We’re going to let you in on a little secret that your hyper-organized friends already know: the right tools and systems absolutely help. Here are some inexpensive and easy ways to turn a cluttered area into a functional space, and get yourself set up for a smooth year ahead.
But, before you get started, it’s a smart idea to purge and donate things you don’t need and then start organizing the things you want to keep. It’s not too late to sign up for the January Cure and make your home a little bit better this month.
Entryway Storage Benches
Even if you’re a household of one, it’s amazing how fast your entryway can turn into a disaster zone of coats, accessories, and shoes. Having a bench is helpful—not just as a place to sit when you’re putting on your shoes—but also as a great spot to tuck away extras. Store-bought versions are quick and often inexpensive solutions. If yours doesn’t come with storage built in, add baskets or bins underneath for added function. Or, you can DIY the perfect version to suit your needs.
It’s not overstating things when we say that baskets are the most amazing organizational tool every invented. They’re endlessly useful, no matter what room you use them in, and can be used to store everything from blankets to extra food in your pantry. The beauty of baskets are that they help hide visual clutter, so a space can have the same amount of stuff, but will look more minimal and streamlined. Vary the size, shape, style, or personalize on your own with paint, pom poms, or decorative trim for a more personalized look.
Multiple Trash and Recycling Bins
We always remember to keep trash cans in the kitchen, but you can tame clutter better by keeping multiples throughout your home, easily within reach. Keep one right in the entryway for incoming mail, and a smaller, more discrete one in your living room. Once you’re done with a magazine, newspaper, or opened packaging, banish it from visible surfaces and get it out of the way, right away.
These are perfect when you need 360-degree access to everything on a shelf. The ability to rotate makes a lazy Susan a serious organizational ally—especially in a pantry space, spice cabinet, or a home office. When you can see what you already have, it saves you from spending more money on items you don’t need. You can buy one one for very little, or you can buy a hardware kit for a couple of bucks on Amazon (here’s a set of four turntables for $12) and turn a round piece of wood, or something like a regular serving tray, into a smooth, pivoting machine.
Drawer dividers lend a little internal organization to small spaces—like the inside of desks, nightstands, and dressers. Sometimes having too much storage space can be as bad as having too little. By being able to divide that space up, you can keep every drawer from turning into a jumbled junk drawer.
While not every area of your home requires a label, they do help you (not to mention visitors and guests) find what you need quickly and easily. They come in handy for those baskets or bins tucked away on a high shelf that you can’t see inside, or just remembering what gets stored away where. While you can spring for a label maker, you can also make your own, or just write right on your containers with a basic paint pen.
Laundry Hamper Organizers
Ahhh, laundry: One of life’s necessities that pretty much everyone loathes. One of the worst parts? Corralling all of your dirty clothes into their respective bins. But it doesn’t have to be that annoying each time you go to run a load. Organizing dirty clothes as you go makes laundry day way less of a pain. While you can get a fancy rolling cart with spaces for whites, colors, and delicates, you can also just designate separate bins. Hang bags on wall hooks to keep them sorted, or build a custom vertical hamper to save space. Whatever works for you!