I call them mini-miracles… 10 inexpensive organization tools that will help you retrieve and return things to and from the same place, every time. They won’t just help you get organized quickly; they’ll dramatically conserve space, time, money, energy and eliminate the stress of losing things.
Too good to be true? Try any one or all of these modern miracles (… actually some of them have been around for awhile; there’s probably a reason for that!) to help you clean up clutter this year!
1. Hooks…. they’re so simple, but many modern designers of the 20th century thought it would be better to put everything away behind closed doors. It’s time to rethink that! Hooks aren’t just the most under-utilized storage tool… they’re also the cheapest and quickest way to clean up clutter. Attach hooks by the back or front door, along a hallway, above a bench in an entry hall or bedroom, or on the side of a cabinet to make clean-up fast and keep clutter off the floor!
2. Carry bins…portable bins not only organize items but create some temporary storage solutions that can be moved to where they’re used Fixed storage, like drawers in chests and dressers are great for things that are used in one place. But portable storage bins are so handy, you’ll wonder why you didn’t have a whole collection of them in your life before now. They let you work in different locations around the house, or clean up in seconds.
The key is to find portable bins with handles… and to make sure they’re big enough to hold enough stuff, but not so big that they’re too heavy or bulky to carry. If they look good enough, you can even keep them in the open, stored under coffee tables or on a bookshelf. So what you use carry bins for? A few ideas:
- create a carry bin for your mail. Dump magazines and letters inside until you have time to get to it.
- create a carry bin for clutter… from books to toys to whatever else covers your tables and floor. When you need to clean up your dining room table or living room quickly, throw everything inside. Instant clean room!
- create a carry bin for your car. A narrow one is best—fill it with maps, tissue box, ice scraper and everything else that otherwise floats around the car.
- create a carry bin for your child. Keep toys, current books and homework. You can transport homework from room to room.
3. Shelf dividers… home builders must have gotten together one day and all decided that a long shelf above every closet rod was a really good idea. Sadly, long shelves can be a source of organizational chaos unless managed. Adding vertical dividers along that long shelf can help you store clothes, purses without everything toppling over.
4. Plastic storage bins… they’re waterproof, see-through and help you find things easily. If you’ve ever had water damage, you’ll know how quickly a little moisture or water can ruin the things you love, use or value most. Large, plastic bins keep out mold, water, humidity. Use them to store holiday decorations, keepsakes, valuable documents, odd parts. Because they’re see-through, finding things is a snap. Because they’ve got lids, you can stack ‘em high. The larger you buy them, though, the more padded the handles should be. If storing small things, you can label contents on the lid or front, but as much as possible, keep the same types of things in a single bin.
5. Rod dividers… a long row of coats, suits, dressers and pants can quickly create a new wardrobe that may or may not make the best-dressed list. If you’ve changed your intended wardrobe because the sought-after shirt was nowhere to be found, it may be time for a closet strategy. Even without a fancy custom closet system, creating a system for your clothing will help a lot. Try storing your clothing by color—from white through yellow, orange, red, blue, purple, green, brown to black. Or sort by function—shirts, skirts, pants and dresses.
6. Under-bed storage… maybe it’s because we associate it with dust or monsters, but all that storage under your bed is just waiting to be useful. Even if you don’t need the extra storage space, under-bed storage is a great place to put things you don’t want to see or think about…. or things you do. Many beds come with built-in storage drawers. But if an under-bed storage drawers aren’t in your immediate future, there are plenty of narrow, flat boxes (some even on wheels) that can be slid under the boxspring. Storing long rolls of wrapping paper, paperwork, off-season clothing is all great. But what about shoes! Want to stop crawling around on the closet floor to find matching Jimmy Choo’s? Store your shoes in a shallow box on wheels—it’s easy to see and finding matching pairs… and to remember how many pairs you own!
7. Drawer dividers… junk drawers came by their name honestly. Any drawer that stores small things is fated to become a chaotic mix of key chains linked to paper clips… and pencils and erasers living separated lives. Drawer dividers have come a long way and can be customized to any drawer size. As a rule of thumb… the smaller the items stored in a drawer, the more drawer dividers are needed. Drawer dividers in night stands lets you find your reading glasses, flashlights, pens and medication in the dark. Dividers in dresser drawers make finding and sorting ties, socks, scarves and jewelry a whole lot easier! And large drawers also benefit from some division. Dividing a wide drawer into two or three sections lets you create order and make sure things don’t all meld together.
8. Labels… the simple act of labeling where things should go dramatically increases the odds that things will be put away in the right place. Knowing exactly where things are stored alerts everyone to both where things can be found and where they should be put away. Professional label–makers make very pretty labels, but you can also hand write on plain paper labels. There’s no end to what you can label—from the inside edge of dresser drawers, shelves and cabinets to bins and boxes.
9. Wall shelves… bookshelves aren’t just for books anymore. Wall shelves can store bottles, bins and even clothing. Using empty wall space, even above counters, is one of the most efficient places to find extra space.
10. Storage coffee tables… a coffee table with storage drawers or a shelf to hold storage bins lets you create a home for remote controls and all manner of things that clutter your living room. You can even double your living room as a home office, mail center or library… while never being far away from the family… or TV!