Tag Archives: decluttering

9 Space-Making Design Tips to Make Your Apartment Look and Feel Bigger

If you’ve lived comfortably in a 1,500 square foot lower flat in Washburn, WI for $895.00 per month, it might be a shock to move to Chicago, IL, where your square footage shrinks to 895 while your rent price raises to one of the largest in the country.

Now your apartment seems tiny and depressing. Was moving to such an exciting city worth the trade off for space?

Of course it was.

There are simple tweaks  you can make to your apartment that will have it looking and feeling more spacious without the need to book it back to the ‘burbs. Watch your apartment grow with these nine tips:

1. Lighten Up

You may like the drama of black walls, but your tiny place will look less like a dungeon if you use more cheerful colors.

Try painting all walls vibrant colors like sky blue or daring yellow and enjoy the enlightening difference. Even bright white can add some refreshing pizzazz, and as an added bonus, it reflects sunlight to create a more open feeling overall.

2. Drop it down

low bed with black frame and striped comforter

Your giant platform bed towering three feet off the floor has you sleeping like The Princess and the Pea, but royal vibes notwithstanding, it’s using up valuable space.

Instead, choose a style that drops it low and hugs the floor. With your bedroom more opened up, every night can be crowned a restful night’s sleep.

3. Mirrors

large wood mirror reflecting light from chandelier and window
Style Me Pretty

Ever go into someone’s house and see a wall completely covered in a mirror? They’re not just extremely vain. By strategically placing a mirror across from a large light source like a window or chandelier, a depth effect is created that makes the whole room appear twice as big.

Great lighting + huge mirror = ultimate selfie station.

4. Fold it up

dark wood bed with footboard storage

Remember your mom’s ironing board that folded up into a closet door? Borrow from the same principle when creating some extra space in your own apartment.

Foldable chairs, hidden storage behind artwork, and footboard drawers are all great ways to have your stuff available when you need it, and tucked away when you don’t.

5. Multi-functional pieces

murphy bed coming down from bright blue wall
Home Design Lover

Seek out furniture that pulls double duty. An old-fashioned Murphy bed or a coffee table that doubles as a desk are two helpful possibilities that let you make the most of your space. Now if only they could clean the place.

6. Pop out those ceilings

living room with black ceiling and white walls and light wood floors
SFgirlbybay

Yes, we told you to paint walls white, but to create the illusion of taller ceilings, go dark up top. A ceiling painted black, dark grey, or navy suggests height and will make your your eight-foot ceiling take on twelve-foot penthouse vibes.

7. Move it out

vintage mid-century modern living room with fireplace

This one is a little counter-intuitive, but stay with us: If you move furniture a little bit away from the walls it can create a feeling of spaciousness. A sofa and chairs butted against walls tend to look very confining, whereas providing a little wiggle room gives the appearance of more room to breathe. Your living room will look larger, and your furniture won’t be left holding its breath.

8. Leave the windows alone

loft with large bare windows
POPSUGAR

Overcrowding a room with excess furniture is already a small-space no-no. Covering a window to allow more stuff to fit? Unforgivable.

If windows are blocked, everything quickly looks smaller and cramped, and the lack of light will give the room an eerie cave-like feeling. Resist the urge to squish lots of furniture pieces in one room, instead opting for a few solid pieces that balance the area while showcasing the natural light.

9. Declutter

yard sale with vintage sea set
Flickr/Mike Mozart

When making the move to a smaller apartment, it’s inevitable that you’re going to have more stuff than can fit in your new space.

Consider a yard sale to help you get rid of unneeded things. Starting with an almost-clean slate will make it easier to visualize where to place your favorite things, rather than wasting time and energy packing up stuff that you simply no longer need.

Still have too much? Schedule an appointment with MakeSpace. They’ll pick up your stuff, transport it to their secure storage facility, and deliver it back whenever you decide that, yeah, actually, the foosball table will fit.

 

It may be challenging to get that big apartment feel you’re used to in a smaller place, adjusting doesn’t have to be difficult. Give these simple tricks a try and embrace life in the city, with room to spare.

Sam Radbil is an author at ABODO Apartments, an apartment marketplace website that makes apartment hunting easier for people all across the country. Check out their available apartments in Chicago, IL and follow along on Twitter at @ABODOapts.

Feature image by UrbanSpan

5 Quick Ways to Revamp Your Guest Room for Unexpected Visitors

When guests arrive to stay in your home with a little to no notice, providing an inviting, relaxing space for them is one of the best ways to show your hospitality. Impromptu visits are bound to happen, but with these simple tips for being guest room-ready, you can be assured your family and friends will know they are always welcome!

1. Clean Up

clean white guest bedroom with open windows

The first step in welcoming guests is to provide a clean, uncluttered environment. Quickly freshen up the room by opening the curtains and windows. Let the sun shine in as you vacuum and dust the windowsills, furniture, and picture frames. Clear floors, furniture, and counters to make sure there is adequate space for your guest’s suitcases and belongings.

If space allows, a comfy chair in the guest room is ideal for putting on shoes, reading, or relaxing. Keep air filters updated to ensure the room is kept as allergen-free as possible. While sprucing up, don’t forget to tidy the guest bathroom, as well.

2. Create A Cozy Feel

fluffy comfortable white bedding

Because the majority of time is spent resting and sleeping in a guest room, you will need to make sure the bed has a set of soft, freshly-laundered sheets. When making the bed, keep in mind the time of year. You may need to add warmer blankets during the winter season, and in warmer months, lighter bedding often works best. It’s always a good idea to have extra quilts available in the closet.

For rooms with hardwood floors, consider placing a cozy rug near the bed for additional warmth. As a final touch, one or two decorative pillows that make family feel especially welcome.

It is important to have your Wifi password handy for guests. Keeping it in a stylish frame on the bedside table will make it easily noticeable and works much better than a piece of paper that could become lost.

3. Provide Some Basic Toiletry Items

make yourself at home guest bathroom basket
Love, Pasta, and a Toolbelt

It is beneficial to know what makes your guest feel at home. Keeping a well-stocked decorative basket with items such as fresh toothpaste and toothbrushes, dental floss, soaps, travel-size shampoos and conditioners, body wash, hand lotion, band-aids and cotton balls can do wonders for your guest.

In the guest bathroom, always set out fresh towels, hand towels, and washcloths that are kept especially for company. Time permitting, adding a fragrant vase of fresh flowers from your garden is an added touch your guests are sure to enjoy.

4. Snack Basket

snack basket for guests
Pinterest

If you have a few extra minutes, another thoughtful way to care for your guests is to set out a basket filled with some easy snacks and beverages. Water bottles are especially nice to have in addition to an assortment of fresh fruit, granola and/or protein bars, small packages of crackers, or a variety of chocolates treats.

