Experts share their favorite guidelines and products for keeping homes organized.
The key to good storage is to plan its location carefully. “Anything that comes into the house needs to have a dedicated home where it should always be put back when not in use,” Dhaouadi says.
Aroutcheff agrees. “Store things where you use them. For example: If, when the members of your household get home, the first thing they do is drop their shoes and coats in the hallway, think of adding hooks and shoe storage there, rather than hoping people will take them to their rooms,” she says.
“Even bits and bobs from everyday life should have a dedicated space somewhere in the house,” Dhaouadi adds.
It’s important to be realistic when it comes to devising storage. “Don’t micro-organize,” Spellman says. “We’re all blown away by organizing ideas we see on TV and online. However, make sure you create a system you’re able to maintain; otherwise it may fail before you’ve even started. It’s so much more important to be able to put things in the right place easily than to spend time and energy folding things perfectly.
“If you’re more messy than orderly, consider hanging, rather than folding, clothes,” adds Spellman, who points out that it’s relatively inexpensive to swap closet shelves for rods.
“When designing kids storage, make it accessible for their height, so it’s easy for them to grab their things,” Aroutcheff says. “Compartmentalize the toys in different containers or drawers, so they’re easy to find and tidy away.”
Organize your closet carefully to make sure you’re using every available inch. Dhaouadi suggests hanging two rods, one above the other, to utilize wasted space.
“Look at adding [rods], shelves or drawers to accommodate all of your clothes and accessories in one place,” Aroutcheff says. “Make sure the doors open in a way that you see tops and bottoms at the same time, so it’s easier to choose your outfits in the morning.”
As for accessories, “add rails on the inside of your doors to hang scarves or belts, or install a corkboard for hanging jewelry,” she says. “This way, you’re more likely to wear what you have and not buy more.”
Think about the height of your items when planning shelves and rods, Aroutcheff advises. “Similarly, in a bathroom or kitchen, it’s a good idea to consider the height of bottles and jars,” she says.
“Using the insides of the doors in kitchen or bathroom cupboards isn’t only a great way to maximize the space, it’s also practical for storing items you use frequently,” do Carmo says. “Even a simple hook can be used to hang small everyday items.”
“The area on the back of a door is almost always overlooked as a way to claim vertical space,” Dhaouadi agrees. “An over-the-door shoe hanger, for example, can actually be used to store much more than just shoes.”
Aroutcheff suggests asking a cabinetmaker to cut pantry shelves shallower and then using the extra space at the front to hang easy-to-access spice racks on the doors. “This will also avoid you having to empty your cupboard to access items at the back of the shelves,” she says.
“Storage doesn’t have to be all about plastic and ugly cardboard boxes. In fact, it should be quite the opposite,” Dhaouadi says. “There are all kinds of storage items on the market to match your home decor.
“Whether you’re using open shelves or storing your items inside a cupboard, just looking at everything should make you feel stress-free and happy,” she says.
“Cube storage is one of the most versatile designs out there,” Spellman says. It works brilliantly in living rooms, bedrooms, playrooms, home offices and craft spaces.