Tips and Guides

Easy-to-do Organizing Ideas

Here are important tips on streamlining your space and keeping every part of your home organized for good


You’ve sorted through your stuff and you know which items you'll keep and donate. What's next? Read on for a couple of helpful organizing ideas.

Styling by Pierra Calasanz-Labrador. Photographed by Toto Labrador.

Read the original article ("Organize Your Life”) in the January-February 2009 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App ( now! Log on to for more details.  

Do style-savvy editing.

Consider your overall home style and personal style sensibility when choosing which items to keep (and especially to display). If a certain item will never work in your space, don’t allow it to gather dust in storage—you may donate it.

Without the junk, everything will now fit neatly into place; just move things around while keeping oft-used things within easy reach. Designate storage areas, but don’t stick to a traditional organizing system—just choose what works for you!

Visualize before you buy organizers.

Think of where the container will go, and what it will hold. Bring out the measuring tape if needed. Make a list of the items to be stored—this way, you get a container that will actually “contain” your stuff, and will fit into the space.

Work with what you have

Before buying organizers, recycle existing items. For example, turn your hubby’s toolbox into a makeup kit—its multiple drawers are also perfect for small fashion accessories or medicine!

Recycle jars and other containers.

Give your mustard jars and other old bottles a second life as catchalls for makeup brushes or pencils.

Be creative.

If art school’s over, use your old wooden hand dummy as a cool dresser catchall for your necklaces and rings.

If you have an old accent piece at home that can be used as an organizer for your necklaces, you may use it as well.

Create a storage center.

If your bathroom, kitchen, or bedroom doesn’t come in with built-in cabinets or sufficient countertop space, bring in some reinforcements! Wall-mounted shelves and racks free up counter space, while freestanding cabinets can hide kitchen or bath essentials. If you can’t find anything you like or within your budget, have it custom made by your friendly neighborhood carpenter.

Compartmentalize your drawers.

Drawer organizers prevent a mad jumble and make it easier to find small items. No more searching for a missing sock! To DIY it, cut illustration boards into long pieces, cut slits about every four inches along one side, fit them together to make a great sock, tie, or underwear separator for your drawer. 

Coordinate containers.

For a neat look, keep things coordinated—choose either the same materials, same style era, or color palettes (i.e. coordinating glass canisters give a pulled-together to your kitchen).

Maximize home items.

Desk supplies should be within easy reach. Try using a silverware caddy from the kitchen as a handy desk drawer organizer.

Put your art supplies in one organizer.

Store your art and craft supplies in one multi-functional organizer like this. It has special pockets for scissors, clips, even for your trusty glue!

For more home organizing tips and ideas, click here.

For storing your shoes, click here.

For more tips and guides, click here.


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