50 Organizing Tips You’ll Wish You Knew All Along

You may think you own your stuff—but it actually owns you. Use these easy pro tips to take back control!

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Before you can get clutter out, you have stop it from coming in

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"The first step to winning the battle against clutter is to control what comes into your home. Unsubscribe from junk mail and catalogs you do not read. Stop shopping in bulk and buying non-necessities. Once the incoming flow of stuff and papers slows down or stops, you can focus on decluttering and organizing what you have." —Joanna Monahan, chief of external communications for Major Organizers

Channel Alice in Wonderland with an "Eat Me First!" fridge bin

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"Most households generate a lot of food waste, but you can cut it down just by having a dedicated—and labeled!—place in the fridge for leftovers and food that needs to be eaten quickly. This way the food actually gets eaten and you will be aware of what you have to buy soon." —Lauren Haynes, expert in home organizing and maintenance at Star Domestic Cleaners

Keep your "ice" on ice

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"Ice cube trays placed inside a drawer can really help you store and organize all kinds of little things that can easily get lost. They're perfect for small pieces of jewelry, paper clips, or craft supplies." —Lauren Haynes (Check out these other brilliant uses for ice cube trays.)

Kid's clock and schedule, all in one

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"To structure your kid's daily routine, get a simple white-faced clock and use different markers to color the time segments for each activity like sleeping, bath time, or doing homework. Attach an activity list under the clock and you can keep your kid on schedule and on time." —Lauren Haynes

See shapes, not things

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"If you have group of items that are shaped similarly (i.e. shoes in the bedroom or martini glasses in the kitchen), look at how to fit the shapes together instead of fitting the items. For example, if you are using shoe cubbies, put the shoes toe to heel instead of side by side. This way you can fit a pair of high heels in one cubbie instead of two. You'll be surprised how much more you can fit in a space when you look at shapes." —Schae Lewis and Bahar Partow, co-founders of Mission 2 Organize LLC (Check out these rules for getting rid of stuff from your closet.)

Forget the Pinterest projects

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"Being organized doesn't have to be about being super creative or crafty like you often see online. For instance, you have probably seen the 'trick' to get 20 mason jars and glue the tops to the underside of a shelf, making cute storage for small items. But that's a lot of work! And for what? Is that really making your life easier? I always tell my clients to look for the easiest solution to your organizing problems, not the most creative." —Alissa Dorfman

Hook a kid up

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"When you have kids, always use hooks for their daily use items like coats and backpacks, rather than using hangers. Many kids lack the motor skills to get a coat on a hanger. Make sure the hooks are low to the ground so that the kids can reach them." —Stacy Erickson Edwards, professional organizer with Home Key Organization

Ditch dressers

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"Instead of a traditional dresser, try a shelf with bins on it instead. This way, clothes don't always have to be perfectly folded to close a drawer. Bonus: It will be easier for kids to put away their own clothes." —Stacy Erickson Edwards (Check out these essential furniture pieces that de-clutter your house.)

Skip the shoe rack

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"Shoe racks are flimsy and rarely have enough space for all the shoes in a home, so use a bookcase instead." —Stacy Erickson Edwards

Think art with a purpose

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"For extra storage in your living room ask your local liquor store for old wooden wine crates they may be getting rid of. They make attractive, rustic storage pieces and they're sturdy to boot." —Nina Ward, professional organizer, designer and regional director at ShelfGenie

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