17 Clever Products Pros Swear By For Reducing Clutter
We got professional organizers to share their secret weapons for making order out of life's little messes.
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Spending more time at home these days has us noticing all the extra junk we have littering our living spaces. Like weeds in a garden, clutter starts out minor, then piles up and gets out of control. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The secret to keeping all of your things in proper order is to have a home for each one, as any pro will tell you. From custom systems to clever gadgets, these are the organizing tools professional organizers use to keep life’s flotsam and jetsam neat and orderly. You’ll also want to check out these 50 organizational tips you’ll wish you knew all along.
Note: Prices listed were accurate as of press time; pricing fluctuations may occur.
The Container Store White Elfa Utility Mesh Closet Door & Wall Rack
Finding the right spot for every little thing can be a challenge, so Ashley McCarthy and Lindsay Cisewski of Style + Dwell suggest looking for any unused space and storing things there vertically. “Vertical storage is something people don’t always think of, and it’s one of our favorite ways to provide more storage,” they say. For example, the Elfa Utility Mesh Wall & Door System from The Container Store is entirely customizable and can fit anywhere from your garage to the back of a closet door, bathroom door, or perhaps in that oddly shaped nook in your laundry room. It can be designed to fit any storage need, whether you prefer hooks, mesh shelving, or any type of rack. Discover 17 other products from The Container Store you need in your life.
The Container Store Farmhouse Open Canvas Storage Bins With Labels
Starting at $9.99
McCarthy and Cisewski are big fans of storage bins with slots for labels. They can be a gamechanger for storing items such as off-season clothing, games, books, crafting supplies, and other objects you don’t need to access regularly. When it comes to bins, the organizers recommend mixing up the types you use, whether they’re strictly utilitarian or decorative, like these Farmhouse Open Canvas Storage Bins, which have a slot for labels and also add charm to a shelf, cubby, or the top of a closet. Don’t miss these other pro tips for how to organize your closets.
The Container Store iDesign Linus Divided Lazy Susan
When it comes to corraling small items, McCarthy and Cisewski suggest stashing them all in one place with organizers such as the iDesign Linus Divided Lazy Susan. The sectioned design accommodates collections such as condiment bottles, spice jars, cake decorating supplies, and other common kitchen pantry items. Because this Lazy Susan has five divided spaces, it’s easy to see and access everything at once. No more fumbling through rows of bottles and jars to find the rainbow sprinkles to top the cupcakes you’re baking. Just spin, search and grab. The stainless steel ball bearings add longevity to this otherwise lightweight storage unit. These 16 other pantry organization ideas that are total game-changers.
The Container Store White Elfa Mesh Rolling Cart
If you’re short on closet space, rolling carts are helpful for storing all kinds of items, especially wrapping paper and crafts. “They provide organization with drawers to keep all of your supplies handy while in use, and then just roll out of the way when you’re done,” say McCarthy and Cisewski. You could also use the White Elfa Mesh Rolling Cart with drawers to store makeup and beauty supplies in your bedroom, papers, and pens in your home office, or coffee supplies or canned goods in the kitchen.
Sterilite 16 Quart/15 Liter Storage Box
To keep things from ending up all over the place randomly, first, categorize your stuff and find containers of the right size, advises Marla Stone, a professional organizer at I-Deal-Lifestyle and author of The Clutter Remedy: A Guide To Getting Organized For Those Who Love Their Stuff. “For instance, food in a pantry, whether its snacks, tomato products, condiments, or pasta, should all go into separate clear bins,” she says. Stone recommends using these clear Sterilite Storage Boxes because it’s easy to see everything they hold and they’re a good size for a variety of items. Find out 16 pantry organization tips you’ll wish you knew before.
Masirs Clear Cosmetic Storage Organizer
Organizers are a must for small items living in open spaces. “With any cabinets, closet shelves, or drawers nothing should sit directly on shelves,” says Stone. Consider the challenge with small items like cosmetics. Accidentally knocking down a lipstick or nail polish could cause a domino effect: When one thing falls, so does everything else. This is exactly why makeup organizers make an ideal solution. This organizer in particular, has divided sections to hold items from brushes to mascara, pencils to paper clips. Store compacts or perhaps jewelry in the drawers below, keeping everything you use every day all in one place.
Mebbay 6 Pack Expandable Drawer Organizer
If you’re lucky enough to have a vanity or makeup desk, inserts may be a better option than stand-alone organizers or rolling carts. “For organizing makeup, I love drawer inserts that have multiple places for lipsticks, blushes and powders, mascara, and eye shadow,” Stone says. “Keeping everything separate saves time each morning.” The Mebbay Six-Pack Expandable Drawer Organizer features six containers of four different sizes to hold products of all shapes and sizes in a variety of drawers. Each insert can even expand up to three inches, and the set comes with 25 non-slip silicone pads to ensure the dividers stay in place. Get a head start on your bathroom organizing by getting rid of these 10 things right now.
CherryNow Large Woven Storage Baskets
Instead of keeping bed and bath linens stacked on shelves in a closet, Stone recommends storing them in baskets, which is efficient and also aesthetically pleasing. “For sheets and towels, I love big, deep decorative baskets with handles. The baskets work as drawers on each shelf. I roll the towels and stand them up in the basket; sheet sets get folded and stacked into separate baskets.” CherryNow Large Woven Storage Baskets are perfect for storing linens because they’re generously sized, at 16 x 16 inches. They have a stylish, contemporary look—they come in several color combinations including jute/white and pink/white—so you could also leave them out in the open as part of your décor. These 10 impressive home organization makeovers will inspire you to get working on the whole house.
mDesign Plastic Home Storage Basket Bin, 4 pack
Stone applies the same rules to clothing stored on shelves. “I quickly roll up jeans, t-shirts, shorts, or any shelved clothes and stand them in decorative bins. The bins go on the shelf and act as a drawer. Even handbags go into bins, grouped by color and season, and placed on shelves,” she says. Clear acrylic organizers are ideal for this purpose because you can see their contents at a quick glance. This set of four clear plastic bins from mDesign is particularly suitable for storing everything from clothing to accessories and even items such as toys. They fit perfectly at the top of a closet or on a shelf.
mDesign Plastic Kitchen Pantry Cabinet
While most of us store food on our refrigerator shelves directly, Stone prefers using plastic bins with handles for different categories of items. “I don’t put anything directly on the shelf except milk or juice bottles,” she says. “I use the side shelves for one particular category such as condiments or soft drinks. I also categorize items that go into the freezer, so veggies with veggies, meat with meat, and ice cream with ice cream. It makes life easier and it takes less time to find the food you want.” The mDesign Plastic Kitchen Pantry Cabinet has four clear containers that will fit in most refrigerators, including a narrow bin, wide bin, egg holder, and caddy. Each has a built-in handle for easy access. Follow these pointers to make the most of your fridge.
Brayden Studio Spacious Shoe Storage Cabinet
Dedicating a closet entirely to shoe storage is a great way to prevent shoes from being left all over the house, especially with kids. It can also help lower the stink factor. “I love having a shoe closet with shelving near the entryway so all shoes have one home instead of in bedroom closets,” Stone says. “This keeps the house clean and your clothes closets smelling fresh.” The Brayden Studio Spacious Shoe Storage Cabinet is a chic way to store your shoes in any room. Available in Distressed Grey and Red Cocoa, it has four shelves, which gives you more than enough room for most everyday shoes. The top of the cabinet is an ideal place for stashing your handbag, keys, and wallet.
Gallery Perfect Square Photo Wall Gallery Kit
We all have stuff we find difficult to part with, whether it has sentimental value or we’re sure it’s going to come in handy someday. Anna De Souza, who is the Chief Organizing Expert for resale marketplace Mercari, offers this simple solution: “If you’re having a hard time parting with something, snap a beautiful and frame-worthy portrait of it, and then sell it!” Investing in a multipack of picture frames or a gallery wall kit is an easy way to force yourself to get rid of extra stuff and give your home a little refresh at the same time.
V.C. Formark 4 Tier Shoe Rack
If you don’t have space in your home for a shoe closet or armoire, consider a basic shoe rack. This makes use of vertical space and keeps your shoes in the best condition possible. You can place a shoe rack at the bottom of a closet or leave it in an entryway or mudroom. The V.C. Formark 4 Tier Shoe Rack can hold up to 16 pairs of shoes. Made of stainless steel, it’s sturdy and will not collapse under the weight of even your heftiest snow boots. It’s also easy to clean and won’t rust. Make sure you’re not doing any of these 15 things in your closet that professional organizers say are big mistakes.
MIZGI Premium Velvet Hangers
Good garment care is key to keeping hanging clothes looking orderly and staying as wrinkle-free as possible. And that means choosing the right hangers. De Souza recommends MIZGI Premium Velvet Hangers, which come in a pack of 50 and are non-slip, with a groove on each side to keep spaghetti straps in place. Once everything is on a proper hanger, it’s time to start arranging. “I love putting clothing back in the closet and arranging by color,” De Souza says. “It looks so beautiful to see the gradation of colors, and helps you see clothing you might otherwise have pushed to one side.” Find out clever uses for all those old coat hangers.
Miracle Fold Laundry Folder
Ever notice how inspiring those neat stacks of clothing look on store shelves? “It’s all about the fold! Instead of layering your shirts and sweaters into your drawer, stack them upright so you can see them at a quick glance, just like at your favorite boutique,” De Souza says. Even if you’ve never worked in retail, you can achieve that wardrobe inspiration at home with a clever gadget like the Miracle Fold Laundry Folder. It can help fold your entire wardrobe uniformly, whether you are putting t-shirts, sweaters or, pants in a drawer or on shelves. Follow these tips to become an instant folding genius.
Amazon Basics Foldable Drying Rack
We’ve all ruined a sweater or delicate garment here or there and then shoved it back in our drawers anyway, taking up valuable space and creating clutter. Avoid this problem in the first place by investing in a drying rack, which allows you to air-dry everything from delicates to those favorite t-shirts you don’t want to shrink. A drying rack can also help save energy and money on electricity bills. The Amazon Basics Foldable Drying Rack is made of lightweight steel and has a 32-pound weight capacity, so there’s little risk of it collapsing from heavy or wet fabrics. (Putting delicates in the dryer is just one way you could be ruining your clothing without even knowing it.)
Dying clothing is a great way to extend the life of garments that may be stained or that need a refresh. “I am obsessed with my Madewell black jeans but after a billion washes they nearly turn gray. Every few months I dip them in RIT black dye and they look brand new,” De Souza says. Jeans aren’t the only thing you can dye. “If a top or dress, or anything is passed its prime but still fits well and is cotton, I also dip it in RIT— usually, a deeper color or I go for a cool monochromatic tie-dye. I end up falling in love with the garment all over again!” Next, read on for these 26 secrets professional organizers won’t tell you for free.
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