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Clever & Compact
For bathrooms that are a tight squeeze, consider a flip-down shelf with hidden storage behind it. The shelf in this tiny bathroom folds out from the wall to be within reach of the vanity. In the wall niche, a makeup mirror turns the shelf into a full-fledged vanity, creating a bathroom that can now accommodate two. As a bonus, the shelf is topped with quartz, a heat-resistant and easy-to-clean surface.
The secret to organizing a bathroom is to be diligent and ruthless about getting rid of what you don't need. "The bathroom is probably the key place where we rummage through stuff that we hardly or never use to get to the stuff that we use every day," says Christopher Lowell, author of Christopher Lowell's Seven Layers of Organization.
Maximize Vanity Space
Watch how to turn your vanity into a well-organized hub for grooming and storage.
Enlist New Storage
If your bath lacks a closet, repurpose a cabinet or dresser to keep extra linens and supplies on hand. Bath oils and bulk items, such as cotton swabs, look pretty in glass jars -- plus it's easy to know when to restock.
Limit medicine cabinets to items you use every day. Keep medications in original containers on a high shelf or other safe spot, particularly if there are small children in the house. Store remaining items one layer deep, doubling space with acrylic ledges. Rest toiletries in caddies or trays on the vanity so you can lift them for quick cleaning or tuck them away when guests visit.
A clever option for those cavernous corner shelves, swing-out shelves make storage easy. Rails on the shelves keep items from falling off, and the tiers of shelves accommodate a pantry's worth of dry goods. Plus, the swing-out function brings every item front and center.
Countertops should hold only things you use on a daily basis. Enjoy peace of mind by creating a permanent spot for everything else, including appliances. Place small appliances deep within a corner niche or behind an appliance garage to maximize counter space.
Corral Personal Items
To prevent the room from becoming a dumping ground, try this rule: By dinnertime, the kitchen must be clear of personal items.
The Big Picture
To get a handle on all the food, gadgets, and equipment that live in the kitchen, catalog those you use regularly and divide them based on where in the room they're most used. Store things as close as possible to where you use them. If you rarely or never use an item, give it away or store it in an out-of-the-way spot, such as in the basement, on high shelves in the pantry, or in the back of a corner cabinet.
Keep your on-the-go family organized with a message and storage center -- all built in to a repurposed cabinet. Look for a secondhand piece with scores of storage options. The cubbies in this unit once stored wine bottles, but now are designated in-boxes for individuals, plus spots for outgoing mail. Use organizing tools such as bins, trays, and dividers to bring order to cabinets and drawers.
Hang It Up
Create Shoe Storage
Shoes collect at the entryway, so find a way to contain them. "It can be as simple as a big basket. It's quick, and it's easy," says Donna Smallin, author of The One-Minute Organizer.
Make It Welcoming
Use shelves or cubbies with fun labeled bins or cloth-lined baskets to add storage while creating a smooth and attractive transition into the house.
A Place for Everything
Whether it's a dedicated room or a stretch of wall inside the door, the key is to have a place for all the things you bring in that don't need to go any farther into the house. Make a list of those items -- coats, boots, mail, keys -- and create an easy-access storage spot for each one right by the door.
Creating a sense of togetherness is effortless when you choose integrated storage. The first step is to be realistic about how everyone uses the room so you can give each activity some space of its own. Such agreed-upon zones keep activities enjoyable while containing clutter.
Unlike a kitchen or mudroom, living rooms -- designated for relaxing and conversing -- often encompass more form than function. But even these livable spaces are required to have a little storage. Utilize large baskets or decorative bins to conceal blankets, toys, or media. If your front door opens directly into the living room, set up a console table with baskets tucked beneath for storing outerwear accessories, umbrellas, dog leashes, and more.
Control the Extras
Keep only movies, games, music, and books that you use and that realistically fit on your shelves. Labeled photo boxes are stylish and the perfect size for stashing on shelves in an entertainment center.
Room for Everyone
Since every family member spends time in this room, it can become a jumble of activities and items. Create storage for each activity, whether it's reading, playing games, watching TV, paying bills, or playing with a pet.
DIY "Built-In" Storage
Create a bed alcove filled with storage that mimics the look of a built-in. Here's how:
-- Assemble the bookcases according to instructions.
-- Arrange the bookcases on the floor with one on top, shelves facing out, and the other two at either end of the top unit, with the shelves facing each other and solid sides facing out.
-- Connect the bookcases using metal mending plates on the top corners and back where the pieces meet. Attach the finished unit to the wall using the manufacturer's brackets that come with the bookcases.
-- Mount the sconces by drilling holes in the solid side panels of the bookcases. Thread the wiring through the holes and attach the sconces as directed.
Rest easy knowing your bedside belongings are free from chaotic clutter. Put blank walls to work with a few shelves within reach of the bed.
Contain Dirty Clothes
Have a designated spot to put laundry at the end of each day. Invest in a hamper to prevent clothes pileups on the floor or inside the closet. A dresser with a built-in laundry basket keeps dirty clothes contained in a stylish, out-of-sight location.
Use the Foot of the Bed
When space is at a premium, foot-of-the-bed storage is a quick fix for full closets and dresser drawers. A storage-friendly bench, trunk, or bookshelf is a perfect solution for stashing extra linens or out-of-season items.
Simple Toy Storage
Pockets on over-the-door shoe organizers are just the right size for storing small toys. Label each pocket for specific dolls or action figures and for accessories.
Make it easy for kids to keep their rooms tidy by creating special, clearly marked spots for absolutely everything they own. Choose small baskets, crates, and pails that are portable and light enough for little ones to tote.
Kids shouldn't have to ask for help to reach their belongings. Make playthings more accessible by installing shelves, cubbies, and hooks at a child's height. Open storage allows kids to display their favorite things, while trunks are perfect for bulky or seldom-used items.
Make Room for Hobbies
Always find room for your child's interests, whether that means bins for sports equipment, a flat surface for drawing, or a special hook for dance outfits.
Enlist Wall Space
Because shelves tend to collect clutter, opt for solutions that mount to the wall or ceiling. They take up less space and require you to designate specific spots for each item. A wall-hung storage system organizes a mountain of sports gear in a slim space, keeping the floor clear of clutter and allowing a car to park nearby.
Modular cabinets combine to form a station for gardening and garage work. A floor rack keeps large tools in check, while smaller tools hang from sliding clips on a slatted wall panel. Short cubbies and drawers provide storage for gardening supplies and form a countertop for potting.
Keep It Convenient
Encourage the whole family to recycle by designating an easy-to-reach zone for cans, papers, and plastics. A trio of stackable bins forms a compact recycling station that is conveniently located near the door to the house. Plastic containers offer clean, moistureproof storage, while clear labels help keep things in order. Reusable grocery bags are stored nearby for trips to the store.
Now vs. Later
Keep your priorities straight with two corkboards: one designated for things to do now and one for things that can be handled later. Mount the boards from a rod above a desk by drilling two holes, one in each top corner of the board, and hanging from hooks on the rod.
A message center at the heart of the home is a quick and easy way to sync everyone's busy schedules. This station was made from a patchwork of magnet, dry-erase, cork, and pegboard squares on the wall behind the built-in desktop.
In Plain Sight
Fill wall-mount pockets near your workstation with bills, items to file, and correspondence so these documents are always in plain sight. Place project- and person-specific materials that aren't time-sensitive in labeled document boxes or expandable files; that way you can transport relevant documents quickly.