All posts by Paige Smith

13 Miracle Solutions For Arranging And Organizing A Kitchen Without Cabinets

Having an organized, clutter-free kitchen makes everything from cooking dinner to making coffee a thousand times easier. But what if your kitchen doesn’t have cabinets? Where are you supposed to put your plates, mugs, and snacks?

The answer: Wherever they can fit.

When there’s no obvious place to store dishes, food, and appliances, you have to think outside the cabinet. Here are 13 genius ways to arrange and organize a kitchen without cabinets:

1. Store kitchen tools on a pegboard

a pegboard hangs in the kitchen with cooking supplies like a cutting board and knives
Elizabeth Joan Designs

A well-designed pegboard isn’t just beautiful to look at, it’s also the key to maintaining your sanity in the kitchen — cabinets or not.

Why?

Because a pegboard organizes your cooking tools in a functional and aesthetically-pleasing way. Which saves you from having to rummage through multiple drawers just to find your whisk.

Pro Tip: You can also use a pegboard to organize your hats, ties, and scarves.

2. Install floating shelves

floating shelves hold plates and a plant near a window in a white kitchen
Lemon Thistle

Floating shelves add style and personality to your kitchen while also housing your favorite dishes.

The best part:

They don’t take up any of your precious floor space.

Go minimalist with your shelves. Or jazz them up with potted plants, cookbooks, and framed photos.

3. Use a rolling kitchen cart

a white rolling cart has been styled as a portable espresso vessel
A Beautiful Mess

Even the smallest of kitchens can accommodate a rolling cart. They’re surprisingly stylish and can provide tons of storage in a small space. If you need more space, simply roll the cart to your living room or dining nook.

Take a cue from the ladies behind A Beautiful Mess and give your cart a theme: Espresso Cart, Baking Cart, Snack Cart — you get the idea.

Or just put your extra dishes and cooking essentials on the kitchen cart and call it day.

Free Bonus: 7 Smart Ways To Save A Ton Of Space In A Small Kitchen

4. Hang coffee mugs on a rack

a small coffee station with a shelf and hanging rod that holds mugs
The Inspired Room

No room to stack your mugs?

Hang ’em on a pretty rack instead. If you don’t have a coffee mug rack, repurpose a wooden coat rack or sleek towel rod with sturdy hooks.

Bonus points if you can create enough space for a coffee station below your mug display.

Free Bonus: 11 Clever And Easy Kitchen Organization Ideas You’ll Love

5. Add storage to your kitchen island

A handmade kitchen storage island with drawers that pop and slide open
My Love 2 Create

This kitchen island with pantry storage from My Love 2 Create is a serious game changer.

The bad news: You’ll have to block out a Saturday afternoon to get your materials and build the kitchen island.

The good news: You’ll be thrilled to have a portable kitchen island with plenty of storage space for food, silverware, dish towels, cutting boards, and more.

So worth the hands-on work.

Want more awesome DIY ideas that won’t hog your Saturday?

Check out these 10 DIY storage and furniture projects you can make in less than one hour.

6. Store dishes on a bookcase

a large brown bookcase has been converted into a storage space for dishes
Not Just A Housewife

Bookcases are the casual cousin to a fancy glass-paneled china cabinet.

A multi-shelf bookcase can easily hold an entire collection of dinnerware, plus extra items like cookbooks, jars of cooking ingredients, and a cutting board.

7. Maximize your drawer space

an organized kitchen drawer with items separated with clear containers and organizers
Organizing Made Fun

In a kitchen without cabinets, drawers are your saving grace. They hide your unsightly but necessary kitchen tools (like citrus squeezers and meat tenderizers) and make everything easy to reach.

The trick to a well-organized drawer is to take advantage of every inch of available space.

How?

Go crazy with drawer dividers and stacking bins.

Free Bonus: 12 Next-Level Ways To Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets, Drawers, And Pantry

8. Turn your cooking necessities into countertop decor

three clear canisters with gold lids hold flour, sugar, and oats
Sincerely, Sara D.

Don’t have space to hide your baking and cooking ingredients?

Put them on display: Buy a set of matching jars and fill them with grains, flours, seeds, nuts, sugar, and dried pasta.

Free Bonus: 48 Kitchen Storage Hacks And Solutions That Will Instantly Upgrade Your Life

9. DIY a wood pallet spice rack

a multi-level spice rack made of pallet wood holds a number of spices
Make It & Love It

Don’t give your spices the drawer treatment, where they’re bound to roll around and spill.

This clever DIY pallet spice rack from Make It & Love It saves space and keeps everything organized and easily accessible.

Hungry for more space-saving DIY wood pallet ideas?

Take a look at these eight cheap and easy wood pallet projects that will revitalize your home in no time.

10. Store food in baskets on the counter

a grey wicker basket lined with a white towel holds three loaves of packaged bread
Honey We’re Home

Rather than hiding everyday staples like bread and fruit, store them front and center on your kitchen counter.

Get a stylish wire or wicker basket, cover the interior in cloth, and fill it up with your go-to foods.

Want more smart kitchen tips?

Learn how to cook in a small kitchen with ease.

11. Use a wall-mounted pot rack

a hanging pot rack over a white kitchen stovetop
Imperfect Homemaking

Hang a sturdy pot rack above your sink, stove, or kitchen island. It’s an easy and artistic way to store your collection of pots and pans.

12. Store silverware in Mason jars

three mason jars are filled with spoons, forks, and knives on a countertop behind a loaf of monkey bread
Deliciously Organized

If your drawers are filled to the brim with spatulas and rolling pins, store your silverware in Mason jars on the kitchen counter.

To limit the scrape of metal against glass, fill your jars with rice. Doing so will keep your forks and spoons stable and scratch-free.

Free Bonus: 10 Brilliant Mason Jar DIY Ideas For Your Tiny Apartment

13. Let MakeSpace pick up and store your extra stuff

Let go of the stuff you don’t need. Then pack your extra kitchen stuff and schedule a MakeSpace pickup (your first pickup is free!).

We’ll pick up everything from your home, transport it to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility, and create an online photo catalog of your stuff.

Need something back from storage?

Browse the convenient online photo catalog of your stuff, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

This article was written by Paige Smith, a freelance writer from Orange County, California who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics.

12 Relationship-Saving Ways To Share A Closet With Your Significant Other

It’s hard enough to maintain order in your own closet, let alone one you share with your significant other. After all, sharing a closet means two personalities, two wardrobes, and double the amount of shoes in a tiny space.

If that mental picture sends you into panic mode, don’t worry. It’s totally normal to be a bit stressed about giving up space that was once all yours.

But before you start searching for studio apartments, know this: Sharing closet space is totally doable. You just need some creativity, smart planning, and an open line of communication with your partner to make it happen.

Read on to learn how to successfully share your closet space with your significant other.  These 12 practical tips will help you divide your space, stay organized, and hold onto your sanity:

1. Declutter first

sharing closet hangers
The Organised Housewife

The key to maintaining an organized closet is to limit what goes inside it. Before you start arguing with your partner over who gets the highest shelves, you each need to cut down the amount of stuff you had in your individual closets. That means clothes, shoes, accessories, costumes, and tools, for example.

Separate your things into categories, then sort through your belongings one by one. Donate any item you don’t love or wear regularly.

Need help decluttering?

Read these 15 actionable decluttering tips from Certified Professional Organizers. Or use our KonMari method cheat sheet  to declutter your home like Marie Kondo.

2. Organize your closet together

shared organized closet
Just A Girl and Her Blog

Even if your partner doesn’t have the tidy gene (and claims to trust your judgment), it’s important to organize your closet as a team.

Discuss your habits, morning routines, and which items you wear regularly. Doing this will help you figure out how much space each person needs and where to store certain clothes.

If you both get ready for work at the same time, try storing your stuff on separate sides of the closet to avoid getting in each other’s way. On the other hand, if you use the closet at different times of the day, you might be able to share drawer and hanging space more easily.

Above all, remember this:

You don’t need to split your closet space 50/50 if you don’t want to. Just focus on organizing your clothes in a way that makes it easy for both of you to get dressed in the morning.

Free Bonus: How To Easily Organize Everything In Your Closet (For Cheap)

3. Store off-season items elsewhere

assorted boots stored in a clear storage bin without the lid
Paige Smith

Limit your stuff to the basics. Store the pieces you wear every day front and center, and stash off-season items — like skirts, shorts, sandals, and bathing suits — in your coat closet or a bin under the bed.

Pro Tip: These 53 insanely clever bedroom storage hacks and solutions will help you save serious space.

4. Label storage boxes

labeled storage boxes in the closet
A Beautiful Mess

If you’re low on drawer or shelf space, store dress shoes, scarves, belts, and hats in baskets or shoe boxes.

Just make sure to label or color-code each person’s boxes so it’s easy to find what you both need when you’re scrambling to choose an outfit before work.

Free Bonus: 13 Easy DIY Storage Ideas That’ll Organize Your Entire Home

5. Use cohesive hangers

matching velvet hangers hanging shirts
Flickr/Emily May

Matching hangers are like non-stick pans and cordless vacuums — you don’t think you need them, but once you start using them you can’t imagine ever going back.

Coordinating hangers limit harmful visual clutter in your closet and help save space. Velvet hangers in particular are super slim and take up half the room their bulky wooden and plastic counterparts do.

Pro Tip: Use Hang A Bunch multi-purpose hangers to hang six times as many clothes on just one hanger.

6. Take advantage of every inch

organized closet storage
Confessions of a Serial Do-It-Yourselfer

When you’re combining two wardrobes into one closet, you need as much space as possible to keep your things organized and accessible.

Use high shelves to store bins. Mount sturdy hooks on the back of the closet door (here are eight more hidden storage areas in your home). And take advantage of open floor space to store a shoe rack or small dresser.

7. Designate a place for dirty laundry

master bedroom closet laundry hamper
Clean Mama

No matter how tiny your closet is, make space for a laundry basket or hamper. Having an easy place to stash your dirty clothes means they won’t end up in smelly piles on the floor. If that won’t keep the relationship strong, we don’t know what will.

8. Take advantage of vertical storage space

tie storage closet
Our Fifth House

Vertical storage space is a serious game-changer. Even the smallest, most poorly designed closets have plenty of vertical storage possibilities.

Here are five:

  1. Install wall hooks to hang belts, hats, robes, and handbags
  2. Use key racks as jewelry displays
  3. Save shelf space by storing sweaters in a hanging organizer.
  4. Hang a shoe rack on the back of your closet door.
  5. Use a towel rod for scarf and tie storage.
shoe rack on back of closet door
Paige Smith

Want your stuff to double as art?

Take a cue from Our Fifth House and create a pretty heel display using a curtain rod and an extra piece of molding:

crown moudling heel storage
Our Fifth House

9. Use convenient storage solutions

hanging clothes in an organized closet
Our Fifth House

The more convenient it is to put away clothes, the more likely both of you are to do it. That’s why it’s smart to use storage solutions that make sense for you and your partner.

If you both hate folding clothes (here’s how to fold and store 10-20 more shirts in the same space required to hang 10), get rid of the shelves in your closet and install an extra hanging rod.

Or, if your partner dislikes bending down to put his shoes away, store them in a hanging organizer.

Bottom line: Make your closet work for you two, not against you.

Free Bonus: 5 Problems With Your Bedroom Closet (And How To Solve Them ASAP)

10. Purge often

small closet organization
Flickr/Emily May

Every couple months, set aside time with your partner to reevaluate your stuff and decide what you want to keep.

Get rid of anything ill-fitting, unloved, unworn, or damaged beyond repair. Paring down your stuff simplifies the process of choosing an outfit and makes it easier to organize your closet. Win-win.

Free Bonus: A Professional Organizer Shares Her 8 Best Tips For Decluttering Your Home Once And For All

11. Stay on your side of the closet

man side of the closet
Just A Girl and Her Blog

Respecting one another’s space and belongings is key to maintaining shared closet harmony. Make an effort to keep your area of the closet tidy and don’t let your collection of workout shorts or jean jackets overflow into your partner’s zone.

If you’re running out of room for your stuff, consider donating a few items (MakeSpace offers free Goodwill donation pickups in NYC, Chicago, and DC) or rotating pieces from storage.

