Use Color to Avoid Confusion
You’re bound to confuse your partner’s, child’s, or even pet’s toothbrush, towel, or hairbrush for your own if everyone’s beauty and health essentials are the same color. Ditch the matchy-matchy approach and assign a different color to each member of the family. Implement the color-coded system for bathroom essentials and beyond to prevent embarrassing mix-ups.
Trim the Toy Chest
Take a cue from organizer extraordinaire Marie Kondo and rid your children’s toy chests of blocks, dolls, and games that no longer spark joy. In the process, you’ll free up space for any new toys you add this year. Donate the discarded items to charity, and arrange the keepers neatly in baskets and containers. Stow small knickknacks in clear Muji pouches for fuss-free storage and retrieval.
Adopt the One-Hanger Approach
No outfit is complete without coordinating accessories, so why store purses, scarves, hats, and belts on a separate shelf or hanger in the closet? Cut the clutter and save yourself a daily rummage through the closet by arranging matching tops and bottoms on a single hanger, then drape the perfect accessories for that outfit on the same hanger.
Take Your Receipts Digital
If you’re a diligent record keeper, you no doubt have a box or kitchen drawer overflowing with carefully saved receipts. Cure drawer disarray and make it easier to retrieve the receipt you need for a return or exchange by taking your receipts digital with an app like Shoeboxed. Simply download the app on your smartphone, use the phone’s camera to take a photo of your latest receipt, and recycle the physical copy. The app will let you search for and pull up any of your uploaded receipts in seconds.
Use Storage-Smart Furniture
Tidying up before the guests arrive takes mere minutes when your living and guest rooms are stocked with multipurpose furnishings that double as storage. Opt for lift-top coffee or side tables, sofas with under-cushion storage, and lidded ottomans to keep throw blankets, magazines, electronics, and other knickknacks off the floor and under wraps but right at hand when needed.
The garage floor is one of the most cluttered surfaces in the home, primarily because the storage potential of the garage walls is so often overlooked. Line the garage walls with shelves, racks, slat walls, or pegboards to keep paint cans, tools, and bicycles safely stowed but accessible. Set up a pulley system to keep seldom-used garage accessories like ladders hoisted high and out of the way of everyday garage activities.
Keep Documentation Close By
Get your anemic air conditioner or flaky fridge up and running again in a flash by keeping both the appliance manual and warranty close at hand. Make it easier to find what you need by keeping all the manuals and warranties for the appliances in a given room in a single folder or binder that you store in that room. For example, put the documentation for your fridge, range, dishwasher, and coffee maker in a folder that you keep in a kitchen drawer or cupboard.
Establish Work Zones
Beat procrastination and clutter in one fell swoop by dividing your home office into three zones—work, reference, and supply—that will be used only for the designated purpose. The work zone should be used solely for work and should contain only the essentials you need to remain productive, such as your desk, computer, and printer. The reference zone, a hub for looking up information, is where you keep filing cabinets, books, and binders. Treat the supply zone like the supply closet at an actual office: Keep a few pens, printer paper, and stationery on a shelf or table in your work zone, and visit the supply area only when you have a shortage.
Go Half In, Half Out
Whether your collectibles of choice are vintage barware, model planes, or trinkets from your travels, putting too many of them on display can take up valuable space on end tables, bookshelves, and mantels and clutter an otherwise charming space. Instead, take the half-in, half-out approach to organize your collection: Stow half of the collection in bins or trunks, and put the other half on display. Your space will be tidier, you can switch out pieces when you want a change, and visitors will love this curated expression of your personality and interests.
Keep the Bathroom Ajar
Jamming hand soaps, cotton swabs, and other grooming supplies in drawers and under-sink cabinets can lead to chaotic clutter that forces overnight guests to dig through everything to find what they need. If you have space to spare, buy bargain apothecary jars, fill them with frequently used grooming supplies, and display them attractively on the countertops. This strategy will free up your closed storage for cleaning products, toilet paper, and beauty supplies, while keeping items that guests may need in plain sight.
Let Your Jewels Hang Out
If your jewelry box is overflowing and you don’t have the budget or space for a jewelry armoire, transfer rings, necklaces, and bracelets to a wall-mounted hanging organizer. Similar in appearance to picture frames, these organizers are equipped with hooks that keep your favorite jewelry in full view and free of tangles.
Mind the Mesh
Are you constantly dealing with stray socks or giving socks to the wrong family member on laundry day? Next time, wash and dry all of the socks and undergarments for each family member in a separate mesh bag. When the dry cycle is finished, each person’s socks will be clean and sitting in his or her respective mesh bag, ready to be sorted and worn.
Condense the Closet
The start of a new season is the best time to survey the contents of your closet and purge it of clothes you no longer wear. As a general guideline, if you haven’t worn an item in a year, you’re unlikely to wear it again. Be ruthless, then bag up the discards for donation or sell them at a yard sale. While you’re at it, check for missing buttons, tricky zippers, or small tears on the clothes you’re keeping, and make any necessary repairs.
Avoid Lost Linens
Do you find yourself dressing the beds in mismatching sheets and pillowcases more often than not? Try this trick: Before you put a set of linens in the closet, fold the fitted sheet, flat sheet, and one pillowcase, then stash all the folded linens inside the remaining pillowcase. You’ll never again lose a piece of the set, and the linens inside the pillowcase will stay clean and wrinkle-free until you’re ready to use them.
Elevate the Envelope
If you’re a sentimentalist who saves every greeting card you’ve ever received, you may also have a few drawers in your home overrun by the envelopes they arrived in. Rather than letting these colorful pockets take up space in your drawers, use glue or double-sided tape to stick an envelope to the front or back cover of a planner or folder where it can serve as storage space for receipts, coupons, or business cards.
Purge Post-It Passwords
Storing passwords for your online accounts on Post-it notes stuck to the monitor is not just distracting, it’s also risky. The notes can easily fall off and get lost, and if you have housemates or frequent guests, yours won’t be the only pair of eyes on them. Transfer those passwords to a dedicated password book or password manager software to keep your work space clean and protect your online accounts from prying eyes.