(1) A Well-Occupied Wall
Get things out in the open. The dark backdrop allows you to clearly (and cutely) indicate a home for each item, encouraging others to help restock once the dishwasher is finished. Draw outlines of shapely pieces if you’re the artistic type, or just say it like it is, with words.
(2) A Nightstand Divided
With the right setup, there’s a place for your remote, glasses, notepad (to capture 3 A.M. revelations), phone, and beauty ephemera, leaving the top free for lamp, book, and peace of mind.
(3) Linens That Glide
Rolling shelves (with lips tall enough to contain potential runaways, like spare pillows) maximize access, making it a pleasure to put away and retrieve folded stacks. A stand-alone piece (shown here) is a smart, inexpensive solution for a home without a dedicated linen closet. Or you can custom fit an existing closet.
(4) A Tidy Tub of Summer
Whatever the season, head-out-the-door essentials tend to congregate right where clutter is already at its peak—in the entry. In summer: sunscreen, goggles, and bug spray; in winter: mittens, gloves, and hats. Zippered nylon pouches offer grab-and-go convenience for different activities.
(5) Toys Tamed and Tagged
Playthings have a will of their own; they can’t stay pristine and still be fun. When it’s time to swap out the Thomas trains for the Transformers, just update your shots. The nostalgic borders on the photos opposite come from the Polaroid GL10 portable printer—a breeze to use, because it can receive images wirelessly from your smartphone.
(6) All-of-a-Kind Drawer
Candles are just one example of the type of where-are-they-when-you-need-’em items that you end up rebuying all too often. For best results, bring along sample contents and drawer dimensions when you shop.
(7) Strength in Numbers
This approach gives a unified front to holiday decorations, art projects, rarely used small appliances—anything you want to hold on to but would rather not see. Keep a list on your computer indicating what’s in each box, and when you need something, do a quick search of the file. Don’t stress about perfection when stenciling; the hand-done quality is part of the charm. A lighter take: standard white cardboard banker’s boxes with stick-on numbers.
(8) T-Shirts Rolled and Filed
The best part is that this method keeps logos, patterns, or labels displayed, making it a cinch for a kid to hunt down that top she so desperately needs on a given day. (Also works for adults, who, let’s face it, are just as picky.) Use dividers to create precise rows.
(9) Paperwork on Wheels
A rolling office lets you relocate to wherever the action is, so you can join the family, hang out by the TV, or even sit in the sunshine while you sort and file. Another plus: The limited surface space holds only essentials, preventing clutter and prompting you to recycle as you work.