How to Organise Your Home, Room by Room

Posted on May 11, 2015

Moving into a new home, everything is positioned carefully and consideration is given to the placement of every item. Your room is organised, your cupboards are organised, and there's no better feeling than the sweet content of a clear mind and clear home. But over time, we accumulate more objects, we become lazy with putting certain things away, and suddenly that 'new house' feeling is barely memorable.

Keeping your house organised requires detailed planning. If you have a partner, and especially if you have children, it's essential you involve everybody in the planning process - including the kids! There's nothing more frustrating than dedicating certain areas to storage, and equipping those areas with storage facilities, only to discover that other family members ignore the arrangements.

We've developed this page so you can move into your new home equipped with the knowledge to organise it in the most efficient way possible. Having an organisation system in place means you'll enjoy the spaciousness and that nice 'new home' feeling for longer.

Before you begin

It's counterintuitive to begin organising your home when there's a lot of junk you could get rid of. Knowing what items you don't really need, and getting rid of them, will just leave more space for organising the rest of your stuff. And that means you won't have to worry about space when you start buying more!

Go through your storage spaces one by one and ask yourself, when did you last use a particular item? Have you worn, used, or even touched it in the last six months? If not, then dispose of it. You can give your stuff away to charity, sell them at the markets, or just throw them away.

Once you've decluttered and gotten rid of the junk, you can begin implementing an organisation system for your whole home to ensure it never gets that cluttered again!

Getting organised

Storage

  • Install hanging racks for things like bottle openers, soup ladles, and anything else that can be hung on a hook. This will leave more space in your drawers and give you easier access to your utensils. You can do this by fitting hooks onto a strip of wood and hanging that somewhere handy in your kitchen.
  • Designate a single cupboard or large drawer for pots and pans, and add a wire rack for storing the lids.
  • Store tupperware containers in a drawer or shelf along with their lids. If you find containers with no lids and vice versa, throw them away!
  • For convenient storage, and to easily find what you’re looking for, store your fridge items as such: bottled products, jarred/canned products, plastic wrapped products, fruits, vegetables, dairy.
  • Empty bulk products like rice, flour, oats, nuts, and coffee into clear containers. Ensure you buy identical containers so that they can be stored side by side easily, with no wasted space.
  • Use a rotating storage dish for spice jars and other small items, so that they can easily be found without reaching all the way back!
  • Consider storing your formal dinnerware and crockery away from those used on a daily basis. You could do this by investing in a buffet, or storing attractive china on open shelving.

Organisation

  • Place your everyday items on lower shelves, and items you don’t often use on upper shelves.
  • Keep frequently used food preparation items (that cannot be hung) in a small container or bowl near your food preparation area. This will free up more space in your cupboards and drawers.
  • Organise your shelf and drawer space by placing items according to their intended use. That way you always know what’s where!
  • Keep things tidy by installing drawer organisers for cutlery and cooking utensils.
  • Gain extra pantry space by installing an over-the-door organiser so that comes with rack space.
  • Keep your cookbooks and recipes clean by storing them away from cooking fumes and grease. And determine a system for keeping those loose leaf, handwritten recipes. We know how messy they can get!
  • Use your cupboards less (and hence leave them organised for longer!) by storing essential or frequently used items on open shelves. Using pretty containers or baskets is a great way to fit a lot of things in a small space, while looking good.

The refrigerator

  • Place a rack on one of your shelves and turn it into two! With two levels on a shelf you can place extra containers and make use of all the space available in your fridge.
  • Place a rotating turntable dish on a fridge shelf to easily view items without reaching all the way back.