12. Let MakeSpace pick up and store your extra stuff

Let go of stuff you don’t need. Then, let MakeSpace store everything you and your partner can’t fit in the closet.

Simply schedule a pickup and pack your stuff. We’ll pick up everything from your home and transport it to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility.

The best part:

When you need your swimsuit and/or carry-on back, browse the convenient online photo catalog of your stuff, click the items’ photos, and we’ll deliver them to you.

This article was written by Paige Smith, a freelance writer from Orange County, California who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics.

15 Things You Should Get Rid Of Now For a Cleaner, Calmer Home

Decluttering your home is a big undertaking. It takes a considerable amount of energy to sort through your stuff to figure out what you should keep or get rid of.

Luckily, there are certain items you don’t need to think twice about before tossing. We’ve compiled this handy, no-brainer list of clutter culprits for you, so all you have to do is follow our lead.

Below are 15 things you should get rid of right now for a cleaner, calmer home, plus tips on the best ways to do it.

Free Bonus: Decluttering Flowchart: Finally Expel Clutter From Your Home

1. Meaningless knick-knacks and souvenirs

Porcelain elephants are lined up on a dark surface

If your travel souvenirs and random knick-knacks (like your plastic Big Ben replica or porcelain elephant) don’t enhance your decor or bring you happiness, bid them adieu.

Pro Tip: If your stuff is valuable, consider selling it on OfferUp.

2. Books you don’t plan to read

A small collection of books are lined up on a shelf
Flickr/Jay Cross

Are you actually going to crack open that beginner book of Italian, or dive into Les Misérables for the first time?

Be honest with yourself, and donate the books you no longer have the desire or time to read. Here’s how to decide what books to keep or get rid of.

You’ll have more space for the stuff you love, like your vinyl record collection. Plus, you won’t feel guilty every time you look at your bookcase.

Need more space for the books you do keep?

Check out these nine creative book storage hacks for small apartments.

3. Worn-down shoes

a closeup of a pair of old running shoes
Flickr/Erno Mijland

If you reach for the same one or two pairs of shoes over and over, consider getting rid of your collection of old, dusty footwear.

Here’s how to store the shoes, boots, and sneakers you save.

Pro Tip: Since shoes take 30 to 40 years to decompose in landfills, it’s better for the planet if you repurpose or recycle them instead of tossing them. If your kicks are in good condition, donate them to an organization that gives shoes to people in need, like Soles4Souls or One World Running.

Planet Aid accepts all shoes in any condition. Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program will take your worn-down athletic shoes and recycle the material to manufacture athletic surfaces like tracks and tennis courts.

4. Old Halloween costumes and school uniforms

A child's school uniform complete with a satin bow and shoes
Flickr/MIKI Yoshihito

Your high school volleyball uniform might be sentimental, but chances are you won’t miss it when it’s gone. Same goes for those polyester Halloween costumes and masks cluttering your storage closet.

Get rid of the clothes you’ll never wear again. Then use this guide to clean and store your remaining Halloween costumes and decorations.

5. Cards

A small, closed envelope resting on a table
Flickr/amy gizienski

It’s tempting to save cards for sentimental reasons. But if you don’t purge them often, you’ll have boxes full of notes you never look at (and probably forgot you saved).

Recycle your holiday cards (you’ll get new ones next year, anyway!) and any birthday, thank you, or “just because” cards that have brief, generalized messages.

Only save the ones that have special meaning to you.

6. Expired beauty products

a white bathroom sink hosts a number of toiletries
Flickr/J B

Believe it or not, beauty products like lotion and shampoo have an expiration date (Real Simple has a guide to checking makeup expiration dates).

To free up space in your bathroom cabinets, toss all your expired skincare, hair care, and cosmetic products, especially makeup and sunscreen that’s no longer fresh.

Here are 16 clever beauty storage ideas and solutions for the products you have left over.

Important: Recycle the plastic containers from your beauty products so they don’t end up  in landfills. Sign up to be part of Terracycle’s free and super easy Personal Care and Beauty Recycling Program. Or drop off your empty and thoroughly rinsed containers at a nearby Origins store. Origins recycles empty containers from any brand at any time.

7. Kitchen utensils and appliances you never use

A white, spacious kitchen with an oven and open shelving
Flickr/Emily May

There’s no sense in organizing your kitchen drawers and cabinets to accommodate bulky appliances and obscure gadgets you never use. If it’s been months since you dug through your cabinets to find your pasta maker, meat thermometer, or mini-loaf pan, put them in the donation pile.

Save your precious kitchen storage space for your go-to items, like your French press or blender.

Free Bonus: 11 Clever And Easy Kitchen Organization Ideas You’ll Love

8. Formal wear you only wore once

a formal blue bridesmaid dress hangs from the door, ready to be donated
Paige Smith

You might love your BFF, but that bright-green bridesmaid’s dress from her wedding isn’t doing you any favors. Neither are any suits, gowns, or formal attire you don’t wear at least annually.

After you declutter (our KonMari method cheat sheet will help you do that), learn how to easily organize everything in your closet.

Pro Tip: Sell your formal wear at your local Buffalo Exchange or online with Poshmark, Prom Again, or The Dress List.

9. Desk and craft supplies

Colorful art supplies are grouped together in six tin canisters

Unless you’re a hard-core crafter (or you have a child in grade school), you don’t need multiple boxes full of dull pencils, promo pens, and scrapbook stickers.

Organize your desk, and narrow down your supplies to the basics. Then donate the rest.

10. Your collection of CDs and DVDs

A small collection of old CDs and DVDs are gathering dust on a wooden shelf
Flickr/Karl Baron

There are a couple practical reasons to hold onto your CDs and DVDs, like in case your WiFi gets spotty and you can’t stream music and movies. But finding space and time to store and organize a massive collection of outdated physical media isn’t always worth it.

If your stack of Good Charlotte CDs and Austin Powers movies is taking up prime real estate in your bedroom or living area, get rid of them so you have more space for the things that matter.

Free Bonus: Should You Keep CDs And DVDs? How To Store And Sell Them For Cash

11. Half-used spices and expired food

A closeup of 3 spices in 3 separate plastic spice bottles
Flickr/Andrew Malone

Double your kitchen cabinet space in two seconds by tossing out all your expired food. While you’re at it, get rid of spices you’ve never used or don’t particularly like. Bye, fennel.

Pro Tip: Trash your expired food, but make sure to recycle or reuse glass and plastic containers.

Free Bonus: 7 Smart Ways To Save A Ton Of Space In Your Small Kitchen

12. Accessories that aren’t your style

A collection of chic women's scarves on a wooden floor
Flickr/emma

You know the ones: The black leather purse with the rhinestones, the paisley scarf you bought on impulse in London, or the tie your brother-in-law gave you two Christmases ago.

Accessories, whether sunglasses or a belt, are designed to add extra flair to your wardrobe. But if you don’t feel confident and cool when you wear them, they’ll never make it out of your closet.

Donate the accessories you don’t love. Then use this list of 13 easy DIY storage ideas and solutions to organize the rest of your stuff.

13. Wire hangers

Old wire hangers are crammed together in a dimly lit closet
Flickr/Michael Lehet

If your closet is full of flimsy wire hangers you’ve had since the early 2000s, it’s time to let go. Trade them in for a matching set of wood or velvet hangers.

Free Bonus: 5 Problems With Your Bedroom Closet (And How To Solve Them ASAP)

Some cities prohibit you from putting wire hangers in your recycling bins. Check your city using Earth911’s Recycling Center Search. Either way, you can always donate your hangers to your local dry cleaners or drop them off at a recycling center near you.

14. Instruction manuals, expired coupons, and old magazines

A sizable pile of old magazines like Food and Bon apetit
Flickr/Jessica Spengler

Cut down on clutter (and save your sanity) by recycling all the unnecessary papers you’ve accumulated over the years.

First on the list: Stacks of outdated, unread magazines, expired coupons, junk mail, and all those useless instruction manuals you saved but never once relied on to restart your TV.

Free Bonus: 13 Painless Ways To Organize, Store, And Get Rid Of Paper Clutter

15. Electronics you don’t use

A pile of old phones like Blackberry and Vodaphone
Flickr/Enrique Dans

It’s safe to say you won’t need your old iPod mini or dead Blackberry, well, ever.

Get rid of these outdated devices, along with random chargers, USB cords, and any other technology you don’t use on a regular basis (like your Kindle, or the Dell computer you haven’t opened since you got a Mac).

Pro Tip: You can’t just throw electronics in the trash. You need to be thoughtful about how you dispose of them. For old or broken electronics, find a responsible recycler (otherwise known as an e-Steward) near you. Staples, Best Buy, and Apple will also take your old products. Just make sure to delete your data first.

Donate Your Stuff

A box full of books ready to be donated
Flickr/Alper Cugun

Give your things new life by donating them. The Salvation Army is always looking for gently-worn shoes, clothes, and formal wear, as well as books, kitchen tools, and household supplies.

The same goes for Goodwill, which will take your old electronics, too. And if you live in NYC, Chicago, or DC, MakeSpace can even pick up your donation and drop it off at your local Goodwill — for free.

After you let go of the stuff you don’t need, use MakeSpace to store your off-season clothes, bike, surfboard, luggage, A/C unit, and more.

Simply schedule a MakeSpace pickup (your first pickup is free!) and pack your stuff. We’ll pick up everything from your home and carefully transport it to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility.

And when you want something back from storage, simply browse the convenient online photo catalog of your stuff, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

This article was written by Paige Smith, a freelance writer from Orange County, California who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics.

19 Bodacious Backyard Storage Ideas, Tips, Hacks, And Solutions You Need To Try

Outdoor storage isn’t exactly straightforward. Unlike a home that has closets, cabinets, and drawers to hide your unappealing possessions, a backyard is wide open, meaning you have to think outside the box to organize and store your stuff.

But no matter your backyard situation — whether you have a teeny balcony, medium-sized patio, or sprawling lawn — there are plenty of easy, practical ways to store your landscaping tools, pool cleaning equipment, gardening materials, kids’ toys, and more.

Read on for 19 bodacious backyard storage ideas, tips, hacks, and solutions that will transform your outdoor space into an organized, clutter-free paradise.

1. Turn a bookcase into an outdoor storage bench

outdoor padded bench
So You Think You’re Crafty

This genius tutorial from So You Think You’re Crafty repurposes a narrow bookcase to make a padded storage bench . Just gather some foam, fabric, a can of paint, and bam — your tired bookcase is reborn as a dual-purpose seating area.

As far as storage possibilities go, get creative:

Fill the cubbies in your bench with towels, blankets, baskets of gardening tools, or pretty planters.

Want more cool DIY storage ideas?

Check out these 10 DIY storage and furniture projects you can make in less than one hour.

2. Revamp your tool shed

outdoor storage shed
The Cavender Diary

Tool sheds are a convenient, efficient way to store the equipment you need to maintain and spruce up your backyard — like lawn mowers, landscaping tools, planters, and hoses.

The only problem?

Tool sheds don’t always feature a smart design on the inside.

If that’s the case, take a cue from the men behind The Cavender Diary and make a few basic changes to upgrade your tool shed.

Tear out bulky shelves. Install an IKEA Grundtal rail, utensil holder, and S-hook to hold small gardening tools. Add wall hooks. Or hang a sturdy bin to store items like fertilizer and plant spray.

Free Bonus: 12 Best IKEA Hacks And Ideas For Every Room In Your Home

3. Use a hanging organizer to store gardening tools

hanging shoe organizer garden equipment
The Coupon Project

A hanging organizer is the baking soda equivalent of organizing tools: It fixes every problem.

You can use hanging organizers to store shoes, winter accessories, makeup, beauty products, crafts, and even cleaning supplies, so why not use them in your backyard, too?

Stuff the pockets with your gardening gloves, clippers, plant stakes, twine, and seed packets like The Coupon Project did, then hang it on the wall of your greenhouse or tool shed.

4. Make a DIY garden hose holder

DIY Garden Hose Holder
Love Grows Wild

This clever DIY garden hose holder accomplishes three important things:

  1. It keeps your hose accessible
  2. It prevents your hose from ending up in a tangled pile on the ground
  3. It looks surprisingly chic sitting in your garden.

