Organizing by Room
To keep your kitchen sink uncluttered, shop at flea markets or housewares stores for pretty little trays to hold sponges, brushes, and hand soap.
Artists' drawing-board liner (available at art-supply stores) has a slightly rubbery surface that keeps sharp implements stationary and wipes clean easily -- perfect for storing cutlery.
When it's kept in an attractive glass bottle, dishwashing liquid doesn't have to stay hidden beneath the sink. Decorative bottles and pour spouts are available at housewares stores; vintage bottles work well, too, as long as they are perfectly clean.
Recycling may save the planet -- but it ruins the corner of your kitchen until collection day. An easy-to-make sorting station will help you get in order.
You don't need a prairie-size kitchen to manage the chaos of pot storage. A handrail and several S-hooks will turn a few square feet of wall into a convenient rack for kitchenware.
Gather the small items you store on the shelf into a spare baking tray, then treat it like a drawer, carefully sliding it in and out for easy access. The pan will also catch drips, speeding cleanup.
Screw hooks and spring-loaded clips inside the closet and use them to hold brooms, a dustpan, a mop, and a duster. Do the same with tools on the door and you won't have to get out the toolbox for quick repairs.
Place a wooden-peg rack in a cupboard, and line up the lids vertically between the pegs. You could also attach a graduated rack to the door. Whatever you do, arrange lids from smallest to largest, with their partner pans close by.
Choose cabinets that offer separate spaces -- preferably one for each person who uses the bathroom. Lazy Susans make accessing toiletries, stored in pretty clear containers, a snap.
Keep bathroom items neat and accessible with cubbyhole shelves for large items and surgical jars for small toiletries and accessories.
Make the most of a tight space with these easy tricks.
Clear off bathroom countertops by storing toiletries in a hanging organizer. To make one, just stitch a few seams in a hand towel.
Hang bathroom towels from the rungs of a progressive or apple-picking ladder propped against a wall. To prevent the ladder from slipping, attach rubber tips made for chair legs to the ladder's feet. Secure the top to the wall with hooks and eyes.
Vertical Towel Rack
The walls and doors in this bathroom were underused. Towels and washcloths needed to be handy for bathers, so a hotel-style multitiered rack was installed on the wall next to the tub.
Uniform plastic bottles look better than the usual shampoo and soap containers, and they fit neatly in storage devices. Identify bottles with laminated labels, adding either the names of family members who use them or listing the contents.
Keep track of important notes, invitations, and bills to be paid with binder clips hung from cup hooks screwed into a wall.
Turn empty gift baskets into stylish household organizers. (Similar receptacles are sold at floral shops and crafts stores if you need to supplement your supply.)
Inexpensive, unused cans can be purchased at paint stores; lined up on a shelf and anchored in place with Velcro, they become organizing cubbyholes with a modern flair.
Office in a Chest
Transform a traditional piece of bedroom furniture into a multitasking mini office, complete with bulletin board and filing cabinet. Learn to reconfigure a chest with minimal construction.
Have a piece of 1/2-inch Homasote or foam board cut to fit inside a frame. Cover with a piece of colorful linen, stretched tight and stapled on the back side with a staple gun. Wrap ribbon across the front, tacking at the center and stapling in back. A drying rack can find new life as a place to store magazines and sheets of wrapping paper.
Stocked with everything a student needs, this hideaway is an inviting place to pore over homework.
A ready-made plate rack can be easily transformed into a child's bookshelf, displaying both toys and books.
Buy a child-safe chest -- one with features to keep it from closing and sealing shut -- and customize it to your child's needs.
It's a project that will appeal to everyone in the family: Kids get a special surface (three of them, in fact) to play on, and adults can clean up faster because toys will be confined to one area, not scattered all over the house.
Make a pocket quilt from the fabric of retired shirts, or simply use a hanging fabric shoe organizer. Each stuffed animal, with its face and arms peeking out of a pocket, will be neatly displayed and protected.
Using a twist on under-bed storage, the area below a store-bought loft bed becomes a welcoming small-scale study. An adjustable desk is made of painted plywood attached to a homemade wooden frame.
Label mailing tubes, available at office-supply stores, by semester or year, and fill with rolled-up stacks of artwork.
Just a few simple, flexible additions can expand the capabilities of your child's closet.