5. Personal, Comforting Touches

guest room nightstand
The Inspired Room

Last but certainly not least, set out some personal touches for your visitors to enjoy. Framed photos of fun memories give the room an added cozy feeling. Proper lighting is important in the room, and it is a good idea to make sure all light bulbs are in working order. Candles are a great way to add ambiance and tranquility. It is best to use soft, subtle fragrances that are not too overpowering. A selection of coffee table books, magazines, and even local travel guides are a nice touch in the guest room. And finally, nothing is more welcoming than a personalized notecard expressing to your guests how wonderful it is to have them there!

These simple and easy tips for getting your guest room ready that take minimal effort, but speak volumes to make loved ones feel welcome. In turn, you can know that these little details mean so much to your guests and will make their stay all the more memorable.

Annie Grace Fleming is a Public Relations Specialist for Crawlspace Depot. She regularly produces content for a variety of blogs that cover topics from insulation to air filtration systems.

How to Build a Wedding Registry Fit for Apartment Living

Hand-picking a laundry list of new items for your wedding registry can be exciting—until you realize you need a place to store it all. If you live in a small apartment, it can feel daunting to build a registry if you can’t imagine where to put all those gifts.

The good news is that with just a bit more planning, you can create a useful and meaningful gift list that you, your future spouse, and your guests will love. Here are seven of our top tips for creating a registry perfectly suited for your space.

1. Take a moment to take stock

multiple wooden spoons grouped together

Whether you’re already living together or will be moving in after the wedding, it’s essential to take some time to figure out what you both already own. Schedule some time together and go room by room, listing any must-haves you currently lack. Then, you can identify any duplicate items that can be sold, donated, or thrown away to make more space.

2. Don’t be afraid to upgrade

couple sitting on bed hugging pillows

Now that you’ve gotten a clear picture of your belongings, it’s time to think about upgrading. You may find it hard to replace an item that still works, even if it’s out of style, part of a mismatched collection, or if your future spouse is not a fan.

Now is the perfect time to upgrade to a piece that you both love and that reflects your combined tastes as a couple. Plus, swapping out an older item for a newer one won’t take up more of that precious space in your apartment. You have the added benefit of donating the older item to someone who needs it.

3. Ensure that you have the essentials

blue and white towels rolled

Think carefully about your list of core, everyday items before deciding what to keep and what to upgrade. Even in the coziest of apartments, most people will need:

  • dinnerware and flatware sets
  • drinkware, including water glasses, mugs and wine glasses
  • bedding, including sheets, blankets and a duvet or comforter
  • bath towels and bath mats
  • cookware sets, including a frypan, a saucepan and a stock pot
  • cutlery
  • furniture

4. Understand your entertaining priorities

white plates place setting at a dinner party

Traditionally, couples are advised to register for both everyday dinnerware and fine china for special occasions. Small apartment dwellers, though, are less likely to host a sit-down meal for 10 additional people. You may not even have enough cabinet space to store 12 place settings, let alone a separate collection of china.

Consider two options: Register for more than you’ll need now and store extras separately, or register for only what fits in your current home. If you know you love to entertain and you don’t mind stowing a box or two of belongings in a storage unit (or a friend’s spare room), go ahead and register for a separate collection of fine china in addition to your everyday plates. However, if you don’t anticipate hosting a large group of guests, consider skipping the china and opting for a basic set that can transition effortlessly from formal to casual.

Instead of registering for 12 complete place settings, consider sticking to eight sets and expanding your collection when and if you move into a larger apartment, condo, or house. Your best bet is to choose a pattern that will stand the test of time. Ask a store associate what their customer favorites are for a collection will likely still be around for years to come. Otherwise, you can select a classic white dinnerware set and add to it over time. Classic white will easily complement other dish patterns and colors. You can also swap pieces in and out as seasons change—simply sign into your MakeSpace account and have them scheduled for delivery.

5. Choose kitchen multi-taskers

cheese, honey, and crackers on a wooden serving tray

Before you step foot into any store or create an online list, it’s a good idea to do some research and look for pieces that serve more than just one function. In any small space, choosing furniture, housewares, and decor that multi-task is the key to creating a home that is both stylish, functional, and scaled to your square footage. My favorite kitchen multi-taskers include:

  • coffee makers with integrated bean grinders
  • toaster ovens that can bake, broil, and roast
  • tools and accessories that are pretty enough to store in the open, including marble storage canisters, a matching set of cooking utensils in a decorative container, and a brightly-colored stand mixer or Dutch oven
  • nesting mixing bowls that double as serving bowls
  • durable, stylish cutting boards that you can use as serving platters
  • blenders that have food processing attachments and motors powerful enough to tackle a wide variety of cooking tasks

6. Find dual-purpose furniture

bar cart used for kitchen utensil storage
Design Sponge

Just like in the kitchen, pieces in your living area work best when they serve more than one function. Stools and poufs are the perfect apartment accessory, since they can act as seating for guests, side tables or coffee tables, and even plant stands by sunny windows. Nesting coffee and side tables can expand or collapse depending on your needs. Ottomans that turn into a single bed for overnight guests can also serve as oversized coffee tables for impromptu meals in front of the TV.

Another great choice?

Bar carts.

These on-trend pieces are once again all the rage. Apart from providing a chic way to serve cocktails and snacks during parties, they can store anything from wine bottles to books to decor, including plants, candles, and picture frames. Extra points if you find one on wheels for easy room rearranging.

Even storage pieces can serve a decorative function. Woven rattan baskets can hold throw blankets and pillows, magazines and books, pet toys, or even extra phone chargers and TV remotes. The nice thing about a pretty basket is that it can also be used for other purposes as your storage needs change—as a planter (just keep a plastic tray in the bottom to contain any water), a laundry hamper, or even a carryall for trips up and down the stairs. Wall-mounted or leaning shelving units are another great option, as they not only provide essential storage and have a small footprint, but they also add an architectural element to the room. Look for customizable shelving units that you can mix and match to fit your needs.

7. You CAN think big in a small space

comfortable living room with leather sofas
Apartment Therapy

Group gifting is growing in popularity, and living in a small space doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t register for a bigger purchase. Your wedding is a great excuse to pick out a few larger items that both work in your current space and could also fit seamlessly into any future homes.

A storage bed is a great option. A bed frames that incorporates drawers underneath the mattress makes the most of bedroom space. Many storage beds don’t require a box spring.

If you already have a bed you love but need something for your living area, consider an apartment-sized sleeper sofa. This is the perfect upgrade for those who enjoy hosting visitors but lack a spare bedroom. Another smart choice is an area rug that can pull any space together to create a finished, curated look. For smaller rooms, choose either a monochrome rug or one sporting a subtle pattern, so you don’t overwhelm the space.