What more could you want?

Check out the full tutorial at Love Grows Wild.

5. Build an outdoor coffee table with storage

outdoor coffee table with storage
Organize & Decorate Everything

This outdoor crate coffee table with storage is the ultimate fun yet practical DIY project. Organize & Decorate Everything breaks down the full process, but here’s the gist:

  1. Gather a few wooden crates (try your local farmer’s market or winery).
  2. Slap them with a fresh coat of paint.
  3. Glue them to a piece of sturdy plywood in the shape of a square.
  4. Add caster wheels, and voilà — you have a portable rustic coffee table with plenty of storage for bar essentials, gorgeous air-purifying houseplants, or maybe even some books.
Free Bonus: How To Decide What Books To Keep Or Get Rid Of

6. DIY a covered kids car garage

Outdoor Toy Car Organization
Mom Endeavors

No more tripping over tricycles, toy cars, and skateboards scattered around your backyard. Corral your kids’ toys and gear in this mini covered kiddie parking garage by Mom Endeavors.

The DIY storage unit — built from PVC pipes, a corrugated plastic panel, and cloth — expertly hides your kids’ outdoor stuff, but is still easy enough for them to access.

7. Turn an old shutter into a towel rack

DIY shutter towel rack
The Decorating Duchess

If your dilapidated, weather-beaten shutter is almost falling off its hinges, give it a new identity: flip it on its side, install a few hooks, and call it a shutter towel rack.

You don’t even have to paint it or sand down the edges if you don’t want to. The ramshackle look will only add to its rustic, antique charm.

Free Bonus: Want more vintage pieces turned storage solutions? Check out these eight cool vintage finds to help you control clutter.

8. Hide your garden hose in an outdoor planter

outdoor planter hose storage
That’s My Letter

If you’re sick of dragging your hose to and from the backyard to water your plants, or leaving it in a messy pile in the middle of your garden because you’re too tired to put it away, here’s your solution:

Store the hose in a pretty outdoor planter. It’s simple, convenient, and actually looks good.

Read the post on That’s My Letter to learn exactly how to set up your own secret hose-hiding planter.

9. Build an outdoor buffet cabinet

DIY outdoor buffet cabinet
Oleander + Palm

Depending on your personality, backyard setup, and weekend routine, you might have a variety of different storage needs. You may need to store shovels, gravel, and extra terra cotta pots.

Maybe you have to make room for pool tools and kids’ toys. Or, you may need a place to store your party necessities.

Whatever the case, Oleander + Palm’s gorgeous DIY outdoor buffet cabinet is just the thing you need to easily host dinners, brunches, and game nights al fresco. The buffet top serves as a mini bar, while the cabinets hold everything from candle lanterns to glassware.

Free Bonus: For more DIY fun, check out these 11 DIY wood pallet ideas that will increase the space in your apartment.

10. Store firewood in a DIY firewood cart with wheels

DIY Rolling Firewood Cart
The Wood Grain Cottage

Cabin owners and mountain dwellers know how quickly a basic supply of firewood can stack up (pun intended) and take over your entire deck, patio, or garage.

To prevent this from happening, invest a Saturday afternoon into constructing your very own stylish and ultra practical rolling firewood cart à la The Wood Grain Cottage. It’ll help maximize your outdoor space and keep your logs organized.

And did we mention it’s portable? Skip the heavy lifting and just roll your firewood wherever it needs to go.

Want more smart home storage hacks?

These 12 best IKEA hacks and ideas will upgrade your entire apartment.

11. Hang gardening tools on a piece of wood

DIY garden tool organizer
Flickr/Andrea_44

Have an old wooden plank laying around from your last DIY project?

Give it new life as a simple garden tool rack.

You don’t need a plain piece of wood, either. Repurpose an old coat rack, hockey stick, or longboard to add some personality to your storage.

12. Construct an outdoor storage bench

DIY Outdoor Storage Bench
Sand and Sisal

An outdoor storage bench is a no-brainer for your backyard. It’s a dual-purpose item that saves space, holds up to harsh weather, and looks great among your patio furniture. Especially if you build it yourself with help using Sand and Sisal’s DIY outdoor storage box tutorial.

Use it to store outdoor pillows, blankets for cozying up around the fire, games, pool toys, or towels. If you have enough seating space, it also doubles as a buffet table or drink station.

13. Use a wood pallet to store pool toys

pallet pool storage
Funky Junk Interiors

Pool toys are some of the worst backyard clutter offenders. They come in a variety of (sometimes bulky) shapes and sizes, making them difficult to store unless you have a dedicated shed or massive bin to stash them in.

Luckily, thanks to this smart DIY wood pallet project from Funky Junk Interiors, you don’t need either of those options to store your pool toys. A basic wood pallet with a few added hooks on the front can accommodate pool noodles, rafts, kickboards, squirt guns, and even cleaning equipment.

Free Bonus: How To Start Decluttering Your Home: 15 Actionable Tips From Certified Professional Organizers

14. Design a vertical cinder block planter

vertical cinder block planter
The Garden Glove

If you don’t have enough surface area to spread out your collection of herbs, plants, and flowers, go vertical using this DIY cinder block vertical planter tutorial from The Garden Glove.

All you need are some cinder blocks, heavy-duty construction glue, and a bit of imagination. Make your planter as tall or intricate as you like.

And if you’re not a fan of the urban grey vibe, spray paint your blocks to match your outdoor decor.

Pro Tip: Don’t stop with your yard. Give your home a green makeover, too. Here are the best house plants and planters for anyone who lives in a tiny apartment.

15. Organize kids’ toys in weatherproof baskets

plastic basket toy storage
Useful Beautiful Home via I’m An Organizing Junkie

Even your littlest tots will be able to declutter following these simple yet extremely effective organizing concepts from Useful Beautiful Home (and our decluttering flowchart).

Just pick up a few lightweight plastic bins to store your kids’ assortment of toys. Bonus points if they’re color-coordinated, stackable, and perforated so dirt and water can fall through the bottom.

16. Transform a cabinet into a potting bench

DIY cabinet potting station
The Organised Housewife

If you have an outdated armoire, bookcase, or cabinet in your home, don’t throw it away. Bring it to the backyard instead. The Organised Housewife proves that a good scrub and a fresh coat of paint can transform an old cabinet into the perfect outdoor potting station.

Store gardening gloves, tools, and seed packets in the drawers, then use the shelves and cupboards to hold bags of soil, pesticides, and extra pots.

17. Build a wooden bench with crate storage

outdoor wooden crate storage bench
The Kim Six Fix

This wooden bench with crate storage project from The Kim Six Fix puts a fun twist on a classic storage bench. Use the open storage bench to slide in a couple of wooden crates that are perfect for storing blankets, towels, gardening tools, or kids’ toys.

If the weather turns foul, simply carry the crates inside to protect your belongings.

Up for more creative DIY projects made from wood?

Try these eight cheap and easy wood pallet ideas that will revitalize your home in no time.

18. Hang storage buckets on your fence

hanging outdoor storage buckets
Bless Our Nest

Even backyards have vertical storage possibilities.

Enter: The minimalist backyard toy storage solution from Bless Our Nest. Just screw a couple hooks into your fence and hang a durable plastic bucket from each.

It’s a simple, foolproof way to keep your kids’ toys organized and within easy reach.

19. When your backyard storage is maxed out, use MakeSpace

If you don’t have extra storage space for your stuff, use MakeSpace. We’ll store your bike rack, snowboarding gear, skis, surfboards, paddleboards, yoga mats, pet toys, and more.

All you have to do is schedule a pickup and pack your stuff. We’ll pickup everything from your home, transport it to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility, and create an online photo catalog of your stuff.

When you need something back from storage, simply browse your online photo catalog, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

This article was written by Paige Smith, a freelance writer from Orange County, California who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics.

The Only Moving Checklist You’ll Ever Need

Congratulations on your new home! Before you pop the champagne, it’s time to get down to business. Moving is no small feat – the sheer amount of planning and coordinating involved is enough to make even the most organized person feel panicked.

No need to stress. These comprehensive moving checklists tell you exactly what to do before and after you’ve settled into your new place, so you can focus on the task at hand instead of worrying you might be forgetting something important.

The list is long, but take it step by step. Soon enough, you’ll be relaxing in your new home, completed to-do list and celebratory glass of bubbly in hand.

Click any of the links below to jump to a specific checklist:
Before Move-In
After Move-In

Before Move-In

1. Figure out what to sell or donate.

a living room with a big bookshelf

As soon as you know you’re moving, walk around your current home and make a list of all the pieces of furniture and indoor and outdoor decor you plan to sell or donate. From there, determine which pieces you can realistically live without until you move into your new home (like the accent chairs you never sit on), and either drop them off at a nearby donation center or begin the selling process online with an app like OfferUp.

Pro Tip: Check out our detailed guide on where to donate furniture, clothes, books, toys, cell phones, and more.

2. Pare down and purge.

a closet that has been decluttered
Just A Girl And Her Blog

Declutter by category and start with whatever feels easiest to you, whether it’s books, clothes, or decor. As you sort through your things, try not to overthink it: If you love something and use it regularly, keep it. If not, let it go.

And remember: Every item you get rid of before your move is one less thing you have to bring with you.

Free Bonus:   Here’s what to store and toss before moving.

3. Research moving companies.

a woman is smiling while holding moving boxes
Flickr/Meathead Movers

After you scour online reviews and testimonials, narrow your list of moving companies to three or four, then make some calls to get direct quotes. The cost shouldn’t be your sole deciding factor, though – inquire about the company’s insurance policies, timeline, method, and liability practices, too.

4. Stock up on moving supplies.

a box of moving supplies
Flickr/Guy Kilroy

When you finally get in the flow of packing, you don’t want to halt your progress with a trip to the store for more boxes. Save yourself the hassle and pick up everything ahead of time. Collect  different-sized boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap or padded blankets, scissors, trash bags, and tools.

5. Take photos of your house before you pack.

a colorful wall with a bright shelf

Walk through your space and snap photos of each room from at a least a couple different angles. Include close-ups of gallery walls, styled bookcases, and tabletop surfaces.

That way, when you’re setting up your new home and can’t remember where you hung the bird painting or how you arranged your coffee table books, you’ll have a solid resource to refer to.

6. Complete a change-of-address form.

a closeup of a mailbox outside

If you’re game to wait in line, you can do this at your local post office. Otherwise, the quickest and most convenient way to update your address is to visit USPS.com/move.

7. Transfer your utilities. the hand of a man working at his computer

 

Gather the contact information for your various utility companies (internet, cable, gas, water electric, trash, sewage), then sit down to make some calls. Schedule the shut-off day for the day following your move, then pay off any existing fees. If you’re using the same providers, you can update your mailing address and schedule an activation day for your new home.

If you’ll have different providers, follow these two steps:

1. Call and schedule activation dates for the day before your move.

2. Give your previous providers your new address in case they have final bills or deposits to send.

8. Back up your computer.

a woman sits on the couch with her computer
Sugar and Cloth

Don’t take any risks when it comes to your computer – back it up in at least two places, like the cloud and a hard-drive backup disk. Do the same with your phone. Your digital information is just as important as your physical stuff, so make sure it’s all protected.

9. Arrange transportation for your pets.

a woman smiles at her really cute dog

Several weeks before your move, figure out where your pets will be during the process. Are they going to hunker down in the backseat of your car with blankets and toys? Rest in pet cargo on a plane? Stay with a friend until you’re settled in your new place?

Once you’ve taken care of logistics, pack your pet’s food, favorite toys, and medication, as well as any other essentials like pet beds, collars, and leashes.

Free Bonus:  Here’s everything you need to know about safely moving with dogs and cats.

10. Cancel or forward subscriptions.

a pile of magazines on a coffee table

Moving homes is the perfect excuse to assess whether or not you actually want the newspapers, magazines, and catalogs that arrive in your mail. If you don’t want them, cancel them and rejoice in the extra money you’ll save. If you do want them, call customer service and update your mailing address.

