12 expert-approved home organization ideas and tips for a tidy and clutter-free space
Get your home in order with these expert home organization ideas to keep clutter at bay
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Efficient home organization ideas are the secret to a happy life, according to experts. Not only do they add an elevated sense of style to your interior design scheme, but it's thought that having a more organized life at home can also create a sense of calm and less stress than living surrounded by the chaos of ‘stuff’.
So while your heart rate may initially rise at the thought of decluttering your home, organizing your space will be better for your well-being in the long run. The good news is that once you've organized your life and home more efficiently all that's required going forward are simple daily habits that can keep your home clean and tidy to uphold a sense of order.
We asked professional organization experts to share their home organization tips to help ease any overwhelming feelings as you make a start at tackling your home with ease.
12 expert home organization ideas
Whether you are looking to organize a small space, or declutter an unruly bedroom wardrobe, the end goal is the same; to create a long-term solution for you to easily keep things under control.
These home organization tips will help to create a serene space you will be proud of and one that will last, even with a busy family household to contend with.
1. Start with a detox
Before you even think of starting the organization process professionals always say it is vital to detox a space of anything you no longer need or use.
“This process allows you to have a full understanding of what you have and what storage is required," explains Kate Edmondson, founder of professional decluttering and organization Home Edited (opens in new tab). "This will lead to a more efficient project and ultimately save you time and money."
“Spending time browsing websites and researching storage solutions can be time intensive and an expensive mistake if you end up purchasing something that doesn’t work well for you," warns Kate. "Knowing what you need to store prior to organizing is paramount.” This is a common problem encountered when decluttering a loft, because not all storage is suitable for access.
The best way to tackle this is to break it down into organizing a small space, or item, at a time to make it achievable. Kate adds: “Allow enough time and be sure to have an exit plan; which items are you going to donate, recycle, and so on? Always ask yourself ‘do I consider this item useful or see it as beautiful?’ If neither applies, does it need to stay?”
2. Find your ‘pain point’ and deal with it first
When you are living amongst clutter it is easy to get used to it and turn a blind eye. It’s only when you look again through someone else’s eyes that you realize which areas could use some decluttering attention to transform into a space you are proud of.
“Walk around the house as if you are a stranger coming into it for the first time and figure out what are the pain points in your home, the clutter areas that you think are a mess - then start there,” says Gemma Gwynne Stevenson, founder of Your Organized Space (opens in new tab).
“What to do with shoes and coats is a pinch point for almost every client that I work with,” says Gemma Tucker, founder of Balance Interior Design (opens in new tab). “So make space for proper storage for the shoes and coats you use this season and put the rest away.
Small wins will give you a boost to carry on the organization process throughout the house. “There are so many small changes that you can make that can have a big impact. Find small jobs you can do regularly, such as clearing out a drawer while waiting for the bath to run, or a pan to boil. It will give you a boost once you have done it to get on with decluttering and get organized."
Gemma advises: "Start with a contained area, get everything out, make everything clean, handle everything, and decide what you want to keep and what to pass on.”
3. Group like-for-like items
When it comes to decluttering your bedroom, bathroom, or any room for that matter, Kate suggests by bringing like-for-like items together gives you a visual inventory of what you already have and any duplicates you can get rid of.
“Group all your jeans together, all t-shirts together, jumpers, and so on,” says Kate. “This allows you to have a good understanding of what you own and will allow you to make informed decisions about what is no longer required or wanted.”
There is also a future win to be had by taking on board this home organization tip. Not only will your items be easier to find but Kate explains “by grouping like-for-like items together this means that anything new that comes into the home can be put in their rightful place and will be easier to tidy away.”
4. Make a storage plan, and stick to it!
Be a friend to your future self and plan, plan, plan. At the end of a busy day, the last thing you want to do is spend hours tidying up. But if you are organized and have a place where everything goes, it makes things a whole lot quicker and creates areas of calm.