Laura Love Bardell writes for Crate and Barrel, where she creates design-savvy content on the latest home-furnishing trends. Laura enjoys providing inspirational and practical guidance for couples who are creating a registry.

6 Super Satisfying Ways to Dip a Toe into the Spring Cleaning Waters

Spring is in the air, and with the flung-open windows comes the urge to clean and fix everything immediately. This is great! This is also unsustainable if its been, well, a pretty long time since the last fling open the windows/clean/fix everythingsession.

Ease back into a Spring Cleaning plan with these quick, satisfying household fixes, decluttering tips, and easy cleanups using things you probably already have around the house.

Let the sun shine in! (And then take a nap. Youve totally earned it.)

1. Put stuff into timeout boxes

clothing donation in a cardboard box
Huffington Post

Sure, this one works best for kidstoys, but who among us doesnt turn into a—ahem—less-poised version of ourselves when faced with giving up our prized possessions?

Create a maybepile of books, mugs, knick knacks, and housewares that everyones feeling medium about, and store them in stackable plastic bins. Dont panictheyre not going far. Keep them nearby in a closet, garage, or accessible attic space for a month (or slightly longer, if baby steps are needed).

Dont need em within that time frame? Guess what? You dont need em.

2. Dust with dryer sheets

dusting baseboards with a dryer sheet
Simplistically Sassy

Feel like youre forever wiping stuff down? Extend a little more time between dustings by using a dryer sheet to clean surfaces, baseboards, and shelves. Not only are they great cleaning cloths, but their anti-static nature repels dust, pet hair, and everything else that settled between the last time your parents visited and now.

3. Turn that shoe around

 

organized shoe closet

File this one under the Is this really going to make a difference?category (with the subheading of Yes, do it now): When putting shoes back in closets or on shelves, turn the right shoe in the pair backwards and keep the left one facing forwards.

Why?

When placed this way, the shoes naturally form a yin/yang shapeand save a ton of space for more pairs to be stored, too. Youll notice a crazy difference with high heels, the kind that normally take up a disproportionate amount of shoe real estate.

4. Refresh mattresses

vacuuming baking soda from mattress to clean
Curbly

If youve got the kind of mattress than can be flipped, nows a great time to do so. If it’s a pillow top, just rotate it and strip all blankets, sheets, and mattress protectors. Sprinkle the bare mattress with a good layer of baking soda, let sit for an hour or two, and then vacuum it up. (Psst: While youre doing this one, feel free to clean your comforter. It would love a little field trip out into the sunshine or to the dry cleaners.)

5. Flip your hangers

flipped clothing hangers for organization
Fun Cheap or Free

Here’s a great tip if you arent really sure if its time to part with that jacket or skirt: Put every last thing in your closet to the test by turning each hanger backwards. When you wear an item, replace it with the hanger turned the other way.

With the exception of special occasion garb, get rid of everything from that season still facing the opposite direction at the end of three months. If you didnt wear it, you certainly wont miss it.

6. Oil down fan blades

cleaning ceiling fan blades
The Organised Housewife

Ceiling fan blades are gross.

Ceiling fan blades in areas like the kitchen are even grosser. But guess what combats greasy buildup? Thats right, more grease.

After wiping down each fan blade with a pillowcase (to trap dust and prevent a greasy, dusty mess on the floor), wipe down the top of each blade with a little vegetable oil on a cloth. Rub in circles, repeat, and enjoy the fact that your ceiling fan no longer flings dust around your main living space.

There, now isnt that a breath of fresh air?

Keely Flynn is the creator of Tidyish, a site that touts decluttering and design from a decided non-minimalist. Check our her DIY tips, organizational tricks, and more hyperlapse cleaning montages than you can shake an 80s flick at. She loves your stuff (and she loves you, too).

5 Excellent Eco-Friendly Home Office Solutions

Anyone who has worked in an office would be familiar with the seemingly lifeless 9 to 5 routine. That stress and sedentarism is often considered bad for health and creativity for obvious reasons.

Working from home eases the gridlock and brings some balance back into your life. However, a lot of people tend to fall off the eco-friendly wagon when designing the home office. So, why not take a creative step forward to conserve energy and utilize even the smallest of space to create an eco-friendly workspace?

Check out these five amazing ideas for going green while working from home:

1. Let there be [natural] light

home office with skylight for natural light
Decoist

Good lightning is an essential part of an office. If you are going to spend a lot of time in the space, and the structure of your home allows for it, installing an energy-efficient skylight is a smart option. You’ll infuse the room with natural daylight while cutting down on electricity costs. Just be sure to actually head outdoors at some point in your day, too. Vitamin D does the body (and your productivity) good!

2. Invest in eco-friendly furniture

reclaimed wood office desk
Trendir

Take responsibility for your home office’s environmental impact by considering eco-friendly furniture.

A reclaimed wood desk, cork stool, or chairs made of recycled plastic can all contribute to your efforts to make the workspace as eco-friendly as it is efficient. You can also shop your home and give new life to bookshelves or cabinets that are simply collecting dust in the back of a closet.

3. Flourish among indoor plants

plants in a home office

Nothing beats bringing the great outdoors inside. Placing plants around your home office can improve air quality, decrease stress, and create a more peaceful environment, which are all important when you’re working on a deadline.

Incorporate greenery in the form of breathtaking terrariums, hanging planters, a miniature herb garden, or simple potted plants (English Ivy is an office favorite: It filters chemicals from the air).

4. Imagine your office in a closet

 

office in a closet

If all of Narnia can hide inside an old closet, so can your home office.

When you’re tight on space but your daily to-do list is overflowing, a spare closet is the perfect place to secretly tuck away your work area. Measure the closet to make sure you find a desk or other work surface that fits, add some chic desk organization tools, and slide in a slim office chair or stool.

When your workday is done, simply close the closet doors. You can get the big jobs taken care of without creating a big footprint to match.

5. Declutter with recycled shelves

salvaged wood shelf
Pat’s Color

You’ve heard it a thousand times: When looking for new ways to organize, look up! Utilizing your walls to create more storage space just makes sense. Buying brand new shelves, however, doesn’t.

Instead, install recycled, reclaimed, or salvaged wood panels. You’ll create a unique, rustic look that boasts the added bonus of being good for the environment (when properly sourced, of course). With a little touch of creativity, these shelves can be gussied up to further help declutter your desk by holding extra office supplies, documents, books, and more, leaving the surface of your space clear for, you know, work.

Creating an eco-friendly office shouldn’t mean more difficult tasks. Some quick research, selective purchases, and a keen eye taken to items you already own can infuse your area with style while being good to the environment.

This post was written by Tom Jennings, a freelance writer at Primero who is binging on Netflix series and food when not expelling some wisdom. Catch his words, he loves playing with them.