11. Double-check the dimensions of your new home.

a well-lit room and a sofa

You fell in love with a sectional and think it’ll be perfect in your new living room. There’s just one problem:

It’s about two feet too big on each side.

Avoid this nightmare. Sell your used furniture online.

Now before you start ordering furniture for your new place, be sure you have the measurements and scale right. Note the square footage, ceiling height, and window height of each room, as well as its general configuration and any stand-out characteristics like pony walls or chair rails. Then invest in any of these stylish space-saving sofas that will actually fit in your home.

12. Make copies of important documents.

a closeup of filed papers
Clean Mama

Dedicate an afternoon to sorting through your files and making copies of insurance papers, medical records, birth certificates, social security cards, and tax returns.

Better yet, scan these papers to your computer (or phone with Scanbot) in case the hard copies get damaged or lost during the move. If you’re worried about keeping private files on your computer, store them in a password-encrypted folder.

13. Pack fragile items first.

A closeup of fragile items that have been packed away
Flickr/aprilandrandy

Before your energy flags and your motivation inevitably diminishes, focus on safely and efficiently packing fragile items like dishes, art, and holiday decorations. You can save the easy, no-brainer tasks, like packing clothes and linens, for last.

Free Bonus:   These 10 genius packing tips make moving so much easier. 

14. Pile heavy items inside your rolling suitcases.

a collection of books inside a suitcase
The Organised Housewife

Haul out your rolling luggage and fill it with all the heavy, bulky stuff you don’t want to carry. Think: books, boots, or even bottles of wine and jars of food.

15. Insure your stuff.

a red sofa and a houseplant in a living room

Everything you put on a moving truck, especially big items like pianos, chandeliers, and art, should be insured in case it gets damaged or stolen. Check with your homeowner’s insurance provider or ask your moving company if they offer insurance for an additional fee.

Afterward, take inventory of your valuable items. Record their current condition and snap photos in case there’s a dispute or mishandling.

Free Bonus:   These 41 easy moving and packing tips will save you tons of stress, money, and time.

16. Carry small valuables with you.

the contents of an overnight bag
Flickr/Do8y

Pack valuable items, like expensive cameras, laptops, jewelry, and passports, in a bag that you carry with you during the move.

17. Donate non-perishable foods.

a closeup of non-perishable beverages
The Merry Thought

Despite your best efforts to polish off everything in your pantry, you’ll probably still end up with a couple unopened boxes of pasta, cans of soup, or bottles of olive oil the night before you leave.

If you don’t want to lug these non-perishable foods with you, drop them off at the nearest shelter or church. You can also see if Move for Hunger serves your area.

18. Label your boxes like a boss.

Free printable moving labels. Print on copy paper and cut out, and using Scotch Brand Moving and Packing Tape to attach to boxes and bins
A Tidy Mom

The key to painless unpacking is to over-prepare. Search Pinterest and you’ll find countless ways to label your boxes. You can create a number key, use color-coded tape, or cover each box with detailed Sharpie notes.

However you decide to do it, make sure you record the following three things

  1. Which room the box goes in
  2. A general description of what’s inside the box
  3. A detailed list of the box’s contents

That way you won’t have to dig through three boxes marked “Kitchen Utensils” just to find your whisk.

19. Pack an overnight bag.
An overnight bag next to a chair

 

Fill a carry-on sized bag with everything you’ll need to get settled into your new home, like toiletries, medication, pajamas, shoes, and a couple days’ worth of outfits.

20. Clean your house.a green duster sweeps a hardwood floor

 

You know the drill: vacuum, scrub, and polish every surface until it looks new – or, at least, better than when you lived there. You can either hire a professional cleaning crew to take the work off your hands or follow our ultimate move-out and move-in cleaning checklists.

While you’re at it, consider scheduling a cleaning team to get your new home in shape before you move in, or arrange to show up early so you can clean it yourself before unpacking.

Want more brilliant cleaning tips, hacks, and tricks?

Try these 20 genius green cleaning tips and tricks for every room in your home.

After Move-In

1. Take photos of your place and note any damages.

a giant empty room
Flickr/wisley

Before you start schlepping boxes and moving furniture inside your new place, do a quick walk-through and record any existing damages. Take photos of broken window treatments, carpet stains, chipped paint, or anything else significant.

2. Inspect your boxes.

an assortment of boxes for moving
Flickr/Nicolas Huk

Go through your boxes and look for tears, dents, or any kind of mishandling so you can report it to the moving company if needed.

3. Clean up.

 

some cleaning supplies gathered in a bucket
Flickr/Nicolas Huk

Even if you’ve already given your place a deep cleaning, it’s still a good idea to spruce it up before you move everything in. Vacuum the carpet, wipe down countertops, and dust drawers and shelves before you put anything away.

4. Set up the bathroom.

a white bathroom with a blue striped shower curtain
Flickr/Wicker Paradise

Right away, make sure you have a functional and clutter-proof bathroom. Hang a shower curtain and stock the bathroom with plenty of toilet paper and hand soap.

Free Bonus: When you’re ready to start unpacking, check out these 42 bathroom storage hacks and solutions that will make getting ready so much easier.

5. Check the gas and water valves.

a close up of a water valve
Flickr/Liji Jinari

Your utilities should be activated by this point, but it’s still a good idea to double-check that everything is working properly. While you’re at it, make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are on and loaded with fresh batteries.

6. Set up your technology.

A collection of Apple products on a desk
Flickr / Robert Hawkes

Take the time to hook up your TV or plug in your desktop monitor. The unpacking process will be so much more enjoyable if you can stream your favorite Netflix show or listen to Spotify as you unload boxes.

7. Check the fridge.

a kitchen with hardwood floors and steel appliances

Plug in your fridge and set it to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Keep your freezer at zero.

8. Unpack the kitchen.

wooden floating shelves in a kitchen
Lemon Thistle

Unpacking the kitchen is a tedious process, so it’s smart to get started right away. Don’t worry about organizing everything in your kitchen perfectly yet. Start by putting away the basics, like pots, pans, dishes, mugs, and silverware. Go ahead and set up everyday appliances like coffee makers, toasters, and microwaves, too.

9. Make the beds.a bed next to flowers on a nightstand

 

Spend a few minutes making your bed with fresh sheets and your favorite comforter or duvet.

A cozy bed instantly makes a new space feel more familiar and lived-in, and you won’t have to stress about sleeping on a bare mattress when you hit the wall after a long day of unpacking.

10. Go shopping for essentials.

a pile of groceries on a kitchen table
Flickr/Meaduva

Before you’re completely zapped of energy, take a quick trip to the grocery store to load up on a few snacks and easy meal staples to hold you over as you settle in.

11. Let MakeSpace pickup and store your extra stuff

If you need help storing your stuff before, during, or after the moving process, schedule a MakeSpace pickup. We’ll pick up any items you don’t need right now, like your snowboarding gear, skis, and other winter gear.

Then, we’ll transport your things to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility, and create an online photo catalog of your stuff so you always know what you have in storage.

The best part:

When you want something back, simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

Top image via Death To Stock

This article was written by Paige Smith, a freelance writer from Orange County, California who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics.

8 Expert Solutions For Your Toughest Moving Problems

Moving: it’s exciting, exhausting, and seriously stressful. Finding and securing a new home is challenging enough, but the actual process of moving – the packing, the schlepping, the logistics – can easily send you into meltdown mode if you’re not properly prepared.

That’s why it helps to have a working knowledge of the most common moving predicaments you might find yourself in, plus how to handle them. Below, we talk to professional organizers and moving gurus for their advice about what steps to take to ensure a smooth, pain-free move.

Read on for eight expert solutions to your toughest moving problems.

Problem 1: You waited too long to book a moving company.

a woman is smiling while holding moving boxes
Flickr/Meathead Movers

If you wait until the last minute to reserve the help of a moving company, you may find that your top choices are already booked up. “This leads to customers having to go with moving companies with less-than-reputable reputations,” says Dan Heydebrand, Owner of Lift NYC Movers.

The Fix:

Heydebrand says it’s crucial to finalize your moving date as soon as possible so you can schedule a reliable moving company. “To find a good moving company, check reviews online,” says Heydebrand. “A few bad reviews is normal and OK as long as the vast majority of reviews are positive,” he explains.

Another pro tip: If your friend recommends a good moving company, ask if the company gives discounts for referrals, suggests Heydebrand. “Moving companies love repeat customers and usually have some incentive to keep them coming back year after year,” he explains.

Free Bonus: 41 easy moving and packing tips that will make your move dead simple

Problem 2: You’re rushing to pack.

an assortment of boxes for moving
Flickr/Nicolas Huk

“The most common problem I encounter with clients is that they leave the packing to the last minute,” says Professional Organizer Abbey Claire Keusch. Think: clothes still folded in the closet, art still hanging on the walls, and miscellaneous items covering every countertop.

When you’re scrambling to pack your stuff, you’re more likely to toss things in boxes without a clear organizational strategy. This can make the unpacking process much more tedious and confusing than it needs to be.

The Fix:

“As soon as you know you’re moving, start packing,” says Keusch. Gather packing supplies (like boxes, packing paper, bubble wrap, and tape), then start with the stuff you use less frequently or don’t need on a daily basis, Keusch says. “Pack like items together and clearly label each box. [Then] stack the boxes out of the way,” she advises.

Heydebrand also suggests reaching out to your moving company for extra assistance. “If you want help or feel overwhelmed by packing, just call the movers and let them know in advance,” he says. “They can bring extra guys or extra materials to ensure there are no last-minute surprises.”

Free Bonus: 10 packing tips that make moving so much easier

Problem 3: Your stuff requires special packaging.

a delicate chandelier hangs from the ceiling
Flickr/LadyDragonflyCC

“People often forget that some of their items need special care,” says Nimrod Sheinberg, Sales Manager for Oz Moving & Storage in New York City.  Things like flat-screen TVs, art, mirrors, dishes, computer monitors, lamps, chandeliers, and certain pieces of furniture require extra time and attention. “Most of these items need to be disassembled prior to being moved, [while] others need specific packing instruction, like antiques that need crates and extreme care to prevent damage,” Sheinberg explains.

The Fix:

As early as possible, start gathering the necessary supplies for packing your fragile items. This includes the sturdy boxes your stuff was originally packaged in. As Sheinberg says, “Remember how things entered the apartment, because that’s how they will need to leave.”

A few weeks prior to your move, give your movers a detailed inventory of all your belongings that require special packaging or handling. That way, they can allot space for these items in the moving truck and schedule enough time to help you pack and transport them.

Free Bonus: How To Pack Glassware And Dishes [Instructographic] and How To Pack Picture Frames [Instructographic]

Problem 4: Your new building has time restrictions on service entrance or elevator access.

the outside of a residential building
Flickr/ctj71081

Many apartment buildings, especially in big cities like New York, have limited access to service entrances or elevators. “It happens a lot where a customer will ask us to be at their pick-up building at 8 a.m. because they want to get an early start, but most elevator buildings in Manhattan will not allow movers into the building until 9 a.m.,” says Heydebrand.

He also says certain housing complexes don’t allow movers to remain in the building past a certain hour, which could mean you won’t have enough time to unload everything if you schedule an afternoon move.

The Fix:

The best way to avoid a time conflict, Heydebrand says, is to speak with the building’s super or management about their policies and restrictions ahead of time, then plan your moving schedule accordingly. “Give your movers some extra time, considering traffic and other things that might cause a delay in getting to the new building,” he advises.

Free Bonus: 19 NYC apartment hunting tips that will save you tons of money and stress

Problem 5: You didn’t purge before your move.

a pile of clothes await in a donation box
Flickr/trenttsd

Downsizing your stuff is a key step in the packing process. It’s also one that, if you skip, inevitably complicates your entire move. Barbara Reich, Professional Organizer and author of Secrets of an Organized Mom, says not purging before your move means you either: 1) end up spending money to move things you’ll eventually throw away in your new home or 2) waste time trying to get rid of things as the movers help you pack.

The Fix:

“Whether it is something that you no longer find useful, that is broken, or that you just don’t want, take time before you pack up to get rid of the stuff that you should be donating or throwing out, anyway,” says Michelle Hale, organizer and co-founder of Henry & Higby. “Plus, getting rid of those items before the move helps make the move-in process quicker because you won’t be wasting time sorting the items in your new home,” she explains.

