33 Storage And Organizing Basics You Should Probably Know By Now

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

1.

If you need to get rid of stuff (which: you don’t necessarily have to!), choose a sorting system that you think would be most useful for *you* and your things. And focus most on choosing what to keep — what’s most worth it to you to continue including in your life — instead of what you’re letting go.


Penguin Random House, St. Martin’s Griffin

Maybe you read the famous Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (or watch the Netflix show). I love this method because it’s all about surrounding yourself with things that make you happy, and nothing that doesn’t. It’s on Amazon for $9.69, or find it at your local bookstore or library.

Or opt for something more chill like UnF*ck Your Habitat, which is filled with humor and empathy and emphasizes the very practical “20/10” method, where you give yourself 10 minutes of break for every 20 minutes of work. It’s on Amazon for $11.65, or find it at your local bookstore or library.

Of course, you can also simply line up a few cardboard boxes labeled “keep”, “donate”, “recycle”, and “toss”, then go to town!

2.

Or if that feels overwhelming, pick one narrow category to sort through (like T-shirts, the stuff under your bathroom sink, or even like, the condiments in your refrigerator) to get yourself started. And for square one (if it works for your chosen spot), start by tossing anything that’s expired or past its prime.


Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Once you’re on a roll, you might be surprised to you find yourself motivated to move on to the next category on your list. Sometimes, a slow start can snowball in the best way!

3.

If you’re in the mood to completely overhaul a particular space — your medicine cabinet, your fridge, your shoe storage — give yourself a clean slate by taking everything out (and sorting it!), then adding things back in however makes the most sense.


Getty Images / iStockphoto hemul75 / BuzzFeed

4.

When you’re considering different organizing products, always measure before you buy. Make sure that your doors will open all the way with that over-door rack and that the extra shelf isn’t the exact same height as your built-in shelves.


DIsney

It may seem obvious, but I’ve been guilty of it too! And then you have to find a way to repurpose the thing, or spend the time returning it. Measuring takes much less time than that!

5.

Find ways to give some of the stuff you do decide to keep a smaller, more manageable footprint. For example, if you have lots of DVDs, Blu-Rays, or gaming discs around, you could consolidate them all into a disc folio that stores all the same stuff in a tiny fraction of the original space.


amazon.com, amazon.com

This also works well for CDs, if you still have ’em laying around and still listen to them. Just make sure to recycle the plastic cases! The 128 capacity folio’s available on Amazon for $14.

6.

Or if you happen to have a big duvet or even pillows you know you won’t need again until the fall or winter, collapse it into a vacuum bag that makes it very low-effort to stash away under your bed.


amazon.com

These also work well for sweaters, pillows, blankets, and all kinds of other bulky items. I just did this with my comforter and a couple of pillows that I never used, and it’s amazing to see how much neater my room looks now that they’re out of the way! And it took less than 10 minutes start to finish. You can find Space Bags on Amazon for $21.99+, in six different bag and size combos so you can decide what works best for your needs.

Of course, if you’d prefer to DIY this, you can totally do it with The Kitchn‘s great garbage bag tutorial.

7.

Even something as simple as swapping out your wide, mismatched clothes hangers for non-slip slimline hangers can multiply the available space in your closet.


amazon.com

I’ve been using slimline hangers for years now (thanks, tiny NYC apartments) and don’t see myself ever going back. Besides the fact that they let me fit tons of clothes in very little space, they’re flocked so even the slipperiest tank tops don’t accidentally tumble to my closet floor (a problem I had with those thicker plastic hangers for years). A pack of fifty is $19.95 on Amazon.

8.

Easily create even *more* space on your closet rod by doubling up your hangers with repurposed can tabs.


Natalie Brown / BuzzFeed

This is a classic internet hack that I use all the time! Although I don’t recommend layering more than three shirts together at once, because otherwise it gets cumbersome to pull the middle shirts off the hangers. (To be completely honest, I often just stick to two together for simplicity’s sake. But that’s still twice as much space saved!)

9.

Look out for all kinds of storage space ~opportunities~ in your home that you can transform with the help of a few well-placed pieces. To start, the back of a kitchen cabinet door can become a designated cutting board storage spot or the perfect place for your foil and parchment paper.

10.

