There’s no better time to get organized than moving in a new house. You have a blank slate to work with—but you also have that box full of clutter you were too overwhelmed to purge while moving. While it can be daunting to know where to even begin corralling stacks of papers or organizing the household junk drawer, there is at least an organization baseline everyone can start at. What is this mysterious model I speak of?—I went to the experts asked them to share the essentials every home needs to stay organized. Here are their 10 favorite tools:
#1: Kitchen drawer dividers
If you’ve ever pulled out a kitchen drawer only to watch as ladles and spatulas kept getting stuck and tangled, consider adding drawer dividers. “These are customizable to the space of your drawer and help contain and separate your utensils and cooking tools,” says Kirsten Fisher, a professional organizer and owner of Imagine Home Organization.
#2: Plastic pantry bins
To keep your pantry from becoming a disorganized mess, first sort items into like categories (i.e. keep baking items together, snacks together, etc.), Fisher suggests. “These plastic bins with handles are my favorite because they come in four sizes so you can match the size to what you have to store,” she says.
#3: Entryway hooks
Even if you don’t have a suburban-size entryway, you can stay organized the minute you walk in the door by installing hooks for keys, coats, and bags. “You can also create a mail/drop zone near the door by using labeled vertical file holders to house mail, keys, and sunglasses,” suggests Rachel Rosenthal, a professional organizer in Washington, D.C.
#4: Bathroom cabinet corrals
There’s something about the bathroom vanity that yields utter chaos. “To help control the variety of small and large sized items in the bathroom, I use Like-It stackable bricks,” Fisher says. “They’re great in drawers, too.”
#5: Adjustable lid racks
Struggling to find the right lid for that pot you need for pasta shouldn’t be annoying and it won’t be if you have adjustable lid racks that sit inside your cabinet. “This keeps things in order,” says Claudia Sidoti, head chef and recipe developer at HelloFresh. “Having all of your lids visible makes it easier to find everything you need to start cooking.”
#6: Spice racks
Separating your basil from your bay leaves can be a game changer and the best way to organize your spices is in a spice rack. “Spice racks are another area where clutter can really build up,” Sidoti says.
#7: Clear plastic containers
Instead of digging through your parka to find your bathing suit or vice versa, use clear plastic containers with locking lids to store off-season items, suggests Paloma Baillie, an LA-based professional organizer. “Or repurpose baskets to store summer sandals with fancy shoes in the front and flip-flops in the back,” she says. “This way you still can see all of the options.
#8: Vacuum-seal storage bags
Another great way to stay organized? Use vacuum-seal storage bags to keep items out of reach until you actually need them. “When you don’t need thicker blankets, flatten them in a vacuum storage bag and slide it under the bed,” Baillie says. “Same thing for sweaters. You’ll save lots of space this way.”
#9: Wall-mounted organizers
When it comes to smaller kitchens with little room for larger kitchen utensils like whisks, use your wall space to your advantage, suggests Sidoti. “These items don’t sit properly in drawers so these wall racks minimize clutter and maximize access.”
#10: Over-the-door organizers
With an over-the-door organizer, you’ll have a variety of clear pockets where you can store office supplies, for example. “Everything is laid out so you have easy access and can see items more clearly,” Baillie says. “Incidentally, you can do a similar thing with jewelry and make-up, sorting by type–pencils, lipsticks, brushes, and eyeshadows.”
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