Need some help getting started with decluttering?

Here’s a handy guide on what to toss and keep before your move.

Problem 6: Your furniture won’t fit in your new home.

MakeSpace movers lifting a couch on the stairs
“If certain items do not fit in elevators or up the stairs, or even in the apartment with your other furniture, the movers will have to charge a fee to bring the items to the dump unless you can figure something else out,” explains Heydebrand. To make matters more difficult, “most buildings will not let you throw away bulky items such as furniture,” he says, “and you can get a ticket for leaving bulky items outside in the street.”

The Fix:

“Create a floor plan for the new space and map out where each piece will go,” Keusch advises. Measure your furniture, and be sure to take into account your new home’s square footage, ceiling height, and window height, as well as the specific layout of each room. “Leave yourself enough time to either sell or donate anything that won’t fit, or is no longer needed,” Keusch says.

Free Bonus: 8 tips for selling used furniture online fast (and for the most money)

Problem 7: You don’t know where things are going in your new place.

a large pile of packed boxes
Flickr/Nicolas Huk

“Don’t let your movers (and their muscles) go to waste during the move-in process by having them put boxes and furniture just anywhere in the house,” says Hale.

If you don’t have a system in place for directing your movers and determining where your various boxes and pieces of furniture should end up, your stuff will be scattered everywhere.

The Fix:

“Take time before the move to plot out where all of your furniture and stuff should go, and then start packing accordingly,” advises Hale. She recommends labeling your boxes with their contents, then color-coding them by room so you know exactly where each one is headed.

“Then make sure you have at least one person directing the movers so boxes end up in their final destination and furniture is placed right the first time,” Hale says. “This will help minimize the amount of heavy moving you need to do on your own so that you save your back and can focus on unpacking and getting organized in your new space,” she explains.

Problem 8: You didn’t pack your essentials separately.

toiletries splayed out on a bed
Flickr/Patty Ho

After a long day of moving, the last thing you want to do is rummage through five boxes marked “bathroom” just to find the toilet paper. Or spend 40 minutes ransacking every bag searching for your iPhone charger. Or wear the same clothes for two days because your extra T-shirts are piled beneath bags of shoes and winter coats.

You get the idea: Packing a separate bag with your MEIs (Most Essential Items) is imperative.

The Fix:

“Pack an overnight bag with jewelry, valuables, important documents, clothing for the next day, and toiletries,” advises Reich. Don’t forget other necessities like chargers, laptops, reading glasses, earplugs, eye masks, medication, and food for your pets (check out our ultimate guide to moving safely with your beloved cats and dogs).

Want more awesome moving tips (on everything from moving during the winter to cleaning your place before a move)?

We’ve got you covered.

If you need help storing your stuff before, during, or after the moving process, schedule a MakeSpace pickup. We’ll pick up any items you don’t need right now, like your snowboarding gear, skis, and other winter gear.

Then, we’ll transport your things to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility and create an online photo catalog of your stuff so you always remember what you have in storage.

And when you want something back, simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

This article was written by Paige Smith, a freelance writer from Orange County, California who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics.

Organize Your Storage Closet in 13 Glorious Ways

Without a solid organization system, storage closets often end up serving as the drop point for all the stuff you can’t fit anywhere else in your home.

Before you know it, that heap of cleaning rags and kitchen appliances has become so massive you can barely shut the closet door.

If the chaos in your storage closet has rendered it either nonfunctional or very distressing to use (see above scenario), don’t despair. You can turn it around with some thoughtful planning – plus a couple strategic wall hooks.

Read on for 13 tips about how to organize a smart storage closet that actually makes your life easier.

1. Figure out what you need to store in your storage closet

closet clutter
Flickr/Emily May

A storage closet has limitless possibilities (no, really). You can use it to store coats, cleaning supplies, Christmas decorations, Halloween costumes, pet toys, or whatever else you want.

To prevent things from getting out of hand, make a list of items you absolutely need to store that don’t already have a designated space in your home. Maybe it’s your vacuum and extra linens, or your snow gear (like skis and snowboards) and sports equipment.

Free Bonus: Here's  how to organize your linen closet in 11 super simple steps

2. Use shelves and built-in rods to create different sections

Entry closet shelf baskets
Just A Girl and Her Blog

Take advantage of existing storage systems in your closet to serve as obvious dividers between your stuff. Then organize things by category or likeness. If your closet is empty, install a coat rack, tension rod, or pair of shelves to double your available space — we promise those two hours of DIY work will be so worth it.

Free Bonus: These 13 easy DIY storage ideas will organize your entire home

3. Store cleaning products in a portable bin

Cleaning products portable bin
Copy Cat Chic

Corralling your cleaning products into a single bin with a handle accomplishes two things: 1) It keeps all your sprays and disinfectants in one place, and 2) it makes household cleaning easier because you can grab the bin and carry it anywhere.

Pro Tip: Use these five insanely easy cleaning hacks to whip your place into shape

4. Hang brooms and Swiffers on wall hooks

wall hook storage
The House on Hillbrook

Take advantage of vertical wall space — no matter how narrow — to hang brooms, dustpans, and mops from sturdy hooks. This method keeps your cleaning tools neat and organized while also opening up your floor space.

5. Utilize vertical space on the back of the door

back of the door storage
Organizing Made Fun

You can use the back of a door to hang just about anything. Take a cue from Organizing Made Fun and install wire baskets to hold cleaning products, extra cloths, and paper bags.

Or hang wall hooks to store purses, bags, or backpacks, like in the picture below.

purse bag door storage
By Stephanie Lynn

Better yet, use an over-the-door pocket organizer to store cleaning products, wrapping supplies, or cold-weather accessories like gloves, scarves, and hats.

cleaning supply door storage
Flickr/Hey Paul Studios

6. Limit hanging clothes to seasonal outerwear only

outerwear closet storage
Flickr/Hywell Martinez

Don’t bring your entire wardrobe into your storage closet. If you plan on hanging clothes, limit your choices to items you reach for on your way out the door. Think seasonal necessities like coats, jackets, and scarves.

Free Bonus: Check out our helpful guide for organizing everything in your closet on the cheap

7. Store suitcases on upper shelves

luggage shelf storage
Paige Smith

To keep your floor space clear and uncluttered, store suitcases horizontally on your highest shelves. Just make sure the suitcases are empty and your shelves are sturdy — you don’t want to get knocked in the head when you’re reaching for the vacuum.

8. Use boxes with labels

label box closet storage
Flickr/Bill Bradford

You can store everything from DVDs and paper files to table linens and extra Kleenex in matching boxes. Label each box with a detailed description of its contents so you never have to rummage through your stuff to find what you’re looking for.

9. Store blankets in a stylish basket

blanket basket storage
Copy Cat Chic

Tuck extra throw blankets into a chic basket you can transport to the living room when the weather starts to get chilly.

10. Use wall hooks to hang backpacks and bags

wall hook bag storage
Imperfect Homemaking

The genius of a wall hook lies in its simultaneous simplicity and versatility. Mount it wherever there’s an extra foot of space in your closet, and suddenly you have a spot to hang your favorite purse, reusable grocery bag, briefcase, or umbrella.

11. Use plastic drawers for smaller items

Organized Entry Closet
Just A Girl and Her Blog

Plastic drawers are perfect for storing smaller items like cleaning rags, medicine, first aid kit supplies, tools, craft materials, or extra toiletries.

12. Use a utility cart

craft closet utility cart
Young House Love

A utility cart is a smart way to store the stuff you need to access easily. Bonus points if it rolls. You can organize it according to a theme — cleaning materials, household tools, office supplies — or just fill each shelf with whatever fits neatly.

13. Store your stuff with MakeSpace

For everything you can’t fit in your storage closet, use MakeSpace.

Pack a MakeSpace bin with clothes, shoes, and other stuff you'd like to store in on demand storage.

 

Simply schedule a pickup and pack your stuff. We’ll grab everything from your home and transport it to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility.

And when you need your surfboard or set of golf clubs back, just browse the convenient online photo catalog of your stuff, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it straight to you.

Top image via Flickr/Emily May 

This article was written by Paige Smith, a freelance writer from Orange County, California who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics.

13 Painless Ways To Organize, Store, And Get Rid Of Paper Clutter

Do you ever feel like you’re drowning in paper?

Maybe your wallet is overflowing with receipts. Maybe your desk drawers are crammed with wedding invitations and old Christmas cards. Or maybe you have piles of bank statements and bills shoved in the far corner of your kitchen counter.

Let’s face it: Paper clutter is one of the worst offenders. It accumulates quickly and can be totally overwhelming if you don’t deal with it on a daily basis.

But, thankfully, all it takes to banish paper clutter from your home are a few clever tricks and well-implemented organization systems.

Follow these 13 incredibly effective steps to organize, store, and get rid of your paper clutter for good.

1. Go paperless with bank statements and bills

Pixabay/stevepb

The first step to decluttering your paper is to stop all future paper items from entering your home.

How, you ask?

Transfer everything online. Most banks and major utility companies offer the choice to stop receiving statements and notifications in the mail — all you have to do is ask.

To go a step further, skip the hand-written checks and pay your bills online instead. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t even know this is possible (online bill pay only accounts for 58% of consumer bills paid), but it is, and it’s genius.

An online bill pay system makes it easier to pay your bills on time and manage your budget. It also eliminates the need to stock up on envelopes and stamps. That’s a win-win.

Free Bonus: 15 actionable tips for decluttering your home

2. Purge your paper

Flickr/Keith Williamson

First, gather every bit of paper in your house. Don’t forget to check the junk drawers for crumpled take-out menus, instruction manuals, and neighborhood flyers.

Then, sort everything into three piles: Recycle, Scan, or Save.

Put important documents like tax returns, medical files, insurance papers, and leases into a pile to be scanned onto your computer for safekeeping. Save any special photos or sentimental cards you absolutely can’t bear to part with, then recycle everything else.

Free Bonus: Read these minimalist living tips to learn how to pare down your stuff and live with less.

3. Shred personal documents

shredded-paper-in-box
Pixabay/Hans

Anything that has your personal information on it (like your address, social security number, phone number, or bank account number) should be shredded — not tossed out with the regular recycling.

Not only does a shredder help protect your privacy, but it also eliminates all paper that falls into the annoying “can’t throw it away, but don’t have a place to put it” category.

4. Recycle your stacks of magazines and newspapers

stacks-of-magazines
Flickr/Jessica Spengler

Let’s be honest: You’ll never read them again, nor will you need them for a future craft project or vision board (Pinterest has us covered).

While you’re at it, unsubscribe from all the magazines you’re no longer interested in.

Having a hard time getting rid of your stuff? Learn how to how to easily declutter your home like Marie Kondo, the most organized person in the world.

5. Create a filing system

monthly-filing-system
The House on Hillbrook

There are so many different types of filing systems, but the best ones all have a few things in common: They’re logically organized, easy to access, and spacious enough to store new documents over time.

Consider your available space before you buy new filing equipment. If you have open desk drawers, metal file rails work great. If you have tons of closet space, go for portable file bins.

Prefer to keep your files in plain sight?

Desk organizers are just what you need.

Next, stock up on file folders and separate everything into categories. Make sure you cover all the bases (Pet, Home, Medical, Creative, Work, Kids, etc.) and be as specific as possible with your labels.

Give big categories like “Finances” their own folders with additional files for specific types of documents like “Tax Returns” or “Bills.”

Free Bonus: While you’re filing, learn how to organize your desk in under four minutes

6. Put a recycling bag or bin near your front door

basket-for-storage
Flickr/Wicker Paradise

Before you even bring mail into the house, pause by your front door to toss everything you know you don’t need — like flyers, advertisements, coupons, and junk mail.

Then whenever you’re on the way out the door, grab the bag and dump your paper in the recycling bin.

7. Create a “Take Action” station for papers that need to be dealt with

paper-control-clutter-magnetic-board
The Inspired Room

Put all papers that require action on your part — RSVP cards to mail, forms to sign, letters to send — in one designated spot. You could hang papers on a giant kitchen message board, stack them in a mail organizer on your entryway table, or place them in a shallow tray on your desk. Whatever works best for you.

