A self-taught organizer uses simple strategies to stay on top of clutter in her busy household of eight.

December 11, 2017
blue love seat with blue oval mirror

Missy Callaghan is the first to admit that she wasn't born with the well-tuned organizational skills she uses today to keep her Tampa household stylish and in order. Smart storage solutions were a must-have for her and husband Phil as their family grew to include six sons, with ages ranging from early elementary to late teens.

Homework Corner

corner table with metal chairs

Missy's successful storage strategies revolve around working with daily habits, rather than against them. Missy converted a room just off the mudroom into a homework and project space, so as the children come in from school, they can drop their bags and get started on their nightly to-do lists. She introduced drawer storage and a crafts caddy as a table centerpiece. The divided wooden tote corrals crafts supplies and is easy to carry to other areas.

Wall Color Silvermist, Sherwin-Williams

Bench Color Grizzle Gray, Sherwin-Williams

Supply Storage

organizer table

Three sets of wide drawers on casters near the homework table are labeled by family member and supply category. Wood shelves store extra toys and supplies that don't fit in the drawers below. Two different wall textures (brick and shiplap) come together seamlessly with wall paint.

Framed Up

white board wall

Missy framed a large segment of wall in the laundry room with molding to create a jumbo-size bulletin board. Labeled folders act as personal organizers, keeping upcoming event flyers handy.

Open Zones

open floor plan

The open living area, including the kitchen, living room and dining room, is broken up into zones with smart furniture and lighting placement. Large metal light fixtures and a natural rug define the dining area. The living room follows the direction of the sofa with layers of color and pattern.

In a Row

kitchen with leather barstools

An extra-long island features a deep overhang that accommodates seating beneath. It was important to Missy that the whole family could gather and work together in the kitchen. The streamlined stool design maximizes seating—and family togetherness.

Personal Closets

pantry storage cubbies

Mudroom lockers provide personalized hanging space, shelves, boxes, drawers, and device-charging spots for each family member. Even the family dogs have a spot for their leashes. Regular upkeep is a crucial component to Missy's recipe for clutter-free living.

Dorm Loft

Boys attic Bedroom

A spacious dorm-style bedroom optimizes space in the home's renovated attic. The shared sleep space includes a new bathroom and houses three of the six boys, with an extra bed for sleepovers. The beds are on wheels for easy rearranging and deep vaccuuming.

Tucked In

attic room with game table

A compact table and chairs tuck into one corner of the attic bedroom, serving as the perfect spot for the boys to gather for games, snacks, or homework. Black and silver give the furniture a streamlined and modern look; a lime green shag rug is both mature and fun.

Nautical Clean

bathroom vanity

Shiplap walls extend into the shared bath and lend seafaring charm. A ship portal mirror opens to reveal a medicine cabinet. Galvanized metal pegboards host metal toiletry baskets.

Home Laundromat

laundry room

Laundry is a never-ending event at the Callaghan household, so Missy had a long countertop installed above her front-loading washer and dryers. As clothes come out of the dryer, they are folded and placed into piles, so wrinkles never have a chance to set in. A commercial-grade rolling laundry basket stows bulky folded items.

Labeled Everything

bathroom storage

Missy likes to label everything so there's no confusion as to which item belongs to which family member or where it belongs. Clear plastic baskets with handles are her go-to holders in the bath and kitchen. Adhesive-back chalkboard tags let her easily revise labels.

Cool Blue

white bedroom with sun mirrors

Metal rolling carts flank the headboard in the master bedroom, keeping reading materials within easy reach. A drawer on each cart contains smaller items such as lip balm, hand cream, reading glasses, pens, and notepads. Natural linen textiles bring farmhouse charm to the space.

Built-In Bliss

walk-in closet

A combination of hanging rods, drawers, and shelves provides a spot for clothes and shoes in the master closet. A mannequin bust on top of a bureau keeps jewelry tangle-free and in plain sight. Decorative boxes stored up high keep out-of-season items out of the way yet together.

Comments (6)

January 31, 2019
There are certainly some good ideas in this article, but I was definitely hoping for more farmhouse-specific storage ideas. I like the adhesive-backed chalkboard tags for all the kids toiletries. Going to steal (I mean be inspired by) that idea for my own storage bins, but as much as I LOVE BH&G, it would be refreshing to see more homes that reflect the lifestyle of a broader range of families (in the income department, ahem). It has to be said though, that over the years I've seen ideas in homes the like of which I will mostly likely never own and been able to adapt a thing or two into my own, modest space for really great impact. While we all love something to aspire to, it is nice to see something that's a truer reflection of ourselves and those whose lives we share from time to time -- something we can afford to implement. As for the family, I think they've done a great job with the overwhelming task of corralling things for SIX young men! Oh, and I LOVE white. Just sayin'...
January 30, 2019
BHG has done white for too long. This house definitely looks like a bunch of teen boys. We need some homes with Florida style. Everyone neglects Florida. And budget friendly would be good.
January 30, 2019
Yes, please can we have houses where regular folks live? Also, no all white walls, no animal heads on the walls, and no open-floor plans. A house full of white walls is so boring, regardless of how it's decorated. Dead animals?---mega yuck. Open-floor plans offer no sense of coziness and little privacy.
August 6, 2018
When will Better Homes & Gardens show realistic homes for people that live in the Midwest and have an annual salary of 40,000-50,000 a year. I get tired of seeing rich people houses in these articles.
August 6, 2018
It is absolutely impossible to read the page with the new banner adds that take up half the browser window. It's like trying to look outside with the blinds half closed. I'll boycott every single advertiser until the format is changed. I'm so disappointed.
August 4, 2018
I just love the attic room with the game table in the farmhouse. Please tell me where I can purchase the game table. Thank you so very much. Rosemarie