It’s 7:15 a.m. You’re 25 minutes behind schedule and halfway out the door when you suddenly realize your keys are missing — for the third time this week. After scrambling around your kitchen and living room, burrowing through the pockets of every jacket you own and checking your ignition and front door (twice), you finally find them buried under the stack of mail you planned to open…then didn’t.
It’s a fact: we’re pretty good at losing our stuff. We spend 15 minutes each day rummaging for it, according to The Wall Street Journal. Sure enough, three-quarters of all misplaced possessions occur right in our homes.
Whether you’re sick of playing the guessing game, losing your things or being late to work, I think we can all agree that it’s time to cure the clutter once and for all. Let’s start with the stuff that we lose the most.
Must-Have Home Storage Solutions
1. Designate a home for keys.
“The best way to remember where you put something may be the most obvious,” notes Elizabeth Larkin, personal organizing expert for About Home. “Consistently leave them in the same spot near the door. Some functional and creative ideas are soap dishes, hooks, sea shells or a small decorative tray.”
2. Defeat those bobby pins.
Bobby pins – undoubtedly the most evil objects of all things we constantly lose – seem to fly around our drawers, end up on the floor, or disappear entirely.
Looking for a fix for these tiny must-haves? A simple magnetic strip will hold and organize your bobby pins for good.
Tape the magnetic strip to the inside of a bathroom drawer, medicine cabinet or back of a door to make sure you never lose them again.
3. Hang your jewelry.
Unless you have the time to untangle your knotted jewelry, keep the pieces separate. By using a hanging organizer behind a door or in your closet, you can neatly store your jewelry while taking up minimal space. Bonus: They’ll stay tangle-free when you’re not showing them off on your neck.
Looking for alternatives? Muffin tins and ice cube trays also make great inexpensive DIY organizers.
4. Mason jar your makeup.
Even a small amount of makeup can make your bathroom or vanity appear cluttered. Whether you lack the counter space — or simply spend too much time rummaging around drawers for the perfect eyeliner — there’s an easy way to visibly store makeup products out in the open.
Use mason jars to store products like cotton balls, Q-Tips, makeup brushes and the rest of your essentials. It’s an easy and affordable way to get rid of bulky packages, save space, and decoratively keep your bathroom in tip-top shape.
5. Create compartments.
If you tend to toss utensils in your kitchen drawers, it’s time to come up with a better system. Kevin Sharkey, Decorating and Executive Creative Director for Martha Stewart Living,suggests using compartmentalized spaces to get the most out of your kitchen drawers.
“The most common problem with kitchens is that there is never enough space for everything,” he notes. “However, there are so many ways to organize without creating a mess of stacks and impossible-to-close cabinets.”
6. Tackle your tupperware.
Between the mix-and-match nature of plastic containers and the ongoing missing-lid problem, taming your Tupperware is one tough task. There are several organizing tricks that will keep your cupboards in order:
- Use Drying racks. Use an extra drying rack in a cupboard to group and file your lids from smallest to largest.
- Divide your drawers. Divvy up your drawers and designate a place for each size of container.
- Purchase bins. An easy, foolproof way to organize things in your home is to store like items together in bins. Place labeled bins in a drawer or cupboard and stay organized with little upkeep.
7. Sort the small things.
When it comes to little necessities like paper clips, thumbtacks, sewing pins and rubber bands, finding a home storage solution that works can be tricky.
Glass jars will corral your small items and make life easier for when you need them.
“The glass jar trick works in the garage, the basement, the craft room and the home office,” the organizing experts at Real Simple advise. “Put like-size items in specific jars, and when you’re working on a project you can easily gather the necessary hardware.”
8. Rid your kitchen of bulky packaging.
Sarah Kate Gillingham, founding editor of The Kitchn, believes this is the perfect opportunity to streamline your cabinets by replacing some of that ugly, clunky packaging with jars.
“I like to keep my pasta, grains, dried herbs and spices, baking ingredients and tea bags in glass jars,” shenotes. “Storing food in jars gives a good seal and you can see what’s inside.”
Keep an orderly, attractive pantry with an array of jars and labels.
9. Place chargers in cubbies.
How many times have you opened a drawer or box to find a jumbled mess of cords, all webbed together? Since chargers are things we need frequently, they need to be accessible without the headache.
The solution? A box with cubbies:
1. Find an empty cardboard box
2. Cut extra cardboard to create dividers inside the box
3. Decorate with scrapbook paper and label if desired
4. Place your chargers in their proper cubby, and keep somewhere obvious
10. Divide your sock drawers.
Annemarie Conte, Senior Editor of Woman’s Day, has a few smart tricks for straightening up your sock bin.
“Keep a separate hamper for socks, and always organize by color,” she notes. “That way, you can spot the single socks. If they don’t have a match by the end of the month, toss them.”
As you organize, create sections in your drawer to keep similar socks close to one another. Hopefully, you’ll be able to kiss the sock monster goodbye.
11. Store your sunglasses.
Sunglasses are more than just accessories — they’re necessities. If your home storage solution involves tossing them on the coffee table, it’s time to find a more permanent home.
Hang them up. Using a string, rod or hooks, create a home for sunglasses right on your wall. Placing them next to outerwear like hats or scarves will serve as a constant reminder.
Use your entryway. Using a tray, shelf or small box, place your sunglasses right near the door that you use most often. The tricky part will be remembering to put them back every time.
12. Properly organize your paper.
Mail is a leading source of clutter in our homes — not to mention bills, newspaper and magazines. Don’t let these stacks of paper pile up on your desk, kitchen counter or living room table.
Hang a basket on the wall to create a system for your mail and bills. Not only will you be able to save space, time and hassle, but the system will also help you avoid late fees and financial stress.
13. Round up the TV remotes.
Lost the remotes in the couch cushions again? Anna from Ask Anna found a foolproof solution for the frustrating remote problem, and it’s simpler than you may think.
“I put a little basket on one of our living room side tables, placed the remotes in them, and now it’s within arm’s reach from the couch,”she notes. “Organized remotes and lazy TV watchers? Everyone is happy. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, it just has to be practical.”
14. Use buckets for craft utensils.
Transform your office, sewing space or craft room into a tidy room that fosters creativity by using buckets for organization.
“A series of buckets turned out to be the perfect, pretty organization idea for my craft room,” notes Beth Bryan, interior designer and DIY expert. “You can mix and match buckets, wire baskets and hooks to create any combination of storage solutions — plus it’s cute.”
Forget the messy drawers and place your craft essentials in buckets of your size and style.
How many more mornings are you willing to spend searching through your makeup bag? How much time could you save on your next DIY project with a simple, organized craft room? No matter where your clutter happens to be, the solution is quite simple: stop spending your time looking for misplaced items and start creating your new home storage solutions.
There’s always self storage.
While you begin working on your new storage solutions, you may come across some items you need to move or store. If you lack the storage space in your home, storage units offer plenty of space — and free rental trucks — to help accommodate some of your things.
What are some items you tend to misplace? What kind of storage solutions have helped you stay organized? Share your thoughts with us below or connect with us on Twitter @LifeStorage.