To prevent your station from turning into a dumping zone, make a daily or bi-weekly appointment with yourself to take care of the papers and clear the space.

8. Store coupons in a binder

coupon-storage-binder
Tiny Tips By Michelle

Coupons can be a major culprit of paper clutter. You find them, clip them with enthusiasm, then stash them in your junk drawer to expire and collect dust.

If your urge to be thrifty is interfering with your space and sanity, you need a better solution.

The answer?

Binders. Or index card cases. Or any other middle school necessity. Just be sure to store the binder in your car or purse so you’ll actually use it when you go shopping.

9. Store important receipts in a binder, too

receipt-storage-binder-file
Honey We’re Home

Like coupons, receipts can be organized in a small binder.

Make sure you store the binder in a convenient place so you have no excuse not to add new receipts to it at the end of every week.

10. Use a calendar

wall-calendar
Just A Girl and Her Blog

You don’t need to save event flyers or invitations if you have a calendar where you can record all your upcoming activities.

A digital calendar is ideal, but if you want to see your weekly schedule without having to unlock your phone, buy a desk or wall calendar.

Every time you get a new piece of paper that details an upcoming event, just transfer the information to your calendar and recycle the paper.

11. Hang photos, or put them in an album

photo-album-storage-binder
A Beautiful Mess

Don’t let your precious memories sit in a box under the bed. If you have a bunch of printed photos hidden away, give them new life: Put them in an album, frame them, or hang them on a cork board so you can enjoy them every day.

Free Bonus: Here's how to properly store and preserve your old photographs so that they, along with some of your fondest memories, stay in top condition for years to come

12. Store your paper items in the right places

paper-storage-binders-bins-trays
In My Own Style

The key to using and enjoying your stuff on a regular basis is to store it in a place that makes sense. Here are three simple and highly-effective ideas:

  1. Keep the paper items you use every day in plain sight. Put new magazines on your coffee table, stationery on your desk, and so on.
  2. Store sentimental items like cards, school papers, and souvenirs in pretty boxes or baskets to display on bookcases and shelves. You’re more likely to look through your mementos every now and then if they’re not tucked away in a closet.
  3. Keep all your craft and office-related paper goods (like extra printer paper, notebooks, and sticky notes) in the same area.

13. Store your paper items in MakeSpace

MakeSpace-bin-pack-me

For everything you can’t fit in your home, like boxes full of extra wallpaper, old Valentine’s Day cards, and books you’ve already read (here’s how to decide what books to keep), let MakeSpace store everything for you.

Simply schedule a pickup and pack your stuff. We’ll pick up everything from your home, transport it to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility, and create a convenient online photo catalog of your stuff.

Then when you want something back from storage, just log into your MakeSpace account, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it straight to you.

Top image via Flickr/Sean Winters

This article was written by Paige Smith, a freelance writer from Orange County, California who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics.

13 Extremely Easy Eco-Friendly Organizing Tips For Your Home

Even if you already carpool to work, buy second-hand clothes, or pay your bills online, there are still plenty of small but impactful changes you can make to live a more environmentally responsible lifestyle.

How?

It starts at home — with your habits, routines, and organizational systems. Yep, you read that right. These 13 extremely easy eco-friendly organizing tips for your home will help you save money, control clutter, and reduce waste (the ego boost is just a bonus):

1. Repurpose shoe boxes as storage containers.

eco-friendly green shoe box storage made by paige smith
Paige Smith

Make use of empty shoe boxes instead of buying new storage bins. Use them to store craft supplies, tools, green cleaning products, jewelry, beauty products, or winter gear like hats, gloves, scarves, and boots.

You can even, gasp, use them to store shoes. Revolutionary, right?

2. Store magazines in a donation basket.

eco-friendly red wicker magazine basket
Flickr/Wicker Paradise

Reduce the amount of waste you produce by donating your magazines instead of recycling them. Designate a stylish basket as the official drop-point for magazines you’ve finished reading.

Then give the magazines away every week or two. Bring them to your local library, nursing home, dentist office, medical clinic, retirement community, or family shelter.

Free Bonus: If you’d like to donate your magazines, read our handy guide on where to donate your old clothes, books, furniture, toys, cell phones, and more.

3. Reuse glass jars to organize your stuff.

a mason jar storing forks, a mason jar storing scallions in water, and a wooden knife block by paige smith
Paige Smith

If your jar of coconut oil, marinara sauce, or pickles is running low, save it instead of recycling it. After you clean it out, use it to organize any number of random household items: cooking ingredients and grains, kitchen utensils, pens, craft supplies, or makeup brushes.

You can even use glass jars as vases and planters.

Pro Tip: Learn more ways to repurpose glass jars with this list of 10 brilliant Mason jar DIY ideas.

4. Toss junk mail in a “Need to Unsubscribe” bin.

junk mail recycling bin by the organised housewife
The Organised Housewife

Immediately recycling your junk mail prevents clutter from building up in your home. But if you always throw away catalogs and promotional flyers without unsubscribing from them first, you’re setting yourself up to receive more paper products down the line. It’s a vicious cycle.

To get rid of junk mail, stash it in a bin where you’ll see it every day. Every two weeks or so, go through the pile one paper at a time, call the customer service numbers, and ask to be removed from all of their mailing lists.

Or use Catalog Choice to stop junk mail for good. And while you’re at it, check out these 15 awesome apps and services that will spring clean your entire home.

5. Store a pile of rags and dish cloths in an easily accessible kitchen cabinet.

kitchen towel tower
Flickr/prettyinprint

Using cloth napkins and rags instead of paper towels and paper napkins can easily cut your waste in half. Keep them in a nearby kitchen cabinet or drawer so you always have something within reach to wipe up spills.

Go a step further and slide a bin below your sink to collect dirty cloth napkins and rags that need to be washed.

6. Display a basket near the front door to hold reusable grocery bags.

entryway drop zone by honey we're home
Honey We’re Home

Make space for a pretty basket in your entryway and fill it with fabric totes. That way, you can quickly grab a tote on your way out the door so you don’t have to resort to using plastic or paper grocery bags.

If you have limited entryway space, hang your bags on a coat rack or wall hook instead.

Free Bonus: These 15 amazing entryway storage hacks and ideas will keep your home's first and last impression incredibly organized.

7. Set up a wrapping station to store used boxes, gift bags, and tissue paper.

gift wrapping station made by paige smith
Paige Smith

You can make your gift station as basic or as Pinterest-worthy as you want. All that matters is that you designate a place — even if it’s a single desk drawer — to store all the used gift bags, tags, tissue paper, bows, and boxes you receive.

Reusing these items saves tons of waste and money.

8. Store a “Reuse” bin in the hall closet.

white reuse bin by paige smith storing socks, roiander body butter, a candle, books, and a pair of vans shoes
Paige Smith

Create a drop-off zone in your home for items you want to reuse, whether by donating, repurposing, or upcycling them. You can toss in clothes, shoes, books, stationary containers, candle jars, mint tins, jewelry boxes, or anything else you think could be given a second life.

Just remember: The Reuse Bin is supposed to help you stay organized. At least once a month, make a standing date with yourself to sort through the bin and decide what to do with each item.

Not sure what items to keep or get rid of?

Our decluttering flowchart will help you finally decide.

9. Set up a mini recycling station in every room.

recycle and non-recycle bin from a doubletree hotel
Flickr/Carol VanHook

You probably have a recycling station in your kitchen, but what about the other areas of your home?

If you only have small trash bins scattered throughout your house — all of which inevitably get filled with a variety of recyclable and non-recyclable materials — it’s time to make recycling more convenient.

Give each room (yes, even the bathroom) its own proper recycling station. Simply add another bin for recyclable items like paper, plastic, and glass. Or use a dual trash and recycling bin like the one pictured above.

Free Bonus: Scope out these 35 powerful spring cleaning tips and tricks from professional organizers.

10. Repurpose wooden crates as storage systems.

custom wooden toy storage crates
Flickr/Kyle Van Horn

Used wooden wine and fruit crates are excellent storage containers because they’re sturdy, versatile, and easy to stack. Use them to store blankets, books, or kids toys (or dog toys, for that matter) in your living room. Or tuck the crates in your entryway and use them to store your shoes and umbrellas.

They also make cool shelving systems in lieu of store-bought bookcases or plastic drawers.

wooden crates storing books
Flickr/Emily Allen
Free Bonus: These 13 easy DIY storage ideas and solutions will organize your entire home.

11. Build a green cleaning kit.

green cleaning kit
Flickr/go_greener_oz

Grab a wooden caddy and fill it with your favorite green cleaning tools: towels and rags, old socks for dusting, wooden scrub brushes, baking soda, vinegar, and jars of homemade disinfectants and stain removers. Just like this lemon and clove nightly sink scrub made by Clean Mama:

clean mama's lemon and clove nightly sink scrub ingredients: baking soda, lemon essential oil, clove essential oil, castile soap, and a ball mason jar
Clean Mama

Stash the caddy in the cabinet below your kitchen sink for easy access.

Want more amazing cleaning tips?

Check out this list of 20 genius green cleaning tips and tricks for every room in your home.

12. Stock a kitchen drawer with reusable to-go items.

zero waste lunch kit by trash is for tossers includes: a stainless steel lunch container, a reusable fork and napkin, organic cotton bags, a mason jar, and a stainless steel canteen
Trash is for Tossers

Rather than rely on paper plates, plastic cups, and disposable silverware, arm yourself with a cool eco-friendly to-go kit that you can use for office lunches or beverages like coffee and smoothies.

Gather these tools:

  • A stainless steel lunch box or glass container
  • A stainless steel straw
  • A mason jar or stainless steel water bottle
  • Linen napkins
  • Cutlery
  • A couple cotton drawstring bags to hold your sandwiches and snacks
Free Bonus: Learn how to organize the rest of your kitchen drawers with these 11 clever and easy kitchen organization ideas.

13. Use power strips for appliances.

power strip with three chargers plugged in
Flickr/trenttsd

Power strips save electricity and outlet space. Use them in areas where you have multiple appliances or devices to plug in, like your kitchen, TV room, office, and bedroom.

To save even more power, get in the habit of switching off your power strip when you’re not using the items plugged into it.

After you organize your home so it’s ultra eco-friendly, use MakeSpace to safely store the stuff you love but don’t have room for — like your luggage, bike rack, snowboarding gear, skis, winter coats, and collections of CDs and DVDs.

 

All you have to do is schedule a MakeSpace pickup and pack your stuff. We’ll pick up everything from your home, transport it to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility, and create an online photo catalog of your stuff.

When you need something back from storage, simply browse your online photo catalog, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver the item back to you.

This article was written by Paige Smith, a freelance writer from Orange County, California who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics.

26 Dazzling Deep Cleaning Tips And Tricks That Will Make Your Home Sparkle

The start of spring means it’s time to crack open a bottle of rosé, don the jean shorts you haven’t seen since September, and — oh, yeah — break out your cleaning tools.

After three months of lounging around your house watching Netflix and cuddling your cat, some spring cleaning is in order. And we’re not just talking about decluttering. We’re talking about finally washing and scrubbing all the nitty-gritty, easy-to-overlook areas of your home.

So grab a pair of gloves, start your favorite podcast, and read on for 26 dazzling deep cleaning tipstricks, and hacks that’ll make your home look brand-spanking new.

Click any of the below links to jump to a specific section:
Bedroom
Kitchen
Office
Living Room
Bathroom
Closet
Laundry Room
Entryway
Garage
Basement
Attic

Bedroom

1. Clean your blinds with a sock.

cleaning blinds with sock, vinegar, and water
One Good Thing By Jillee

Remove the dust from your window blinds using an old tube sock dipped in a mixture of one part vinegar and one part water. Twist the blinds the other direction and repeat.

2. Wash your bedding and mattress.

paige smith is cleaning a mattress with an upholstery cleaner
Paige Smith

Assuming you already wash your sheets, pillowcases, and blankets regularly, now’s the time to go a bit further and wash your duvet, bedskirt, and even your mattress. (Here’s the full scoop on how to clean and store your bedding).

