The house is a mess, and you're in distress! But you can escape the chaos of clutter. Here's how to take control of four troublesome storage zones and reclaim your peace of mind.
The "handle it once" rule keeps papers from piling up. Immediately toss, file, or pass on paperwork rather than revisiting it later. Labeled hanging files are one way to organize papers up and out of the way.
Organize mail, so it's processed daily, and consider responding via phone or e-mail when it's quicker than traditional post. A dedicated peg for receipts and a pen on a chain mean those items won't easily go missing.
Keep work surfaces tidy by stashing office supplies out of sight. Choose small-scale tape dispensers, staplers, and pencil sharpeners and such, because full-size ones hog more space and often don't fit in drawers.
If it will function better, don't hesitate to alter a perfectly good vanity cabinet. We replaced doors with swing rods that hold hand towels on one arm and a privacy curtain on the other. Secured to the cabinet side are a hair dryer holster and hooks for a hairbrush and mirror. If there's no room to tuck everything away, never fear. Display pretty soaps, nail polish, and jewelry in a tray.
From movies to music to magazines, today's mayhem of media gear demands a place to call home. With adjustable shelves and generous drawer space, this versatile cabinet stores a multitude of electronic toys as well as reading material, photo albums (yes, print and organize those digital pictures), and games.
Reserving a drawer for games means you'll know just where to find dice and a deck of cards when you need them. A divided bin is a winning solution for corralling all those tiny game pieces.
There's a remote control for everything these days, but what good are they when misplaced? Stop searching and identify a place like our space-savvy bin mounted inside the cabinet door.
Sorting laundry by color with help from a multibag hamper helps wash day go faster. The flip top on this one even serves as a folding table or, with a pad, functions as an ironing board. Housing an iron and a clothes rod on the side of the cabinet takes advantage of underutilized space. This rod folds down when not in use, but you might consider a retractable clothesline for its hardworking, space-saving qualities.
It's good practice to check pockets before laundering clothes. You avoid damage that coins or crayons might do to the washer, dryer, or garments, and you just might find a tasty treat or modest tip for your hard work. A labeled container such as this jar helps assure pocket dwellers get back to their rightful owners.
Like what you see in this story? As of 2006, the items featured in this story were available from these manufacturers.
Desk - Woodcraft Industries, Inc.; www.woodcraftindustries.com. Birch storage box and mail sorter above desk Norrebo, spice jars - IKEA; in the United States: 877-345-4532; in Canada: 888-932-4532; www.ikea.com. Drawer organizer, round white containers. See & Store, magnetic magazine wall pocket, magnets, magnetic pen and paper holders - The Container Store; 800-786-7315; www.containerstore.com. Clamp light, calendar - Target Stores; 800-800-8800; www.target.com (product line varies). Receipt peg, chain and pen, pens, paper tray, file folders and holder, expandable folders, notepads, paper, flags, ruler, bookends - OfficeMax; 877-633-4236; www.officemax.com.
Pink tray, paisley and striped pails - The Macbeth Collection, LLC, West New York, New Jersey; 201-662-8501; www.themacbethcollection.com. White ceramic vanity set, pink travel cases, canvas drawer box - Ore, Inc., Salt Lake City; 801-713-0568; www.orecontainers.com. Ceramic egg tray, Ceramic Valet - The Container Store; 800-786-7315; www.containerstore.com. Chrome towel holder from the Baren series, cotton swab box, Racken, glass jars on metal shelves - IKEA; in the United States: 877-345-4532; in Canada: 888-932-4532; www.ikea.com. Nail polish tray, hair dryer holster - Organize.com; 800-600-9817; www.organize.com. Wrapped soaps on tray - Anthropologie; 800-309-2500; www.anthropologie.com. Towels, hook rack, shampoos - Target Stores; 800-800-8800; www.target.com (product line varies). Fabric for skirt, elastic for canvas box - Hancock Fabrics, Inc.; 877-322-7427; www.hancockfabrics.com.
Cabinet - IKEA; in the United States: 877-345-4532; in Canada: 888-932-4532; www.ikea.com. Metal mesh organizer for game pieces - Design Ideas; 800-426-6394; www.designid.com. Photo albums - Crate & Barrel; 800-996-9960; www.crateandbarrel.com (product line varies). DVD bins (embellished with labels) - Target Stores; 800-800-8800; www.target.com (product line varies). Wallpaper - Gramercy; 800-332-3384; www.fschumacher.com.
Hamper sorter, clothes rod hanger - Stacks and Stacks Homewares; 800-761-5222; www.stacksandstacks.com. Fabric for iron pad - Hancock Fabrics, Inc.; 877-322-7427; www.hancockfabrics.com. Iron Holder - Ikea; in the United States: 877-345-4532; in Canada: 888-932-4532; www.ikea.com. Undershelf bin, silver turntable, spray bottles, hangers - The Container Store; 800-786-7315; www.containerstore.com. Green storage boxes on peg board, from the Stanton Pegboard collection - Pottery Barn Kids; 800-430-7373; www.potterybarnkids.com.