When you’re organized, your household definitely runs more smoothly. Every item has a place! Organizing solutions for small spaces do not have to be expensive. There is no reason to hire experts or purchase pricey custom built-in units. It does take time though, arranging items to the best benefit and use of your family. These are the best organizing tips for any home!
Organizing Tips for All Spaces
For 7 years, we lived in a home that was 1000 sq feet. 6 people in a tiny house! That’s a tight fit and every inch of space counted. It became particularly important to maximize space after adding our 4th child. We were able to effectively organize and streamline the house to make room. Though we have since moved to a larger home, we have stuck with these organization methods.
As a family we’ve always done pretty good with keeping stuff to a minimum. But some of our stuff is necessary. It’s all about finding the most practical way to store it in a budget-friendly way! It will be worth it when someone asks you, “Where’s my red hat?”. You’ll know exactly what to tell them so they can find it!
Top Organizing Solutions
When we moved into our home I thought I had things pretty well organized. But over time our needs changed and I hadn’t rethought certain areas. We could do better and get them even more organized and streamlined.
It doesn’t matter if your home is large or small. If it’s inefficient in its organization, it will feel cluttered and out of order. Taking the time to create an organized structure will make your home feel more put together. If you have spaces in your home that just aren’t working any more, this article will offer plenty of organizing tips for you.
In my case, I took a good look at each space that needed to be reorganized and made notes. In rethinking some of these areas, I was able to truly maximize the limited space we had. Important to note that these are not staged or “perfect” photos. These are actual images from my own home, using the organizing tips I share in this article.
In this article I’ve included plenty of links to help with your shopping. And be sure to see article links for additional information on relevant topics to assist with your organization journey!
Weed it out
Before you even start to organize, you have to decide what you’re going to keep and what needs to go. You might be getting rid of more than you thought! Add this task to your calendar once each season and it won’t be such a laborious project. Clearing out the clutter is one of the most important organizing tips and essential to creating tidy spaces in your home.
- Remove the contents of a drawer, bin or closet and go through each and every item.
- Have 4 bins with you – trash, recycle, donate, keep.
- Toss out, dispose, recycle, donate or place in a garage sale pile…whatever you need to do to minimize. Go through medications, lotions, nail polish, and other household items frequently. Toss what is expired or give away what isn’t being used.
- Keep a small basket or fabric box inside each kid’s closet for donation items. As children outgrow their clothes, place the items in the basket. When the basket is full, the contents are bagged up and given away.
Need additional help with daily messes? Check out the article with more Easy Decluttering Tips and Printables. The checklists focus on each room in the home. This offers a manageable way to tackle clutter every day throughout the entire house.
Clearly Label It
A label maker is inexpensive (the Brother P-Touch Label Maker costs around $35) but is the perfect solution when starting to organize your home. I might have been going (slightly) overboard with labeling everything in the house! However I will note that nobody has been asking me, “Where’s the XYZ” because everything is so neatly labeled for them now! I do recommend investing in a label maker but you could also purchase stickers and label boxes with a Sharpie as well.
- Organize drawer contents and sort into “like items”. Add a label on the outside to remind family to put things back where they belong!
- Labels on book shelves help young readers organize their picture books, chapter book and coloring books.
- Sort important paperwork into 3-Ring binders. Add a label to the side so you’ll know at a glance which folder includes manuals, school papers or household documents.
Get It Off the Floor
We’d all love to get those fancy professionally sized closet organizers, right? But boy, are they pricey!! We found a more reasonable solution in metal shelving units. They are intended for the garage, but we like to think outside of the box. Shelving units work perfectly inside closets.
- Since some of these tall Steel Wire Shelving Unit can be customized for shelf height, they are perfect for placing in your closet. We simply keep the units as two shorter racks instead of assembling into one tall rack.
- Things sitting on the floor can pile up and add to the clutter. Look at what you have on the floor and figure out where you can put it so it’s off the ground.
