Room-by-Room Organization Tips

Follow these tips to bring order to every room in your home.


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In the Kitchen
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In the Kitchen

    Clear Countertops

    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.

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In the Kitchen

    Divide and Conquer

    Avoid jumbled messes in drawers and cupboards with dividers, bags, and caddies for frequently used items, such as silverware, napkins, and even baking supplies. Most cabinet manufactures have good options for pullouts, shelf inserts, hooks, and other kitchen organizing tools.

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In the Kitchen

    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.

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In the Kitchen

    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.

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In the Mudroom

    Use an Out Box

    Designate a final-stop box, basket, or tote bag for library books, outgoing mail, and DVDs to grab as you head out the door.

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In the Mudroom

    Hang It Up

    Hooks are a simple and inexpensive storage solution. Install enough for everyone's coats, umbrellas, purses, backpacks, and briefcases.

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In the Mudroom

    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, it's easy," says Donna Smallin, author of The One-Minute Organizer.

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In the Mudroom

    Make It Welcoming

    Use shelves or cubbies with handsome labeled bins or cloth-lined baskets to add storage while creating a smooth and attractive transition into the house.

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In the Mudroom

    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.

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In the Family Room

    Develop Zones

    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 and clutter-contained.

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In the Family Room

    Control the Extras

    Keep only movies, games, music, and books that you use and realistically fit on your shelves. Labeled photo boxes are stylish and the perfect size for stashing on shelves in an entertainment center.

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In the Family Room

    Space from Thin Air

    Create storage behind a couch, love seat, or armchair. Pull furniture far enough from the wall to allow for open crates or bins, as well as access to them. Furniture pieces such as lift-top ottomans are also ideal for storage-strapped rooms.

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In the Family Room

    Room for Everyone

    Since every family member spends time in this room, it can become a jumble of activities and stuff. Create storage for each activity, whether it's reading, playing games, watching TV, paying bills, or playing with a pet.

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In the Bedroom

    Go Vertical

    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.

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In the Bedroom

    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.

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In the Bedroom

    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.

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In the Bedroom

    Final Resting Place

    The bedroom may not be first on the list to organize, but dresser tops and chairs can quickly become towers of stuff in need of a home. Track the things that stack up over a week, and create permanent places to keep them in the room. Nightstands combine display space with attractive storage for personal items, extra linens, or books.

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In the Bathroom

    Restore Order

    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.

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In the Bathroom

    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 its easy to know when to restock.

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In the Bathroom

    Organize Drawers

    Grooming is so much more enjoyable when drawers are clean and clutter-free. Use removable organizers in vanity drawers to keep things from migrating. Once a month, remove all toiletries and thoroughly wash containers, trays, drawers, and drawer liners. Remember to toss expired products and transfer unused or out-of-season items to less prominent locations, such as under the sink.

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In the Bathroom

    Be Aggressive

    The secret to organizing the 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.

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In the Kid's Room

    Special Spot

    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.

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In the Kid's Room

    Scale Down

    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.

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In the Kid's Room

    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.

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In the Kid's Room

    Independence Matters

    If you want an organizing plan to succeed in a child's room, involve your child in the process to devise a system he or she understands. This fosters a feeling of independence -- and excuse-proof cleanup.

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In the Garage

    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.

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In the Garage

    Think Modular

    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.

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In the Garage

    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.

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In the Home Office

    Communication Haven

    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.

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In the Home Office

    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.

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In the Home Office

    Time to Recharge

    A little R&R is important for everyone, including technology. Designate one accessible location, like a desk or console table, for recharging all your personal devices. Choose a charging station that hides messy cords, or repurpose a small basket or other container. Label each charger with a sticker or tab so you can quickly connect.

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