To wash your mattress, use the nozzle from your vacuum to suck up dust, dirt, and hair particles. Then use an upholstery cleaner to remove stains and odors.

You can also use baking soda sprinkled with a few drops of essential oil. Let it sit for an hour then vacuum it off.

Want more details?

Check out our handy guide to cleaning and storing your mattress, bed frame, and box spring.

3. Use a lint roller to get the dust off lampshades.

paige smith is cleaning a lampshade with a lint roller
Paige Smith

Easy and efficient. Go a step further and clean the base of your lamp with a damp microfiber cloth.

Want more clever cleaning tips?

Check out these 5 insanely easy (and ridiculously effective) cleaning hacks.

Kitchen

4. Scrub the front of your kitchen cabinets.

paige smith cleaning kitchen cabinets with dish soap and a dish brush
Paige Smith

Give your kitchen cabinets new life with a quick clean. Just use a fresh dish brush and soap (or go natural with one part vegetable oil and two parts baking soda) to get rid of food stains and fingerprints.

Free Bonus: Scope out these 11 clever and easy kitchen organization ideas.

5. Clean your sink drain with baking soda and lemon.

a yellow strainer in a clean kitchen sink
Flickr/Rachel Zack

The kitchen sink is one of the dirtiest areas in the entire home. To properly clean it, pour one cup of baking soda and two cups of vinegar down your drain.

Let the mixture work its magic for a few minutes. Then wash it down with boiling water.

For a fresh citrus scent, slice up some lemon wedges and drop them down your disposal.

Free Bonus: Here are 20 genius green cleaning tips and tricks for every room in your home.

6. Clean the inside and outside of your fridge.

clean fridge shelves on a drying rack
Flickr/Aimee Rivers

Scrub stains and dirt spots on the exterior of the fridge using a damp cloth sprinkled with baking soda.

To clean the inside of your fridge, take out all your food and remove the shelves. Then wash the interior with water and dishwashing soap.

Do the same with the shelves and bins before you dry and return them. Just make sure to unplug or turn off your fridge before cleaning the inside.

7. Clean out your oven with baking soda, vinegar, and dishwashing liquid.

the interior of a deeply cleaned oven
Flickr/Aimee Rivers

Even a self-cleaning oven can use some extra love.

To remove stains and scorch marks from years of Thanksgiving dinners, turkeys, and nacho batches, scrub your oven with the following mixture:

  • 4 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 5 teaspoons of vinegar
  • A few drops of dish soap

Let the sudsy mixture sit for a few hours before wiping it off with a clean, wet cloth.

Office

8. Use a coffee filter to clean your computer screen.

paige smith cleaning a computer screen with a coffee filter
Paige Smith

Forget special lint-free cloths. A basic coffee filter is all you need to remove dust and fingerprints from the gunked-up screens on your TV, computer, or tablet.

9. Wipe down your bookshelves with a magnetic cloth.

paige smith wiping a wooden bookshelf with a yellow magnetic cloth
Paige Smith

Just because your bookcase is organized doesn’t mean it’s not seriously dirty. Bookshelves, as well as the tops of books, can hold a lot of dust and dirt.

For a thorough clean, wipe the tops and spines of your books with a magnetic cloth. Then remove everything from your shelves and wipe them down with a damp microfiber cloth.

Not enough space on your bookcase for your favorite novels?

You might want to decide what books to keep or get rid of. And store the ones you do keep in any of these 9 creative book storage hacks for small apartments.

10. Clean your desk with the appropriate cleaning products.

clean home office desk with a notebook, glasses, coffee mug, and imac on top

To get rid of the dust and grime that accumulates at your desk over long periods of working (read: procrastinating), first remove everything from it.

Next, give it a good scrub with a clean cloth to remove coffee stains, crumbs, and fingerprints.

Be sure to consider your desk’s material when choosing a cleaning product. Wood, glass, and metal all need to be cleaned differently.

Still have energy?

Here’s how you can easily organize your office desk in under 4 minutes.

Living Room

11. Use Dawn dish soap to get rid of stains on fabric sofas.

how to remove stains from a fabric sofa: squirt dish soap on it, let it sit for several minutes, and wipe it off with a clean wet cloth
Paige Smith

Squirt a bit of Dawn dish soap onto your stain and let it sit for several minutes. Then wipe it off with a clean, wet cloth. Works like a charm.

Free Bonus: Take a look at these 9 stylish, space-saving sofas and couches for your apartment.

12. Iron out your carpet stains.

paige smith removing carpet stains with an iron and a wet pink rag
Paige Smith

Spray your stain with a mixture of one part vinegar and two parts water. Place a wet rag over the stain, set your iron to “steam,” and iron on top of the rag for about 30 seconds to thoroughly remove it.

Bathroom

13. Wash your shower curtain and liner.

deep clean your shower curtain and liner by washing it in a washing machine with warm water, laundry detergent, and baking soda
Paige Smith

To get rid of stains, soap scum, and mildew, toss your shower curtain and liner (yep, even if it’s plastic) in the washing machine alongside a few bath towels to prevent wrinkling.

Pour in your regular detergent and one cup of baking soda, then wash on warm. Hang ‘em up to dry.

14. Wipe down your shower walls with vinegar and dish soap.

paige smith cleaning shower with vinegar and dish soap
Paige Smith

Mix one part dish soap with one part vinegar to scrub your shower walls and get that grimy grout sparkling white. Clean it right before you shower so you can rinse everything off easily.

15. Brush your faucet with a toothbrush, baking soda, and water.

cleaning a faucet with a toothbrush and baking soda

If your sink and shower faucets are stained with hard mineral deposits and grime, sprinkle a little baking soda on an old toothbrush, add water, and scrub away until they look brand new.

Want to go the extra mile?

Here are 12 easy ways to declutter your bathroom, plus 42 bathroom storage hacks and solutions to make getting ready way easier.

Closet

16. *Thoroughly* vacuum the floor.

red and black hoover vacuum cleaner on a carpet

Now’s a good time to thoroughly vacuum your closet floor. Especially if it’s accumulated a lot of dust, dirt, and strands of hair from your clothes, not to mention all the bacteria your shoes bring in.

Don’t have carpet?

Take things further by mopping your closet floor with water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid. When you’re done, rub the floor in a circular motion with a soft cloth.

17. Clean your shelves with all-purpose cleaner and a damp rag.

clean closet shelf with a wet rag and all-purpose cleaner
Paige Smith

Take out all your clothes and wipe down your shelves with all-purpose cleaner and a damp rag.

Tedious? Yes. Worth it not to have a thick layer of dust coating all your jeans and T-shirts? Also yes.

Free Bonus: Here’s how to easily organize everything in your closet for good.

Laundry Room

18. Clean your washing machine with the ultimate cleaning power duo.

clean white front-loading washing machine and dryer

To get rid of mold and mildew (and prevent your clothes from smelling funky), you need to regularly clean your washing machine.

How?

Using the ultimate cleaning power duo: vinegar and baking soda.

Check out Apartment Therapy’s detailed instructions for cleaning a top-loading washing machine, and Popsugar if you have a front-loading washing machine.

19. Vacuum your lint dryer.

pretty handy girl cleaning a dryer lint trap with a brush and vacuum hose
Pretty Handy Girl

Dusty dryer ducts are a common cause of household fires, which is why it’s crucial to regularly clean them out. (Hint: Simply swiping the lint screen isn’t enough.)

Read Pretty Handy Girl’s full breakdown on how to clean your dryer duct using a cleaning brush and vacuum.

Entryway

20. Wipe down your baseboards.

clean mama cleaning baseboards with dryer sheets
Clean Mama

The little things can make a big difference. Use a rag or sponge dipped in warm, soapy water to scrub scuff marks and dirt off your baseboards (Clean Mama says baby wipes work, too).

Finish off your clean baseboards by rubbing them with a dryer sheet to repel dust.

Free Bonus: These 15 amazing multi-purpose entryway storage hacks and ideas will transform your space.

Garage

21. Dust and wash everything.

a clean and empty garage from living well spending less
Living Well Spending Less

Then work your way down: Scrub your walls with soap or a degreasing agent. And sweep and mop your floor to get rid of dirt, chemicals, and oil-build-up.

Basement

22. Clean your light bulbs.

an energy saving light bulb on a blue cloth with white pattern
Flickr/Kai Hendry

Unscrew your light bulbs and wipe the dust off them with a clean microfiber cloth. Your newly bright lamps and pendants will thank you.

23. Wash your window tracks.

how to clean window tracks like a pro before and after from the intentional mom
The Intentional Mom

Window tracks are pretty disgusting — they can fill up with dust, dirt, and even dead flies. If you’re tired of cringing every time you open or close your windows, take a cue from The Intentional Mom:

Sprinkle some baking soda on the dirt in your window tracks, pour a little vinegar on top, and let it sit for a few minutes. Then scrub with a rag or old toothbrush and wipe clean.

Attic

24. Suck up cobwebs with a vacuum hose.

dyson dc22 vacuum hose

Layers of thick dust and dirt can ruin your stuff over time. To keep your vintage furniture and  vinyl records in good quality, use your vacuum to clear out cobwebs and clean your attic floor.

25. Donate anything you don’t need.

makespace offers free goodwill pickups for storage customers in nyc, chicago, and dc
MakeSpace

You know those cardboard boxes filled with old craft supplies, CDs, and DVDs? The ones that haven’t seen the light of day in years? Get rid of ‘em.

Or donate them. Even better, MakeSpace offers free Goodwill pickups in NYC, Chicago, and Washington, DC.

Pro Tip: Read our comprehensive guide on where to donate your old clothes, books, furniture, toys, cell phones, and more.

26. Let MakeSpace store your stuff.

 

After you finish cleaning, use MakeSpace to store your snowboard, skis, luggage, and more.

Simply schedule a MakeSpace pickup and pack your stuff. We’ll pick up everything from your home and transport it to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility.

And when you need something back, simply browse your convenient online photo catalog of your stuff, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

This article was written by Paige Smith, a freelance writer from Orange County, California who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics.

15 Amazing Multi-Purpose Entryway Storage Hacks And Ideas That You’ll Love

Considering the fact that an entryway offers the first glimpse inside a home, it’s a seriously overlooked and undervalued area. Sure, your entryway might be small, sparse, dark, or narrow, but hey — it’s got major style and storage potential.

After all, what do you get when you remove the piles of shoes and coats behind your front door?

Glorious, wide open space.

Or maybe just space — space perfect for storing and organizing everything you drop off or pick up on your way in and out of your home.

Here are 15 amazing multi-purpose entryway storage hacks, solutions, and ideas that will keep your home’s first and last impression on-point.

1. Turn a bookcase into entryway storage lockers.

ikea mudroom lockers storing backpacks, bags, shoes, jackets, vests, notebooks, clothes, and other school accessories
Polka Dot Chair

This option is ideal if you live with multiple people (and especially if some of those people are children).

You can check out the full tutorial at Polka Dot Chair, but the concept is simple: Purchase a few slim IKEA bookcases, stand them alongside one another, adjust the height of the shelves according to your needs, and voilà!

You have DIY lockers with room for coats, backpacks, shoes, sports equipment, and everything in between.

Free Bonus: Here are 10 more DIY storage and furniture projects you can make in less than one hour.

2. Store shoes, bags, and accessories in baskets on a console.

diy entryway table with wicker baskets
A Beautiful Mess

For style and function, store everything from purses and gloves to stacks of mail and shoes in matching baskets.

Easy, obvious, and yet totally impactful.

3. Build a DIY wooden boot rack.

diy boot rack made of wood
By Stephanie Lynn

If you want to keep your winter boots (or summer sneakers, for that matter) organized and easy to grab when you’re rushing out the door for an impromptu snowball fight, this DIY wooden boot rack is exactly what you need.

Stephanie Lynn features her boot rack outside, but you can easily display it below your coat rack or next to a storage bench.

If you decide to keep the boot rack inside, remember to place a tray beneath the rack to collect melted snow, dirt, and dust so your entryway floor stays clean.

Free Bonus: Here are 15 more smart ways to store shoes, boots, and sneakers.