- Use clear storage bins or open bins to store items on shelving units. Plastic bins are what we use in our mudroom for kid’s shoes. My children drop their shoes into the basket so they are less accessible to the puppy!
Hang it Up
If there’s wall space, use it to your advantage and get things off the ground. In our effort to consistently get things off the floor, these are additional organization tips to get items hung up and out of the way.
- Coming in the door after school, encourage kids to put backpacks and jackets on hooks in the garage or mudroom.
- Hang a hook inside the wall of a closet for a pair of scissors (instead of tossed in a random drawer).
- Limited wall space in the bathrooms? My husband hung bath towel hooks for the boys on the end of their bunk bed. It worked perfectly and they always remembered to hang up their towel.
- Wrangle all the cleaning equipment in a single location. A unit like this Broom and Mop Holder Wall Organizer will keep items organized and off the floor.
- No need to put holes in the wall. Command Wire Hooks are quick to remove but stay up well, even with heavier items. Buy the variety pack and find clever uses for them all over the house!
- Tired of seeing the bath towel laying on the floor because your little one can’t hang it properly on a towel rod? Install a hook at their height.
- An Over The Door Hook is invaluable (and under $15 on Amazon). It’s an easy way to make use of space, especially in a bathroom for towels.
An open basket is an easy way to organize items while also adding beauty to your home decor. Wicker baskets are a standard but plastic and wire baskets may be more durable. Consider what items you’ll be using for to ensure your basket is sturdy enough.
- Big wicker baskets are ideal for storage of plush animals and toys in a kid’s room.
- Before you buy new baskets, check out your local thrift store. This is a fantastic place to find inexpensive baskets and you can always spray paint them for an updated look.
- With drawer space at a minimum I keep my clean kitchen towels at the ready. Fold towels and keep them within arms reach of the sink in a neat wire basket.
- Use Wire Basket Organizers on the back of the toilet for hand towel or toilet paper storage.
- Consider large baskets for holding blankets and pillows in the living room.
One of my biggest issues in the kitchen pantry is with food storage containers. Storing Tupperware, Snapware and lunch box containers and lids can be a challenge, but I have great solutions and organization tips to keep everything in place!
Keep ’em separated. I know the temptation is to put all the lids with the containers but that just takes up too much space. Best to stack like-sized containers together. Then use plastic bins to store the lids separately. I go the extra mile by organizing my lids based on brand. Then again in each container from smallest to biggest.
School lunch box storage stays in one section of the pantry, making the morning routine run more smoothly. Zip closed bags, lunch boxes and containers are all easily accessible in one place. Purchase all the same brand of storage containers like Rubbermaid Lunchblox so they nest neatly together.
Place lids for lunch box storage in an open topped bin for access. I use Name Bubbles labels on all lids and water bottles to help my kids stay organized at school.
Keeping Kitchen Items Organized
Cluttered pantry? These are the organization tips you need so keep reading! Storage racks for items like cans will help organize canned foods, sodas and beer in one compact location within the pantry. The Simple Housewares Can Rack is stackable for even more storage!
- Eliminate messy bags within the pantry cabinets by using Pop Lid Cereal Containers. Don’t be off-put by the name, we use ours for things like chips, oatmeal and dog food.
- In the kitchen, corral items like bread or cereal boxes in a single space. If you have enough counter space, a decorative Wooden Crate can help eliminate clutter.
- Clear plastic bins of various sizes can be used in so many ways throughout the kitchen. Use them inside the fridge with juice boxes, yogurt or condiments.
- Transfer all spices into same size bottles with clear labels. Then organize spice jars inside a drawer.
- Keep all the dog snacks, vitamins and other essentials in a single container within the pantry. Divvy dog treats into easy-to-access angled Flip Top Pantry Storage Containers.
More Ways to Organize “Like Items” Together
If you’re annoyed with cluttered shelves, drawers and cabinets, these are the organizing tips you need. Sorting like items together is an easy way to stay organized.
- We have a lot of books! I disliked how my kid’s small paperbacks were mingling with the tall picture books. They never sat nicely on the shelf together. I found these inexpensive plastic Book & Magazine Organizers which are perfect for holding paperbacks! Use them on the shelf next to the taller books as a sort-of “book end”.
- Zip closed plastic bags are an inexpensive way to contain small items together, like Barbie shoes or LEGO sets.
- Use bins or boxes to hold summer items. All the bathing suits, sunglasses, and beach hats are in one, easy-to-find location. Same for winter gloves, scarves and beanies!
- Soft-sided Storage Cubes are a cheap way to organize and add colorful decor, especially in a kid’s room. On this bookshelf, we had one soft bin for hats, one for blocks and one for coloring books.
Shelving is King
Use individual shelving in the closet to take advantage of tall ceilings. If you can, always go UP and take advantage of the space you have. In my former house, we had small closets but they had tall ceiling. So I bought expandable and stackable shelving units. This allows me to safely stack items higher and use up all the space available.
Use all the space you can on shelves by maximizing with wire shelving units. We use these in the kitchen to make use of extra space for plates and bowls. In the pantry for canned foods and boxes this Small Kitchen Helper Shelf really helps maximize space.
Organizing Tips for Bathrooms
Use two-tier Mesh Cabinet Baskets under the bathroom sink that holds things like lotion, make-up and razors. One basket can hold hair styling products and another large bin holds tools like the blow dryer and flat iron.
If bathroom counters are small, there’s no room for clutter. We keep only the soap dispenser on the counter (which makes it easier to clean as well). Under the sink, use an easy-to-clean Bathroom Organizer for each child to hold their personal toiletries. Each child’s toothpaste, toothbrush, drinking cup, deodorant, and face wash, is in their own container.
Throw it in a Bin
For frequently used items that don’t require a lid, stock up on Open Bins. Open topped bins are great for shelves, on counters or inside of cabinets. A bin makes it easy for kids to clean up when they don’t have to mess around with a lid.
- Using the rule about keeping like items together, contain all daily hair essentials in one open bin. This could contain a brush, de-tangler and elastics. Keep other items, like hair bows, in a separate bin.
- These small open-topped fabric bins are ideals for items that can be tossed in, like sunglasses or random toys like cars and action figures.
- Think about the similar items in your house that could benefit from being placed together in an open bin. Things like a stack of washcloths, water bottles, and keys.
- Set low-profile open bins inside a drawer to section off and keep small items (like socks & underwear) corralled.
- On a budget? Keep old shoe boxes and decorate them with wrapping paper. Use them as open storage for a neat and tidy closet or drawer storage.
This is one of my favorite organizing tips for kids! For items that are regularly accessed like dance clothing or sports uniforms, toss everything into a large plastic open bin. Children can grab what they need and everything is in one place, from hats to socks. Don’t forget to add a label!
Choose Stackable Storage Bins for bulky items. These angled bins can hold seasonal items like sun hats and winter wear. I use these bins for toiletries so I can quickly access my inventory.
Move Bulky Items Out of the House
Whenever possible try to use a space outside of the house, like your garage, storage shed or attic. Looking at alternative locations for storage is not always considered but definitely a good organization idea.
- You could keep some items on the kitchen counter but this can create a lot of clutter and makes it harder to properly clean the counter tops.
- If you shop at Costco you may have a lot of bulk items. Bring in only what you need into the house and store the bulk of it elsewhere.
- Don’t have the kitchen cabinet space to hold a slow cooker or stand mixer? Store them in a cabinet in the garage or in a closet that has extra space.
Organizing Tips for the Medicine Cabinet
My number one organizing tip for medications? Clean it out seasonally, tossing out and/or properly disposing of expired items. Here are a few more ideas:
- To keep medicine safe, consider a lock box for certain prescriptions to keep them out of the hands of children.
- Consider keeping a small open bin to hold a grab & go first aid kit. Include bandages of various sizes and antibiotic ointment. We keep several of these in easy to reach places for my kids to bandage up small scrapes and cuts.
- Use a plastic drawer unit or organization cart to store self-care items like eye drops, lip balm and the thermometer. Label drawers so everyone in the family knows where to put things back.
Getting the Kids Organized
Tired of picking up after children? If you’re ready for young kids, tweens and teens to start assisting more with housekeeping, check out these additional articles:
- For more organizing tips to use when cleaning up kid’s bedrooms, read these practical toy organization ideas that really work! Lots of suggestions for different ways to organize including board games and baby items.
- Looking for age-appropriate chores? These are the prompts we’ve used in our family to get kids to do housework.
- If your older kids need to get on track with organization, check out this daily routine printable for tweens and teens.
Box it Up
Boxing up like items is key to organizing your home. If stacking the boxes on a shelf is what you’re planning, aim to purchase all of the same brand/type. This way the lids will be compatible with each other and should stack nicely on top of each other.
- LEGOS. Oh yes, let’s get all those tiny bits and pieces boxed up! Pull the pieces out of the box intentionally when you’re ready to play. Anything that the kids play with as a set should be in individual plastic shoe boxes (instructions too).
- Seasonal clothes and blankets don’t need to take up space in the closet. Load up plastic bins or use under-bed plastic storage boxes to store these items in the attic or under the bed.
- With a new baby, I had been given some wonderful hand-me-downs. I wanted to keep track of what I had so I went through the clothes and placed the sizes together into Clear Storage Boxes. A quick label on the outside of each allowed me to have the next size up within easy reach. Once my baby used up all the clothes in the bin, I simply removed the label and re-purposed the box.
Top Organization Tip – Get Rid of the “Junk Drawer”
We don’t have a junk drawer. And neither should you – everything should have a place. Office desks are notorious for holding all the junk but many kitchens also have a clutter drawer. Find out what to do with the items that you’d often find in a “junk drawer”.
- To start, dump out your junk drawer and find a home for each and every item there.
- Batteries? Get a bin for them and store them in a desk.
- Use an index card box to keep track of gift cards and business cards.
- Keep pens and pencils in a cup within easy reach. Get rid of any dried out markers or pens.
- Deal with mail as it comes in the door, recycling or filing as necessary.
- A mesh desk organizer is a great place to keep some of these “junk drawer” items you need close at hand.
Got everything rattling around inside the drawers? Kitchens are most frequently an issue, with small appliances loose within each drawer. Same goes for bathrooms and office desks. Here are organizing tips to maximize drawer space:
- Empty everything out of the drawers.
- Donate anything you don’t use anymore.
- Only use the turkey baster once a year? Put the infrequently used items together in a plastic box and place that in an out-of-the-way location.
- Use drawer organizers to combine like items within their proper drawers (make sure to measure length, width and height before ordering!)
- Place items back into the drawers in places where they most make sense. If you always reach for your spices when standing at the stove, then they should be in the location closest to that spot.
Creative Solutions for Clothing
My old small house was built in 1956. The closets were all equally small. Each member of our family shared a small closet with another family member. Only in-season clothes could be hung up and the rest needed to be stored somewhere else. Here was our solution:
- Keep out-of-season clothes tucked into bins under the bed. In-season clothing can hang in the closet and be folded into drawers.
- Want a clever organizing tip? If space is tight, use luggage to store seasonal clothing when you’re not traveling.
- In the kid’s rooms, hand-me-down clothes that don’t quite fit yet are also in Underbed Storage containers. Take advantage of storage places that are out of sight!
Use a Hanging Closet Organizer for stacking daily outfits. Every piece from top, bottom, underpants, socks and hair accessories are added to each shelf. In the morning, kids can grab a stack from the shelf to get dressed with everything in one place. It really makes for a stress free school morning when kids aren’t scrambling to find things!
More Organizing Tips for Closets
- Use high upper shelving for storage of seasonal decorations and out of season items. Keep a step stool available in closets to allow for quick accessibility.
- Keep hall closets in mind when looking for extra storage space, like organizing board games.
- Winter bedding and extra linens stay organized and clean in the closet until we need them! These sturdy fabric storage bags hold a lot.