Not sure where to begin organizing? Just take it one room at a time.
Not sure where to begin organizing? Just take it one room at a time.
Not sure where to begin organizing? Just take it one room at a time.

Home organization can seem like a daunting task, but when broken up room-by-room, it’s easier to tackle. Here’s how to divide and conquer to tame the mess.

Bathroom

No nonsense. Space is often at a premium in your bathroom, so it’s important to be firm and decisive about getting rid of things you don’t need. Toss out toiletries and equipment that you rarely use. In your medicine cabinet, limit yourself to just the essentials to keep your organization goals on track. Trust us, you can live without that seventh bottle of nail polish remover.

Space invaders. Nothing can make a room seem more like a mess than a cluttered countertop. Maximize valuable space on your vanity by utilizing utilitarian storage containers that hold multiple toothbrushes, toothpaste and other toiletries like hand soap and lotion. Hang a rectangular wire basket on the side of your vanity to hold your hair dryer and other gadgets.

Clean sweep. Keep bottled cleaners organized by hanging a tension rod in your cabinet. These adjustable rods are available for cheap and are a great quick fix to keep tight spaces organized and the cleaners you use regularly within arm’s reach. For cleaning supplies you don’t grab on a regular basis, keep them in an easy-to-reach basket that can be stashed when finished.

Bedroom

Bed rest. Make sure to keep your bed made every day. This simple step can work wonders when you’re trying to keep your bedroom organized. Think about it: If you get into the habit of keeping your bed in order, you’ll likely develop a habit of keeping the rest of your room clean, too. That means the pile of dirty clothes in the corner is history.

Closet case. Even if you consider yourself the most organized of people, your closet often tells a different story. Try this trick: Turn all the clothes hanging in your closet so that the hangers face back-to-front. Over the next six months, if you wear an item of clothing, return it to the closet and turn the hanger around. You might be shocked at how many clothes you never wear. Consider tossing these.

Storage solutions. Clean up the dust bunnies under your bed – if you’re not utilizing this horizontal space, you’re missing out on a prime storage opportunity. Store your seasonal clothing or bulkier items like backpacks, purses, linens or blankets in flat, clear storage bins that you can label and slide under your bed.

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Kitchen

Keep your kitchen organized by taking advantage of hanging space.
Keep your kitchen organized by taking advantage of hanging space.

It’s not personal. Without really knowing it, the kitchen can often accumulate personal items like shoes, keys, pocket change and mail. While you might not be able to avoid it completely, make it easier on yourself by imposing a rule of clearing the kitchen of personal items by dinnertime.

Keep it together. It may seem like a no-brainer, but things that work together should be stored together, as close as possible to where they are used. Meaning, pots, pans and cooking utensils should be stored near the stove, giving you easy access to what you’ll need while cooking. Plates, dishes, cups and utensils should be kept together, while coffee, mugs and other supplies should be stored near the coffee maker. Keep items that are seldom used on top shelves.

Nooks and crannies. Take advantage of every square inch of space by utilizing tools that are designed to hang on the back of a cabinet or pantry door. A hanging spice rack can be a real space-saver, while canned goods and bottled items can be easily placed into a storage basket rack that is hung over the inside of a door.

Living Room

Odds and ends. Since the living room is often the room in your house where you spend the most time, it can be easily overrun by items in no time. Inventory the items in your entertainment center and keep only the movies, games, books and music that you use regularly. Photo boxes can be labeled and are a stylish way to store the fun stuff.

Zone defense. Be realistic when determining how you want to use the living room, then gather similar things together and place them in specific zones. For instance, all DVDs, CDs and games should go near the entertainment center. Place magazines and books in a rack or storage box near your reading chair.

Control the cords. Your living room is most likely full of lamps, a television, stereo, DVD player and other electronics, which often means tangled cables and out-of-control cords. Tame the mess by using a cable organizer, or use a cable zipper to enclose all cables in a tube to eliminate clutter.

Home Office

File away. A good filing system is the cornerstone of an organized office. Buy a 12-month expanding file, and keep all bills and receipts organized by month. Revisit these in a year, and if you haven’t needed them, shred them. Organize other important documents by category, such as automotive, education, financial, medical, taxes, etc.

A home for hardware. If your desk is covered with computers, printers, monitors, phones and other electronics, you might realize you have no space to actually work. Move your computer tower to the floor, and switch to a lightweight, flat-screen monitor if you haven’t already. Purchase a multipurpose machine that incorporates a printer, fax machine and scanner to save space, and use a freestanding light instead of a desk lamp.

Wheel of fortune. Utilize home office furniture with wheels whenever possible. A wheeled filing cabinet can be brought out during the day, then tucked up under a desk or in a closet at night, minimizing office clutter.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/jgareri

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