How To Organize Six Trouble Spots

Is your messy home stressing you out? Conquer the chaos with these organization tips for some common sources of clutter in every room.

Laundry Room

When it comes to the laundry room, efficiency is key.

Space is often limited in this strictly utilitarian space so it's important to keep supplies organized. Make the most of your square footage by using wall space for storage. Install a long bank of shelves above the washer and dryer to keep detergent, stain sticks, starch, and other laundry needs handy.

Use baskets or cubbies to break the stretch of shelving into separate zones, and label each area so you can quickly find what you need. The containers prevent bottles from tipping over, which is especially important on wire shelves. Choose matching containers for a sleek and tidy look. If you have a stackable washer and dryer, implement the same storage system using a rolling cart next to the appliances.

Kitchen Cabinets

Organize your cabinets without an expensive kitchen remodel using these simple tips. Start by adding magnetic paint or corkboard tile inside a cabinet door to keep track of shopping lists and school calendars, and attach hooks inside the doors to organize measuring spoons, ladles, and pot holders.

Door-mounted spice racks and pot-lid organizers are other smart solutions for making the most of otherwise unused space. Inside the cabinets, use a Lazy Susan to corral spices or to organize canned goods. A lid rack can turn a messy pile of pot and pan lids into a tidy shelf. Add sliding shelves to your existing lower cabinets to organize pots, pans, and other frequently used tools and make them more accessible.

Entertainment Center

Whether your TV is mounted on the wall, sits atop a stand, or is stored inside an armoire, it probably comes with a whole host of accessories that can quickly take over your family room. To make the most of your entertainment center, start by paring down what you have to just the essentials—get rid of stray remotes, outdated VHS tapes, and broken components.

Next, take control of cables by coiling them to the exact length they need to reach the device and outlet and holding them in place with twist ties or Velcro tape. Use attractive boxes with lids to store DVDs, CDs, and video games alphabetically or by genre and label each container for easy access. When not in use, keep track of remotes by storing them in a pretty basket by the television or on the coffee table. Finally, add a bit of personality to the entertainment center by interspersing framed photos, books, and collectibles among your electronics and storage bins.

Linen Closet

The linen closet often turns into the family's catchall for everything from cleaning supplies to wrapping paper. The first step in getting organized is to get rid of anything that isn't bed or bath. Next, group seasonal items so they can be stored together and swapped out as temperatures change. Consider outfitting your closet with wire shelving that allows better airflow between linens. Adjustable shelving is more flexible and sliders make it easy to quickly find what you need. Designate and label separate shelves for like items, such as towels, sheets, and toiletries. Roll or neatly fold linens and store off-season items in vacuum-sealed bags to make the most of limited space.

To keep matching bedding sets together, consider tying each up with a ribbon, storing each in a pillowcase, or placing each in a separate basket labeled by room or size. Stacked bins or boxes keep small toiletries orderly and make the most of vertical space. Group and label like items such as cosmetics, lotions, or first-aid supplies. Keeping cotton balls, soaps, bath salts, and the like in clear containers makes it easy to see when it's time to restock.

Kids' Toys

When you have children, you fight a never-ending battle with clutter. Don't let the toys win. Use these creative ideas for organizing stuffed animals, books, blocks, games, and more. Choose storage solutions that allow your child to participate in clean up. For example, rolling bins make it easy for your little one to put away toys and also take them from room to room. You can also outfit an open bookcase with labeled baskets or boxes to encourage your child to group like items.

For very small children, consider adding a photo to each label to help him understand what goes where. If you prefer wall-mounted shelves or baskets, consider hanging them low so they are within your child's reach (make sure shelves are securely mounted so they can't be pulled down). An over-the-door shoe holder with see-through pockets is a smart idea for stashing action figures, baby dolls, or other small toys.

Bedroom Closet

Getting ready for work is less stressful when your wardrobe is contained in a clutter-free space. Use these simple strategies to maximize and organize your bedroom closet. Start by moving off-season clothing to a separate storage area, such as under-bed bins or boxes in the basement. Next, arrange items so the most frequently worn clothes are easiest to reach. Color-coding your wardrobe can also make it easier to quickly find matching outfits. Use vertical space above the closet rod to store rarely worn clothing and accessories in labeled cubbies or boxes.

There are also many inexpensive hanging storage products available for keeping purses, belts, and scarves tidy. Invest in shoe organizers for your closet floor or door to keep pairs together and easy to locate. Finally, use coordinated hangers for a clean look, install lights in your closet to make it easy to see all corners, and keep your hamper in or near the closet so dirty clothes stay off the floor.

Bonus: Organize Your Mudroom

Store and organize your family and pet gear in a stylish mudroom that combines clever storage solutions with a laundry center and home office.

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