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13 Brilliant Organizing Shortcuts You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

Get your home in tip-top shape with these organizing tips from the pros.

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Woman organizes clothes in living room of her homeSusumu Yoshioka/Getty Images

When it comes to organizing, it’s easier to think about the big things, like a new dining room cabinet or a total closet makeover, than that junk drawer where you toss all your extra knick-knacks or that teetering pile of pot lids that spill out of your cabinet every time you open it. All too often, these areas in a home get neglected, because they’re hidden behind closed cabinet doors or drawers. These tips from professional organizers and interior designers will help you get every nook and cranny in your home organized. When it comes to tackling your pantry, start with these expert organizing tips.

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A general interior view of open plan kitchen dining room leading into a conservatory within a home/Magic Corner II, for Blind Corner CabinetsJohn Keeble/Getty Images, Via hafele.com

Corner cabinet organizers

Gain useful storage space from cabinet corners with blind corner swing-out units. “These make the backs of those pesky spaces as easy to reach as the front areas, so you can get more use out of your kitchen,” says Jamie Gold, author of Wellness by Design and wellness designer expert. “You won’t need knee pads and a flashlight to retrieve the pot you stored there and almost forgot about.” They’re also ideal for older people or anyone with lower back or flexibility issues. These are cheap kitchen upgrades that add instant value to your home.

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Opened kitchen drawer with Stainless steel cutlery set/Bamboo Kitchen Drawer Organizer - Expandable Silverware Organizer/Utensil Holder and Cutlery Tray with Grooved Drawer Dividers for Flatware and Kitchen Utensils (5 Slots, Natural)VladyslavLehir/Getty Images, Via amazon.com

Insert it

The better organized your kitchen is, the more you’ll enjoy cooking, Gold says. One of the quickest fixes to make your kitchen more user-friendly is to organize your drawers with inserts. “Many of these inserts can be adjusted to fit your drawer and can come with you when you move,” Gold says. While you’re at it, toss these kitchen gadgets that no one needs.

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Close-up of various food in airtight jars. Groceries are seen through glass containers. Eatables are on table./Magnetic Spice Tins Pkg/3Nomad/Getty Images, Via containerstore.com

Group like items together

“Consolidate similar items together, like spices, to create a visual calm and uniform organization to traditionally mismatched items,” says Amelia Nicholas of Urban Cottage. Nicholas suggests using canisters like these magnetic spice jars from The Container Store to optimize space in narrow and awkward top drawers and to keep every spice within reach. Here’s more on how to declutter your kitchen once and for all.

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Woman Looks into Refrigerator for Healthy Snack/Perch Stumpy Magnetic ContainerGrace Cary/Getty Images, Via containerstore.com

Magnetic storage

Nicholas also suggests making use of unexpected metal surfaces as an opportunity for storage. “In newer construction apartments, there are often large metal panel fronts to the HVAC units,” she says. “Metal doors and framing, and refrigerator doors and sides also provide storage opportunities.” By using magnets, you won’t have to deal with nailing or drilling holes in walls or cabinets. Stick a shelf, like this magnetic container from The Container Store, to one of these areas to organize computer cords and remotes in the living area. If you are short on room, follow these ways to squeeze more storage out of small spaces.

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Clothes hanging in the wardrobe/BriaUSA Cascade Hangers Blue Steel Swivel Hooks -Slim, Sturdy Saves You Extra Space - Set of 10Kinga Krzeminska/Getty Images, Via amazon.com

Hang it right

There’s no need to spend a ton of money on fancy closet systems to get it organized, rather invest in the right type of hanger to maximize closet space, says Stasia Steele, professional organizer and founder of The Little Details. “Cascading hangers can optimize the vertical space in your closet,” says Steele. This set will immediately open up your closet, giving you clear access to your clothes. Once you’re using the right hangers, find out more tips for organizing a small closet.

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Shoe rack hanging on a wooden door, storage for shoes close-up/24 Pockets - SimpleHouseware Crystal Clear Over The Door Hanging Shoe Organizer, Gray (64'' x 19'')cerro_photography/Getty Images, Via amazon.com

Make a spot for small items

Entryways and mudrooms often become cluttered with small items and no wonder—they’re a convenient dumping area because it’s the first and last place you pass on a daily basis when leaving and entering your home. To keep the area clutter-free, “use an over the door shoe organizer in the mudroom to store all of your outdoor gear such as hats, gloves, scarves, sunscreen, sunglasses, mosquito repellent, ” says Steele. “Give each person in the family their own clearly labeled pocket(s). A clear organizer lets you see what’s inside the pockets do you don’t have to rummage through them when you are in a hurry.

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A hair dryer balancing on the edge of a full bathtub/mDesign Metal Hair Care & Styling Tool Organizer Holder - 3 Sections - Bathroom Vanity Countertop Storage for Hair Dryer, Flat Irons, Curling Wands, Hair Straighteners - BronzeRagnar Schmuck/Getty Images, Via amazon.com

Access styling tools quickly

Styling tools are hard to store away because they are typically awkwardly shaped or bulky, so they end up just laying on a counter, cluttering it up in no time. “Having a place to store your styling tools and makeup for quick stowaway will help you straighten up your bathroom in a jiffy,” promises professional organizer Shara Ryan of Simply Renewed Living. “This mDesign holder is great as it can sit on your counter but also be stored in a cupboard and doesn’t require any installation.”

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Light brown wicker laundry basket beside a wooden dresser in a bedroom./Gabrielle Organization System - Canvas Hanging HamperPaul McDougall/Getty Images, Via potterybarn.com

Store in plain sight

Many homes lack a dedicated space for dirty laundry, which is why hampers are so useful. And if you don’t have a place to hide a hamper, make it an attractive accessory that compliments the space. “I love wicker baskets you can leave sitting out in plain sight, but I also love these that you can hang on the wall to save space,” says Ryan. An added advantage of a hanging hamper, like this one from Pottery Barn, is that it is super easy to vacuum underneath without having to move them. You’ll never lose a sock again with this genius trick.

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Hats hanging on hook on wall in bathroom/Meirenda Self Adhesive Hooks, Removable Wall Hooks Heavy Duty Bathroom Towel Sticky Adhesive Wall Hanging Hooks for Office Home Kitchen BagsEric Audras/Getty Images, Via amazon.com

Hook it

Basic hooks can be used to create a gorgeous hat gallery in your closet,” says Emi Louie, organizing expert and Certified KonMari Consultant. “Even hanging just one hat can add some fun to an otherwise plain and underutilized wall.” By placing items on a hook, it not only frees up shelf space, but it also elevates the item to your sightline, so you do not forget about it. Learn more cleaning and organizing tips from professional organizers.

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Opened drawer with white plates and bowls/Spectrum Diversified Euro Kitchen Organizer for Plates, Cutting Boards Bakeware, Cooling, Pots & Pans, Serving Trays, Reusable Containers, and Lids Holder Rack, Satin NickelWestend61/Getty Images, Via amazon.com

Store dishes in a drawer

“Storing dishes in a cabinet is common, but storing them in a drawer can help you streamline everyday prep and clean up,” says Louie. Pick a drawer that’s close to the dishwasher to make it easier to unload the dishwasher. Putting commonly used dishes in a drawer versus a high cabinet also has a bonus perk. “If you’ve got kids at home, storing dishes within their reach means they can help unload the dishwasher and set the table,” she says. Depending on how deep your drawer is, a vertical organizer can help keep your plates neat and nick-free.

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Overhead shot of neatly ordered clothes in wooden drawer. Woman organizing clothes in drawer/Overhead shot of neatly ordered clothes in wooden drawer. Woman organizing clothes in drawerCarmenMurillo/Getty Images, Via amazon.com

Fold like a pro

An unorganized drawer is not only unattractive, it’s not efficient. Professional organizer and founder of Sort and Sweet, Mary Cornetta says that file folding your clothing into drawers or bins is the best way to maximize space in your bedroom. “Not only does it save space, but you can also see everything you own and it looks awesome,” says Cornetta. “If you’re not naturally great at folding, a folding board goes a long way.” We like these from EZPacking.

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TOWEL CLOTH FOLD IN STACK IN WARDROBE SHELF INTERIOR CONCEPT/GRANNY SAYS Storage Bins, Closet Shelf Organizer Bin, Trapezoid Storage Bin Box for Shelves, Gray/White, 3-Packwhyframestudio/Getty Images, Via amazon.com

Tame your linen closet

Unruly sheets can take over a closet in a heartbeat. Plus, who really knows how to fold those awkwardly fitted sheets the right way? Cornetta recommends using the “bag method” where you put the matching fitted and flat sheets and pillowcases folded into one of the set’s pillowcases. Then fold it over and place in a basket or a bin that has a trapezoid design so you can readily see everything in it. This folding method also makes changing the sheets a breeze because you’ll have all the sheets you need in one handy place.

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Make up products organizing in bathroom concept. Beauty products in organizer container box on tidy way on minimalist shelf. Cotton pads stacked, Q-tips and make up brushes./mDesign Plastic Rectangular Stackable Eye Glass Storage Organizer Holder Box for Sunglasses, Reading Glasses, Fashion Eye Wear, Accessories - 5 Sections, Hinged Lid - 2 Pack - ClearHelin Loik-Tomson/Getty Images, Via amazon.com

Keep it clear

For pet food supplies or even condiments in the fridge, clear bins can help organize like items. Unlike regular storage bins, clear ones have a unique advantage. “Clear bins will not only make your life easy with everything—you can see exactly what is inside,” says Samantha Wenig of Neat Spaces, a home and apartment organization company based in New York City. To find the right size bin, measure your space, then research what bin makes the most sense. You can store everything from shoes, sweaters, pantry items, or even frozen veggies in clear plastic bins. Get bins with lids so you have the option to stack them neatly.

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest

Debbie Wolfe
I'm a content creator with an expertise in SEO, buying guides, lifestyle topics including home, garden, DIY, food, and e-commerce. I write for large and small businesses. Some of my current and past clients include Home Depot, Walmart, HGTV and DIYNetwork.

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