And the inside of your bathroom cabinet door might just the perfect spot to holster your hair dryer (plus hang your curling wand and/or straightener).


amazon.com

That holster hangs up using Command Strips, so it’s easy to hang and will remove cleanly if you ever decide to reorganize or like, move. It’s $8.81 on Amazon.

11.

Enlist sliding drawers to make the most of every inch of space in a deep cabinet. They literally bring everything in the back corners forward in a single swoosh, where you can actually reach it.


polishedhabitat.com, amazon.com

Of course you could use baskets or shoe boxes here (and have very functional storage, depending on your cabinets!) but I think that in many cases sliding drawers have those beat, because they usually have a shelf on top that lets you (neatly!) use the space above them. No inch is wasted, and yet everything’s easy to find. Honestly my tiny NYC bathroom wouldn’t function well at all without an under-sink drawer.

From Polished Habitat. The pictured two-tier drawer set is on Amazon for $24.97, and also comes in a single tier for $22.87.


amazon.com, amazon.com

Plus you’ll no longer have to pull down the stack of salad bowls just to get to the dinner plates. They’re both on Amazon: the expanding shelf for $19.99 (or a pack of two for $29.99), and two under-shelf baskets for $14.97.

13.

Turn that narrow gap between your washer and dryer into useful storage with the addition of a sturdy rolling cart.


amazon.com

Well, as long as the gap’s at least nine inches wide. (Remember, measure first!) This three-tier cart’s $32.80 on Amazon.

15.

Speaking of doors: Don’t forget about the your bathroom, closet, laundry room, or garage doors, either! They can all serve a purpose, whether it’s drying extra towels….


amazon.com

There are lots of options out there and these are just a few! It all depends on what you need and what will work best for your space. This towel organizer’s $20.85 on Amazon.

16.

storing accessories or coats and jackets or even pets leashes….


amazon.com

This two-tier over-door rack has nine large hooks for all kinds of uses, and is $13.49 on Amazon.

17.

…adding extra shelf space for food or beauty products or gift wrap or cleaning products…


amazon.com

This over-door rack lets you completely customize where you latch its eight different shelves (and there’s also an option to wall-mount it). It’s $33.99 on Amazon.


amazon.com

Yes, I realize the picture doesn’t show ’em on the back of a door, but you get the concept! The grippers are made to use with removable adhesive strips, so you don’t have to worry about any damage. They come in sets of two for $9.99 on Amazon.

19.

Institute a “crap basket” system for the stuff that your family leaves lying around the house. Just put anything that’s out of place in the right person’s basket, and then make it their responsibility to put it all away.


sewmanyways.blogspot.com

You don’t have to even go so far as to make labels for each basket, of course; try using a different color basket for each person instead. From Sew Many Ways.

If you want to try this yourself but don’t see yourself splurging on fancy baskets, you can always test it with a set of six fabric storage bins. Get them on Amazon for $31.40.

20.

When you’re considering different ways to store things, look for ways to make it easy to see everything at a glance *and* easy to both pull out and put away. So especially if you store tights, tees, or sweaters in your dresser drawers, try stacking everything vertically, like this:


One King’s Lane

I’ve been doing this folding technique for years and I’m never going back! It makes getting dressed so much faster, and I don’t “lose” things to the far back corners nearly so often. And you don’t even have to buy any fancy containers to make it work — just use old shoe boxes. Read more about it on One King’s Lane. And if you want something to make folding faster, try a folding board: they’re $23.99 on Amazon.

21.

Same goes with your jewelry: Display it somewhere you can actually see the pieces you love most, and you just might happen to wear them all more often.


Love for Country / Etsy

You could hang an organizer like this one ($45 from Love for Country on Etsy) on either side of your closet door, on the wall in your closet, or even above your vanity. Of course, the right solution for you will depend on your space and taste! There are lots of options out there, including standing organizers perfect for vanities, hanging organizers that slide seamlessly into your closet, or even decorative gold Command Hooks, which you can stick basically wherever you need to make your own necklace display.

22.

And scarves, leggings, and ties are similar! Organize all your favorites in a way you can get what you need in an instant, saving yourself time in the mornings.

23.

To apply the concept to your linen closet, store a whole set of fitted sheets inside one pillowcase, and it’ll be easy to grab ’em all at once. Plus your closet will look nice and neat!


Photo by Raymond Hom. Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living. Copyright © 2011.

