Favorite Organizational Tricks!

By Kate Riley January 2, 2013

Greetings all, welcome to a brand new year!  I wanted to start 2013 with some inspirational ideas, and the first thing that came to mind is handy tricks for better organization.  I asked some of my favorite bloggers to contribute with a tip of their own, and today I’m excited to bring you these real life solutions from eight talented busy ladies.  Each mom shares one of her favorite tricks for staying organized around the house – enjoy!

i heart organizing trick

"I love to store anything that needs consistent restocking {i.e. dry foods in the pantry or powder detergents in the laundry room}, inside of clear storage containers.

By using clear containers, I can always get a quick visual of my stock before heading to the grocery store. I also like to add vinyl labels and use a chalk pen to add the date I purchased the food item so there is never question if it is still fresh."

~ Jen from I Heart Organizing, mom of three and organizational expert.






Clover Lane organizational trick

“My laundry organization system works so great for my family of eight.  Everyone has their own labeled laundry basket. All week long I keep up with the laundry, doing a little each day.

After they are clean and dry, I fold the clothes and put them in each basket.  On Saturday, it’s "put away" time and each child is responsible for taking their basket up and putting away their clothes nicely in their closets. I assign an older child to do the chore of putting baby clothes away also.”

~ Sarah from Clover Lane, mother of six and role model to busy moms everywhere.







house of smiths crates

My favorite trick for organizing, is doing it with style.  For me, staying organized is always so much more fun and enjoyable, when the actual object you sort your items into is not only functional, but beautiful as well.

Simple DIY wood crates have been used over and over again in our spaces to create custom storage for many areas in our home, large and small.   Storage containers don’t have to be boring and utilitarian looking anymore, and the great thing about building your own storage, especially when you’re in a smaller home, is that it’s customizable to the individual spaces you have to work with.”

~ Shelley of House of Smiths, mom of three and passionate DIYer






Remodelaholic organizing trick

“I really like to keep our living room tidy, so no matter what projects we have going on in our house there is one place we can go to just relax without the mess, but with young kids, toys have become an issue.   A recent change I made to help us keep our living room cleaner throughout the day is remove any toy storage in that space.

It may sound counterintuitive, but by taking all the toys to my girls rooms, fewer toys make it to the living room. This also helps when it comes time to clean up, we just pull out a basket fill it with any toys that made it in the living room and carry it to their room to put away, there are no questions as to where that item belongs.”

~ Cassity of Remodelaholic, mom of two, designer, home improvement maven.




ana white laundry solution

“When my daughter was a newborn and toddler, life was survival. We did not have time to fold and put away laundry, and laundry stacked loads high on top of the dryer.

So I built laundry basket dressers, making it easier to put clothing in the baskets than stack on the dryer. I still say those laundry basket dressers saved my marriage.

As our life has changed with our child growing up, we are constantly adjusting how our house is organized, always striving to make our home as intuitive as possible.”

~ Ana White, mom to Grace, author, and carpenter extraordinaire




hi sugarplum pantry storage

The best organizational trick for me is to use trays, bins and baskets to group like items and corral the clutter.

A good example is in my pantry… by creating dedicated bins, it’s easy to find what we need, and see what needs replenishing.

And since each bin only holds a limited amount, I’ve stopped mindless over-buying at the grocery store!”

~ Cassie of Hi Sugarplum, savvy style blogger and mom of two.






honey were home jewelry organizer

“I like to keep my jewelry out where I can see it so I’m more likely to actually wear it. I hang my necklaces on a piece of foam board covered in decorative paper from a push pin.  This keeps the necklaces untangled and in plain sight.  My board sits on a shelf, but you could hang it on a wall or on the back of a door if you’re short on space.  Also, if I haven’t worn something in two years, I donate it so that I don’t accumulate more than I need or have room for.”

~ Megan of Honey We’re Home, mom to James, fitness lover, and design blogger.




Young House Love Organizational Trick

Here’s a picture of the shoe organization in our laundry room, which is the room where we come in and out of the house everyday.  There used to just be a crazy pile of shoe-chaos on the floor, but when a reader tipped us off about these extra narrow Retur bins from Ikea (they were actually labeled as containers to hold recyclables) we snatched them up.

