51 Organizing Tips for Busy Families

July 5, 2017

Get clutter under control in every area of your home. Check out these creative, easy and affordable organizing ideas.

Feel like your spring cleaning is a year-round, never-ending project? Or maybe you're just way too overwhelmed to get started on any kind of organizational path. It's OK to start small, advises Serena Appiah of the Thrift Diving lifestyle blog. "My best organizing tips are simple to implement," she says. "Never leave a single dirty dish in the sink -- not even a dirty spoon. I realized that if I can keep the sink free and clear of mess, everything else in the kitchen tends to stay organized. Finding that one thing to keep clean in a room helps to reduce clutter in the other parts of the room."

Being consistent is key for Kerrie McLoughlin of The Kerrie Show, a homeschooling mom of five. "I have to be consistent or nothing would ever get done," she notes. "Planning and routines are important in being organized."

Here are 51 organizing tips, tricks and hacks to help you get -- and keep -- clutter under control:

  1. Label everything! Save yourself the time and frustration of having to dig through unlabeled bins when you're trying to find something.
  2. Store off-season clothing in large storage bags under the bed.
  3. Thrift Diving shows you how to turn an old knife block into a crayon holder.
  4. Pick up wicker baskets at garage sales or thrift shops. Everything looks neater contained in a basket.
  5. Turn file boxes on their sides to store rolled-up towels and washcloths.
  6. Use empty prescription bottles to store small items such as paper clips or thumb tacks.
  7. Store containers with the lids on them.
  8. Rain On a Tin Roof attaches metal baskets to the wall sideways to store cookbooks in the kitchen.
  9. Domestic Charm uses pails and buckets to organize toys.
  10. Old cereal boxes make inexpensive drawer dividers. See how I Heart Organizing completes that task.
  11. Tension rods are useful for organizing cutting boards, as suggested by Tidy Mom.
  12. Only touch mail once! Immediately recycle or file appropriately.
  13. Home Talk shows you how to turn empty oatmeal containers into beautiful storage bins for hair accessories or other items.
  14. Assign each child his own color of sock to make sorting laundry easier.
  15. Or give up on matching socks altogether and embrace the mismatched!
  16. Just a Girl and Her Blog turned an empty diaper box into an organizer for under her bathroom sink.
  17. Thrift Diving uses the Lazy Susans she picks up secondhand to organize her spices.
  18. She also uses Lazy Susans in her refrigerator, pantry and bathroom.
  19. Magazine holders are great for storing rolls of aluminum foil and wax paper in the pantry.
  20. Put an ice cube tray in your drawer to hold small items like thumbtacks, paper clips or jewelry.
  21. Apartment Therapy hangs a tension rod under the sink to hold spray bottles.
  22. Our Thrifty Ideas shows you how to turn toilet paper rolls into cord storage systems.
  23. Always trying to find your phone cord and charger? Shaken Together uses washi tape to assign these items a distinct look.
  24. Apply a magnetic strip to the bathroom wall for holding nail clippers and files.
  25. Use the plastic clips from bread bags to label power cords.
  26. Use plastic storage bins in the fridge to store snacks for kids.
  27. Hang pocket organizers over the back of doors for extra storage.
  28. Turn Mountain Dew bottles into a stylish jewelry holder with this amazing craft from Epbot.
  29. Always struggling to find the right key? Color code them with nail polish.
  30. Keep important fliers handy with a DIY memory board from Simply DIY.
  31. Store DVDs and CDs in binder holders picked up at the dollar store instead of in their boxes.
  32. Downsize. Do you really need 14 mixing bowls? Less stuff means less to organize.
  33. The Real Thing with the Coake Family has gotten rid of bulky puzzle boxes. They cut the picture out and stick it in a plastic storage bag with the pieces instead.
  34. Store hair ties on a plastic shower ring.
  35. Hold belts and scarves in your closet with plastic shower rings.
  36. Stash tea bags in small storage trays and ditch the boxes.
  37. Hang a file box on the side of the bathroom sink to hold the hairdryer and styling tools.
  38. Broke and Healthy offers 50 creative ideas for hanging jewelry.
  39. Yesterday on Tuesday uses a utensil organizer to sort and store sprinkles.
  40. Take pictures of items you don't use that have a sentimental attachment. Then you can get rid of the item, but still have the photo.
  41. Staple receipts to instruction manuals and file them away.
  42. Don't let under-bed space go to waste. Store things in bins underneath.
  43. Cornerstone Confessions organizes pots for easy access, utilizing curtain rods for the lids.
  44. A spice rack is also be useful for storing nail polish.
  45. Magnetic baskets turn the fridge into a spice rack.
  46. Store plastic bags in an empty tissue box.
  47. Hang kid's clothes in the closet and use the dresser to store toys.
  48. Plastic pull-out drawers are great for storing pet food, as noted by The Real Thing with the Coake Family.
  49. A large clear vase works well to keep small art supplies, such as pens, markers, sticky notes and glue sticks, visible, contained and prettily displayed.
  50. Simplify 101 suggests using a binder for storing kids' schoolwork at the end of the school year.
  51. After you're organized, you're going to be ready to clean! Check out these tips to organize your cleaning supplies from Just a Girl and Her Blog. If you're tired of organizing and cleaning all on your own, you can hire a housekeeper to help you out!

Work on one room at a time and you'll be the one offering organizing advice before you know it. And check out How to Organize Your Home (And Keep It That Way) for extra tips!

Rachael Moshman, who has her master's degree in education, is a busy mom who writes full-time. Staying organized is key to staying on top of her life.

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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