To get them to really lay flat like that, you probably have to fold two sides of the pillowcase underneath. Read more on Martha Stewart.

24.

This works in the kitchen, too. For starters, you can stack your pots, skillets, and pans on a wire rack so they’re simple to see, easy to access, and protected from any scratches they might incur if you regularly stacked a bunch of them on top of each other.


amazon.com

Maybe you’re lucky enough to have built-in shelves or cool drawers in your kitchen already that let you do this already — in which case, awesome! But if your storage space is limited, there are tons of other options out there. This particular one’s available on Amazon for $24.99.

25.

Then take advantage of the empty space on the insides of your cabinet and cabinet door as the perfect place to store lids so you can get to them with zero effort, thanks to yes, Command Hooks.

26.

Same goes with spices: instead of piling them all in a cabinet where you have to pull several out to find what you’re looking for, lay them all out in a drawer or mount a rack in your pantry where you can see your entire selection.


amazon.com, amazon.com

My parents have a similar drawer setup and it works wonderfully. Those liners are $14.99 on Amazon. But if you don’t have the drawer space to spare — and I for one don’t! — wall-mounted’s the way to go. Acrylic racks like the one pictured right ($11.53 for the two-tiered version) can even be hung with Command Picture-Hanging Strips (renters, take note!).

27.

Protect your knives from scratching and dulling by storing them properly — their blades should be separated, never just thrown in a drawer with other knives or utensils.


amazon.com, amazon.com

You can accomplish this in many ways, of course! You can get knife blocks for either your counter ($29.99; it’s universal, so you don’t have to have a complete collection for it to look good) or to slide in a drawer ($9.99), or mount them on the wall under your cabinets with a magnetic strip ($17.49). Or if you must keep them in a drawer with others, at least try some edge guards to keep them sharp ($13.99 for four).

28.

Whether you’re looking to improve your bathroom, junk drawer, kitchen, or home office, never overlook the power of a well-placed drawer organizer.


amazon.com, amazon.com

And there are SO many options out there! The set on the left ($11.63) comes with eight different bins you can layout however you want, then securely connect together. And the acrylic set ($14.99) comes with six bins that can easily stack on one another, which is perfect for narrower drawers.

29.

Or for something entirely custom, save up empty cereal and snack boxes for a bit, then transform them into the colorful organizers covered with the contact paper you like best.

30.

Disguise all kinds of things — toys, game controllers and headsets, books, candles, you name it — in furniture designed with extra storage in mind. A cube organizer is just one way to pull that off! It can serve as as a handy entryway table, TV stand, bookshelf, clothes dresser, office cabinet…whatever you need most.


amazon.com

All because you can turn it horizontal or vertical, depending on your preference and space. It’s $59.98+ on Amazon (and comes in four other colors and eight other sizes), and six grey bins that fit inside of are $16.97+.

31.

And a storage ottoman is another! One might just help you quickly reclaim the living room as ~grown up space~.

32.

For longer-term storage, think about three things: the level of protection you need, how easy it is to access when you need it, and how easy it is to remember what you stashed where.


amazon.com

These shoes are just going under the bed and not out to the garage or anything, so they’re perfectly safe in a fabric-sided bag. And when this person does want to wear one of these pairs, they can simply pull out the bag all at once. Besides that, the transparent plastic zip-top makes it easy to immediately see that yes, the bag they pulled out is actually the shoe bag, and not the box of sweaters. That particular bag is $23.69 on Amazon, and fits 12 pairs.

33.

It’s the same deal when you go to store something seasonal in the garage. Maybe you need plastic bins for more protection, and to label them so you know what’s where next year, but it’s totally okay for them to be stored up on your ceiling because you only access them once a year, and that’s where you have the best available space.


amazon.com

I feel like a bit of a broken record here, but again! You really have to figure out what works best for your stuff in your space. This ceiling storage rack is $170 on Amazon.

You, creating your own TV-worthy home transformation before and after before you know it:

Amazon Prime Day is happening July 15–16 this year. Don’t have a Prime account yet? Sign up now to be ready to take advantage of all the deals!

Looking for more stuff to help make your house a home? Check out the best places to buy inexpensive furniture online, the best places to buy couches online, cute home decor you’ll wish you knew about sooner, or check out all of our home content for even more great ideas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *