Horderly is so beyond excited to have been chosen as Real Simple’s organizing partner for the 2020 Real Simple Home. Here, we’re sharing our favorite 15 tips and tricks on how we got this Real Simple home organized!
Front Closet (Utility/Cleaning Closet)
In this front closet, we are storing cleaning supplies, paper goods and utility items.
1. Get Items Off the Floor — At Horderly, our goal is to create a specific home for everything, and when items live on the floor, it can easily create clutter. Using hooks and shelves are a great way to give these items a proper home, off the floor. We love using the Elfa Utility Track, hooks and tool holders from The Container Store to store items like mops, brooms and dusters. Make sure to also take the time to hang or drill-in items on the wall like your Dyson vacuum cleaner and batteries for easy access!
2. Containment is Key — You will hear us say often that containment is key! In this closet, we used clear, deep Linus bins and clear shoe boxes to contain categories. These bins act as drawers, so you can easily pull out the bin, grab what you need, and put the bin back – always keeping the shelf neat and tidy!
3. Use the Back of the Door — Don’t forget to utilize the back of the door space, too! Hang hooks to store slim items like your step stool and ladder or use an over-the-door shoe bag to store grab-and-go items like pet or workout accessories!
4. Label — Labeling is crucial to maintaining a space, especially if there is more than one person using the area. It’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page about not only where to find something, but where to put it back. Labeling makes that so much easier. The smartphone-compatible Brother P-Touch CUBE Plus is Horderly’s go-to label maker. We used Brother’s one-inch label tape in this space.
5. Implement Adjustable Systems — We designed this closet with the Classic Elfa system in white. We often suggest the Elfa system from The Container Store for our clients. Elfa is great because it’s super flexible and can easily adjust to your belongings, whether you’re stocking up during COVID-19 or have growing kiddos! Elfa is also great for renters, as it takes very little installation and can easily move with you to your next home!
6. Strategize Placement — It’s not surprising to see wasted, valuable space above a washer and dryer, which is why we also used the Classic Elfa system in white in the laundry room to maximize storage space!
- We made sure to position the first shelf to where it wasn’t interfering with the lazy susan on top of the washer/dryer, to hold often-used items like detergents and dryer balls, making everything easily accessible.
- When it comes to linens, separate them by sets, then contain and label them according to which bed they fit. This will save you so much time when changing out your linens and always keep your shelves looking neat and tidy! We used open canvas bins with labels to store extra master bed linens, twin bed linens, and guest bed sheets up high.
- If you have some space on the side of your washer and dryer, definitely take advantage of storing slim items here like your ironing board. We love this ironing board holder to keep it up off the ground AND hold your iron! A two-for-one organizational hack!
The pantry is a forever revolving space, so having the proper systems in place to make grocery shopping and clean up super easy is a no brainer! Organizing your pantry properly will save you so much time and money – allowing you to take inventory at home so you’re not over-purchasing or letting expired foods take up valuable space in your home.
7. Increase Visibility — Move items to the front of the shelves in your pantry so that taking inventory is as easy as possible. Most importantly, this will create less food waste – but it will also create a beautiful look for your pantry, and when your space looks beautiful, you will naturally want to keep it this way!
8. Create Functionality for the Whole Family — Remember to consider who is reaching for what when strategizing a pantry. If you want your kids to be able to grab snacks on their own, be sure to store these items down low, within reach. In this case, we split the categories up to where the left cabinet housed snacks, grab and go foods and sweets lower, and baking items up higher. The right cabinet holds breakfast and dinner items down low and extra condiments and bulk items up high.
9. Use A Mix of Products to Create Beauty and Function — Containment was key to creating the structure we needed on the deep shelves, so we used larger baskets to store bigger categories like larger snack bags, breakfast and cereal. On the second shelves up, we used clear, deep Linus bins, this way you can easily see inside them at eye level. These bins come in all different sizes to maximize shelf space. On the upper shelves, we used a mixture of bins and lazy susans. Bins to easily pull down, grab what you need and stick back up, always keeping the shelf neat and tidy, while lazy susans make everything easily accessible right at hand (yes, they’re life-changing)! We used these divided lazy susans to store snack bars and baking ingredients and these bamboo lazy susans to store condiments and overstock items.
