Month of Storage: Room-by-Room Organization Tips

If you are making a resolution to get your new Chicago home organized this year, one of the first questions that pops into your mind may be, “Where do I begin?” First, it is important not to be too general about organizing, as it can quickly get overwhelming.  It is a good idea to tackle it with a plan, and in small bits.  Here are a few key areas to focus on as you begin organizing room by room.  Oh, and be sure to blast the tunes and set a timer as you go. Organizing should be fun after all!
Entryway:  Your entrance is the first impression of your home, and you want it to shine big for you and any guests.  That means, it is important to mix big function with storage and style.

Drop Zone.  When you walk through the front door, think of all of the things that frequently fill your hands and arms.  A handbag, keys, sunglasses, umbrella and the daily mail pile.  Add wall baskets and hooks to give each of these items a proper home and ensure everything is quickly found the following morning.
Shoe Storage.  Keeping the entryway clear of shoes not only reduces visual clutter, it also ensures the heavy traffic area remains safe.  If space is limited; think about slim shoe storage options such as bookcases, flip out shoe units and narrow benches.
Hanging Storage.  Hooks are a simple and inexpensive storage solution for holding most entryway belongings.  Coats, umbrellas, purses, backpacks, and even briefcases can all be compactly tucked away thanks to a couple of multifunctional hooks.
Living Room:  The living room is where family memories are made; movies are watched, games are played and cozy afternoon naps are taken.  To ensure happy memories are created in a clutter free environment, focus on a few of the key essentials often times stored in this space.

Media Storage. Movie cases can quickly take over a room visually, so tuck them inside of decorative boxes and place them on shelves.  Save space by transferring the movies to sleeves or binders.
Storage Ottomans.  Storage ottomans are an extremely versatile way to keep any living space nice and tidy.  They are perfect for discreetly stashing away toys, blankets, games and reading material set aside for a relaxing afternoon.
Build It In.  Living rooms are a perfect place to add custom built in storage.  You can span an entire wall with shelving to hold books, photo albums, media components and board games.  If you live in a rental, you can achieve the same storage impact by piecing together bookcases found at common big box stores.
Kitchen:  The kitchen needs to function big, as it is the hub of the home and is used multiple times throughout the day.  The best way to set up your kitchen to be productive and efficient is to empty your cabinets and drawers and start with a blank slate.  Then, take time to put things back where they make the most sense based on how you utilize the space.  Place silverware and dishes near the dishwasher, pots and pans near the stove and Tupperware containers near the fridge.  Here are a few more things you can do to quickly whip your kitchen into organized shape.

Use Drawer Organizers.  Drawer organizers are a great way to ensure you don’t add more items than you have room to store.  When it comes to storing kitchen gadgets, place everything in a box for a month.  As you use it, place it back in the drawer.  At the end of the month, anything left in the box should head of to your local donation center.  It is amazing how many functions simple kitchen utensils can cover.
Use Clear Food Storage.  Clear, airtight storage will keep foods fresher for longer, and will also give you a quick visual of your current stock.  The best part is that there is no need to take the extra step of labeling when you can always quickly see the contents of the containers.
Drawer Storage.  Whenever possible, install drawers or roll out shelving for storing items in your kitchen.  Drawers allow you to easily access the contents whereas cupboards and shelving are a recipe for items getting forgotten and lost in the back corner.
Bathroom:  Bathrooms tend to be the smallest room in the home, yet still need to be functional and store daily essentials and toiletries.  When space is tight, it is always best to maximize your vertical storage space; take advantage of walls, the back of doors and stacking storage under the sink.

Narrow Cabinet/Etagere. Most bathrooms are roomy enough to accommodate a narrow storage tower.  These towers can provide ample storage for towels, cosmetics and hair styling tools.
Wall Hooks vs. Towel Bars.  In children’s bathrooms, think about utilizing wall hooks over towel bars as they don’t require folding prior to hanging.  They also save on wall space as they can be installed on the backside of the door.
Spice Racks.  Spice racks are not just great storage for the kitchen.  When installed on the walls in a bathroom, they can hold rolled up washcloths, lotions, perfume bottles and cotton swab canisters.
Bedroom:  The bedroom is intended to be the sanctuary of the home.  It is all about soothing colors and keeping things simple and streamlined.

Under the Bed.   Add wheels to drawers or invest in under-bed storage bins to stash away seasonal clothing and linens.
Linen Storage.  Instead of dedicating an entire single closet for all of the linens in your home, consider storing linens for each bedroom within drawers or storage ottomans.
Multifunctional Furniture.  The bedroom doesn’t require a lot of furniture, so keep things simple by selecting pieces that can serve double duty; such as a dresser which can also act as a nightstand, or a bench that contains storage for shoes or linens.
Home Office:  You don’t need an entire room dedicated to a home office in order for it to function big.  Even the smallest nook in a kitchen can offer a productive workspace.

Use Paper Trays to Assign Simple Tasks.  Determine the types of papers you touch frequently and use stackable trays to manage those tasks.
Go Digital.  Paper piles create clutter on the counter, on your desk and in the entryway.  Cut back on the amount of paper you touch by unsubscribing from junk mail and catalogs and switching to paperless billing statements.
Set Up Your Desk for Success.  Design your workspace wisely by installing shelves above the desk and adding a file cabinet below.  Keep the desk surface clutter free by utilizing desktop organizers and wall storage.  Finally, add a cozy chair and proper lighting to ensure your work time comfortable and productive.
Garage:  The garage is essentially an extension of your home, and also provides a place to store what may be your largest investment; your automobile.  But it also needs to hold storage bins, outdoor toys, gardening supplies and tools.

Think Up.   It is natural to think about storing items on the floor of a space, but in the garage it is the perfect opportunity to utilize the ceiling for storage by installing hanging racks.  Wall to wall shelves and rail systems also utilize vertical space and keep the floor clear for walking around vehicles and storing larger items such as the lawn mower and bikes.
Utility Shelf.  Keep frequently used items, such as cleaning supplies, shopping bags and home maintenance items, stored right outside the door to the garage.  Having to walk to the opposite side of the garage, especially in colder climates, instantly reduces the chances of things being put away where they belong.
Peg it.  Pegboard is an extremely versatile storage solution in the garage as it not only takes advantage of the massive wall area, but it can store a variety of items.  Everything from gardening supplies to home improvement tools can live harmoniously in one organized space.
Laundry Room:  Laundry is one of those ongoing chores that comes back day after day.  A few simple organizing tips will ensure that you will be whistling while you work.

Be Selective About Sorting.  The less you have to sort, the less laundry piles up.  Sort items such as delicate pieces and whites, and toss the remainder directly into the washing machine and run as soon as it is full.  Sorting less also takes up less hamper space in the laundry room.
Know Your Stains.  Keep a stain chart framed in the laundry room to ensure you are able to treat your stains effectively before putting them through the wash.
Decant Detergents and Powders.  Bulky detergent boxes and jugs are visually distracting.  By storing your daily laundering supplies in pretty decanters and containers, your laundry area will instantly feel streamlined and organized and give you a more pleasant environment for laundering your daily wears.
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