The Hard Truth about Getting Clutter-Free (and Designer-Approved Tips to Stay Organized)
Ahhh… the dream of Pinterest-perfect pantries, spotless countertops, and playrooms straight out of a magazine. The reality? Clutter is a never-ending battle. Yup, even for designers (we have kids, too). But there’s good news. With some thoughtful planning and practical solutions, it’s more than possible to conquer the chaos.
Recently, my wife and I enlisted the help of a professional organizer for our new kitchen. It has been exactly what you’d imagine — life-changing. Opening our kitchen cabinets now feels like strolling through an aisle at Crate & Barrel. Neatly organized and aesthetically pleasing. But here’s the best part: organization isn’t only for the kitchen…
Wondering where to start? We’ve got you covered.
Step 1: Cull the clutter.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was your clutter. My favorite strategy? Tackle one room at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Start with the accessories — candles, books, knick-knacks. Ask yourself, “Would I buy this again?” If the answer is no, it’s time to donate.
Navigate through each room, confidently deciding what stays and what goes. That half-broken toy that your child aged out of last year? Bye. The ancient crockpot collecting dust in the depths of your pantry? See ya later. A general rule of thumb: if an item hasn’t been used (or seen the light of day) in a year or more, you probably don’t need it.
Step 2: Consider your lifestyle.
When creating storage solutions, it’s important to tailor them to your lifestyle. Do you share your space with furry friends or energetic kiddos? Or maybe you work from home and need a productive and inspiring office setup. Whatever your scenario, align your organization strategy with your daily routines for optimal functionality.
Whether it’s creative toy-hiding or custom built-ins for displaying your grandma’s treasured china collection, incorporating these features into your home’s design guarantees a happy, balanced, and clutter-free environment.
Step 3: Build organization directly into your home’s design.
While bins and baskets have their place, long-lasting organization requires a more systematic approach. For the best results, build storage solutions directly into your home during the space planning process, ideally before you begin building or renovating. Still trying to figure out where to start? You’re in luck. I’m sharing some of my favorite practical tips for each room…
Kitchen: No one wants to reach blindly into the back of a cabinet for that M.I.A casserole dish. And with specialty cabinets and custom drawers, you won’t have to. Go the extra mile by adding pull-out spice racks, dish organizers, and utensil bins for convenient space-saving solutions.
Take it a step further and create designated charging drawers. Bonus: your devices will always be at 100%, and your kids should know where to find them. Win, win.
Living Room & Dining Room: Built-ins, custom shelving, and multifunctional furniture (think window seats, storage ottomans, and sideboards) are organizational favorites. They infuse homes with character and personality while providing necessary storage to hide the mess.
Pro Tip: Multifunctional furniture isn’t just for the living and dining room. It’s a great idea for any room.
Bathrooms: A single towel rod won’t cut it anymore, especially if your bathroom serves more than one person. Add towel hooks and consider customized shelving to keep your extra towels easily accessible. No more piling up on the bathroom floor.
For a clear countertop, consider functional cabinetry. I’m talking about deep drawers, perfect for keeping your daily products organized, hidden, and within reach.
Laundry Room: If you have the space, consider a small countertop designated for folding and sorting those endless mounds of clothes. Hanging space for delicates and a built-in ironing board make doing laundry a little less painful. (Not making promises we can’t keep.)
Bedrooms: Let’s face it. Despite our best efforts, family clutter is a regular part of life. This is why it’s important to establish spaces that are strictly clutter-free zones — like your bedroom. Kids’ toys, schoolwork, mail, laptops… just say no. Designating your bedroom as a clutter-free zone will help you disconnect, relax, and unwind in the comfort of your own personal sanctuary.
With the demands of life, organizing your home often ends up at the bottom of the to-do list. But the truth is, clearing clutter doesn’t always take as long as you might expect. Investing that extra effort to create manageable storage solutions tailored to your family will keep your home working for you (not against you).
If you’re planning a home project, we’d love to support you. When you’re ready, you know where to find us.
P.S. Ever curious about the real-life living spaces of professional organizers? Here is your chance. In their new book, Vivian Johnson has teamed up with Shira Gill for an inspiring, global peek into the personal homes of organizers.