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13 Brilliant Organizing Shortcuts You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

Get your home in tip-top shape with these organizing tips from the pros.

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Secret stashes of clutter

When it comes to organizing, it’s easier to think about the big things, like a new dining room cabinet or a total closet makeover, than that junk drawer where you toss all your extra knick-knacks or that teetering pile of pot lids that spill out of your cabinet every time you open it? All too often, these areas in a home get neglected, because they’re hidden behind closed cabinet doors or drawers. These tips from professional organizers and interior designers will help you get every nook and cranny in your home organized. When it comes to tackling your pantry, start with these 16 organizing techniques.

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Corner cabinet organizers

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Gain useful storage space from cabinet corners with blind corner swing-out units. “These make the backs of those pesky spaces as easy to reach as the front areas, so you can get more use out of your kitchen,” says Jamie Gold, author of Wellness by Design and wellness designer expert. “You won’t need knee pads and a flashlight to retrieve the pot you stored there and almost forgot about.” They’re also ideal for older people or anyone with lower back or flexibility issues. These are 17 other cheap kitchen upgrades that add instant value to your home.

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Insert it


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The better organized your kitchen is, the more you’ll enjoy cooking, Gold says. One of the quickest fixes to make your kitchen more user- friendly is to organize your drawers with inserts. “Many of these inserts can be adjusted to fit your drawer and can come with you when you move,” Gold says. While you’re at it, toss these kitchen gadgets that no one needs.

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Group like items together

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“Consolidate similar items together, like spices, to create a visual calm and uniform organization to traditionally mismatched items,” says Amelia Nicholas of Urban Cottage. Nicholas suggests using canisters like these magnetic spice jars from The Container Store to optimize space in narrow and awkward top drawers and to keep every spice within reach. Here’s more on how to declutter your kitchen counters once and for all.

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Magnetic storage


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Nicholas also suggests making use of unexpected metal surfaces as an opportunity for storage. “In newer construction apartments, there are often large metal panel fronts to the HVAC units,” she says. “Metal doors and framing, and refrigerator doors and sides also provide storage opportunities.” By using magnets, you won’t have to deal with nailing or drilling holes in walls or cabinets. Stick a shelf, like this magnetic container from The Container Store, to one of these areas to organize computer cords and remotes in the living area. If you are short on room, follow these 15 ways to squeeze more storage out of small space.

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Hang it right

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There’s no need to spend a ton of money on fancy closet systems to get it organized, rather invest in the right type of hanger to maximize closet space, says Stasia Steele, professional organizer and founder of The Little Details. “Cascading hangers can optimize the vertical space in your closet,” says Steele. This set from BriaUSA will immediately open up your closet, giving you clear access to your clothes. Once you’re using the right hangers, find out 12 other closet mistakes you need to stop making.

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Make a spot for small items


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Entryways and mudrooms often become cluttered with small items and no wonder—they’re a convenient dumping area because it’s the first and last place you pass on a daily basis when leaving and entering your home. To keep the area clutter-free, “use an over the door shoe organizer in the mudroom to store all of your outdoor gear such as hats, gloves, scarves, sunscreen, sunglasses, mosquito repellent, ” says Steele. “Give each person in the family their own clearly labeled pocket(s). A clear organizer, like this one from SimpleHousewares, lets you see what’s inside the pockets do you don’t have to rummage through them when you are in a hurry. Creating a drop zone also helps keep this high traction area organized.

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Access styling tools quickly


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Styling tools are hard to store away because they are typically awkwardly shaped or bulky, so they end up just laying on a counter, cluttering it up in no time. “Having a place to store your styling tools and makeup for quick stowaway will help you straighten up your bathroom in a jiffy,” promises professional organizer Shara Ryan of Simply Renewed Living. “This mDesign holder is great as it can sit on your counter but also be stored in a cupboard and doesn’t require any installation.” Check out more great organization tools under $30.

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Store in plain sight

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Many homes lack a dedicated space for dirty laundry, which is why hampers are so useful. And if you don’t have a place to hide a hamper, make it an attractive accessory that compliments the space. “I love wicker baskets you can leave sitting out in plain sight, but I also love these that you can hang on the wall to save space,” says Ryan. An added advantage of a hanging hamper, like this one from Pottery Barn, is that it is super easy to vacuum underneath without having to move them. You’ll never lose a sock again with this genius trick.

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Hook it

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“Basic hooks can be used to create a gorgeous hat gallery in your closet,” says Emi Louie, organizing expert and Certified KonMari Consultant. “Even hanging just one hat can add some fun to an otherwise plain and underutilized wall.” By placing items on a hook, it not only frees up shelf space, but it also elevates the item to your sightline, so you do not forget about it. Learn more cleaning and organizing tips from professional organizers.

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Store dishes in a drawer


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“Storing dishes in a cabinet is common, but storing them in a drawer can help you streamline everyday prep and clean up,” says Louie. Pick a drawer that’s close to the dishwasher to make it easier to unload the dishwasher. Putting commonly used dishes in a drawer versus a high cabinet also has a bonus perk. “If you’ve got kids at home, storing dishes within their reach means they can help unload the dishwasher and set the table,” she says. Depending on how deep your drawer is, a vertical organizer, like this one from Spectrum Diversified, can help keep your plates neat and nick-free. Find out the 18 subtle organizing mistakes that make your kitchen look sloppy.

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Fold like a pro

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An unorganized drawer is not only unattractive, it’s not efficient. Professional organizer and founder of Sort and Sweet, Mary Cornetta says that file folding your clothing into drawers or bins is the best way to maximize space in your bedroom. “Not only does it save space, but you can also see everything you own and it looks awesome,” says Cornetta. “If you’re not naturally great at folding, a folding board goes a long way.” We like these from EZPacking. For more information on how to fold clothes, check out this tutorial from Marie Kondo.

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Tame your linen closet

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Unruly sheets can take over a closet in a heartbeat. Plus, who really knows how to fold those awkwardly fitted sheets the right way? Cornetta recommends using the “bag method” where you put the matching fitted and flat sheets and pillowcases folded into one of the set’s pillowcases. Then fold it over and place in a basket or a bin like these from Granny Says that have a trapezoid design so you can readily see everything in it. This folding method also makes changing the sheets a breeze because you’ll have all the sheets you need in one handy place. The linen closet is one of 30 things in your house that you can organize in under 30 minutes.

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Keep it clear

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For pet food supplies or even condiments in the fridge, clear bins can help organize like items. Unlike regular storage bins, clear ones have a unique advantage. “Clear bins will not only make your life easy with everything—you can see exactly what is inside,” says Samantha Wenig of Neat Spaces, a home and apartment organization company based in New York City. To find the right size bin, measure your space, then research what bin makes the most sense. You can store everything from shoes, sweaters, pantry items, or even frozen veggies in clear plastic bins. Get bins with lids so you have the option to stack them neatly. Next, read on for 12 storage hacks to banish clutter and finally feel organized.


Debbie Wolfe
Debbie Wolfe is an author and freelance writer specializing in home, garden, DIY, and lifestyle topics. She covers lifestyle, culture, and craft content for Reader's Digest and contributes regularly to HGTV, The Home Depot, Walmart, Family Handyman, Realtor, Bob Vila, and more. Her book, Do-It-Yourself Garden Projects and Crafts (Skyhorse Publishing), features a variety of practical DIY projects to beautify your garden and home. Debbie holds a degree in Creative Writing and Earth Science from Northland College.