4 Key Reasons Stuff Keeps Coming Back Into Your Life After You Declutter

I always thought it was funny how we have a “spring cleaning” season. That one time of year where everyone looks at their homes and thinks, “Time to clean house!” And every year, people across the country trash heap-loads of stuff in order to declutter and cleanse their homes.

There are a lot of reasons why we choose to do this in the spring. But it seems only logical that once you’ve decluttered and cleaned your home, you wouldn’t need to do so again. After all, decluttering is the act of removing mess or clutter from a place, and organizing and prioritizing one’s material possessions.

So why is it that every year people find themselves right back where they started — amidst a pile of clutter that has no true purpose?

What people should be thinking this spring isn’t, “Time to clean house!” but, “How and why did this stuff find its way into my house again?”

Unless you fix the root of the problem, the cycle of clutter > declutter > clutter will continue.

1. You haven’t self-examined or self-reflected on why there is clutter to begin with

cluttered garage with messy shelves

Before you do anything to your home and the stuff in it, consider why every item is there in the first place: Did you put it there? Was it a gift? Is it something you use regularly in your daily routine? Does it bring you happiness? Can you live without it?

We need to ask ourselves these hard questions in order to effect change. Decluttering will not work for those who do not self-reflect on why things come into and remain in their lives. Neither will it explain your attachment to items and objects that have sentimental value.

Decluttering can change your home temporarily by removing the obvious things (junk, trash, expired foods, etc.). However, it cannot change your lifestyle and/or personal habits (what and how often you buy things, etc).

Stuff is imminent, and will always come into and out of your life. But you can control what stays and what doesn’t…

…for the most part. This brings me to my next point:

2. You may not have considered the other people who live in your home

messy disorganized colorful lego

The above sentiment is also true for any other person living in your home. Decluttering is simply about removing stuff that shouldn’t be there, so it won’t change the habits of your husband, wife, partner, kids, mom, dad, etc.

If you want to bring permanent change to your home, then make decluttering a family affair. Sit down together and discuss a plan of action, and small changes you can each make to work toward your collective goal.

If you have kids, this can be especially tricky. One small way to help children make changes is to set ground rules for new things that come into the house: if a new piece of clothing or toy comes in, then a piece of clothing or toy goes out.

This small act of continual decluttering can also teach responsibility and charity. In our home, we love supporting our local shelters and non-profit organizations whenever possible.

Note: Don’t set goals that are unattainable. It is difficult to change our personal habits (especially for kids), and requires time and effort to do so. Not to mention, it can be very hard and literally painful to let go of things, so remember to take it one step at a time. Change is possible!

3. Your possessions give you an inaccurate view of your financial standing

antique audiophone

We all buy things with the understanding that they are worth something. Everyday, people invest in things (food, wares, services, etc.) that they view as essential to living. No one would spend money on something they thought had little or no monetary value.

The value we give to an item in our home is it’s economic value. More often than not, our notion of the economic value of things in our home is significantly higher than other people’s perceptions.

Free Bonus: Check out this segment from the TV show Adam Ruins Everything: The Economics of Gift Giving for a visual and more eloquent explanation of economic value.

Often, we hold onto things because we think they have value. But value to you might mean junk to someone else — the saying could just as well be, “One man’s treasure is another man’s trash.” If you have stuff you want to sell, go for it: but don’t hold onto it forever thinking it will eventually make you a pretty penny.

4. You aren’t actually removing the real clutter

grandma's tea set

Trash is trash, but that china from your wedding that you’ve never used? Clutter. The extra Christmas lights dad gave you just in case yours ever go on the fritz? Clutter. Those old college laptops you kept in case you ever needed something on it but haven’t touched since? Clutter.

Anything without a current, meaningful purpose in your life is clutter by definition. Anyone can throw out trash, but it takes a keen eye and serious contemplation to identify the real clutter in your home.

The important thing to remember when taking on a challenge such as decluttering your home is don’t despair: order can be created from chaos (and scheduling your first MakeSpace pickup is a great start). Truly decluttering your home will take longer than just a couple of days of spring cleaning, but with determination and the right guidance, you will be able to finally declutter your home — permanently.

Jennifer Ferrari is the owner of The Chaos Boss Organization Solutions. Through her work as a professional organizer and organizational strategies blogger, she helps clients consolidate, organize, and simplify in order to optimize their lives.

12 Clever Ways to Organize Your Book Collection

If you’ve been in the habit of carelessly cramming your books wherever there’s an extra inch of shelf space, it’s time to step up your organization game.

A solid book organization system doesn’t just make it easier to find what you’re looking for — it also makes you more likely to actually pick up a book and read.

Organizing your favorite reads doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming, either. We’ve rounded up a list of 12 easy, smart ways to organize your books — no professional librarian experience necessary.

Pro Tip: Before you organize your books, you may want to declutter. Here’s how to decide which books to keep or get rid of.

1. Separate your hard covers and paperbacks

book organization by paperback or hard cover
Flickr/Colby Gutierrez-Kraybill

Divide your hardbacks and paperbacks for a cleaner, more streamlined look on your bookshelves. It’s also a great way to organize if you’re a visual person.

2. Arrange your books by color

books organized by color
Honey We’re Home

This organization strategy is ideal if you’re the type of reader who tends to associate certain stories with their covers, or if you’re just really into the idea of statement bookshelves.

The best part about this method is that you can get super creative — stack your colors, try an ombré pattern, or opt for a rainbow look.

Pro Tip: If you like color-coordinating your books, try doing it to your wardrobe, too.

3. Don’t be afraid to stack books

stacked books
Flickr/EvelynGiggles

Keeping all your books in neat rows is a thing of the past. If you want a handful of select books to stand out, stack ‘em. You can stack by theme, cover, or size, and keep stacks on their own or use them to break up a row. There’s no wrong way to do it.

4. Organize books by genre or subject

books organized by genre
Flickr/Alan Levine

Group your mysteries together, your travel memoirs, your 18-century English literature novels, your cookbooks, and so on.

Organizing by genre and subject makes it a cinch to find the right book for your current mood and interests, so you’ll know exactly where to look when you need to satisfy your World War II curiosity or want a little romance story to spice up your Saturday night.

5. Display your favorite books front and center

display your favorite books
Flickr/Dan Taylor-Watt

Instead of lumping your favorite books in with all their mediocre peers (then frantically scanning the shelves every time you want to reread them), display them front and center where they can shine.

Free Bonus: Having trouble fitting your books on your shelves? Check out these 9 creative book storage hacks for small apartments

6. Organize your books alphabetically

alphabetical book organization
Flickr/Sarah J.

Alphabetical organization works best if you remember book titles and author names more than genres and plot points. It’s also ideal if your collection of books is so massive it’s basically a mini library.

Even better than the sense of accomplishment you’ll get from organizing your books alphabetically?

The satisfaction you’ll feel when your friends stop by to borrow a book and know exactly where to find it.

7. Organize your books according to how they made you feel

woman reading while sitting in bean bag chair

Maybe some books made you weep with sadness, while others had you laughing aloud to yourself at two in the morning. Maybe you read books so gripping you didn’t leave your couch for hours at a time. Maybe some books inspired you to pursue your passions, while others shattered your innocence. Maybe you read books that changed your life, and others that made no impression at all.

If you tend to have strong emotional responses to books, this organization method is an awesome way to categorize and distinguish what you’ve read.

8. Group together the books you haven’t read yet

new books never been read
Flickr/Brittany Stevens

Gather all the books you haven’t read yet and place them in their own special TBR (To Be Read) section so they don’t get lost among the other titles.

The best part?

You always have a book or two (or maybe five) to reach for when you need a fresh new read.

9. Arrange your books by height and size

bookshelves organized by height

Keep books of similar size and height together to give your collection a clean, uncluttered feel. The goal here is to create straight, even lines with the tops of your books — no staggered mountaintop rows allowed.

10. Separate your books by author: contemporary or classic

jane-austen-books-grouped-together
Ciao Domenica

This method works best if you have a diverse collection of old and new books. We’re talking Stephen King and Toni Morrison types, plus your Fitzgeralds, Austens, and Hemingways.

You can define contemporary and classic however it suits you: living and deceased authors, books written before and after a certain date, or books published in specific time periods.

11. Organize books by the condition of their covers

books with worn covers
Flickr/Alan Levine

This is another way to limit visual clutter on your bookshelves. Keep your torn, tattered, and weather-faded books all in one place, and your books with beautiful, well-kept covers in another.

12. Separate fiction and nonfiction

books separated by fiction and non-fiction
Flickr/George Redgrave

Every bookstore around the world employs this method because it’s simple and classic. Just group fiction books together and store everything else in another spot. Easy.

 

For all the books you can’t fit on your shelves but don’t want to say goodbye to, 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 that box of 1980’s crime novels back, just browse the convenient online photo catalog of your stuff, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it straight to you.

4 Unusual Ways to Optimize Your Kitchen Storage

Whether your kitchen is large or small, after a few years, it always seems that storage starts to run short. If you can’t expand your kitchen, the next best option is to optimize the room that you currently have available.

There are several ways to do this that might not have occurred to you yet. Just by thinking outside the box, you can amplify the amount of kitchen storage you have with some fairly simple solutions.

1. Corner Storage

corner cabinet drawers
The Owner-Builder Network

Almost every kitchen has at least one awkward corner cabinet where you can’t realistically store items because you can’t get to them. You can fill it with the stuff you never use, but why keep things you don’t need at all?

Instead, reclaim all of that space with a double-shelf corner organizer that pulls out, so you can easily access whatever you have stored on the shelves. These organizers come with wooden shelves and steel rails or are made entirely of heavy metal to last.

2. Overhead Storage

metal hanging pot rack

Pots and pans are incredibly bulky and take up more room than almost anything else. An excellent option to get many of them out of the way is to put a pot hanger over your island or along one wall. Gorgeous options are available in stainless steel, bronze, copper, black matte, and even antique pewter so you can match your décor.

With a large overhead hanger, you’ll see most everything you own. You’ll also have immediate access to whatever you need without having to kneel on the floor and search your cabinets for a particular item.

3. Drawer Storage

two-tier-silverware-drawer-storage
Pinterest

Another area where storage organization often becomes a challenge is the silverware and steak knife drawers. You can double any space that you have with a two-tiered tray set. The top tray is easily removable and also rolls back and forth, so you can access the items in the bottom area effortlessly. These organizers come in multiple widths to fit various-sized drawers.

Noticeable lack of drawers in your space? Try these miracle solutions for organizing your storage-challenged kitchen.

4. Hidden Storage

tilt out sink drawer storage
Denise Cooper – Be My Guest

Tip-out sink front trays with hinges are another great addition to any kitchen. These are installed right in front of your sink behind the cabinet. You just pull open the cabinetry which is hinged, and you’ll see a tray attached to the back side of the wood where you can store sponges, soap, scrubbers, and other small items. This kitchen storage option provides convenience and also opens up a bit of extra space under your sink.

Pro Tip: Want the ultimate in "hidden" storage? Schedule a MakeSpace pickup today!

Optimizing the storage in your kitchen will make meal preparation and cleaning up afterward more pleasant and much less stressful. The secret is not to waste an ounce of space while still keeping items accessible. Make sure your kitchen remains stylish yet functional no matter what.

This post was written by Kaitlyn Romero at House Tipster, a full-service website for homeowners, interior designers, and home service professionals. The company offers virtual design tools as well as DIY home improvement tips and a large selection of other resources to help people easily create a gorgeous and functional home. 

How to Wash and Store Your Winter Coats

Spring is officially here. But before you start scheduling outdoor picnics to celebrate that extra hour of sunlight, you may want to add one more item to your spring cleaning list.

The task in question?

Washing, organizing, and storing your winter coats. Because you don’t want a pile of sweat-stained, smoky, rain-splattered jackets and puffer vests cluttering your closet when you need to make room for shorts and open-toed shoes.

But before you set aside your winter outerwear for the next few seasons (with a MakeSpace pickup, perhaps?), read on to learn how to properly clean and store your winter coats to keep them in tip-top shape.

How to Wash Your Winter Coats

1. Check the care tag for instructions

laundry care tag in coat
Paige Smith

This is the first rule of thumb when washing anything. The care tag will usually have all the information you need, like whether or not your coat is machine-washable, which wash cycle and water temperature it needs, special instructions about specific detergents, and how to properly dry it.

Needless to say, you should interpret these instructions as rules, not suggestions. Your coat will thank you.

2. Pre-treat stains

treat stains on coat with detergent
Paige Smith

If you haven’t washed your winter coat all season, it probably has a few stains from food, dirty snow, puddle splashes, or just serious armpit sweating.

Pre-treat these stains with a stain remover or a squirt of Dawn dish soap. Apply the treatment to the stain, then let it soak for 10 minutes before tossing it in the washing machine or scrubbing it with a wet cloth.

3. Fasten all buttons and zippers

black plastic zipper on down winter jacket

The metal teeth on zippers can damage other clothes in the washing machine. To minimize the potential of snags and tears, it’s best to zip, fasten, and button everything on your coat before washing it.

This also helps your coat retain its shape as it tumbles around in the machine.

4. Wash similar materials together

similar winter coats hung together on rack
Wikipedia Commons/BrillLyle

When certain opposite materials rub together, it can cause pilling, fading, or degradation to your clothes.

To keep your coats in prime condition, always wash them separately or with clothes of similar materials. Keep wool with wool, nylon with nylon, fleece with fleece, and so on.

