Elevate Your Bookshelves With These Styling Tips
A few well-placed knick knacks can take your shelves from snoozy to super.
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The mystery junk drawer in the kitchen. The pile of toys in the playroom. The over-packed closet in the bedroom. You want to organize your home, but don’t know how or where to start. And between Marie Kondo, The Home Edit and the rise of “organizational influencers,” there are probably multiple posts and videos in your feed amping you up and inspiring you to take control of the clutter.
To turn inspiration into action, we asked Meredith Goforth, founder and principal home stylist of House of Prim, to share some of her very best home organization ideas and tips.
“Don’t think about all the places you need to work on, just focus on one. It’s really about tapping into your activation energy and starting,” says Goforth. She suggests putting on your favorite music and taking everything out of the space you need to organize so that you can clearly see what you’re working with. Warning: The sight of so many things in a pile may spike your blood pressure. “The feeling you have when you finish will be so satisfying—think about that to keep you going,” she says.
“You have to be able to let go of items that you aren’t using,” says Goforth. While it may be tough to let go of something you may think you’ll need, a home with less stuff will ultimately make you happier because it’ll be easier to navigate. A simple way to determine what to keep and what to toss: If you haven’t used something within the past 3-6 months, it’s got to go.
“This is so important,” stresses Meredith. Zones are all about grouping items together by category so you always know where to reach when you’re looking for stuff. For example, if you have a baking zone in your pantry, you’ll know exactly where to turn when you need flour. From there, you’ll be able to see how much stuff you have in each category and determine how best to place it in whatever area you are organizing. If you’re tackling the pantry, once you have your zones, you’ll want to put the stuff you use most frequently on lower shelves and the stuff you use less frequently (or the stuff you want to keep out of the reach of your kids) up high. The same methodology can be applied to your closet.
As you put stuff in its new home, consider labeling the shelves or bins where your categories will now live. “You—and those you live with—are much more likely to put items back in the right place if it’s labeled,” says Goforth.
Goforth believes great design goes hand in hand with great organization. “I find when an area looks good, I am motivated to keep it that way,” she says. Of course, what you need (and what will look good) differs from room to room.
Add Drawer Dividers: “By simply creating a boundary within your drawer, you will immediately create a more organized space,” Goforth promises. Do this by investing in some bamboo drawer dividers.
Edit Cooking Tools: “You don’t need everything you have in your drawers on a day-to-day basis. Also get rid of anything burned or broken,” she stresses. Aim for one of each type of tool. That means you need one spatula, one slotted spoon, one cheese grater—you get the idea.
Decant Your Spices: “This is so satisfying and an immediate upgrade. You can find preprinted labels as well as spice jars on Amazon”, says Goforth. It will literally take you no time at all, but will bring you instant joy when you open a drawer and see such an organized area.
Decant Dry Goods: Just like with spices, decanting your dry goods automatically makes a space look good. You can use glass or plastic containers— whatever works best for your lifestyle and aesthetic. “When you do this, you can see what you have so you are less likely to waste food,” says Goforth. Pro tip: With items like pasta or rice, cut out the instructions from the bag or box, and tape it to the bottom or back of the container.
Create Symmetry: The key to making a pantry look good is to display smart, uniform products. “We put a big emphasis on symmetry and keeping products within the same tone and family. The eye is so much happier when there is symmetry and form,” says Goforth. This will also make finding what you’re looking for quick and easy. With this in mind, keep all your cans together, your pastas together and so on and so forth.
Use Turntables: Even the pros can find themselves with empty, unused space. If you have a corner in your pantry, consider using turntables for items like oils, vinegars, sauces, and spreads. Not only do they help take up dead space, you can more easily see what items you have.
Save Space With Bags: Use zipper bags for puzzles and games. “Those boxes are not cute after a lot of wear and tear,” Goforth emphasizes. “Plus, they take up a lot of space.”
Think About Where You Use Things: Keep your kid’s socks in the mudroom or wherever you put shoes on. “I have a small bin for each child next to their shoes, and I put clean socks there from the laundry. No searching in the morning!” she says.
Use Drawer Organizers: A jumbled underwear and sock drawer can be a nightmare to sort through. Solve that problem with this 32-Compartment Drawer Organizer. “The sock and underwear drawer can be such a stressful one to open if you don’t have a system in place—this gives a home to each piece, which makes it easy to find what you need, fast,” says Goforth. Simply fold socks and undies in half, roll them and slide them into the organizer.
Keep Hangers the Same: For the closet, invest in uniform hangers. They look better and by having the same type of hanger, it’ll actually save space. You’ll also want to create zones for your clothing (I.e., tops, jeans, dresses), and then organize it by color. “Once you have this set up, it is super easy to maintain,” she says.
Organize By Usage: Your bathroom probably contains a mixture of stuff you use everyday (like face moisturizer and toothpaste) and stuff you use a little less often (that fancy fragrance or your curling iron). Consider creating an everyday cabinet or drawer. “Give the things you use daily prime real estate,” says Goforth. “Having that edited system will make your mornings much more pleasant.”
Use Bins: As for keeping drawers clean, Goforth loves The Home Edit by iDesign’s products. They have bins and drawers that can help keep items separated within your larger drawers. Make it even easier to find stuff by labeling each bin clearly.
Use Seperate Laundry Baskets: Goforth loves to give each person in the household a separate basket for folded clothes—which saves time when you have to put things away. This is also a great way to make sure people’s laundry doesn’t get mixed up.
Add Storage: If you have a big gap between your washer and dryer, place a shelved cart in that space. There, you can decant detergent pods, scent boosters, and dryer sheets so everything you need to do a load is within reach. She suggests Savvy & Sorted’s labels for this room, too.
Organizing your spaces does really make your home life easier and more pleasant. “Tidy house, tidy mind. You will find that you are much more motivated and efficient if your space is in order. I know I am so much happier when I am not stressing out over where something is while trying to get out of the house,” says Goforth.