“When we were designing the kitchen I made sure I planned and knew what was going to be in each cupboard so I had a home for everything. That meant my surfaces could be kept relatively clear,” says Jess Hurrell (opens in new tab), interiors expert and editor of lifestyle blog Gold is a Neutral.
Talking about her organized kitchen cabinets Jess says: “Our kitchen now has floor-to-ceiling cabinets which conceal the pantry, larder, laundry cupboard, and another which is full of all of our crockery and vases. You can never have too much-concealed storage.”
5. Put a label on it
There is little point in taking these organization tips on board and storing things away neatly if the rest of the household messes it up because they don’t know where things are supposed to go. So frustrating! The solution according to Gemma Gwynne Stevenson is to label everything.
“It's such a simple win, but using labels helps you and everyone else to keep things under control. It means everyone in the house can find things, you can easily point people in the right direction, and the key is everyone (you, your partner, children, and any other helpers you have at home) can get involved in tidying up and share the load.”
You don't even need a label maker to do this - you can use stick-on labels, a sharpie, brown paper tie-on labels, or stick-on blackboard labels. So no excuses!
6. Don’t get sentimental
Resist the temptation to open a box of old photos mid-declutter as it will only send you down a sentimental spiral. One tip is to put them away in a box and save them as a treat to look over with a coffee at the end of your declutter. When it comes to sentimental items, those ticket stubs, children's paintings, and memories can be difficult to part with but often do not have a natural home.
Organization expert Kate says: “A way to tackle this and not to allow it to become an overwhelming task is to utilize one storage box per member of the family and place sentimental items relevant to that family member in it."
"When this storage box is full, revisit the items inside. How you feel towards some of these items may have changed from the moment you placed them in there. This is also a lovely way to revisit these items on a yearly basis, which is exactly why we keep sentimental items, to revisit and reminisce. It then becomes a task of joy rather than overwhelm.”
But how do you keep focused and make the decision on what to keep and what to let go of? Don’t let the guilt of getting rid of something hold you back. Just because something was a present from your Granny if you don’t like it or use it you don’t need to keep it.
“Take a picture. We don’t always need the physical item to fulfill our sentimental requirement,” says Kate. “Could you repurpose an item in a way that would better serve you? Or alternatively rehome it or donate it.”
7. Buy storage that elevates your space
Yes, there is a practical element to buying the right storage solutions to organize your home. But according to Jess, it doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. And the nicer the storage looks, the more likely you are going to want to use it.
“I have sideboards in the kitchen, the lounge, and in my kid's bedrooms and it is where I hide all of their toys, craft stuff, Lego, and things,” says Jess. “I’ve never bought specific kids' storage because I want it to look good and fit in with the style of my house.”
Using the furniture you already have in a more creative way can be a savvy way to get organized, and while bespoke furniture can create a more exacting space, it usually comes with a higher price tag. If you are tight on a budget keep a lookout for vintage finds in thrift stores or flea markets.
There are many furniture upcycling hacks that can be found on Instagram and Tik Tok that demonstrate how budget furniture from the likes of IKEA can be cleverly transformed.
8. Cut out the closet clutter
If your closet looks like a junk sale, it is time to claw back some control – especially when it comes to organizing a small closet with lots of clothes. Again use the trick to bring all your jeans and sweaters together in their own piles so you can hold off heading to the mall to buy more of the same items.
To keep the space organized for a long time Kate's suggestion is to: “Hang as much as you can. The use of slim line hangers will allow you to really utilize as much space as possible. If hanging space is limited, be sure to ‘file fold’ items of clothing so that you can easily see what you have. Also, the use of drawer dividers in these spaces will allow these items to remain together.”
9. Treat your bathroom like a spa
By just putting some time and thought into planning out storage solutions in a bathroom declutter, the room can be transformed into a stylish sanctuary.
“Always take time to consider the best options for storing your toiletries and toilet tissue etc, this way your bathroom can feel spa-like and restful,” says Gemma Tucker. “Opt for a vanity unit with storage beneath rather than a pedestal basin. With a bespoke design, you can include drawer inserts with sections to organize your products, or use smaller organizers inside the drawers/ cupboards.
“Install open shelves so that you can store towels, neatly fold, and organize toiletries in baskets or consider a tall cupboard, as you would do a wardrobe in a bedroom as this provides generous storage big enough for towels as well as cleaning products, toiletries, and toilet tissue.”
Another smart organizational win is by installing a recessed bathroom cabinet above your vanity unit. “This allows you to have all your regular products close to hand in a cabinet cleverly disguised as a mirror. If you prefer not to build out a stud wall to house a recessed cabinet, there are some great wall-mounted options.”
And don’t forget the kids' rubber duckies. Nothing zaps the zen out of a candle-lit bath than a plastic toy poking you in the back. Make it chic and easy for the children to help out with too. “A hamper-style basket for children's bath toys looks smart and is easy to access,” says Gemma.
10. Upgrade your storage to work smarter
So you have taken on board our organization tips and identified where you are going to store everything, now it’s time to make your storage work harder for you. Inserting organization tools inside cupboards and drawers can utilize dead space and create easy, long-term solutions to keeping things neat and tidy.
The trick to getting this right as a successful way to organize kitchen drawers and cabinets is to measure the areas where the items will be homed prior to purchasing any storage.
“Create shelves on the inside of the cupboard doors to maximize space,” says Interior designer Katherine Pooley (opens in new tab). “I like to do smaller shelves to keep all of my spices in order. It’s also a great place to put oils and vinegar and to tidy away those cereal boxes.”
Storage jars for an organized pantry, shelf risers, drawer dividers in the bedroom, and turntables for hard-to-reach areas not only look great but will allow items to be contained and organized, enabling you to clearly see what you have and where to clear items away.
11. Create a beautiful bookshelf
There is one storage solution that can become a stunning style feature when it is organized in a considered way.
“Home libraries are a great way to store beloved books and add color and character to your space,” says Gemma Tucker. “For an ultra-stylish look, organize your books by color and then display them in blocks. For extra flare, you can alternate the direction so that some sit horizontally and act as a bookend." Be sure to declutter your books before you start to contemplate any bookshelf styling.
“Fear not if your book collection is not yet established or you prefer to read and pass on your books, bookshelves can double up as display spaces for objet d'art, paintings, and other collected treasures.”
12. Work with what you have and be creative
Look up. Is there space above a door you can put a shelf? Is there a space under the stairs that you could turn into drawers? The quirkier the house, the more creative you can be with the solutions to organize. Look for forgotten corners and see ‘how can this work for me?’
“Make use of alcoves,” advises Gemma Tucker. “If you have a period house, alcoves can provide a great opportunity for storage. Consider installing a tall cupboard, as you would do a wardrobe in a bedroom; or install open shelves to house smart baskets or containers.”
How do I begin to organize my house?
Remember when you are starting out on an organization journey to focus on why you are doing it. It will give you back more time, give you more calm, tranquility, space and less chaos. Life can feel less overwhelming when things are in their place and there is one less thing to worry about.
But just remember it is your home and you do not need to keep items for anyone other than yourself. Create an easy habit and keep it up and the little and often approach will make a big difference to keeping a beautiful organized home you can relax in.
Danielle Lawler is an editor, journalist and copywriter of over twenty years covering home stories, lifestyle and entertainment across national newspapers, magazines, online and in trade press.
Aside from women & home, most recently her work has appeared in Tatler Magazine, The Telegraph, Homes and Gardens and Royal Ascot Magazine.
She can often been found writing 'at home' stories with influential business people and celebrities, covering cultural events and writing about new lifestyle trends in interiors, beauty and travel.
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