The fridge is also a forever revolving space – but if you organize it properly, and around your lifestyle, you can create healthier eating habits.
10. Organize Foods to Limit Spoiling — The way Horderly organized this fridge not only keeps your refrigerator tidy, but maximizes the life of your food.
- The fridge door is the warmest part of the fridge! The fridge door should hold items with more preservatives like sauces, condiments, salsas and dips. The fridge door is also a great spot to store juices and/or corral water bottles or cans so that they aren’t rolling around.
- Store raw meats and/or seafood as low as possible in your fridge to prevent from dripping and cross-contamination. If you’re not able to store it in the lowest part of the fridge, use a bin to contain it.
- The main drawers in refrigerators are for produce items. We like to store fruits in one and veggies in the other. If you tend to purchase more fruits vs. veggies, or vice versa you could always use both drawers for one category, and put another in bins on a shelf. Tip: Take fruits and veggies out of the bags and wash them before putting them in the fridge! If you leave produce in the bags, it’s likely you’ll forget what you have.
- Above the drawers, create a zone for dairy items like milk, eggs and cheese and yogurts.
- On the upper shelves, place ready-to-eat items like grab-and-go snacks. Leftovers can easily be pushed to the back and forgotten about, so make sure you designate a specific spot for leftovers to avoid food waste.
We designed Real Simple Home’s master closet using the Elfa Decor closet system from The Container Store. This design elevated the closet and gave it the look that we were aiming for! We went with brown leather pulls and used angled shelves to easier display shoes.
11. Streamline Hangers — Our top recommendation (and easiest recommendation) to give your closet a facelift is to streamline your hangers using matching slim felt hangers. This will save you space and is much more aesthetically pleasing. A tidy, pretty closet will make it much easier to “shop your closet,” as we like to say.
12. Sort Clothes by Type and Silhouette — When it comes to organizing your hanging clothes, we recommend sorting by type first, then sleeve length, then color. For example, we put all the tops together by long sleeve, short sleeve and sleeveless and then by color within each of those categories.
13. Use Bins or Baskets to Act as Drawers — We used one of our favorite baskets to store lesser-used items up high, like off-season items, mementos, shoe care, jewelry boxes, etc. and we of course labeled the baskets with bin clip labels to easily remember what’s stored inside. Inside the drawers, we put items like underwear, socks, bras, and clothes that should be folded like pajamas, workout clothes and loungewear. File-fold your clothes so that you can see everything you have and use drawer dividers to help keep your folds in place.
14. Don’t Forget the Medicine Cabinet — Use spaces that are easily accessible like behind the mirror for everyday items like mouth care, deodorant, and any daily routine items. In the medicine cabinet, we placed daily mouth care, makeup remover and makeup. We used our favorite single acrylic dividers to store each makeup category and labeled each one for easy maintenance.
15. Use Drawer Dividers to Corral Smaller Items — In the larger drawers below the sink, we created a hair accessory drawer using like-it bricks and dividers to separate out different types of hair accessories. In the bottom drawer, we stored travel bags, travel products and bulk products like extra shower supplies, soap, mouth care and face care. We labeled the drawers to make it super easy to see and know what you already have!
Horderly offers closet design, virtual coaching and in-home organizing services to create a functional and maximized space for you and your belongings, courtesy of our signature 11-step process. For more information on all things Horderly – including lots of great tips, tricks and other #HorderlyHabits – check out our blog or reach out for more information!
Photos by Christopher Testani • Styling by Sara Smart • Flowers by Livia Cetti • Located at The Marbury Condos
This content is independently curated by Horderly and may earn us a commission. Horderly has an existing partnership with Brother.