Want more smart cleaning tips? Learn how to clean your bedding in five easy steps and how to wash and store your mattress properly.

Down Jackets, Parkas, and Puffer Coats

black puffer coat with plaid scarf and red sweater
Honey We’re Home

As a general rule, nylon and puffy, down-filled jackets, coats, and vests can all go in the washing machine. Wash them on a gentle cycle with cold water and regular detergent.

You can dry your puffer coats in the dryer, too. Besides being way more efficient than air-drying, the dryer is actually better for your these types of garments since it helps evenly re-distribute the down material. Just keep it on a low or gentle cycle.

To help fluff up your coats, add a couple wool dryer balls to your load. Dryer balls are an easy, eco-friendly alternative to fabric softeners and dryer sheets — they soften and fluff your clothes, reduce wrinkling, and speed up the drying process.

If you’re in a pinch, clean tennis balls are also great fluffing tools.

Free Bonus: Check out these five insanely easy (and ridiculously effective) cleaning hacks

Wool Coats

black wool coat with silver zipper
Fabulous Fashions 4 Sensible Style

Regular detergents, hot water, and normal washing machine cycles can all cause the fibers in wool to break down or shrink. That’s why it’s crucial to be extra gentle with your fancy wool coat.

You can either hand-wash it in a tub with cold water and baby shampoo, or put it in the washing machine on a delicate cycle. If you do this, make sure you use cold water and a detergent specifically designed for dealing with wool products.

To dry it, lay your coat flat and use your hands to gently reshape the shoulders and arms as it dries.

Fleece Jackets

multi colored geometric pattern fleece jacket
Flickr/Quinn Dombrowski

Fleece jackets are a year-round staple, but they do double-duty in the winter as comfy indoor loungewear and outdoorsy, sweat-proof outerwear. To freshen up your fleece jackets, turn them inside out, throw them in the washer, and set your machine’s settings to “cold” and “gentle.”

Your fleece will get linty and pilled — and may even become less water-resistant — if you wash it with materials like cotton, so be sure to keep it separate from your other clothes.

Hang it up to air-dry.

Leather Jackets, Suede, and Fur

hanging black leather jacket

Don’t even attempt to wash your fur coats, leather jackets, or suede trenches at home. Take them to your local dry cleaners for a thorough, high-quality cleaning.

4 Easy Tips For Storing Your Winter Coats

1. Use wooden hangers

wooden hangers on black sheet
Flickr/dahon

Coats made of natural materials like leather, suede, wool, and down need a little room to breathe. Hang them on sturdy wooden hangers so they can retain their shape and stay wrinkle-free.

If you want to go the extra mile, cover your coats in fabric garment bags to protect them from dust and mildew.

Pro Tip: Before you hang your coats, you may want to get organized. Here’s how to easily organize everything in your closet (for cheap).

2. Stack coats in plastic storage boxes

coats-stored-in-plastic-bins
Paige Smith

To save hanging space, store your fleece and nylon coats in plastic boxes. Gently fold and stack your coats so they don’t get misshapen.

If you have a pile of puffer vests and jackets made from polyfill (as opposed to down feathers), you can use vacuum-sealed plastic bags to squish them down to half their size and save double the closet space.

Free Bonus: While you’re at it, learn how to easily store your other winter accessories like hats, gloves, scarves, and boots

3. Store coats somewhere dry, cool, and dark

coats in dry dark coat closet
Just A Girl and Her Blog

To avoid moisture build-up, mold, and damage from sunlight, store your coats someplace clean, cool, dry, and dark. Aim for a spot that hovers around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

If your closet or entryway space is maxed out, slide your storage box below your bed or place it on the top shelf of your linen closet.

Want more clever tips for storing your winter necessities? We’ve got you covered: learn how to store your skis off-season, how to store your snowboards and snowboarding gear, and how to store your shoes, boots, and sneakers.

4. Store your coats with MakeSpace

MakeSpace ARKit app storage plan estimate screen
Download the MakeSpace app

If your apartment is short on space, use MakeSpace to safely store your winter jackets and coats.

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.

8 Easy Ways To Become A Minimalist

You’ve heard it time and time again: minimalism, tiny houses, downsizing, minimalist living.

And the thought of it sounds good — living with less things so you can live with more heart, passion, and joy.

But what about your perfectly curated wardrobe? All the dog toys you just bought? And that toaster from Aunt Gertrude that’s not quite what you wanted, but it’s the thought that counts?

And the big question: “Do I need to completely downsize?”

Here’s a secret:

You can still live a minimalist lifestyle and not live in a small 300-square-foot home. It’s possible to take some of the main ideas of minimalism and incorporate them into your own life.

Let’s call it a minimal-ish lifestyle.

If you’re looking for easy ways to become a minimalist, then check out these tips from Adventures with Asha. Asha is a personal growth and lifestyle blogger on a mission to help people slay their lives and start living according to their own terms. And today, she’s here to help you slay minimalism.

Click any of the links below to jump to a specific section:

What is minimalism?
How to become a minimalist

What is minimalism?

Minimalism is intentionally living with only the things that you absolutely need. It’s having and being surrounded by fewer material items, so you can do more with your time and life.

Think about it: When you have fewer dishes, you spend less time washing and drying them. You don’t have to fight for room for that final stack of Tupperware (none of which matches, by the way).

Minimalist living allows you the freedom to spend less time and money on stuff, and spend more energy on actually living.

How to become a minimalist

Now that we have a basic idea of minimalism, let’s dive into eight easy steps to living a minimalist lifestyle!

1. Set your rules for minimalism

writing list with pen

Minimalism is different for everyone. Some people define their minimalist lifestyle by only owning a certain number of items (like a capsule wardrobe).

Other people achieve a minimalist lifestyle by minimizing the actual space that they take up in the world, and may seek out smaller living arrangements like a studio apartment or tiny house.

And that’s the beauty of minimalist living: you get to look at your life — your job, the number of people in your family, your lifestyle, your needs and desires — and determine what minimalism looks like on a personal level.

Maybe it’s simply decluttering your home. Maybe it’s moving to an apartment that’s 200 square feet smaller than your current living situation. Or maybe it’s completely downsizing your life.

Whatever your definition of minimalism, make sure that it’s something sustainable and achievable for your life.

“No need to cannonball into the minimalism pool. It’s ok to dip a toe in first.” — Asha from Adventures with Asha

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2. Start with a clean slate

cleaning the kitchen sink

As much as we all hate to admit it, there are some items in our homes that are just junk. The box that your Amazon order came in. Your favorite sweater that shrunk in the wash. The broken items that we say we will get around to fixing but obviously never do.

In reality, these items are wasted space, and minimalism is all about maximizing space. So the first step is to start with a literal clean slate and throw out all of the trash.

