A new year is the perfect time to start afresh with renewed energy and resolutions – of which ‘getting organised’ is almost always at the top of the list. While hopes are still high, and motivation a long way from fizzling out, we offer easy tips, tools and ideas for organising every closet and corner in your home. All you need is a little creativity and resourcefulness, but you’ll reap a slew of therapeutic benefits, from satisfaction to productivity and a blissful state of mind. So let’s get rolling. 

Arrange Books By Colour, Size or Genre –  The best way to arrange a bookshelf, you ask? Depends on the type of reader (or person) you are, say we. If you’re the visual sort who associates stories with their covers, stack your tomes by colour. Try a rainbow look: it’s super satisfying, we promise. Functionality seekers, on the other hand, will benefit greatly by grouping books according to genre. Organising alphabetically by title or author also works well, if you have an enormous collection. However, if you prefer a clean, streamlined look, organise books in order of height, paying attention to detail. 

Tame The Toys – Ask any parent, and they’ll agree that kids play with 20% of their toys 80% of the time. In other words: to bring order to the playroom, divide everything into groups of ‘Keep and Play’, ‘Keep and Store’ and ‘Donate or Sell’, ensuring a 1:2 ratio between the first two categories. Make the ‘Keep and Play’ set visible and easily accessible – either in low bookcases with accompanying lidless baskets, tilted toy organisers, toy hammocks or under-bed rolling boxes. And don’t’ forget to rotate toys monthly, all the while ensuring that whatever is currently in-use includes age and developmentally appropriate toys. Not only does rotation save space, but it also helps keep the novelty alive. 

Sort And Store Lego – The critical questions to ask here are: How do your kids like to play with Legos? Do they prefer to build by set? Are they likely to build and display? If you answered yes, then organising by set and also making a provision for display shelves makes the most sense. However, if they like to build, dismantle and rebuild across sets, consider sorting and organising by colour or type. Whatever your preference, see storage inspiration here. For freewheeling kids, the tutorial provides just the right technique using minimal sorting and organisation wherever possible, within an IKEA TROFAST unit.

Declutter Your Office Desk – A well-organised desk is just as much about tidiness as it is about function. To keep it spick and span, regularly go through paperwork – toss, shred, scan or file things as required. Stash rarely used stationery in neatly sectioned drawers and keep frequently used items within easy reach on the desk. Move books and magazines from the desk to a wall shelf close by. Next and most importantly, hide any cords and cables inside cable boxes or sleeves, direct them through cord holders, or consolidate with ties and identifiers – they’re a neat solution to an ugly problem. Finally, hang a bulletin board on the wall ahead, and you’ll be all set for greater clarity and increased productivity. 

Organise Overflowing Mail – Few things are more aggravating than seeing a heap of unsorted mail lying in the drawer. Tackle this problem by setting up in/out cubbies, bins or magnetic wall pockets for all members of the household – close to where you typically sort mail. Keep a bin for junk mail nearby so you can trash what’s not required as soon as it’s received. Alternatively, create an ‘Action Filing’ system to keep mail from getting out of control, and drop letters into files labelled ‘to pay’, ‘to read’, ‘to file’ and ‘to go’. Or steal the idea of creating a monthly filing system as seen in the tutorial.

Compartmentalise Craft Supplies Within A Cabinet – The secret to organising a crafter’s ever-growing hodgepodge of supplies lies in a closed and compartmentalised multipurpose storage cabinet, reveals Haeley Giambalvo of Design Improvised. Use clear bottles, cookie jars or boxes to corral little items like ribbons, washi tape and buttons to make finding as well as updating easier when stocks are running low. For scrapbooking sheets, coloured paper, stencils and stickers, a filing drawer with hanging folders works like a charm. And for regularly used items such as scissors, glue sticks and colour pencils, having them contained within a desk tray is more productive and less frustrating on busy project days. 

Rework Your Bedroom Closet – Most standard built-in closets are relatively bare and come pre-fitted with just one or two upper shelves. To effectively utilise the remaining space, add freestanding drawer units, floating shelves or vertical hooks that hang off the main rod to double up storage space. Keep hat boxes, bags or folded items of clothing on upper shelves; use floor-standing bins or baskets (open-top for easy, more frequent access) for smaller items of clothing. And don’t forget the back of your closet-door – a great spot for hanging an accessory organiser. Add over-the-door hooks for bags, belts and more. 

Know When To Hang And When To Fold – Whether to fold or hang items in the closet largely depends on the fabric, type of clothing and closet configuration. Clothing that is flowy and more prone to wrinkles – linen shirts, silk and satin blouses, etc. – are best hung, while bulky items whose structure may be compromised from hanging, such as knitwear, are best folded. Trousers and jackets are always better on hangers, and as far as T-shirts, regular shirts, jeans and scarves go, it’s really up to you and, of course, the space available in your closet. 

Line Up The Linens – A common organising mistake many people make is to buy all sorts of organisers and racks before assessing what’s really needed, resulting in a suboptimal use of closet space. Instead, list out all the items to be organised and take detailed shelf measurements before you go shopping. It’s also helpful to have a picture of your closet handy, just in case any questions pop up later. If you are space- and budget-constrained, seek inspiration here. And for an extra neat and even touch, learn to fold like pro: all types of towels, flat sheets and fitted sheets. Fold every item within each category the exact same way and line them up neatly or in sets, smooth sides facing front.

Use Wasted Space Wisely In The Laundry Area – Don’t let a tiny laundry area derail your best-laid organising plans. Look for any unused breaks or gaps in between spaces, and see if you can tuck in an extra slim rolling cart to store your laundry supplies. Consider installing a removable folding station over your front-load washer and dryer units, if they’re side-by-side, or a pull-out board in between vertically stacked units. In addition, try out a folding board to lighten your post-laundry folding chores. On the other hand, if you have a standalone washer unit, we recommend an over-the-washer shelving unit to give purpose to an unused wall. As far as ironing boards and drying racks go, look for wall-mounted, foldaway or collapsible designs that can be retracted when not in use. 

Conquer The Cave Under The Kitchen Sink – The odd space under the kitchen sink is always a challenge to conquer. Which is why you first need to take stock of all that you intend to store down there, and most of all, measure the available space inside after accounting for pipes. Next, decide what storage solutions suit your needs – take your pick from tension rods (appropriate to rest spray bottles), pull-out drawers, rotating organisers and expandable shelves. If cabinet space is still wanting, consider adding small baskets to your door or investing in over-the-door-racks.

Keep Your Pantry Pretty And Practical – An easy mistake many organisers make is replicating an Instagram influencer’s gorgeous pantry rather than tapping into their own personalities, sensibilities and working styles, almost always resulting in a big organisation fail. To make your pantry functional and productive, get inspiration from Megan Batoon’s pantry design while keeping these broad rules in mind: 1. What’s used most often (excluding junk food) is ideally placed at eye-level. 2. Allocate separate sections for different categories – keep staples on one shelf, spices on another and label each section. 3. Consider clear airtight canisters for staples, cereals and candy, baskets or clear trays for packets and ready eats, a rotating rack for items or a DIY solution for canned goods.

Freshen Up The Fridge – Home organisation experts Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin of the hit Netflix Series The Home Edit recommend grouping fresh and usable contents of your refrigerator into general and custom categories, designating spaces for each category (including leftovers), containerising items (except pre-packaged beverages) into clear bins, and labelling them to ensure that wastage is minimum, and everything inside remains visible, easily accessible, neat and tidy. Maintaining a fridge only requires discipline and effort: don’t buy what you don’t need, trash old items regularly, and return everything to their respective places after you take them out. Always refresh your fridge at regular intervals. 

Customise Kitchen Cabinets – Aim for space efficiency and functionality when organising utensils within cabinets. If tall cabinets end up wasting vertical space, use shelf risers to double the storage space. On the other hand, if deep cabinets are making it hard to retrieve items at the back, consider outfitting them with pull-out drawers. For pots and pans, perhaps install a slide out system within the cabinet or hang them on command hooks by the sides of cabinets or islands. When it comes to drawers, keep them from becoming a jumble by compartmentalising them with adjustable shelf dividers or make your own dividers. 

Create A Command Centre – Reserve space in your entryway or kitchen for a command centre to handle planning and to-dos for everyone in the family. Put up a chalkboard, whiteboard, corkboard or DIY a bulletin board for notes, receipts, coupons and reminders along with a calendar and hooks for keys. This is also a good spot to keep a few office supplies handy – pens, scissors or a ruler that you can reach for at short notice. If space permits, keep your mail bins here or close by. 

Select Smart Shoe-Saving Solutions – Whoever said ‘a girl can never have too many shoes’ certainly wasn’t thinking of the organisation challenges down the road. Fret not. If your footwear game rivals Carrie Bradshaw, consider this modular cubby style shoe bin – stackable, expandable and perfect to display your growing collection. Prefer something discrete? How about this nifty over-the-door shoe organiser with ample room to tuck away all sorts of shoes, even those beat-up pairs you want to hide. Or if you want to squeeze more space out of your existing shelf, try a two-level shoe stacker: it maximises vertical space and also ensures that what goes together stays together.

Leverage Limited Space In The Bathroom – Everyone wants to know how to put the (limited) space in the bathroom to good use. Finding clever and efficient storage solutions is key. Look for products that do double duty – for example, a bathroom bench with storage, a mirrored vanity that also functions as storage for daily grooming essentials, and a wall cabinet with attached hand towel rail. Standalone hooks for towels are also a wonderful idea to avoid unnecessary furniture. In addition, think about shelving styles that utilise empty spaces – above the toilet, below the wash basin, over the door, or use a mobile cart to organise your supplies. 

Arrange The Attic – Remember moisture, temperature and pests are your greatest enemies – so decide what you want to store in the attic, taking special care to avoid any items that could fall victim to the elements. That said, attics are also the best places to store seasonal or sparingly used items – holiday decorations, Halloween costumes, travel items and seasonal clothing, for instance. Before you begin, purge everything that has outlived its use and organise the remainder. Build or buy shelves and use clear, labelled, airtight bins to stack on shelves, storing like items together to make finding things a cinch. Vacuum seal clothes for space efficiency and protection from pests. 

Use Wall Space, Not Floor Space, In The Garage – If your garage resembles an obstacle course, think outside the box – of ingenious organising tools that’ll use every inch of wall space instead of sacrificing precious parking space. For example, a wall mount bike rack, track channels to hang your gardening gear, wall organisers with pockets, a mop and broom holder, a sports equipment rack and a rainwear drying stand. Additionally, try ceiling mounted storage shelves – a perfect way to store everything that is sparingly used but needs to be stored anyway. 

Declutter The Junk Drawer – And finally, don’t ignore the junk drawer – the place for catch-alls or miscellaneous items that don’t really fit anywhere else. Practise strict decluttering and get rid of things that you know you’ll never use. Then, sort and categorise similar items into piles and use expandable organisers to keep everything in place. Most importantly, always purge at frequent intervals to make space for new items. 

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Related Articles