There is no "one size fits all" approach to setting up and maintaining an organized home. But one thing all organized homes have in common is this: They save time and prevent stress. We asked the experts for their tips on how they create a place for everything — and have everything in its place.
- Look to the coffee table. "When we design living areas for family homes, we love coffee tables with drawers underneath or with a shelf for storing boxes. Big trays on coffee tables keep loose items organized and avoid smaller items looking messy," says Leigh Boswell, interior designer at Highgate House.
- Clean the slate. "My biggest organizing tip is to do a quick check of your living areas before you go to bed. Make sure the floors and surfaces are clear so you don't wake to any mess in the morning. This is a good mood-lifting habit to get into," says Toni Coates, professional organizer at The Coat Box.
- Make kitchen hardware work hard. "I love telescopic runners, which extend out fully and allow you access to everything in your cupboards and drawers," says Mikayla Rose, interior designer at Heartly.
- Love a clear countertop? "Installing a boiling tap for water. It will allow you to get rid of the kettle," says Boswell.
- Tall, slim, pull-out pantry drawers that fit neatly between your cabinetry and fridge will keep tins, packets, and boxes orderly.
- Lazy Susans that turn tricky corner cupboards into useful spots, corner drawers, under-sink baskets, and pull-out plate racks — there is a great range of solution-based storage products on the market.
- Have processes for paper. "Every piece of paper you bring into your home is effectively a to-do item, so you'll need some good collection points. For example, school notes could be pinned on a board above the bag rack or placed in a tray in the kitchen. This way, everyone in the family puts things in the same place," says Georgie Rees, professional organizer at Clutterfly.
- Hide everything away. "Include a tall closet in the home office and close it off with a bifold door. This allows you easy access but hides away your printer and other unsightly items," says Rose.
Hallways and Stairs
- Nick space for a nook. "If you don't have an entire room you can dedicate to a home office, how about tucking a study nook into your hallway?" suggests Rose. There will be less foot traffic and distraction than if it were located in the kitchen.
- Put your hallway to good use. "The area by the front door can become a useful storage point," advises Boswell. "A slim table with a spot to hold your keys can be handy, but if space is tight, a couple of wall hooks and an umbrella or coat stand is a good option."
- Keep it neat. "The staircase or hallway is often the first space visitors to your house will see," says Coates. "By all means include some storage for shoes and jackets, but because first impressions do count, it's good to ensure this area is kept quite clear.
- Shave some space. "[Medicine] cabinets provide critical storage for toiletries. You might think a shallow cabinet isn't that useful, but there's value in having a spot where you can store your deodorant or mouthwash upright, instead of having it roll around a drawer. When I'm designing a [medicine] cabinet, I like to recess it. My measure of depth is, can a roll of toilet paper be stored in there?" says Rose.
- Maximize drawer space. "Choosing a vanity unit with generous drawer space helps you to keep your bathroom super organized. Drawers allow you to avoid that wasted space in the out-of-reach sections of cupboards, as well as provide a bird's-eye view of the drawer contents, making it much easier to find specific items at a glance," says Daniela Santilli, bathroom marketing lead at Reece.
- Do well with one wall. "My tip for a well-organized small bathroom is to have the fixtures all located along one wall. That maximizes the sense of space and makes it feel well ordered. While you're discussing your prospective bathroom layout, think of absolutely everything it has to accommodate, from toothbrushes to toilet paper rolls, so that it's all designed in. And before you bring anything into your new bathroom, you need to sort, sort, sort. Then do that again every six months," says Darren Genner, bathroom designer at Minosa.
- Hang tough. "One of the hardest-working elements in any laundry room would be the hanging rail, where ironed clothes can be placed. It's an inclusion you'll never regret," says Boswell.
- Put the kids to work. "I like to include big drawers for dirty laundry and smaller drawers with baskets in which to sort clean children's clothes. Then they can take the basket to their room and put everything away," says Boswell.
- Keep it clean and tidy. "Is a towering Mt. Washmore, as those piles of clean but unsorted washing are known, ever present in your home? Allocate cabinet space in your laundry room to hide the pile away when you need to," says Amelia Lee, architect at Undercover Architect.
- Reach for a hook. "I have a couple of favorite organizing tricks. One is to use belt/scarf hangers for hanging bras. Another is using adhesive hooks to utilize the vertical space on the inside of cupboard and wardrobe doors. Use them to hang bags, swimming goggles, scarves, and hats," says Coates.
- Clear out the clothes. "If you don't have space for all your clothes in the bedroom, consider storing seasonal clothes in high closets or roof space. Are you someone who drapes clothes over a chair? You might benefit from a couple of hooks. Last but definitely not least, make the bed! A bedroom looks so much tidier when the bed is made," says Amelia Lee.
- Wardrobe wisdom. "Future-proof wardrobes by adding more space than you think you need. Hanging rails for pants are a handy inclusion; it's a good use of space to have them hanging at half-height," says Matt Rushton, design manager at Kinsman Wardrobes.
Keen to get your own home in order? There's much to be learned from the habits of highly organized people.
- They prioritize storage. "We want all the spaces we design to be beautiful and make their owners feel good," says Rose "In the early stages of the design phase, it's important that we understand how people live and how they see their belongings being stored. Everyone is different in what works for them. Personally, I dream of a wrapping-paper drawer!"
- They plan ahead. "This is the most important part of being organized," says Coates. "Listing everything on a calendar, be it digital or paper, is crucial. I use digital and receive alerts, but reinforce this on paper so the whole family can look at the calendar and know what's coming up and when."
- They move stuff on — quickly. "Have a designated spot for items you want to donate. "Plan to declutter around your council's pick-up dates; then your garbage won't hang around for too long," says Rees.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.
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