4. Label your coat rack.

entryway shelf with hooks, chalkboards, and a bench
Just A Girl and Her Blog

A classic wall-mounted coat rack in an entryway is always a good idea. It’s easy to install, saves floor space, and adds a welcome dose of personality to an otherwise bland part of the home.

This particular coat rack, however, kicks functionality up a notch. How? With chalkboard labels.

You can label your hooks by type of outerwear (like in the photo above) or by person if you have a big household. It’s a simple detail that’ll make your stuff even more organized (and — let’s be honest — a little cuter, too).

Free Bonus: Here are 13 easy DIY storage ideas that’ll organize your entire home.

5. Make smart use of a nearby closet.

organized entryway closet
Just A Girl and Her Blog

If you’re lucky enough to have an entryway closet in your, ahem, entryway, take advantage of it.

Even the world’s smallest, most poorly designed entryway closet has room for growth — and plenty of coats.

With a smart layout (and some major decluttering), you can easily maximize the space in your entryway closet to fit everything you need.

Install spice racks to hold notebooks and mail. Use wall hooks to store bags, purses, and umbrellas. Store shoes in plastic drawers. And use baskets to store accessories like hats, gloves and scarves.

Free Bonus: Here are 12 super creative storage ideas for small spaces.

6. Use a storage bench to hold bags and shoes.

white entry bench with storage and hooks
Imperfect Homemaking

If you have room for a bench in your entryway (you know, to sit on while tying your shoes, resting after a long day, or pondering hygge), make it a storage bench.

You can stash shoes, baskets full of cozy gloves and hats, blankets, or even your collection of dog toys inside of the storage bench.

7. Display plants on DIY floating shelves.

entryway makeover consisting of copper floating shelves, potted plants, and a console with drawers
Vintage Revivals

We’re all for practicality, but why not add some happiness-inducing greenery to spruce up your entryway?

We even put together this list of the best houseplants and planters to make doing so as easy as possible.

You can also install a couple floating shelves (here are 15 breathtaking shelves you don’t have to DIY) above your console table or coat rack to display potted plants or vases of flowers. Just like DIY extraordinaire Mandi Gubler from Vintage Revivals did in this video:

 

If, however, you discover you’re not a very capable plant owner (it happens to the best of us), you can always swap the succulents for books, mail organizers, or — surprise, surprise — storage baskets.

8. Turn your hall closet into a giant coat rack.

hall closet makeover with wall hooks, a bench, and a storage crate
My Love 2 Create

If the single tension rod in your hall closet doesn’t cut it when it comes to storing your collection of jackets and coats, get rid of it.

Take advantage of that precious vertical wall space by installing as many hooks as you want. You’ll be able to store at least twice as many coats and bags as before, and you won’t have to rely on mismatched hangers to do it.

And in case you’re wondering, here’s how to easily organize everything in your closet.

9. Hang a shelf above your coat rack for extra storage.

entryway bench with numbered coat hooks, a shelf, and baskets for storage
Home Remedies

This entryway storage tip sounds obvious, but it’s worth repeating:

A single shelf (above a coat rack or on its own) does wonders for an entryway. Use the self to store mail, sunglasses, purses, or baskets full of winter gear.

10. Turn a closet into a storage nook.

entryway closet makeover with a storage nook, bench with drawers, a shelf with hooks and storage, and baskets
The House of Smiths

The House of Smiths breaks down this minor renovation process in full. The basic idea is this:

With some resourcefulness and patience, you can transform a small, dingy closet that doesn’t meet your needs into a cool, functional storage nook.

Did we mention this little nook has coat hooks, mail organizers, wooden shoe crates, and a comfy seat? What more could you want?

11. Put hooks on the side of your console to hang bags.

entryway dresser with storage hooks, a cell phone organizer, receipt scanner, and answering machine
Organizing Made Fun

If you’re lacking space on your coat rack (or want to nix it altogether), install stylish hooks on the side of your console or entryway table.

They’re perfect for hanging purses, briefcases, backpacks, and even reusable grocery bags.

12. Turn an IKEA shelving unit into a cubby holder.

upholstered diy ikea banquette bench with storage boxes, cubbies, a back, and pillows hack
Melodrama

You know those tall, narrow IKEA shelving units perfect for storing books, CDs, and DVDs? Yep, we’re talking about KALLAX shelf units.

It turns out the same shelving units — when laid horizontally — also make ideal cubbies for storing shoes and other small to medium-sized items.

Melodrama details this fantastic discovery and provides the full tutorial (complete with a banquet seat) here.

If you’re not up for the full project, though, you can always stack a couple shelving units against the wall to make a taller cubby system. Or just tuck a singular unit below a long bench.

Free Bonus: Learn how to DIY the 12 best IKEA hacks and ideas for every room in your home.

13. Create a space-saving mail organizer using magazine holders.

wall-mounted mail rack ikea hack made from knuff magazine files
Instructables/Kazmataz

If you like to keep your surfaces clutter-free, use this genius IKEA mail organizer hack from Instructables.

Here’s the gist: Find a few sturdy magazine holders, screw them upside down on the bottom of a shelf or tabletop, and bam! You have instant folders to organize your mail.

14. Store shoes in a vintage mail organizer.

vintage mail sorter shoe cubby with a chalkboard calendar that reads "let today be the day"
Sincerely, Sara D

Disclaimer: Finding a gorgeous and intact antique mail organizer isn’t exactly easy. But we can still draw inspiration from the idea.

If you can’t score your very own vintage mail sorter like Sincerely, Sara D, build one by following these instructions from Remodelaholic.

Another option is to find another equally functional cubby shelf system (or wall hutch like the one that Abbi from Broad City uses in her bedroom) to store shoes and baskets of accessories.

The best part?

Not only is it the pinnacle of functional storage, it also looks really cool.

15. Let MakeSpace store everything else.

 

Don’t have enough room in your entryway to store everything?

Let go of the stuff you don’t need. Then let MakeSpace store your off-season clothes, shoes, bike, surfboard, luggage, A/C unit, and more.

Simply schedule a pickup and pack your things. We’ll pick up everything from your home and carefully transport it to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility.

And when you want something back from storage, simply browse the convenient online photo catalog of your stuff, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it straight to you.

Until then, make your place even more spacious by learning these brilliant storage hacks for every room in your home:

Top image via Artazum/Shutterstock

This article was written by Paige Smith, a freelance writer from Orange County, California who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics.

12 Next-Level Ways To Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets, Drawers, And Pantry

A kitchen, much like a closet, is one of the more under-appreciated spaces in a home — you use it every day, but don’t often give much thought to how you organize it.

You probably know a few general kitchen organization ideas by now, but what about the nitty gritty rules for how to organize the different areas of your kitchen to maximize space and simplify your cooking routine?

After all, good kitchen organization isn’t just about stacking dishes neatly. It’s about creating a smart system that makes your life as easy as possible.

That’s why we put together this handy list of 12 simple and brilliant tips to perfectly organize your kitchen cabinets, drawers, and pantry.

Click any of the below links to jump to a specific section:
Kitchen Pantry
Kitchen Cabinets
Kitchen Drawers

Kitchen Pantry

1. Use baskets to corral similar items.

pantry baskets with labels
Honey We’re Home

Baskets and bins are the best and easiest way to organize food in your pantry. Organize your baskets by category, like snacks, baked goods, pasta, bread products, and so on.

To make things even more straightforward (and more aesthetically pleasing), slap a few labels on your baskets so you know what to look for when you’re cooking dinner or assembling lunch in a rush.

2. Put everyday items at eye-level.

eye level pantry organization
Paige Smith

Again, the goal here is to make your life easier. Put the food you reach for every day in the middle of your pantry at eye-level. Then store lesser-used items on the top or bottom shelves.

3. Store baking ingredients and grains in containers.

pantry storage containers with labels
Just A Girl and Her Blog

A set of matching containers goes a long way in limiting pantry chaos. Not only do containers hold more than store-bought boxes, but they also keep your food fresh and help prevent spills and messes.

Invest in a set of sleek glass or plastic containers (even Mason jars will do the trick) and fill them with everything from dried elbow noodles to brown sugar. If you’re not much of a baker or cook, use them to store snack mixes, cereal, or nuts.

Want more clever kitchen tips?

Learn how to cook in your small kitchen with ease.

Kitchen Cabinets

4. Keep Tupperware lids in their own box.

organize tupperware lids in a kitchen drawer with acrylic organizers
Organizing Made Fun

If you already do this, we give you major props — it’s a game-changing organization trick.

Instead of letting Tupperware lids float around your cabinet wherever they can fit — a risky move that almost guarantees you’ll never be able to find the exact size you’re looking for — stack them from largest to smallest in a separate box.

5. Put things you use every day in the most accessible cabinets.

glasses standing up on shelves in kitchen cabinets
Paige Smith

Like the trusty eye-level pantry rule, this organization strategy seems obvious, but its effectiveness cannot be overstated.

Keeping your dishes and cooking tools in cabinets where you can easily reach them is key to staying sane as you navigate your kitchen.

If you reach for the Tupperware after dinner every night to store your leftovers, don’t keep it in a lower cabinet — store it front and center. Same goes for anything else you use with frequency, whether it’s a giant Crock-Pot or a set of Moscow Mule mugs.

6. Hang hooks or a corkboard on the inside of a cabinet door to maximize space.

Cork boards, peg boards, adhesive hooks — whatever works. The point here is to create extra space to store things like dish towels, serving tools, measuring cups, or even just recipes and grocery lists as demonstrated in this photo:

cork board kitchen cabinet door
Young House Love

7. Put shelf risers in your cabinets.

kitchen cabinet shelf risers above microwave
Just A Girl and Her Blog

Shelf risers are the secret to doubling your cabinet space in two seconds flat. You can use them to store twice as many baking pans, casserole dishes, mugs, plates, or whatever else you need.

8. Store spices on a Lazy Susan.

spice rack lazy susan
Jaime Brooks of A Nurtured Nest

No more digging through a disorganized cluster of spice bottles to find the paprika nestled at the back of your kitchen cabinet.

If your drawer space is limited, store spices on a Lazy Susan you can stash in a cabinet near the stove. The genius of a Lazy Susan is that it keeps everything organized, visible, and easy to grab.

What more could you want?

Free Bonus: Read our list of 7 smart ways to save space in your small kitchen.

Kitchen Drawers

9. Organize kitchen tools by type of cooking.

kitchen tools in a drawer organized by type of cooking
Paige Smith

Not all kitchen tools are created equal. You might think you can store all your spatulas in the same drawer, but it’s actually easier and more efficient to separate your tools — even if they’re the same kind — by the type of cooking they’re created for.

For example, the massive metal spatula you use for grilling should be kept with other grilling tools like tongs, a basting brush, and a meat thermometer.

Same goes with baking necessities. Put all your silicone spatulas, measuring cups, whisks, wooden spoons, and rolling pins together in one drawer.

Free Bonus: See our complete list of 48 easy kitchen storage hacks and solutions that will upgrade your life.

10. Use dividers or small bins to organize kitchen drawers.

diy kitchen utsensil drawer organizer
Flickr/Dan Malec

Dividers are to drawers what baskets are to pantries. In other words, they’re absolutely necessary for keeping everything neat.

Use dividers to organize things like flatware and serving utensils. Then use small boxes and bins to organize everything else, including random junk drawer items like candles, batteries, and rubber bands.

cooking tools organizer in a kitchen drawer
Jaime Brooks of A Nurtured Nest

11. Use a tension rod to store pot lids upright.

tension rod pot lit holder installed inside a kitchen drawer
Imperfect Homemaking

If you’re lucky enough to have a deep drawer, install a tension rod inside it to store pot lids upright. It does double-duty by keeping your lids organized and creating more space to stack your pots and pans.

12. Let MakeSpace store everything else for you.

 

For everything you can’t fit in your kitchen, use MakeSpace.

Simply schedule a pickup and pack your stuff. We’ll grab everything from your home and transport it to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility.

And when you need something back, just browse your convenient online photo catalog of your stuff, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it back to you.

The result: Less time wasted rummaging through your drawers, cabinets, and pantry. And more time for you to enjoy hosting Thanksgiving in your home.

This article was written by Paige Smith, a freelance writer from Orange County, California who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics.