All posts by Paige Smith

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 products.

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:

53 Insanely Clever Bedroom Storage Hacks And Solutions

48 Easy Kitchen Storage Hacks And Solutions That Will Instantly Upgrade Your Life

42 Bathroom Storage Hacks That Will Help You Get Ready So Much Faster

Coming Soon: 21 Living Room Storage Hacks That Your Apartment Wishes You’d Try

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.

14 Easy New Year’s Resolutions That’ll Keep Your Home Clean All Year

Unless you’re Marie Kondo or someone who, ahem, writes organizational articles for a living, you’re probably overwhelmed by the idea of decluttering your entire home.

It’s totally normal to want to sink into the pile of sweaters on your chair and resign yourself to living in chaos — but you don’t have to.

Rather than thinking of decluttering as one giant task to check off your to-do list, think of it as a series of simple habit changes.

Today, we’re sharing a fool-proof list of easy, no-nonsense New Year’s resolutions for your home that will keep your place clean all year. Marie Kondo would be proud.

Pro Tip: Use this KonMari cheat sheet to easily declutter your home like Marie Kondo.

1. Declutter your most used space at the start of the year.

clean bedroom, desk, table, chair, new york pillow, and cowhide rug

You can’t develop smart decluttering habits without doing some actual decluttering. To kick off your clutter-free year, pick the most lived-in area of your home to tackle first.

It might be your kitchen, living room, or bedroom — whatever it is, get to work gathering every item in that space and asking yourself two important questions:

  1. Do I love this item?
  2. Do I use it regularly?

If the word “no” pops into your head, set the item aside to trash or donate.

For more advice on how to get started decluttering, check out these 15 tips from Certified Professional Organizers.

2. Use what you have before buying more.

squeezing toothpaste onto a toothbrush

Before you start filling your cabinets and drawers with multiples of the same item, make a point to finish everything you have first.

Use the last few pumps of lotion, the last drops of olive oil, the last inch of your pine-scented candle, the last five envelopes you own, the last bit of toothpaste — you get the idea.

With just this one habit change, you’ll waste less, consume less, and bring less clutter to your home.

Free Bonus: Check out these 8 minimalist living tips to learn how to live with less stuff.

3. Clear your surfaces.

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

If your head is spinning just thinking about organizing your closet, start with something smaller. Specifically, start with the flat surfaces in your home. Coffee tables, nightstands, dressers, desks, and kitchen countertops are all breeding grounds for clutter.

Pick one surface first — the one that makes you stressed just looking at it — and clear everything off. Before you start adding items back to it, pick up each one and determine whether or not you want to keep it.

Free Bonus: Use this handy decluttering flowchart to decide what to keep or get rid off.

4. Put your clothes away every night.

clothes hanging in a closet with a vintage trunk on the floor

Before your crawl into bed, put your clothes away instead of tossing them on the nearest chair to “deal with in the morning” (let’s be real: you won’t deal with it in the morning).

And don’t just put your pants and shirt on a random shelf — take the extra 20 seconds to fold them (here’s how to easily fold a shirt like Marie Kondo or hang them back up neatly (use this awesome compact clothes hanger for your tiny closet).

The more frequently you do this, the quicker it will become second-nature.

Don’t have a closet to put your clothes away?

No problem — here’s how to live without a closet.

5. Throw away your trash.

green trash can

This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised to learn how much of your clutter is actually stuff meant for the trash bin. Don’t let things like shopping bags, gift boxes, flyers, and tags pile up — toss them out or recycle them immediately.

6. Give every new item a home.

organized entryway with wall cubes storing headphones, and boots and a messenger bag on the floor

It’s easy to let new purchases wallow in your entryway, on your bathroom counter, or in front of your closet (especially if you have minor buyer’s remorse and can’t decide if you want to keep something), but this creates tons of totally unnecessary clutter.

As soon as you bring a new item into your space, give it a proper (and permanent) home. And no, the storage closet or junk drawer doesn’t count.

7. Don’t buy storage bins.

Clarification: Don’t buy storage bins until you figure out exactly what you need to store.

Stockpiling all the latest space-saving gadgets and storage bins just creates more clutter in your home and gives you an excuse to keep things you might not even need.

Free Bonus: Why letting go of your stuff is hard, plus what to do about it.

8. Spend five minutes tidying every night.

decluttered bathroom with a clean mirror
Flickr/Christine Warner Hawks

Before you get ready for bed, set a timer and see how much you can accomplish in five minutes.

If you hustle, you can probably hang up your clothes, pick up trash, wipe down your bathroom mirror, and put things away — all in the same amount of time it would take you to check your email or scroll through your Facebook news feed.

9. If an area of your home drives you nuts, put it on your decluttering to-do list.

planner binder that reads "planning my day"
Just a Girl and Her Blog

If the level of chaos in your kitchen cabinets or desk drawers makes your skin crawl, but you don’t have two hours to take care of it right away, add it to your decluttering to-do list.

Keep the list somewhere visible (like your fridge or computer desktop) and set a date with yourself to declutter your problem zone within a week.

10. Tidy a room before you leave it.

decluttered and clean home office

Fold your throw blanket and fluff the pillows on your sofa before you leave the living room. Stow away your beauty products after you finish getting ready in the bathroom. Toss your papers and take your coffee mug to the sink when you stop working at your desk.

Basically, always leave a room cleaner than when you walked into it.

11. Use the “one in, one out” rule.

mary helen rowell's bookcase
MakeSpace

Take a cue from 90-square-foot-apartment dweller Mary Helen Rowell and use the one in, one out rule. For every new item you add to your space, get rid of something similar.

Got a new pair of running shoes? Donate your old ones.

Bought a new novel? Give an old paperback to the library (here’s how to decide what books to keep or get rid of).

12. Clean during commercial breaks.

scrubbing a white kitchen sink with an hdx easy eraser
Honey We’re Home

Or during Hulu ads. Or while you’re waiting for hot water to boil or your Uber to arrive.

The point is: There are so many small tasks you can take care of when you have a couple minutes to spare.

Free Bonus: Take a look at these 10 smart cleaning tips from your favorite movies (including Mrs. Doubtfire)

13. Keep a donation box in your closet.

cardboard box for packing and moving globe, wooden figurine, poster, and more
Flickr/Guy Kilroy

Whenever you come across something you no longer want or use, toss it in the donation box.

When the box is full (make it a small box so it fills up fast), give it to your local Goodwill. Or let MakeSpace pick up and drop off your donation to a local Goodwill.

14. Use MakeSpace to effortlessly store everything else.

 

When you’ve already decluttered but still need to store stuff (hey — it happens), use MakeSpace.

Simply schedule a pickup 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 your collection of CDs and DVDs back, just browse the convenient online photo catalog of your stuff, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it straight to you.

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

6 Reasons Letting Go Of Stuff Is Hard (And What To Do About It)

Picture this: You decide to declutter your home, but despite your best intentions, 30 minutes into the project you’re surrounded by a pile of old college T-shirts, wearing a fedora you forgot you had, and sifting through your dresser drawer contents like they’re relics.

We’ve all been there before. Decluttering is difficult, and can often be emotionally draining, anxiety-inducing, or even painful.

Why is letting go of stuff hard?

Because — thanks to a few well-worn excuses — it’s insanely easy to justify why you might need to keep something.

But here’s the good news: The first step to letting go of clutter is learning to understand the fear you have about parting with a particular item.

Here are the six main reasons letting go of possessions is hard, plus tips for how to move past the fear and make more space in your home — and your life — for the things that really matter.

1. Our stuff has sentimental value.

wall bookshelves, ottoman, coffee table, sofa, and chair

The most common reason we hold onto things is because we’re sentimental creatures.

The tiny bottle of white sand from your trip to Oahu. Your grandmother’s ottoman. Your concert T-shirt from a first date. Many things we own remind us of a loved one, special trip, or happy period in our lives, making them difficult to part with.

Chicago-based Certified Professional Organizer Amy Trager advises asking yourself if you’ll remember the occasion or person in question without the item attached to it. “If you can say yes, you can donate that item. Someone else will love it,” says Trager.

If you’re tempted to keep the item for nostalgia’s sake, take a photo of it instead and jot down a few sentences about its importance.

Free Bonus: Learn how to start decluttering your home with 15 more actionable tips from certified professional organizers.

2. We worry we might need something again.

garage storage bins
Just A Girl and Her Blog

This is one of the most dangerous excuses out there. It’s why we hold onto everything from instruction manuals and broken colored pencils to untouched snowboards (here’s how to store surfboards) and old chemistry textbooks.

But as Monica Friel, owner of Chicago-based Chaos to Order, says, “There’s a difference between needing something and possibly needing something.”

Storing stuff we don’t use or like just because we think we might need it again someday isn’t productive or healthy.

Trager advises getting real and asking yourself when you last used the item in question. If it’s been a year or longer, you can let it go.

“You will sometimes get rid of something you may want again. That’s okay. You can borrow it, rent it, or repurchase it, if you must,” says Trager.

Free Bonus: Use this cheat sheet to declutter your home like Marie Kondo.

3. We feel guilty about getting rid of something from someone we love.

diy epoxy jewelry box
A Beautiful Mess

Guilt can play a big role in our resistance to decluttering.

“We often feel guilty if we’re getting rid of something from someone we love,” says Trager. “It’s hard to remind ourselves that a person will still love us, and us them, even if we no longer own this item they gave us.”

So instead of shoving the framed cat painting your friend bought for you into a closet to collect dust, let it go.

“Make arrangements to get it into the hands of someone who will appreciate it,” says Friel. “It’s the best way to honor your loved one.”

4. We feel guilty about the money we spent.

 

vitamix professional series 200
Flickr/Mike Mozart

Decluttering guilt 2.0 happens when we’re reluctant to let something go because we’ve spent a significant amount of money on it.

Maybe it’s the pricey and bulky blender you realize you’ll never use (here’s a small and powerful alternative), the non-refundable winter coat that makes you itch, or the fancy bookcase you splurged on only to discover it clashes with your decor.

Whatever the item, it’s tempting to want to keep it simply because of its perceived monetary value.

But, as Trager says, “Just because we spent money on something at one point doesn’t mean it still has that dollar value. Ask yourself if that dollar value is worth the space it takes up in your home. What is that space and calm worth to you?”

Free Bonus: Check out these 53 insanely clever bedroom storage hacks and solutions.

5. We attach our dreams and hopes to our possessions.

craft storage box
Flickr/m01229

Sometimes, when we say goodbye to an item, we’re also saying goodbye to the hope that that item represents for us.

“We keep boxes full of craft supplies because someday we’ll build that dollhouse and sew those quilts. We keep stacks of magazines because we’ll start gourmet cooking any day now,” says Trager.

The list goes on: You save the complete set of Jane Austen novels because you’re determined to develop a reading habit. You keep a pair of too-small skinny jeans because you want to lose 15 pounds. You let your acoustic guitar gather dust in the closet (here’s how to store music instruments and equipment in a cramped apartment) because you think maybe one day you’ll learn to play.

Letting go of these things might feel like a failure or an embarrassment. It might feel like giving up on a dream. But as tough as it is to let go, it’s much harder to hold onto something that doesn’t bring tangible joy to your life.

Be honest with yourself and let the item go so you can create more space for something that better suits your habits and lifestyle.

Additionally, getting rid of clutter may even improve your health.

Free Bonus: Want more more purpose and peace in your life? Learn these 8 awesome minimalist living tips.

6. We don’t make time.

quartz watch with blue and red strap

Time is precious, and the last thing most of us want to spend it on is cleaning or decluttering.

That’s why our stuff accumulates so quickly — we often don’t take the time to consider the things we own and the value (or lack thereof) they bring to our lives.

According to Friel, “Clutter amounts to postponed decisions,” whether it’s the decision to delay your big closet purge or to leave the stack of mail on your desk for tomorrow (here’s how to organize your desk in under 4 minutes).

Instead of waiting until you have an entire weekend to sort through your stuff, make small decisions as they come up. Designate one bin for trash and one for items to donate (MakeSpace offers free Goodwill pickups in NYC, DC, and Chicago). Then toss things in right when you realize you no longer need them.

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

For everything you don’t have space for but can’t let go of quite yet (like your out-of-season clothes, book collections, or furniture), use MakeSpace.

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.

And when you finally find the perfect corner spot for your collection of vintage DVDs, log into your MakeSpace account, select the bin storing your DVDs , 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.

7 Super Creative And Cheap Ways To Store Your Luggage, Suitcases, And Carry-On

Ah, luggage. It’s bulky, clunky, awkwardly-shaped, and not nearly attractive enough to be disguised as a petite side table, despite what Pinterest might have us believe. Unless you have a  vintage suitcase, in which case you can totally use it as a side table or nightstand.

Whether you’re a regular jet-setter or a “once a year visit to home” kind of person, you probably have at least one travel bag that claims precious space in your house or apartment. But how do you manage to find a convenient, hidden spot for your beloved carry-on or the massive four-wheeled suitcase you used when you moved to France?

You have to get creative, resourceful, and organized. And since there’s something strangely satisfying about coming home after a trip, unpacking your suitcase, and putting it securely out of sight, we’ve compiled a list of 10 tips and tricks for storing all your luggage, no matter the type.

But first, follow these three luggage cleaning and maintenance tips:

3 Smart Luggage Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

1) Inspect and clean your luggage.

inspect and clean luggage with a damp cloth for the interior, and warm water and a sponge for the exterior
Paige Smith

Before you store your suitcase wherever it will fit, give it a quick inspection for dirt spots, tears, or wet patches. Tumbling through airports, baggage claim centers, car trunks, truck tires, and other nightmares will leave your suitcases looking worn over time.

To keep them in good shape, check for any wet areas on your bag that could lead to mold or mildew. After you unpack, toss out any bits of trash you find, turn out the pockets, and give your bag a shake to get rid of any dirt and sand remnants.

If you’re feeling ambitious, give your suitcase a gentle clean using this method from Eagle Creek. Here’s the gist: Clean your suitcase by hand using a damp cloth for the interior, and warm water and a sponge for the exterior. Then hang it to dry. Simple.

2) Check your bag’s configuration before you put it away.

check carry-on bag with zipper
Paige Smith

Lauren Williams, professional organizer and owner of Casual Uncluttering LLC, recommends taking one last glance at your bag before you store it to make sure it’s as slim and compact as possible. This means making sure all the inner pockets are well folded and that any expandable areas on your bag are zipped up.

“It’s silly, but [making sure] the set of zippers that adds an extra inch is closed can sometimes make a difference,” says Williams.

Same goes for handles, buckles, and detachable straps.

3) Protect your luggage from damage by choosing the right location.

luggage closet
Flickr/Tami Hills

Double-check that your luggage is going in a cool, dry spot. Any areas subject to intense humidity can cause moisture buildup and mold, which will either completely destroy the integrity of your bag or turn its sleek, elegant exterior ugly.

Avoid any areas that receive direct sunlight, as too much sun on your bag can fade its material over time. While you’re at it, make sure your bag is in a bug- and pest-free zone, and that you’re keeping it far from sharp objects that could potentially fall and scratch or rip it.

If you want to go the extra mile to ensure your bag’s longevity, Williams recommends investing in a luggage cover to keep your bag free from dust, mold, and dirt. Amazon has a diverse selection of luggage covers — from clear plastic and nylon to neon colors and polka dot patterns.

Now that your luggage is clean and protected, here are seven creative and cheap ways to store it:

7 Creative Ways to Store Your Luggage, Suitcases, and Carry-on Bags

1. Store luggage under your bed.

store luggage under bed
Paige Smith

You’ve heard it before, but the space under your bed is one of the easiest, most convenient spots to store your suitcases. If your bed is high enough, you’ll probably have a foot or two of dead space perfect for sliding in your carry-on or duffel bag.

Donna Smallin Kuper, organizing expert and author of Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness, recommends putting your luggage inside a large trash bag to keep it clean and dust-free while it stays under your bed.

Only have approximately six inches of space beneath your bed and desperate to find a place to store your luggage?

Williams recommends using bed risers. You can buy a set of sturdy, affordable risers at your local Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, or Home Depot. They go beneath the feet of your bed frame to lift it up and give you a glorious two extra feet of prime storage space.

2. Store your carry-on inside a suitcase.

storage luggage inside luggage
Paige Smith

It may seem obvious, but using your largest suitcases to house your other suitcases can make a world of difference in the amount of space your bags occupy.

Your carry-on bag can easily fit inside your biggest suitcase. You may even have one or two medium-sized bags that can hold your carry-on and tuck perfectly inside your largest bag like a set of Russian nesting dolls.

But don’t stop there. Gather all your duffel bags, beach bags, or weekend totes and fold those gently inside your smallest carry-on to maximize space.

The only issue with this luggage storage idea is that it can be a tedious process to retrieve whichever bag is at the center of the stack, especially when you need it quickly. That’s why this strategy works best for people who don’t travel frequently, and therefore don’t need to access their bags on a regular basis. Either that or people who just loved playing with Russian nesting dolls as a kid.

3. Use your luggage to store other stuff.

store yarn inside suitcase
Flickr/Heather

If you have to find a place to store your luggage anyway, you might as well maximize your storage potential by filling your suitcase with all those random items you’ve been meaning to put away, such as your fashionable hats:

hat storage idea: store them inside suitcases

The shorts, sandals, and bathing suits you won’t see again until next summer? Pack them up in your suitcase.

The chemistry textbooks from college you’re saving just in case you decide to apply for grad school? Stack them in your carry-on.

Holiday gifts you need to hide? Tuck them in your duffel bag.

Other items you can store inside your luggage include, but definitely are not limited to, boxes of old letters and photos, tool kits, books, toilet paper, and toys. The possibilities are endless.

4. Store your suitcases on a high shelf in your closet or garage.

suitcase storage shelves
Paige Smith

Kuper recommends utilizing the dead space at the top of your garage or closet by installing a sturdy shelf there. Just make sure the shelf is wide enough to fit your suitcase when it lies sideways, otherwise you risk the shelf breaking or bending from too much weight.

Kuper advises “using three sturdy tension rods, all placed at the same height.”

If you have several suitcases and only enough room to store one, double-check that your shelf brackets are secure and try out the Russian nesting doll method to fit them all up there.

5. Turn your suitcase into a shoe rack.

suitcase shoe rack
Paige Smith

If you have a decent amount of floor space in your closet, you can store your suitcases there. The trick is to lay your suitcase in the exact position you would if you put it on a luggage rack in a hotel room: flat and open, with the open side facing toward you.

With this method, you can store your shoes in neat rows in the open suitcase. Just make sure to lay a towel or cloth at the bottom of your suitcase to protect it from dirt and grime.

If you already have a shoe organizer or rack, you can use the suitcase to store plenty of other items like shoeboxes full of folded gloves and hats, rolled up scarves, belts, holiday decorations, or handbags.

If the lid of your suitcase has a zippered storage pouch, take advantage of that, too.

6. Hang your luggage from sturdy hooks or pegs.

hang suitcase, duffel bag, and luggage on wall hooks
Apartment Therapy

Similar to the shelf method, this option works best if you have a closet, garage, or utility pantry with available space higher up. If you do, you can install a sturdy peg or hook to hang your bag from, provided that it has a handle at the top.

Since all the weight of the suitcase will be concentrated on one point, though, be sure to keep your bags as light as possible if you go this route. Don’t try to stack your suitcases or fill them with your out-of-season coats — just keep them empty.

7. Let MakeSpace pick up, store, and deliver your luggage.

 

If your home doesn’t have the space to fit all your luggage, or if you know you won’t be traveling again until your trip to Thailand in eight months, schedule a MakeSpace pickup .

We’ll pick up your luggage (along with any other items you might want to store) and transport it to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility.

The best part: We’ll also create an online photo catalog  of your stuff. So the minute you decide to book a trip to Australia, your luggage will only be a few clicks away from arriving on your doorstep.

Top image via Flickr/Heather

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

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

Never worry about organizing your closet again. Our fool-proof, step-by-step guide (with photos) shows you how to easily organize your closet for good.If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably decluttered and organized your bedroom closet many times over the years, and yet every few months it still ends up looking like a bull busted through your walk-in.

Maintaining an organized closet will always be an ongoing process (because updating your wardrobe is an ongoing process), but there are certain things you can do to ensure you never spend more than 20 minutes rearranging your clothes ever again.

Follow these 18 easy strategies to organize your closet for good. It may take a little time, but we promise it’ll be worth it.

1. Declutter your clothes by category.

organize jackets and coats on bed
Flickr/CGPGrey

A fast, easy way to declutter your clothes is to sift through them by type. Tossing every piece of clothing you own into a massive fabric mountain on your bed is overwhelming and inefficient.

Instead, separate your clothes into categories like pants, dresses, tops, outerwear, accessories, and undergarments. Then sort through every item in a single category before moving on to the next.

Why is this method better?

Because it’s way easier to compare similar clothes when they’re all grouped together in front of you, making it easier to get rid of the things you know you have too much of or don’t want.

As you go through your stuff, make a commitment to only keep the clothes you know you love and wear with frequency.

If anything gives you reason to hesitate, toss it in a pile for donation.

Want more decluttering advice? Check out these 15 actionable decluttering tips from Certified Professional Organizers.

2. Empty and clean your closet.

empty and clean shoe closet
Honey We’re Home

Once you’ve made separate “donation” and “keep” piles for your clothes, shoes, and accessories, give your closet a once-over and pull out anything else still lingering inside it.

When only the occasional lone safety pin remains, dive in and give your closet a proper deep-clean. Vacuum the carpet, wipe down the shelves, and scrub any scuff marks or dirt off the walls.

3. Design your ideal closet space.

organized small closet
Just A Girl and Her Blog

Within reason, obviously. If you have the time and money for a full-blown Carrie Bradshaw closet renovation, go for it.

If not, get creative to work with what you have (and yes, it’s possible to organize a closet without an actual closet). Take note of your closet’s best features: Maybe you have tons of vertical storage space, built-in shelving, or multiple hanging rods. Use these to your advantage.

For the areas of your closet that aren’t so great — your hard-to-reach upper shelves or total lack of shelves altogether, for example — figure out what you can do to fix these problems.

Maybe your open-plan closet would benefit from plastic rolling dressers or a small armoire tucked inside. If you have too many shelves and not enough hanging space, maybe you can remove a few shelves and hang hooks on the walls instead.

The possibilities are infinite.

4. Store your clothes by category.

rubbermaid homefree series closet system organizes, stores, and hangs clothes, shoes, bins, and more
Flickr/Rubbermaid Products

This tip may seem obvious, but it makes all the difference when you want to locate your cozy gray alma mater sweater in a flash.

Keep like items with like items. Store all your belts in the same spot, hang your sundresses alongside each other, and keep your workout shirts separate from your pajamas.

5. Hang anything delicate, fancy, or sturdy.

blue, green, and gray collared shirts hanging on white hangers in a closet

Maybe you have enough space to hang every single T-shirt you own, but if you don’t, then stick with hanging the obvious stuff.

That means delicate items like dresses, skirts, and lingerie, fancy items like suits, and sturdy, structured pieces like coats and blazers.

Here’s a tip from Marie Kondo (the most organized person in the world) to give your closet a neat, happy look: Hang everything facing the same direction, with longer items on the left and shorter items on the right so the bottom of your clothes creates an upward sloping line.

Bonus Tip: Use this KonMari method cheat sheet to declutter your home the Marie Kondo way.

6. Use coordinating hangers.

shirts hanging on gray felt hangers in an organized closet
Flickr/Emily May

Nothing screams closet chaos quite like a collection of wire and neon plastic hangers trying to peacefully coexist alongside one another.

Limit the visual clutter and give your closet a sleek, streamlined look by using matching hangers for your clothes.

Just make sure you invest in hangers that actually work for what you have. Opt for sturdy velvet hangers over the thin plastic varieties if you have heavy suits to hang, for example, and steer clear of wooden hangers if you have lots of slippery silk blouses.

7. Stack thick items like denim and sweaters.

denim and sweaters stacked on closet shelves
Paige Smith

Save yourself precious drawer and hanging space by stacking bulky winter sweaters and stiff denim jeans (in separate piles, of course). These items make perfect stacks for your shelf space because they’re sturdy and thick, meaning they won’t slump, crinkle, or lose their shape when you stack them.

Not only that, you’ll be able to see each item in a stack clearly, making it that much easier to find what you’re looking for.

8. Roll t-shirts, pajamas, and workout clothes into storage boxes.

organized nursery dresser storing baby clothes
Two Twenty One

Things like cotton shirts, leggings, and polyester shorts tend to be thin and pliable, making them perfect candidates for the roll and tuck technique.

This technique is a major space-saver if you do it right. Rather than folding and stacking your softer, thinner clothes, simply fold them in half and roll them into neat little tubes.

Tuck your rolled clothing into shoe boxes (great for sliding into drawers), or use wire baskets or clear bins (perfect for shelves).

Pro Tip: Learn how to fold and store a shirt like Marie Kondo.

9. Store your most used clothes at eye level.

most-worn clothes stored at eye level in a small closet
A Beautiful Mess

Keep everything you wear on a regular basis in the middle of your closet at eye level so it’s easy to find and grab in your early morning pre-coffee haze.

Put lesser-used pieces directly above or below your most popular clothes, and relegate your least-worn items to the top shelf.

10. Color-code your wardrobe.

rolling clothes rack hanging color-coded shirts
Deliciously Organized

It’s true — organizing your clothes by color can be tedious, but the end result will make picking out an outfit so much easier, especially if you’re a visual person.

No need to drive yourself crazy trying to remember the exact order of the colors in the rainbow (but it’s ROYGBIV if you want to be precise). Even creating the most general color distinction will make your closet totally Pinterest-worthy and easy to navigate.

11. Maximize your vertical storage space.

organized master closet with shoe racks and pull-out storage bins
Organizing Made Fun

Every closet has a secret storage weapon that, when used properly, changes the entire layout of your closet: vertical space.

This means walls, top shelves, doors, and even that dead space between your floor and the hems of your hanging dresses.

How do you take advantage of your vertical storage space?

Hang an over-the-door shoe rack over your, ahem, door, or hang it facing sideways on a tension rod. You can also use extra wall space to install DIY shelves that hold jewelry boxes or handbags.

Free Bonus: For more creative vertical storage ideas, check out our collection of 53 insanely clever bedroom storage hacks.

12. Use drawer dividers for your undergarments.

underwear drawer before after organizing it with dividers
Atypical Type A

Drawer dividers are the key to getting dressed with a smile on your face — and to knowing exactly when you need to do laundry.

To maximize space in the compartments and make everything easy to see, roll your socks, tights, underwear, and belts.

Aesthetically pleasing and functional.

13. Hang scarves on hangers.

hanging scarves pants hanger
Just A Girl and Her Blog

Sure, you can roll them up or stack them if they’re really thick, but tying your scarves on a hanger is a way better option for organizing them.

Hanging your scarves keeps them wrinkle-free and easy to see and access, meaning you’re more likely to actually use them on a regular basis.

Bonus Tip: Here are more brilliant ways to store scarves, hats, gloves, and boots in the least floorspace-eating way possible.

14. Utilize empty wall space for hanging jewelry and accessories.

organize closet like boutique
Honey We’re Home

Got a few spare inches of wall space? Get creative and use this area to hang accessories like belts, jewelry, hats, or ties.

How do you hang everything?

You can use nails or towel hooks, or opt for a more personalized approach like a stylish coat rack or LEGO key holder.

Other cool ideas?

A pegboard, canvas jewelry organizer, piece of burlap with safety pins attached, or even a repurposed metal rake head (check out The Thinking Closet’s easy tutorial).

diy necklace holder made from a rake head
The Thinking Closet
Free Bonus: Pinched for time? We are too. So we created a list of awesome DIY storage and furniture projects you can make in an hour or less.

15. Organize your drawer contents in the order you get dressed.

how to organize shirt drawer
Deliciously Organized

How much simpler would your morning routine be if you woke up and didn’t need to think about where to find all your clothes?

The answer: way simpler.

If you’ve got a dresser or set of drawers that house a substantial amount of clothes, be smart about how you organize those drawers.

In the top drawer, store the items you put on first when getting dressed in the morning — like undergarments. Follow that with pants in the drawer below and tops in the drawer below that.

So easy.

16. Turn your hangers backward to mark how often you wear your clothing.

backwards hanger trick
Roni Loren

This closet hack saves you the hassle of figuring out which clothes you wear all the time and which ones you never touch, despite somehow justifying their utility or beauty every time you do a major clothes purge.

Here’s how it works:

Turn all your hangers backwards. If you’re feeling crafty, you could tie pretty ribbons on the hangers instead or wrap pieces of electrical tape on them with the date written.

Every time you pull an item out of your closet to wear it, turn the hanger so it’s facing forward.

Any items that have backward-facing hangers after six months or a year has passed go straight into the donation pile, which MakeSpace can pick up and drop off at a local Goodwill.

17. Use the “one in, one out” rule to keep your clothes collection in check.

wire closet shelving storing shoes and hanging shirts on huggable hangers
Flickr/Emily May

Despite your best organizational efforts, you may still end up with massive heaps of ill-fitting, outdated, or unloved clothes at the end of every year (or every season if you’ve got a serious shopping addiction).

So how do you prevent things from getting out of hand?

You do what 90-square-foot-apartment dweller Mary Helen Rowell does and adopt a simple, ruthless little rule called the “one in, one out” policy.

What is it exactly? Just what it sounds like.

For every new item you bring into your closet, you get rid of another. Got a new pair of sassy fall boots? Let go of the black strappy heels you haven’t worn in two years. Bought a fresh leather jacket? Say goodbye to an old shirt.

It’s simple, easy, and ensures your collection of clothes never gets too large to manage.

18. Use MakeSpace to easily store the clothes and shoes that just won’t fit in your closet.

the makespace storage bin of masters of sex star helene yorke
MakeSpace flawlessly picks up, stores, and delivers Heléne Yorke’s seasonal clothes

Maybe you have stacks of shorts and short-sleeved shirts that need a loving home during the cold fall and winter months. Or maybe your collection of rarely used but very important hiking gear is commandeering your shoe section.

Or maybe you just have too many fabulous clothes to squeeze into your limited closet space. (Don’t have a closet? Here’s how to live without one.)

Whatever you want to store, MakeSpace has you covered.

Here’s the breakdown:

Simply pack up your stuff, schedule a pickup, and leave the rest to MakeSpace. We’ll come to your home, pick up everything, transport it to our secure and temperature-controlled storage facility, and create an online photo catalog of your stuff so you never forget what you have in storage.

Whenever you need something back, all you have to do is log into your MakeSpace account and click the item’s photo. We’ll deliver it to you.

Top image via Flickr/Rubbermaid Products

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

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

We’ve all fantasized about starting the perfect kitchen or closet remodeling project — the one that will add secret drawers, sliding panels, extra shelving, and hooks galore to our homes, magically creating space for all the stuff we can’t find space for.

But here’s the hard truth:

When you don’t have the time or funds for a full-on renovation, you have to get creative to maximize your available space.

But it isn’t as daunting as it seems. All you need are a few hardware store supplies, a basic tool kit, and a can-do attitude.

Here are 13 easy, clever DIY storage ideas and solutions for every part of your home. Click any of the links below to jump to a specific room:

DIY Bedroom Storage Ideas
DIY Closet Storage Ideas
DIY Bathroom Storage Ideas
DIY Kitchen Storage Ideas
DIY Garage Storage Ideas
DIY Home Office Storage Ideas
DIY Living Room Storage Ideas

DIY Bedroom Storage Ideas

1. DIY Hat Display

diy hat rack on a wall
A Beautiful Mess

Instead of stacking hats on the tallest shelf in your closet or — gasp — folding them to fit inside a plastic storage box, hang them.

This easy tutorial from A Beautiful Mess uses clothespins and removable adhesive strips to hold the hats, but you could also use towel hooks or spray-painted nails to get the job done.

The best part?

Your hat display doubles as chic wall decor.

Want more creative hat storage ideas? See our full list here.

2. DIY Copper Clothing Rack

diy hanging clothes rack made from leather and copper
Vintage Revivals

For the outfit that’s just too cool to stay in the closet (or, let’s be real, for your massive collection of sweaters and jackets that just won’t fit), make this chic DIY copper clothing rack.

Vintage Revivals made this simple rack out of a copper pipe, leather straps, screws, and a grommet kit.

It’s perfect to hang from the bottom of a cabinet or high shelf. Or, if your room has an unused, unloved corner spot, ditch the leather straps and position the pipe between your walls.

Free Bonus: Check out these 53 genius bedroom storage hacks that will upgrade your life.

DIY Closet Storage Ideas

3. DIY Clutch/Purse Holder

diy clutch holder using a kitchen lid rack
Fabulous Fashions 4 Sensible Style

Say goodbye to misshapen clutches and handbags cluttering your closet shelves. This no-brainer DIY solution from Fabulous Fashions 4 Sensible Style repurposes a sturdy lid rack to neatly organize your prettiest purses.

So easy.

4. DIY Pegboard Organizer

diy closet organizer using molding, pegboard, fabric, and hooks
Lookie What I Did

Accessories like belts, ties, scarves and hats can be tricky to store in a small closet. So instead of shoving them wherever you have precious shelf space, take them out of the closet completely.

This clever project from Lookie What I Did combines function and style by corralling typical outfit accessories and displaying them in a giant framed pegboard.

The framed pegboard is genius because it’s basically a blank storage canvas you can decorate exactly how you like.

Use it to display everything from hats and ties to belts, scarves, jewelry, or even cologne and perfume in small baskets.

Don’t have a traditional closet? Learn how to live without a closet.

DIY Bathroom Storage Ideas

5. DIY Cabinet Pocket Organizer

diy pocket organizer hanging on a cabinet door and storing cleaning supplies
The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking

Cabinets below the sink are usually home to piles of half-used hair gel, mini shampoo bottles, cleaning products, extra toilet paper, and everything that can’t fit inside your medicine cabinet (here’s how to declutter your bathroom).

That two feet of cramped cabinet space — made even more maddening by the giant pipe in the center — doesn’t quite cut it to store all your favorite products.

Enter: the DIY cabinet door pocket organizer. The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking has a simple tutorial requiring a scrap of fabric and basic sewing skills, but if you struggle with a needle and thread, here’s the cheater version:

Buy an over-the-door pocket organizer, cut it down to size, and use screws or adhesive strips to hang it on your cabinet door.

Voilà! Space for everything from cleaning products and sponges to bottles of lotion and bandaids.

Free Bonus: See our full list of easy and creative bathroom storage hacks that will make getting ready in the morning so much faster.

6. DIY Bathroom Towel Storage Baskets

diy bathroom towel storage baskets mounted on a wall
Making Lemonade

What to do when you have limited bathroom storage space and a stack of fluffy hand towels just waiting to be displayed?

Come up with a simple towel storage solution (baskets) that doesn’t involve installing shelves or splurging on a fancy étagère.

Making Lemonade has the full breakdown of the process, but here are the simplified steps:

Find a sturdy basket, screw it into the wall sideways, add towels, then pat yourself on the back for being so resourceful.

Free Bonus: If you do want more shelves, but don’t want to build them, check out these 15 gorgeous floating shelves that you don’t have to DIY.

DIY Kitchen Storage Ideas

7. DIY Pantry Baskets

diy pantry baskets with wooden frame
Make It & Love It

How much easier would your daily routine be if you could go straight to your pantry and find exactly what you’re looking for in an instant?

The answer: Way easier.

This adorable DIY tutorial by Make It & Love It is just the thing to revamp your pantry and keep everything neat and organized.

With a bit of canvas fabric, wood, and willpower, you can make simple, stylish baskets to hold everything from baking powder and spices to boxes of pasta and Power Bars.

Free Bonus: 11 clever and easy kitchen organization ideas you’ll actually want to try.

8. DIY Hanging Storage Bins

diy hanging storage bins
Make It & Love It

Make It & Love It used recycled containers and coat racks to create these simple storage bins that hang on the wall. You can use them to store spatulas, wooden spoons, spices, or even rolled dish towels.

Already have plenty of kitchen space?

No problem — these recycled bins are insanely versatile. Use them to hold scissors and masking tape in your craft room or makeup brushes and beauty products in your bathroom.

Craving more DIY kitchen storage ideas?

Check out our huge list of 48 kitchen storage hacks and solutions.

DIY Garage Storage Ideas

9. DIY Glass Jar Tool Storage

diy mason jar garage storage solution
Organized Mom

If you have crates of empty Mason jars left over from your Pinterest-inspired DIY lantern and layered salad projects, put them to good use in your garage.

Organized Mom used these simple glass jars to corral loose screws, nails, and bolts, a garage storage solution that makes it easy to see whether or not you need to restock your supplies.

Free Bonus: Even more DIY Mason jar storage and decorating ideas.

DIY Home Office Storage Ideas

10. DIY Craft Supply Pegboard

diy craft supply storage
Just a Girl and Her Blog

Pegboards are the easiest way to hang and display all the knick-knacks and supplies you don’t have drawer or shelf space for.

Not only are they affordable and easy to use, they’re versatile and a cinch to style.

Here’s how the project works:

Buy a piece of pegboard from your local hardware store, frame it to match your decor, mount it on the wall, then use it to hang wire baskets and canisters full of all your craft supplies.

11. DIY Rolling Utility Cart

diy craft cart on wheels
Make It & Love It

Maybe you have printers and label-makers galore with no place to store them. Perhaps you have bookshelves that house your office supplies but they’re too far from your desk when you need them.

Whatever your office storage space conundrums may be, we’ve got the solution for you: a DIY utility cart that holds everything and rolls wherever you need it.

Make It & Love It fashioned this adorable, highly functional craft cart using wood, casters, nails, and a fresh coat of paint.

Free Bonus: Awesome DIY storage and furniture projects that you can complete in less than 1 hour.

DIY Living Room Storage Ideas

12. DIY Cabinet Shelf

diy pull-out cabinet baskets
Organizing Made Fun

Unless you’re a diehard drawer fanatic with a penchant for cabinet demolition, chances are good you have a large, poorly designed cabinet somewhere in your home that you wish had built-in shelves.

If so, this is the project for you. Organizing Made Fun lived up to its name and transformed a handled basket into an extra cabinet shelf by hanging it from cup hooks.

The result? Instant and efficient living room storage space.

13. DIY Storage Bench

diy storage bench with cubbies storing books
My Love 2 Create

If you need a stylish but compact space to store your collection of cookbooks, family albums, or art supplies, look no further than this elegant DIY storage bench from My Love 2 Create.

The project uses plywood, paint, and a nail gun to transform an old laminate bookcase into a sturdy storage bench perfect for tucking in an entryway hall, living room, or bedroom at the foot of the bed.

Use it to store books, photos, trinkets, or baskets full of blankets.

Want more projects like this? Check out our list of DIY wood pallet projects that will help you save space in your home.

As for all those pesky storage problems you can’t DIY your way out of, use MakeSpace.

All you have to do is 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 finally nail that DIY shelving unit you built to display all your vinyl records, just browse your convenient online photo catalog of your stuff and click a button to get it back right away.

Top image via Lookie What I Did

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

16 Amazing Beauty Storage Ideas You’ll Absolutely Love

Finding a place to store your favorite beauty essentials isn’t rocket science.

But when you’re racking your brain trying to figure out where to put your giant bottle of body lotion amidst the chaos that is your cluttered bathroom counter, sometimes it feels that way.

Instead of giving up and shoving everything you own into a plastic bin below your sink, get creative.

Here are 16 awesome and totally doable beauty storage ideas and solutions.

1. Display nail polish in a spice rack.

wall-mounted nail polish spice rack
Paige Smith

Store your collection of colorful nail polishes somewhere they can shine.

A basic spice rack is perfect for lining up your bottles of polish in neat rows so you can see all the different shades at once.

2. Store toiletries in an old pencil box.

pencil box toiletry case
Paige Smith

Courtesy of bulk packaging and tempting sales, we’ve all got an extra stick of deodorant or tube of toothpaste (or maybe two or three) cluttering our medicine cabinets and drawers.

Instead of letting these items float around willy-nilly in your baskets and bins (the horror!), store them in a designated box you can hide out of sight.

An old pencil case — plastic, metal, or lined in cheetah print — does the trick.

Having trouble decluttering your bathroom? Here are 12 extremely easy ways to declutter your bathroom.

3. Use drawer dividers to organize cosmetics.

diy drawer divider for cosmetic storage
Paige Smith

Drawer dividers are the gateway to easy beauty organization. So easy, so obvious, and so impactful.

All you have to do is get a divider, then separate your products by type or category and file them away in neat sections.

4. Keep headbands and hair ties in little drawstring bags.

diy headband and hair tie pouch made from a fabric bag
Paige Smith

Corral all your headbands and hair ties in cute pliable fabric bags. They look charming lined up on an open shelf, but you can hide them away in a drawer just as easily.

5. Use a shoe organizer to store beauty products.

diy makeup storage made from an over the door shoe organizer
Pinterest/Kendra White

Who wants to stuff a shoe organizer with dusty trainers and sandy flip flops when you can use it to store your favorite beauty products instead?

A shoe organizer, especially one with clear pockets, is ideal for a few reasons:

  1. It holds a multitude of different items.
  2. You can easily see and access what you’re looking for.
  3. It saves a ton of cabinet and drawer space.

Hang it on your towel rack or the back of your bathroom door for a more discreet look.

Free Bonus: Check out our full list of 42 bathroom storage hacks and solutions that will upgrade your life.

6. Store your hair dryer and straightener in an over-the-door basket.

over the door basket as a hair dryer and straightener holder
Paige Smith

Forget about leaving your straightener, blow dryer, and curler atop your bathroom counter in a massive tangle of cords.Like a holster for your hair tools, a small over-the-door basket keeps everything organized and easy to grab on the fly.

Like a holster for your hair tools, a small over-the-door basket keeps everything organized and easy to grab on the fly.

7. Use Lucite desk organizers to hold lotions.

lucite desk organizer lotion holder on a shelf
Paige Smith

Repurpose the desk organizer that holds all the paperclips and highlighters you never touch into a chic stand for your lotions and creams.

8. Use a lid rack to store eyeshadow palettes.

lid rack makeup palette holder
Paige Smith

Who needs an organized kitchen cabinet when you can have a killer makeup display instead?

Stack your eyeshadow or lipstick palettes in an old lid rack to keep them out of the way and off your sticky cabinet floor.

Free Bonus: Read our guide to storing all your different types of makeup.

9. Store cotton balls and Q-tips in Mason jars.

mason jar q-tip cotton ball holders
Paige Smith

Turn your surplus of old measuring or Mason jars into a storage station for your various cotton necessities.

The best part? The jars double as cute shelf decor.

10. Use stackable drawers to organize beauty products.

clear stackable drawers organize beauty products under a sink
Paige Smith

For anyone who’s ever been frustrated by the lack of shelving in an under-the-sink cabinet, fret no more.

Stackable drawers are your new best friend. They’re affordable, easy to assemble, and insanely useful when it comes to storing all the random hand lotions and hair gels you’ve accumulated.

11. Store skin creams in a plastic fridge tray.

store skin care in fridge tray to soothe your skin and reduce puffiness under eyes and eye inflammation
Paige Smith

Picture this: It’s a hot, sweaty night and you apply a chilled eye cream to your skin — straight from the fridge.

It may sound crazy, but eye creams, serums, lotions, moisturizers, and toners can all be stored in the fridge alongside your eggs and condiments.

Besides the fact that these products have a great shelf life in the fridge (pun intended), their cooler temperatures can soothe your skin and reduce puffiness and inflammation.

Two birds, one stone.

12. Store hairsprays and bottles in a file holder.

fleur-de-lis file holder as a shampoo and hairspray bottle holder in a bathroom
Paige Smith

Hair products often come in tall or bulky bottles, making them tricky to store inside drawers or atop low shelves.

Enter: that decorative fleur-de-lis file holder you still have from tenth grade.

Not only is a file holder the ideal size for bottles of hairspray and mousse, it’s totally portable, so when you want to style your hair you’ll have everything you need in one place.

13. Store bobby pins in soy sauce dishes and hair clips in ring dishes.

soy sauce dish bobby pin organizer
Paige Smith

Keep your collection of prone-to-wander bobby pins and hair clips in little soy sauce dishes or ring trays.

They’re easy to store out of sight, but they also look pretty dang adorable sitting on a countertop.

ring dish hair clip organizer on a bathroom sink counter
Paige Smith

14. Store your most-used beauty products in a desk organizer.

diy beauty product storage desk organizer on top of a toilet tank cover in a bathroom
Paige Smith

Turn a stylish desk organizer made for notebooks and stationery into a stable for your everyday products.

The open design makes it a cinch to grab everything you need, so your morning routine can be that much breezier.

15. Use a rolling utility cart to organize bathroom products.

ikea raskog cart repurposed into a rolling bathroom cart
A Beautiful Mess

Sometimes you just want everything in one spot. When you have zero cabinet or drawer space left to house your beloved beauty products, a rolling utility cart, such as IKEA’s RÅSKOG or their new SUNNERSTA, is the way to go.

Find one that matches your bathroom decor and organize everything in coordinating baskets, boxes, or trays for a look that’s as beautiful as it is functional.

16. Effortlessly store your beauty products in MakeSpace.

 

For everything you can’t fit inside your bathroom — your burgeoning collection of nail polish, the blow dryer you don’t need during summer, or your surplus of shaving cream — use MakeSpace.

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

And when you want something back from storage, the only thing you have to do is browse your convenient online photo catalog of your stuff and click a button to have it delivered. Simple as that.

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

Minimalist Living Tips: 8 Essential Rules For Living With Less

You might think minimalist living has a particular look to it: clean white counters or a closet holding exactly 30 items, for example.

But a minimalist lifestyle isn’t about fitting all your worldly possessions into a single backpack (though if that’s your goal, here’s how to pack your backpack like a minimalist) — it’s about clearing the clutter from your life and adjusting your mindset so you can live with more purpose and peace.

Joshua Becker, the blogger behind Becoming Minimalist, says that “minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.”

So rather than tell you how to create the perfect capsule wardrobe or 007 Go Box, we’re going to break down the principles of minimalist living so you can experience the sweet freedom of living with less — on your own terms.

1. Evaluate your space and examine your priorities.

a cluttered dining room, the opposite of living a minimalist lifestyle
Flickr/lisaclarke

The first step to minimalist living is stepping back and observing. Examine your home, your belongings, your lifestyle, and your attitude from an objective perspective.

Do you own multiple versions of the same items? Do you feel stressed about trying to find a place to store the blankets your grandma knit for you?

Is your closet overflowing with clothes you never wear and can’t keep track of (here’s how to solve that bedroom closet problem)?

Do you spend five minutes in the kitchen searching for the right lids to go with your plastic containers (try these clever and easy kitchen organization ideas)?

The more you’re able to view the details of your life through an unfiltered, objective lens, the more clearly you’ll be able to see what it is you want to change.

2. Declutter every area of your home.

minimalist living tip: declutter, fold, and organize jeans, pants, and pajamas
CGPGrey.com

This one goes without saying. To live with less, you have to get rid of a lot, which can sometimes feel overwhelming and impossible.

The good news?

Starting is the most difficult part.

Once you commit to clearing out your space, the actual nitty gritty decluttering process will begin to feel manageable — maybe even fun.

packing office moving box
Flickr/yoppy

Here’s how to start decluttering: Start simple and get rid of any duplicate items you own.

Next, get rid of everything you don’t use or see on a regular basis. The stack of magazines you never read? Toss them.

The fuzzy socks you wear approximately once every two years? Say goodbye.

As you go through your belongings, focus on eliminating not just the items you don’t use, but also the ones that don’t bring joy or meaning to your life.

Free Bonus: Check out our handy decluttering flowchart for tips on how to declutter like Marie Kondo — the most organized person on the planet.

3. Think before you buy new things.

paying with a debit card

One of the biggest components of minimalist living is giving adequate thought to the things you buy or bring into your home.

Before you scoop up the powder blue scarf you see for sale at your local boutique, stop to ask yourself why you feel the impulse to buy it.

Do you need a scarf to keep warm or brighten your wardrobe for winter?

Did you pick it up because you saw the red sticker with a 50% discount? Is the discount reason enough to buy it?

Ask yourself the hard, decidedly un-fun questions before you add more stuff — and potentially more chaos — to your life.

Free Bonus: Here are 12 creative ways to store scarves, hats, gloves, sweaters, coats, and more.

4. Seek high-quality stuff.

hip jeans and shoes

That being said, when you do need or want to buy something, go out of your way to make sure it’s a quality item. Investing your money and time into finding things that are built to last will ensure you don’t have to shop as often to replace your worn-down or broken belongings.

The same goes for style. Invest in classic, timeless pieces — whether it’s for your wardrobe, linen and bedding collection, or furniture — that you know you’ll love for years to come.

5. Be grateful for what you have.

8 books on a bookshelf at a booksale
Flickr/Brittany Stevens

Minimalist living is largely about the search for contentment, and contentment begins with gratitude for what you have. Focus on the beauty, convenience, and ease your stuff brings to your life, whether it’s a painting that makes you smile or a French press that jumpstarts your morning routine.

When you feel grateful for everything you own, the desire to own more gradually disappears.

6. Purge on a regular basis.

closeup of a clothes closet
Flickr/Karen

Regularly evaluate your stuff to see what (if anything) has become a burden or unwelcome distraction in your life.

Depending on your lifestyle, the purge process can take different forms. You might want to comb through your closet at the start of every season to eliminate clothes you no longer want. Maybe you like to walk around your house once a month and put everything you don’t need into a big donation bag.

Or you might have a firm “one in, one out” rule like 90-square-foot-apartment dweller Mary Helen Rowell, meaning that for every item you bring into your home, you get rid of another.

7. Let go of guilt.

butter dish with knob

We all inevitably own items that we don’t use or cherish, yet feel obligated to keep out of guilt — either because they’re expensive, sentimental, in excellent condition, or hardly used.

But minimalist living has no room for the unattractive thrift-shop tea cups your aunt bought you, let alone the massive guilt that comes with wanting to get rid of them.

cardboard box for packing and moving globe, wooden figurine, poster, and more
Flickr/Guy Kilroy

You can assuage your guilt by giving your unwanted items a new, better home. Simply schedule a MakeSpace pickup, pack your stuff, and leave the rest to us.

Not only will we pick up and store pretty much any household item, but we’ll also drop off anything you’d like to donate at a local Goodwill for no extra charge.

makespace offers free goodwill pickups for storage customers in nyc, chicago, and dc
MakeSpace offers free Goodwill donation pickups in NYC, DC, and Chicago.

If you want to donate your things to a charity of your choice, check out DonationTown.org as an easy option.

8. Disassociate from your material belongings.

Minimalist living means learning to detach yourself from what you own. It’s completely fine to treasure your favorite book (and get rid of books you don’t love) or feel serious appreciation for the jeans that fit you just right, as long as you realize that these things are temporary sources of joy.

The stuff you own doesn’t fuel your happiness.

You know what does?

Experiences and relationships.

So go declutter, then get out there and live!

Top image via Ollie

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

How To Organize Your Linen Closet (11 Super Simple Steps)

We’d all love to have a linen closet worthy of a home design magazine, but despite our best intentions, these spaces often become the junk drawer equivalents for everything bed and bath-related.

But fear not — with a little resourcefulness and creativity, you can say goodbye to your teetering stacks of towels and piles of hastily folded sheets.

Here’s how to organize the linen closet of your dreams in 11 simple steps.

1. Purge your non-essential linens.

stack of folded bed sheets
Flickr/lisaclarke

Be honest with yourself about how often you actually use your cheetah-print towels or the faded lime green sheets you got when you were in your “bold color” phase.

Chances are good that you don’t use at least half of what you store in your precious closet space. Rather than finding a spot for the hideous floral towel set you loved five years ago, donate it instead.

Organizing is so much easier when you have less stuff to work with.

Need some decluttering help?

Check out our awesome 15 decluttering tips from certified professional organizers.

2. Line your linen closet shelves.

organize linen closet shelves with diy storage boxes made from wood
Just a Girl and Her Blog

This simple preventative measure goes a long way in maintaining the quality of your linens. Certain wood and melamine shelves can cause fading or discoloring on your sheets over time, so to avoid permanently damaging them, cover your shelves with liner. You can go basic and practical or patterned and pretty — the options are endless.

Want more info on cleaning and storing your bedding?

We’ve got you covered.

3. Always put things away clean.

stack of folded 2 clean white bathroom towels with stripes

This should go without saying, but washing your sheets and towels before you stack and organize them is crucial. That way you know you’re always reaching for a clean item when you need to make your bed or resupply the guest room with fresh towels.

Want to go the extra mile?

Iron your sheets after drying them and learn how to fold them in such a way that they stay wrinkle-free even when stacked.

Bonus Tip: Learn how to fold and store shirts the KonMari way.

4. Sort and organize your linens by category.

organized linen closet shelves with storage cubes with lids and folded towels
By Stephanie Lynn

There are a few ways you can do this: by type, size, or location. If you have distinct sheet sets and linens for each room in your home, separating them by space is easiest. If, however, your towel and sheet sets are more versatile and interchangeable, you may want to organize them by size, type, or color.

Keep everything else — beach towels, dish towels, table runners, duvet covers, quilts, and the like — organized alongside their fellow items.

Make sure to put your most frequently used items at the front and center of your linen closet for easy access, and relegate off-season or little-used items to the top shelf or back of the closet.

5. Use boxes, bins, and baskets to store and separate your linens.

best way to organize small linen closet: store linens and toiletries in storage baskets, crates, bins, and trays
The Creativity Exchange

If you have a ton of different types and sizes of linens, designated mini storage zones are the way to go to keep everything neat and easy to locate.

You can use fabric boxes, cloth bins, or straw and wire baskets to separate your different items: bath towels in one, dish towels in another, guest bedroom sheets in another, and so forth.

If you want your linen closet to look straight out of a Martha Stewart ad, invest in coordinating boxes so everything looks clean and uniform.

6. Don’t forget about fabric bags, zippered plastic pouches, and space-saving bags.

decluttered linen closet with fabric bags, storage crates, and folded bed sheets and bath towels
Reading My Tea Leaves

For everything that can’t be stored in a box or basket, get creative. That plastic zippered duvet bag you weren’t sure you should save? Pull it out from under your bed and use it to hold your duvet, down comforter, or even a spare feather pillow.

Extra beach towels, quilts, and pillows can also fit into fabric drawstring bags, which allow them to breathe a little.

For bulky, but easily squishable items, employ the help of a handy space-saving bag. These miraculous little bags will compress even the heftiest of bedding down into a neat square, saving you tons of room.

7. Store sets of sheets in corresponding pillowcases.

storing sheets in pillowcase
The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking

This tip is a lifesaver:

Forget pairing cream-colored pillowcases with your crisp white sheets because you can’t find their match.

Forget frantically digging around in piles of fabric to locate the one navy blue fitted sheet you know is in there somewhere.

And forget the tears of frustration.

Instead, fold your sheets neatly, then tuck the entire set inside one of its corresponding pillowcases.

Genius.

8. Label your linens.

how to organize linen closet: declutter, sort by category, and store things in storage baskets with labels
Deliciously Organized

Once you’ve got your linens sorted and organized into different stacks and storage bins, slap a label on everything.

Being able to distinguish between your full-size and queen-size sheets in a single glance will make it a cinch to find exactly what you’re looking for — both when you want to take things out and put them away.

9. Use an over-the-door rack to hang tablecloths and runners.

A rack on the inside of your closet door is perfect for storing table runners and tablecloths neatly.

Hanging these items doesn’t just make them easy to see and access, it also helps keep them dust- and wrinkle-free so you can pull them out for a dinner party with just a moment’s notice.

10. Keep your linen closet fresh.

linen closet potpourri bag air freshener
Dwelling in Happiness

Nothing destroys an impeccably organized linen closet faster than moths, must, and mildew wrecking your beautiful bed and bath necessities.

To keep your linens fresh while they’re tucked away, use a few of these tried and true methods:

  1. Stick a box of baking soda on your closet floor to absorb bad odors.
  2. Strategically place cedar blocks along your shelves to prevent moths and bugs.
  3. Put a dryer sheet inside your packaged sheet sets to keep them smelling clean.
  4. Toss a few lavender sachet bags or scented soaps in your linen boxes so they maintain that soft, just-washed smell.

11. Use MakeSpace to store the linens you can’t.

 

For all those off-season quilts or duvet covers that are too tricky to store, use MakeSpace.

All you have to do is 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 (which means no chance of mildew or moths).

And when the weather changes and you suddenly need the cozy knit throw your Grandma made you? Just browse your convenient online photo catalog of your stuff and click a button to get it back in no time.

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