
Wall shelves
Storage cabinets in a multipurpose room
Desk with drawers

Designer Tip

Create a cohesive office space by choosing a consistent colour scheme. You can also use textiles, wall hangings, and artwork to help the space feel cozier and more welcoming.

Modern garage with storage solutions

Organize the Garage

The typical garage holds everything from bicycles to outdoor power equipment like lawnmowers. It’s easy for a garage to get cluttered with items that have nowhere else to go, so good organization is key.

To organize the garage like a pro:
  • Start the decluttering process by taking everything out before going through each item and either putting it back or getting rid of what you don’t need.
  • Depending on your needs, use storage solutions such as:
    • Cabinets
    • Racks
    • Wall-mounted shelving
    • Free-standing shelving
    • Heavy-duty bins
    • Workbenches
  • The garage has many options for wall and overhead storage. For example, you can mount bike racks on the wall or ceiling to save on a lot of floor space.
  • Keep similar items together—like tools, toys, and sporting equipment—to make them easier to store and find.
  • Don’t put items that have nowhere else to go in the garage. Try to find a home for it somewhere else or consider whether you really need to keep it.
Deck boxes

Organize the Outdoor Living Spaces

Outdoor living is more popular than ever, and good storage is essential for creating enjoyable outdoor living spaces. A backyard shed, for example, can store everything from outdoor power equipment to toys and sporting equipment. Deck boxes or patio furniture that doubles as storage will also help keep your outdoor spaces free of clutter.

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