Do you remember the first day you moved into your home? Do you recall the feeling of satisfaction after unpacking all your boxes and meticulously arranging everything in cabinets, closets, and drawers? Now think of how far along your space has come since this moment—for better or for worse. Chances are you've improved a few organizational methods and systems, but unless you're ruthless about the one-in-one-out rule, you've probably accumulated some unnecessary clutter too.
Maybe clothes are piling up on a chair in your bedroom, maybe you're too scared to even open the junk drawer in your kitchen, or maybe the pile of shoes in your entryway is mounting. With decades of organizing content under their belt, the editors of Real Simple know the struggle of trying to keep a home tidy and clean. That's why they recently released The Real Simple Method to Organizing Every Room, which delivers exactly that: a multitude of organizing tricks and tips from room to room so you can learn how to organize every room in your home—and keep it that way.
Are you ready to tackle the herculean task that is organizing your entire house or apartment? We handpicked a few of our favorite tricks from the Real Simple book. Start with these this weekend, and get the book for the full list.
In the Entryway
"Start a returns bin. A medium-sized basket placed right next to the front door is more than just a drop spot for library books you've read, tools you've borrowed from a neighbor, and clothing purchases you've changed your mind on. It's a visual prompt reminding you to return that stuff (today!).
"Mount everything. Wall mount as much as you can—floating dowels to act as hooks, accordion racks to hold practically everything, a mount for your bike, and a mirror, which can also make your space look larger and simplify natural light. Also, a stainless steel kitchen rail, outfitted with S hooks, is a chic way to store shoes without taking up precious floor space."
In the Living Room
"Downsize your side tables. It's a universal organizing truth that the bigger the side table, the more clutter it will collect. Choose one with enough surface area to fit a table lamp plus a little extra room for a book or a cup of coffee. Keeping it simple also means fewer places to set things (like your glasses) so you won't have to go searching for them later.
"Give yourself an out. Let's be real: You can't have everything in its place every moment of the day. But you can cut down on wayward stuff by giving it a defined space. Place a storage ottoman or large seagrass basket in a corner of the living room to stow plush toys or that random sweatshirt when you don't have time to run them upstairs. Just commit to a deadline (say, the next morning, when you're having coffee) to put back the items."
In the Kitchen
"Consider this cabinet trick. Shelves stay neater if you divide cabinets into categories (everyday plates in one, most-used cookware in another). Walk yourself through your usual kitchen routine and consider how many steps you're taking from a cabinet to its corresponding task. If a switch-up will shorten the distance, do it.
"Pretty up your pantry. Organized people think in zones. Arrange things by usage rather than type. In the pantry, group breakfast items: pancake mix, syrup, nut butters, jams. Use airtight, stackable containers to arrange dry foods, and add a canned-food storage rack, especially if your shelves are deep and wide. See-through containers allow you to quickly see what you have (and how much)."
In the Dining Room
"Keep some things on the table. Your dining room table should be a clean surface, but it doesn't have to be a barren desert of decor. Keep a couple of items—salt and pepper shakers, a trivet, water pitcher, or flowers—in the center of the table to spark visual interest and show personality. Then, make sure the rest of the table is clear.
"Keep table accessories close. There's nothing like a candlelit dinner—until you realize that candles are the exact kind of where-are-they-when-you-need-them item that you end up rebuying when you can't find them. Keep track of like items with a grid of interlocking drawer inserts tailored to the contents, whether it's plastic silverware for birthday cake or candles for your anniversary. A tiered rolling cart can become a table-setting station. Use it to hold glasses, dishes, and table linens."
In the Bedroom
"Think creatively. You don't have to hang everything that's in your closet. Use hanging shelves and wire racks to organize folded shirts, sweaters, and jeans by color and weight. Purses or hats (like fedoras) also rest well on hanging shelves where they won't get smashed.
"Try a closet time-saver. Starting now, whenever you take out an article of clothing, put the empty hanger back at one end of the rod (the same end each time). Collecting them all in one spot keeps clothes neat and means never having to hunt for a hanger again. Avoid a chaotic jumble of wire, wood, and plastic hangers by choosing just one type and brand of hangers (slim velvet ones give you the most space for your closet)."
In the Bathroom
"Use counter space to your advantage. Keep only things on the counter that you use every day, like toothbrushes and hand soap. Other small items, like cotton swabs, can go on a small tray, if necessary. That should leave plenty of surface area for when it's time to take out your blow-dryer or makeup.
"Create a primp kit. Hair dryers, curling irons, brushes, and styling products can become an unruly mess to manage. To keep yours neat, store them in a caddy with many compartments. Take it out when you're doing your hair, then stash the whole kit and caboodle under the sink or in a closet when you're done. Wrap the cords of your curling iron and blow-dryer loosely, like lassos, to maintain their life."