We are in the midst of a move, and I’ve been going through every corner of my house organizing and donating! Here are tips on how to organize your home room by room.
The best way to organize your house: move out!!
I am actually not kidding. I am always decluttering and organizing my house (it’s my favorite Sunday activity!) and so I thought I was pretty organized. WRONG. Turns out I still had way too much stuff!
We are moving out of the top two floors of our house on March 1, storing everything in the basement while our house gets renovated. In anticipation, I’ve literally combed through every corner looking for 1) space to store things in the basement and 2) minimizing what I will have to physically move to the basement.
I haven’t done this thorough of a clean-out since I moved into this house 8 years ago. Since then Thomas moved in and we had our second son, so the stuff has multiplied.
Here is a recap of my process and lots of tips along the way!
How To Organize Your Home Room By Room
If you want to know the three main steps to organizing anything, check out this post: How To Organize Anything In Your House. First, simplify. Then sort. Then the fun part: the organizing!
My best advice: start with the least used rooms in your home and end with the most used.
This is counter intuitive because you might want to start where you live the most, but in this move-out process I’ve done the reverse method because it forced me to sort through and pack things we rarely use first and move to those we use more frequently.
Your attic might be the scariest place in the house, but also, I bet you have the most stuff you can part with up there! (Really, if doing those kind of spaces scares you too much and you’re not actually moving, start with the closets.)
Each room has its own functions and quirks, and different rooms require different organization ideas.
When you think about how you use the space room by room, you can lean into certain organizing hacks (like open baskets vs. closed cabinets and drawer dividers vs. mason jars). Once you have a space for everything, you’ll more easily be able to keep everything in order which will pay it forward for your future organizing efforts.
Best organization bins and baskets
Check out this post full of home organization essentials from woven bins to lazy susans for a bunch of organization containers.
Here are my practical and effective tips on how your readers organize their homes one room at a time.
I started with our attic. While our attic isn’t very large, it still had stuff we didn’t need in it. We had Christmas decorations we never got down this year, so I donated those.
There was a Halloween costume, old photo albums, and a few things I had stored for a friend. I put the costume with our Halloween decor (downstairs), moved the photo albums to my memory trunk, and returned the extra items.
I also had not one but two wedding dresses in mine (!) so I donated the older of the two and stored the smaller one in a memory bin.
The best organizing tools for the attic: big plastic bins.
See that wasn’t too hard!
I’ve also gone through our basement fitness / storage room and finally parted with cords I’d dragged around for years, old nails and screws and parts of furniture that I no longer owned. My gosh it felt so good! Finally, I convinced Thomas to finally dispose of the old paint cans left over from our first renovation. Those colors are changing anyways and the paint was too old to use!
Next up on the list I tackled closets. Again, these had a lot of extra stuff tucked in the back of them. There’s a video tour of our closets in this post and you can see how we added shelves, bins and baskets to three closets in this post. While I will admit the stuff was mostly organized I realized I really didn’t need to keep it all! Our linen closet wasn’t all that bad thanks to the improvements we made a few years ago.
Linen closets: use baskets and bins
A bin or flat basket will keep a folded sheet stack neater than lining them up on the shelves alone. Large baskets are great for comforters, extra pillows, or cleaning towels.
The kids closets, however, were awful! Are the kid closets the worst room in your house too?
Birch’s closet was organized but just had too much in it (art supplies, play doh, toys upon toys, craft kits yet to be opened, toys, toys, toys). So I went through each bin one by one and sorted it all! I got his help on some of the smaller toys that he has collected and asked him to “keep or donate.” We went through a whole toy basket this way and he parted with about 1/3 of them! He was very decisive. I moved most of his toys and games to the basement playroom closet (more on that below).
Mazen’s closet was mostly filled with books, activities, and some gadgety toys. We went through it together one night and sorted all the books (I kept any book I thought Birch would be into in a few years). Most of his prized possessions are in Lego form!
Line kids closets with shelves
Maybe it’s because I have boys, but they don’t really have any hanging clothes. So we have lots of shelves in their closets. Birch’s are built-in and Mazen has an inexpensive cube shelf. Both work well for all kinds of things – books, toys, activities, and their suitcases.
Blog post: How To Organize Kids Clothes
Adult Clothes Closets
My number one tip on organizing clothes closets for adults is to fill them to 80% and stop. Whether you have a tiny single closet or a giant walk-in, don’t max it out or you’ll feel stressed every time you walk in! Hopefully you have some sort of organizing system for your closet, but if you don’t you can bring in a dresser or use hanging shelves to maximize your space. Don’t forget how I made a DIY clothing rack in a spare room once!
Utilize wall space
Hooks are fabulous for closets for things like robes and hoodies. Small hooks are perfect for necklaces.