They’re a lot cheaper than the too-wide-for-our-space shoe cabinets that Ikea and many other retailers sell, and over a year and a half later of using them, they’re still great for our shoes (we don’t have any issue with smell or with fitting large shoes inside of them – we’ve had size 13s in there without issue).

Happily, the room feels more open than it did with a jumbled pile of shoes on the floor, and it’s a pretty simple system to maintain – just slip your shoes in and you’re all set.”

~ Sherry of Young House Love, superstar DIY blogger, author, and mom to Clara.



What’s my favorite trick?  I have a few but my biggest right now is having a place for everything especially  the teensy tiny necessities.  I swear by drawer dividers and taking just those few extra seconds to make sure the small stuff ends up back in its proper place is key to avoiding little piles of clutter!

drawer dividers


So many great takeaways today, right?  Thanks so much to Jen, Sarah, Shelley, Cassity, Ana, Cassie, Megan, andSherry for participating !!

Have you got a top organizational trick too?  Share it in the comments and link to it if you’ve written about it!




  1. Thanks for sharing these ideas…as I am a “put it in the drawer so ya don’t see it” kind of girl, which translates into, nice countertops =very messy drawers=unorganized! Also, not having the right organizing items, love that these are so functional and pretty. Time for a change. These have inspired me! Love your blog, just subscribed! Blessings to you in 2013!

  2. Ohhhh…love this post! Just added the laundry basket dresser to the list of items that husband needs to make before baby comes! Organization makes me smile :)

  3. I’m obsessed with the IDEA of being organized. I can’t count how many plastic bins or crates or drawer units I’ve bought — and how few actually get used in an effective way.

    The laundry basket dresser and clear container system are awesome. I wanted to start small in 2013 with doing a better job of document and paper organization (receipts, taxes, etc.), but if those go well, on move on to some of these “bigger” projects.

  4. We are a family of renters so space for us is certainly limited. We have five closets which still doesn’t seem to be enough. My advice, especially for renters, is to overutilize without creating confusion. I purchased a closet-doubler for our kid’s small closet. No nails, hammers or tools required! (super renter friendly and only cost $13. For anyone interested, I got mine from Walmart). Also, our only walk in closet was meant to be just for me and the man. Since it’s the biggest closet, we also keep plastic bins for the kids socks, undies and things that can’t be hung up. One side of the shelves hold our important documents (currently organized in folders) and the other side for shoes/shoeboxes. We are far from where I’d like to be as far as organization goes but I’m making it all work. No post up yet but it’s in the works!

  5. I love a good organization project! I just transferred all of my baking items (flour, sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar, baking soda and powder, salt, etc) to cute glass jars from the container store. I have black vinyl lettering for labels on each. It makes everything look so much nicer!

    I have matching bins in every bathroom for hair stuff, face cleanser, cleaning supplies, etc). It helps everything to look organized and uniform.

    In our master closet, I have matching black hangers (cheap ones from Target). It is amazing how much nicer the closet looks with all of the hangers the same color! I also got canvas neutral colored bins to put everything in our closet. I am in love :)

  6. Love this post, I am actually tackling my husband’s desk area as my first project for 2013 and will keep these tips in mind ;D

  7. One of the many (I am mean many) things on our To Do list this year is to get organized in the kitchen. I have been lamenting the lack of storage space, shelving and overall just chaos of the food in the pantry. So I am a big fan of the clear container idea. As well, it’s become more and more apparent that the old routine of just doing laundry on weekends, isn’t cutting it anymore as you wind up with huge piles of laundry to fold all at once. That needs to change.

  8. I also love this post-organization is always on the forefront of my mind this time of year! I know one thing that has helped me is to simply be more practical in HOW I organize things. If I don’t do it in a way that is convenient to our lifestyle then it almost never holds up. So it’s like letting life guide the organization instead of training ourselves to fit a new system. Also fun colors make storage pretty and I totally agree with Michelle-gotta love those matching Target hangers!!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Jacqueline @ hallipyeverafter.com

  9. Love all these tips!!! I need to get my butt into gear in 2013 and really get my WHOLE house organized for once. I need to purge some more first and then I will buy the right products to keep myself organized. Of course having the hubby keep everything in it’s place is a whole other project. haha!!!

    Any advice for how to keep the hubby from making a mess of the organization you just made? He always just pushes things aside and out of his way even though I have it organized. :(

  10. Awesome tips! I too love these posts full of experts’ ideas. My favorite is using the plain “craft paper brown” boxes that my Birchbox shipment comes in each month as drawer dividers and spots for the small stuff. They are clean lined, low profile, and perfectly neutral. And free, sorta. ;)

  11. Fantastic planner!! Well done! It looks really well thought out, and beautiful to look at :)
    What a shame staples doesn’t deliver to Australia :( Love how it looks in the binder folder! I want to second the suggestion of selling them fully assembled at some stage. I guess I could just get it ring bound though with the laminated cover as the actual cover.

  12. I have blogged about a few of my favorite organized areas in my house if you want to check them out!

    Toy Storage:

    Organizing Book Bags and School Related Items:

    Organizing Kids’ Craft Supplies:



  13. People think I am so organized but really I feel just the opposite throughout the day! Besides needing to utilize an awesome new Ikea built-in cabinet in our mudroom, my ‘take-home’ from this post is the very cool divided tray for make-up! As a mom to three young ones, I do like to wear make-up most days, but I find myself annoyed at all the little zippered bags I have to open and close. I’ve the perfect old-fashioned utencil tray sitting in my thrift store-find pile. Going to transform it with some nice Paris Gray and smile!!! Great post..

  14. I have an organizer in each of my boys’ closets with six cubbies. It’s the vertical ones that most people use for storing sweaters and hangs on the closet rod. I put an outfit in there each day with pjs, underwear, and socks. This way they can grab an outfit from a cubby, dress themselves, not make a mess of their dressers and closet, and actually match! I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done!

  15. Great tips! I have written several posts on organizing for a busy family, but here are a few of the most popular:
    Organiziing for Camping Trips:
    Organizing Laundry:
    Organizing School Lunches:
    Organizing Family Documents:

  16. Love this post – thank you so much to you and your contributors. I made the foam board jewellery organiser straight away and it is awesome!!

  17. Great round up of ideas and tips. I love the idea of the clear containers so you can see what you need to buy. I’ve been getting better about storing mine this way but it was only because I liked the way it “looked”..never thought about the practical reasoning in that it does help you to better know what you have on hand and are in need-of.

  18. Great tips and tricks…thanks to you and everyone for sharing! Just one question…is that a picture of your “junk drawer” Kate? Seriously…even your junk is color coordinated!…how do you do it?! :)

  19. Great ideas! We are moving into a new (to us) home from a temporary stay in a small townhome and I am already looking forward to the extra space that will allow me to get my family organized!!

  20. Thanks so much for sharing these ideas! This is exactly what I needed to inspire me to continue on with what seems like a never ending project organizing our new apartment. I will definitely use some of these ideas–especially those that are perfect for smaller spaces.

  21. Thanks so much for including me in the amazing roundup of brilliant tips! I agree that each and every one of these are super smart!! <3


  22. Wow, this is such a great round up of ideas from all super talented ladies! I really need to tackle the “little” things this year and I think those little dividers are going to become my best friend. :-) As for projects, we had a HUGE shoe problem going on between our 3 kiddos {3, 5, and 7} and I was planning to build something, but found a seriously horrid looking “something” or other on Craigslist and hacked it for shoe storage. I absolutely LOVE it, and ever since it started serving it’s purpose, there are no lost or mismatched shoes and the kids really have a “landing” zone for their shoes and backpacks. Here’s the link:

  23. All of these are such great ideas! We’ve tried to put some unexpected items we already owned to good use in the organizing department. An old buffet and a few dishes/trays helped bring order to my jewelry jumble:


    And we spruced up a hand-me-down bookcase to help organize the kids’ stash of play food. It also holds my baking supplies….having them so handy in the kitchen (even though it’s just 5 steps closer than the pantry) is so nice!


  24. would someone tell me how to do the ‘make-up’ drawer organization – i’m terrible at organizing – and I think this would help me trememdously!

    • Hi Terri! I bought kitchen utensil dividers at Bed, Bath & Beyond and used them to separate all the makeup, I love it!

  25. Love that jewelry board! My newest organization obsession is ArtKive – it’s an app that allows you to take photos of your kid’s artwork and save it to the app’s cloud. But you can also order items from them with your child’s artwork on them, including a book of every piece! http://www.artkiveapp.com/

    And this is not spam. I don’t work for them, but I wish I thought of it ;)

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