3. Use it or lose it

just the essentials shoes notebook sunglasses pencils

Remember how we learned that minimalism is all about adopting a less is more mentality and only living with the things that you need?

Put that to the test by implementing the Use It or Lose It Rule.

In the midst of your initial cleaning, you may come across some items that you have used before, but haven’t used recently. I call these “once upon a time items.” (As in, “Once upon a time not long ago, when people wore pajamas and lived life slow, I thought I could pull off patterned leggings.”)

When you find these items, use the Six Month Use It or Lose It Rule. If you haven’t used it at least twice in the last six months, then it’s time to toss it.

If it’s a seasonal item, like your winter coat or a swimsuit, then ask yourself if you used it regularly last season. If so, you can still temporarily remove it from your space with a pickup by MakeSpace, and have it delivered back next season. Eventually, try to work up to tossing things that you haven’t used in the last three months, and then items from the last month.

And remember, keep only what you need now, not what you think you’ll need in the future.

4. Organize items by category

folded towels stacked in cabinet

The next step in your minimalist journey is to organize and declutter your home.

Some people like to organize everything by location. In this scenario, everything in the living area gets organized, and then everything in the kitchen, and then everything in the bedroom, etc.

But think about all the places in your house where you might keep a writing utensil. At quick inspection, I found five in my living room, one in my kitchen, three in my bedroom, and there was even one in a drawer in my bathroom. If I organized each location individually, I would still end up with 10+ writing utensils.

That’s where the KonMari method comes in. It’s one of the hottest cleaning, decluttering, and organizing methods out there right now, and one of the golden rules is to organize items by category, not by location.

Doing so allows you to easily get rid of the duplicates. You’ll see exactly how many spoons, towels, blenders, sunglasses, shoes, and books you have. Then you can make more educated decisions about what to keep and what to toss.

Looking for some guidance on how many of a certain item you need?

Here are three rules of thumb:

  1. Three sets of sheets per bed (two if you do laundry more often)
  2. Three towels per person
  3. Three mugs per person

5. Ask yourself the hard questions

collection of old photographs

Sometimes we are too emotionally tied to our sentimental items. Minimalism forces us to let go of those emotions, and focus on functionality.

When you find yourself struggling to decide if an item should stay or should go, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Is it useful?
  2. Is it the only one I have?
  3. Does it bring me joy or love?

If you answer yes to any of the above questions, then it can stay.

You wouldn’t throw away your only blender if you use it weekly, and you don’t have to toss your grandma’s old photo albums (here’s how to store and preserve your old photographs). But you could throw out the second blender that you have, or that old postcard from grandma that is nice, but doesn’t quite tug at your heartstrings.

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

6. Combine uses

swiss army knife on black background
Flickr/IK’s World Trip

If you’re trying to have less, then it makes sense to have items that serve more than one purpose. This is especially easy to do with kitchen utensils and appliances (like a four-in one-grater or a single bottle opener for wine and beer).

It can also be done with other items, such as these space-saving furniture ideas for every room in your apartment. You can also buy a duvet cover that can be used unfilled in the summertime as a light comforter, and then filled with a heavy duvet in the winter.

7. Minimize space

teacups hanging from under cabinet on hooks

Struggling to minimize items? Minimize the space they take up instead.

Hang your paper towel roll or mugs under a cabinet. Get wire shelving to maximize space in your cabinets. Instead of keeping all your old photo albums, scan the pictures to your computer. Your family will probably appreciate a slideshow of photos way more than crowding around one photo book.

8. Bring in less

organized minimalist room with blue walls

Once you’ve minimized the amount of things you own, make sure that you start to limit what you bring into your home, as well. You didn’t do all this work to be undone by a few impulsive shopping sprees.

Try removing one piece of clothing from your closet for every new item that you purchase. Set yourself a spending limit for new items each month. And be sure to cancel those magazine subscriptions that you don’t read.

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

By adopting a more minimalist lifestyle and applying it to your future purchases, you can actually save money.

Minimalism doesn’t have to be complicated. Make these easy changes to your lifestyle, and you’ll enjoy living with less in no time.

This article was written by Asha from Adventures with Asha, whose mission is to help women own who they are while leaving room to grow and change on their own terms.  

18 Alluring Ways To Organize A Bathroom Without Drawers And Cabinets

In the definitive ranking of bathroom storage solutions, a set of deep drawers tops the list, followed closely by a discrete medicine cabinet or under-the-sink cupboard.

But what if your bathroom has none of these options? What if all you have is a toilet, a pedestal sink, and a heavy heart?

Before you give up and resort to piling your bathroom products in a plastic bin on the floor, know this:

There are a surprising number of unexpected storage possibilities in even the tiniest of bathrooms.

With a few unconventional tools and strategies, you can easily organize and store everything from toothpaste and toilet paper to hairbrushes and makeup.

Keep reading to discover 17 alluring ways to organize a bathroom without drawers and cabinets.

1. Mount baskets to the wall to organize your bathroom products

5 wire baskets mounted vertically on a white bathroom wall
Use Beautiful Home via I’m An Organizing Junkie

Take advantage of your empty wall space. Hang a set of wire baskets to keep the clutter off your bathroom counter. They also make it super easy to find and grab what you need when you’re getting ready in the morning.

Free Bonus: 42 Bathroom Storage Hacks And Solutions That’ll Help You Get Ready Faster

2. Hang a medicine cabinet

a white and wall-mounted DIY medicine cabinet with a mirror
Flickr/Kevin Marsh

Medicine cabinets are ideal for the bathroom because they hide your most embarrassing products and keep them within easy reach.

If your bathroom doesn’t have a built-in medicine cabinet, you can install your own. Head to your local hardware store and look for a medicine cabinet with a towel bar or an extra shelf.

3. Store bathroom supplies in a rolling cart

ikea raskog utility cart storing toiletries, a houseplant, towels, and more
A Beautiful Mess

When you don’t have an under-the-sink cabinet to store your bathroom necessities, get help.

Enter: The ever-versatile IKEA Raskog cart. Take a cue from the women behind A Beautiful Mess and use it to organize towels, toiletries, and extra supplies.

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

4. Add a side table to your bathroom

a poem in a gold picture frame above a blue side table next to a green chair in a bathroom
Sincerely, Sara D

A small side table adds a punch of much-needed personality to a sterile bathroom. That, and it’s an excellent way to organize some of your necessities.

Use it to store a stack of towels, a basket full of toilet paper, or your perfumes or colognes. If your side table has a drawer, even better. Stock it with extra soap and toothpaste.