Have a shelf
I love the shelf in my closet for putting my next day’s outfit, helping me put away laundry, and storing my perfumes and everyday jewelry.
Keep shoes off the floor
I always have one pair of shoes more than fit nicely in my closet, but I’m working on it! I do keep all tall boots down in the hall closet (rain and snow boots, cowgirl boots) so that helps to save on tight closet space.
This post will walk you through my favorite toy storage tips!
If my organizing skills have a weakness in the toy department, it’s saving activities or toys for a rainy day. We have a six year age gap between our boys, so I’ve kept a lot of the toys/activities/arts and craft supplies that Mazen has outgrown for Birch. I gave all of those a hard look and finally parted with a lot of things I didn’t think we would actually ever use with Birch. We even used up some very old finger paint that took forever to get off (I think it had turned to oil or something!)
Here’s what our toy closet looked like before Birch was born. I can hardly believe it! This thing was stuffed to the brim when I tackled it recently.
Sort toys like with like
I am big on having the toys sorted and playing with one at a time. Mazen and his buddies will get the NERF battle out and use that for a while before cleaning up and moving to Legos. Birch likes to get out the train set or Peppa Pig figurines with their house and play for a bit and then we clean back up. This helps us keep our toys sorted and separate.
Use a label maker to label each bin
If you’re storing toys or supplies in bins, you’ll want to be able to see what’s inside without opening them. Even clear bins can be hard to tell with kids toys! A label maker or chalkboard sticker will help!
The best toy storage bins
I’ve written about these bins many times, but they are GREAT for storing anything! They come in so many colors and patterns and are lightweight so you can cart them around. We use them for stuffed animals, trains, a big plastic road, laundry, blankets and more.
Bedrooms tend not to have a ton of stuff aside from the bed and dresser, since we already addressed the closets. Check out these tips for clutter zones if yours tends to be a dumping ground for things like purses or laundry.
Try a storage bench
I love a storage bench at the foot of the bed if you need some extra for off season clothes, towels, or blankets.
Store things under the beds
In this post I share how I use under-the-bed storage for clothes I’m saving between my boys.
I find towels and toilet paper very satisfying to organize. Probably because they are so clean! (The amazing nature toilet paper was from Who Gives A Crap!)
Makeup, skincare, and medicines however – oof! We all have so many “just in case” items. This post outlines 12 medicine storage tips that will help you with all of the tiny bottles.
Use lazy susans
I love a lazy susan in the bathroom! We have a few of these. They are great inside closets and under the sink.
Trays are perfect for skincare
Sometimes you just want it to look neat! A pretty tray is the perfect way to gather your most-used skincare together.
I love a glass makeup organizer like this! You can sort your makeup by type of items and it’s so easy to grab and go. No rummaging through a dirty makeup bag.
Store travel items in under-the-sink drawers
I have one of these under my sink and it’s great for my extra travel items!
Living + Dining Rooms
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the clutter in your living room, you simply need to find a spot for everything.
- Throw blankets: a large open basket is perfect
- Remote controls: a special box on the mantel house ours
- Coasters and magazines: the West Elm popup coffee table has hidden storage for all your living room essentials! (A lot of ottomans do too).
- Laptops and iPads: I have a wooden organizer that you can see in this living room refresh. It’s similar to this one.
I even hide things in the vases on our shelves!
If you’re lucky enough to have a home office, here are some tips for that! Ours is a corner of our family room, but it still needs some organizing help every now and then.
And last but not least, the kitchen!
What I donated: all of our extra plastic tupperware, any plastic water bottles, extra baby cups, a few small appliances we never used. Anything I didn’t want to bring back into a brand new kitchen when our renovation is complete! I am all about minimalism in the kitchen and try to use as many multi function tools as possible.
I generally think glasses and cups need to be right above the dishwasher, silverware is right next to it. Everyday plates and bowls as close as possible. We have some kitchen overflow into our living and dining rooms where we store items like our less-used entertaining ware and big appliances like our crockpot (in the buffet in the living room). That leaves more room for everyday cookware in the kitchen.
We dramatically cut back on our cookware when we got a Caraway set. I LOVE the organizers that come with Caraway as well! Read my blog post about them here.
For drawers and pantries, check out this post for all the best accessories for your drawers and cabinets: Kitchen Organization Accessories Favorites.
Looking for tips for under the sink? Read this post for some great ideas: Under The Sink Storage. I love these big glass jars for dishwasher pods and for all laundry room storage too!
My Favorite Organizing Accessories!
Organizing Your Home Room By Room Keeps You On Task
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, just take it one room or one corner at a time. Declutter, simplify, sort, store. Your organized space will start to come together. You got this! (And hopefully you don’t have to actually move like me : ) )