Is your messy house stressing you out? Conquer the chaos with these organization tips for common sources of clutter in every room.
1. Laundry room
Space is often limited in this area, so it’s important to keep supplies well-organized. Make the most of your square footage by using wall space for storage. For instance, install a long bank of shelves above the washer and dryer to keep detergent and other laundry needs handy. Use labeled baskets or cubbies to keep things tidy (and easy to find). If you have a stackable washer and dryer, implement a similar storage system using a rolling cart next to the appliances.
2. Kitchen cabinets
You don’t need an expensive kitchen remodel to make the most of your cabinets. Start by adding magnetic paint or corkboard tile inside a cabinet door to keep track of shopping lists, calendars and so forth, and attach hooks inside the doors to organize measuring spoons, pot holders and other kitchen implements. Door-mounted spice racks and lid organizers are similarly useful.
Inside cabinets, a Lazy Susan turntable is an excellent way to corral spices or store canned goods. Add sliding shelves to lower cabinets to organize pots, pans and other frequently used tools.
3. Entertainment center
Whether your TV is wall-mounted, on a stand or stored in an armoire, it’s probably accompanied by a host of accessories that can quickly take over the room. To make the most of your entertainment center, start by paring down to just the essentials — getting rid of stray remotes and outdated media, like unnecessary CDs and VHS tapes.
Next, take control of cables by coiling any extra length and securing with twist ties or other fasteners. 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 basket. Add a bit of personality to the entertainment center by interspersing framed photos, books and collectibles among the electronics and storage bins.
4. Linen closet
The linen closet often turns into a catchall for everything from cleaning supplies to wrapping paper. The first step to 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 similar 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.
Stacked bins keep small toiletries orderly and make the most of vertical space. Group and label like items and consider using clear containers so you can easily see when it’s time to restock.
5. Kids’ toys
Toys are a frequent adversary in the never-ending battle against clutter, but you don’t have to let them win. Choose storage solutions that allow your child to participate in cleanup. 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 so they know what goes where.
If you prefer wall-mounted shelves or baskets, make sure they’re low enough for your child to reach easily (and be sure shelves are securely mounted so they can’t be pulled down). An over-the-door shoe holder with see-through pockets is perfect for stashing small toys.
6. Bedroom closet
Getting ready for the day is less stressful when your wardrobe is contained in a clutter-free space. Start by moving off-season clothes out of your closet and into separate storage (such as under-bed bins). Next, arrange items so the most frequently worn clothes are easiest to reach. Use vertical space above the closet rod to store rarely worn clothing and accessories in labeled cubbies or boxes.
Choose hanging storage solutions for keeping purses, belts and scarves tidy. Invest in shoe organizers for your closet door or floor to keep pairs together. Other ideas: install lights in your closet so you can see every corner and keep your hamper in or near the closet so dirty clothes stay off the floor.
(Better Homes and Gardens is a magazine and website devoted to ideas and improvement projects for your home and garden, plus recipes and entertaining ideas. Online at www.bhg.com.)
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