5. Store bathroom essentials in cutlery caddies

3 ikea fintorp bathroom storage caddies hanging by hooks on a rail
11 Magnolia Lane

Much like kitchen counter space, the bathroom counter is prime real estate. This smart storage hack from 11 Magnolia Lane saves precious counter space by using a wall-mounted IKEA Fintorp rail with hooks and utensil holders to store bathroom essentials like toothbrushes and combs.

6. Install floating shelves

2 white DIY floating shelves storing a wicker tray, glass container of q-tips, wire basket of toiletries, clock, and plant
Make It & Love It

When you’re running out of storage space, go vertical. Floating shelves add dimension and height to your bathroom, while also offering space to store beauty products and supplies.

Just make sure to use baskets, bins, or trays to corral your stuff and keep it organized.

Free Bonus: 15 Breathtaking Floating Shelves That You Don’t Have To DIY

7. Display nail polishes in an acrylic rack

container store acrylic rack storing bottles of nail polish
Cupcakes and Cashmere

Save your hidden storage space for pimple creams and extra shampoo. Your collection of colorful nail polishes is instant vibrant decor, so put it on display.

Mount a sleek double acrylic spice rack on the wall à la Cupcakes and Cashmere. Or steal a spice rack from your kitchen.

8. Organize toiletries in a wire basket on your counter

a two tiered wire basket organizer storing q-tips, toothbrushes, hand towels, mouth wash, and more
Golden Boys & Me

What’s even better than a basic tray to show off your bathroom products?

An elegant two-tiered organizer. Golden Boys & Me knows that a two-tier wire stand takes up little counter space yet offers double the storage.

Just remember the secret weapon of stylish organization:

Use small glass jars and containers so each item has its own place.

9. Use a narrow shelving unit to hold supplies.

a narrow white corner bathroom shelving unit with a cabinet
Flickr/Bonsoni.com

When it comes to storage space in your bathroom, less is definitely not more.

Have an extra few feet of space?

Add a narrow shelving unit to your bathroom to compensate for the lack of cabinets and drawers.

Free Bonus: Easily Clutter-Proof Your Bathroom In Only 5 Steps

10. Let your beauty products double as decor

a hurricane glass on a bathroom counter storing bars of ivory soap
Organize & Decorate Everything

Some things are just too pretty to hide behind closed doors or inside an opaque basket. Fill a glass hurricane or vase with your most aesthetically pleasing products. Think: cotton balls, soap bars, lipstick, or nail polish.

Want more fun storage hacks for your beauty products?

Here are 16 amazing beauty product storage ideas you’ll love.

11. Repurpose an old ladder as rustic towel storage

3 white towels on rungs of an old white ladder leaning against a bathroom wall
Funky Junk Interiors

Who needs cabinets and wall hooks for your bathroom towels when you can use a rustic ladder instead?

Lean an old ladder (sand it down so you don’t get splinters) against your bathroom wall and hang towels off its rungs.

It’s simple, functional, and ridiculously charming. All your guests will be jealous.

12. DIY a Mason jar organizer

DIY mason jar organizers storing makeup brushes, cotton balls, flowers, and q-tips
The DIY Playbook

Everything looks cuter inside a Mason jar, even Q-Tips. If you need proof, look no further than this adorable Mason jar organizer project from The DIY Playbook:

It’s pretty, and it can store everything from makeup brushes to hand creams.

Two birds, one stone, zero disappointment.

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

13. Store hair tools in a hanging file box

a file box hot tools organizer mounted on the side of a bathroom sink cabinet
Dream Green DIY

Hair tools are tricky to organize for three reasons:

  1. They’re bulky.
  2. They have long cords that get easily tangled.
  3. They’re dangerous to store next to other products when they’re still hot from use.

That’s why this DIY file box holder from Dream Green DIY is the perfect solution. The project takes less than five minutes to do, occupies minimal space on the side of your sink, and is heat-safe.

Want more awesome DIY project ideas?

These 13 easy DIY storage ideas and solutions will help you organize your entire home.

14. Display your scents on a DIY perfume stand

a black and white striped DIY perfume stand storing 4 perfume bottles
Simply Darrling

This beautiful DIY perfume stand made by Simply Darrling couldn’t be any, well, simpler. Just glue a cool plate to a pillar candleholder and voilà! You have an elevated perfume holder that rivals any vintage cake stand.

15. Store towels and toilet paper in hanging baskets

3 hanging wicker window box baskets storing towels and toiletries
Our Fifth House

If shelves bore you, mix up your vertical storage with a set of matching hanging baskets. This rustic DIY storage project from Our Fifth House uses wicker window boxes and sturdy metal hooks to easily organize supplies like towels and toilet paper — without eating any floor space.

16. Organize your makeup using a decorative magnet board

magnetic makeup storage board
Laura Thoughts

When you don’t have space to hide your stuff, make it look good enough to put on display.

This brilliant DIY makeup magnet board from Laura Thoughts fits the bill. It looks like art and keeps your products within arm’s reach.

Free Bonus: 11 Beautifully Easy Makeup Storage And Organizing Ideas

17. Organize supplies in an over-the-toilet cabinet

over the toilet cabinet
May Richer Fuller Be

The area above your toilet has major storage potential. Unlock it by installing an attractive over-the-toilet cabinet.

From there, you can organize toilet paper rolls, hand towels, toiletries, shower supplies, candles, or whatever makes you happy.

18. Effortlessly store your extra stuff in MakeSpace

After you organize your bathroom, start decluttering the rest of your home.

Still have stuff you need to store?

Use MakeSpace. We’ll store whatever you love but don’t have room for, like your window A/C unit, surfboard, CD and DVD collection, luggage, and more.

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

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

You can create bathroom storage from baskets, plates, and ladders. But when your bathroom-without-cabinets-and-drawers can store no more, use MakeSpace.

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Declutter first

sharing closet hangers
The Organised Housewife

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

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

Need help decluttering?

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

2. Organize your closet together

shared organized closet
Just A Girl and Her Blog

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

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

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

Above all, remember this:

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

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

3. Store off-season items elsewhere

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

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

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

4. Label storage boxes

labeled storage boxes in the closet
A Beautiful Mess

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

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

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

5. Use cohesive hangers

matching velvet hangers hanging shirts
Flickr/Emily May

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

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

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

6. Take advantage of every inch

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

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

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

7. Designate a place for dirty laundry

master bedroom closet laundry hamper
Clean Mama

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

8. Take advantage of vertical storage space

tie storage closet
Our Fifth House

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

Here are five:

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

Want your stuff to double as art?

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

crown moudling heel storage
Our Fifth House

9. Use convenient storage solutions

hanging clothes in an organized closet
Our Fifth House

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

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

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

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

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

10. Purge often

small closet organization
Flickr/Emily May

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

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

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

11. Stay on your side of the closet

man side of the closet
Just A Girl and Her Blog

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

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

12. Let MakeSpace pick up and store your extra stuff

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

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

The best part:

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

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