Three mantras that my very organized mom taught me growing up are:
"A place for everything, everything in its place"
"If you take something, put it back."
"Everything has a home."
30-something years later, her advice still keeps my house chores manageable and my sanity in check. The idea is that with regular maintenance, cleanup is not a dreaded task thrown on the family member who draws the short straw.
Here are 6 ways to declutter your home—and keep life civil between family members!
1 Baskets & Crates
Use free-standing, deep baskets like these to hold throw blankets, firewood, or kids' toys. For smaller items, such as bottles of sunscreen and bug spray, you'll find several fun patterns and materials from The Container Store. Print your own fancy labels, put them in small pictures frames, and hot-glue them to the front of each basket. Upcycled vegetable and wine crates used for storage add a rustic-chic feel to the space.
2 Glass Jars
Use glass jars to store extra pens, elastic bands, paper clips, keys, sunglasses, q-tips, cotton balls, or toothbrushes. Label the jars with a washable paint pen. In your pantry, glass jars are perfect for organizing spices, cereal, and snacks.
Storage ottomans are great for hiding extra blankets, books, toys, or small pillows. Some ottomans, like this one, have hidden seats and lids that double as serving trays. Of course, extra ottomans also mean portable, extra seating for guests.
A favorite interior decorating trend today is a combo of minimalism and transparency. Rather than hide your things, pare down to the essentials then find creative ways to display them. Have fun upcycling old items to create decorative wall-mount storage such as with paint cans, vintage luggage, or tea cups.
Try 3M's decorative Command Strips for a polished look without the damage to your walls if you change your mind. These nifty hooks hold bags, coats, and backpacks. Hang decorative items such as dried herbs, baby clothes, or pictures from clothespins strung along a twine string. If you want to get more creative, use these fun hooks from Etsy, and attach twine to your artwork, framed pictures, clocks, mirrors, or decorative letters.
6 Magazine Boxes
Use magazine boxes to create a pretty and functional mail sorting area. Purchase decorative magazine boxes then label each Inbound and Outbound, His and Hers, or with each family member's name. Another option is to assign each magazine box a category such as Magazines, Coupons, Bills, Reply, or To File. Add folders to each magazine box to further separate your mail. For example, in Bills, add one folder each for Home, Medical, and Cars. Get creative and add flourishes.
Cleanup is a breeze when you can quickly spot where everything goes. Bonus—you'll finally have a place for all of that rogue mail that's been crowding your kitchen counter, and a new job for those old paint cans you've been meaning to throw away.