Cabinets

  • Get extra space out of your cupboards by placing self-adhesive hooks inside the doors.
  • Use glass containers for storing items like flour, oats, coffee, rice, and other foods. Ensuring you buy the same container means they will be stored more efficiently side by side.
  • Install a tension rod in the cupboard under your sink, and use it to hang spray bottles for cleaning.
  • Place a rack in the cupboard under your sink, and store items in open baskets to avoid a huge mess.
  • Hang rubbish bags and paper towel rolls on a tension rod fitted on the inside of a cupboard.
  • If you have different measurement spoons and cups, consider placing a hanging rack inside one of your cupboards and hanging them to save drawer space.
  • Avoid appliance electrical cords by getting tangled by folding them neatly and placing them inside old toilet paper rolls.
  • Consider replacing your bedside table with a dresser that has more or larger drawers.
  • For a decorative storage solution, a wicker, leather, or metal trunk are great for both storing large items (such as duvets) and creating extra seating!
  • Utilise the space under your bed! Large containers or drawers with wheels that can slide under your bed are a handy solution for storing shoes and rarely used items.
  • Think horizontal rather than vertical when it comes to storage in the bedroom. For example, a tall wardrobe will save you a lot of floor space, where you can place other pieces of furniture.
  • To organise your books and collectables, and add some coziness to your room, arrange a 'relaxing' area in a corner. Here you can place a comfortable chair surrounded by books, art objects, sculptures, and other collectables.
  • To save surface space, consider installing wall-mounted bedside lights over a table lamp.
  • Be creative with how you store your jewellery. An organised jewellery box or drawer will keep items separated and organised, but take up surface space. A good DIY project is to drape bracelets and necklaces around the neck of an empty wine bottle, or to hang earrings onto a painted and decorated cheese grater. That way they'll always be easy to see and - best of all - no tangled chains!
  • Adjustable drawer inserts are a great way to store socks, nylons, and tights separately without anything getting lost in the back of the drawer.
  • Use a valet tray for everyday items you carry with you like your wallet, keys, phone, and coins.

Wardrobe

  • Be ruthless and limit your wardrobe space for items worn on a regular basis only. Give those surplus clothes to charity!
  • The Closet Trick is a good method of knowing when it's time to get rid of certain items of clothing. Turn all your hanging clothes so that the coathangers are facing the wrong way, and as you wear the clothes, turn them so that the coathangers are faced the right way round again. Six months later, get rid of all the items still facing the wrong way around.
  • Increase storage space by hanging long items such as dresses and coats on one side, and shorter items on the other. You can then place a set of drawers below the higher hanging segment.
  • Take note of how retail stores fold and display their t-shirts and jumpers and try imitate this style when you store your clothing to save space.
  • Buy special hangers for your belts and scarves, or mount hooks on the inside of the wardrobe door to save space and easily find what you're looking for.
  • Organise your shoes in a rack inside or outside the wardrobe, or in a drawer under your bed.
  • To save space in your bathroom cabinets, use flat-backed, self-adhesive plastic containers and stick them on the inside of cabinet doors, or even on the walls of your bathroom. Assign separate containers for tooth products, hair lotions, combs and brushes, etc.
  • Install a shelf above your bathroom door for storing spare towels.
  • Decide how and where you wish to place wet towels to dry so as to avoid having them strewn all over the place. One idea is to place hanging rods at the back of your bathroom door; a towel ladder placed against the wall is another idea.
  • Hang stainless steel wire baskets in your shower for soap, shampoo, conditioner, sponges, etc rather than have them all over the floor.
  • Install a special storage rack that can be placed across your bathtub, and use this to store soaps, face towels, sponges, bath bombs, and so on. You can find these at most hardware stores.
  • Place a sticker at the bottom of your makeup containers showing the month and year the product was purchased. Items like lipstick, eyeshadow, and mascara all have a different shelf life and it’s easy to forget how old some products you have lying around are.
  • For more bathroom storage ideas, visit a hardware store as they’ll often have a large selection of handy bathroom storage units. Things like plastic pocket organisers, under-sink shelf organisers, hanging baskets, and so on can make a tremendous difference when it comes to tidying up your bathroom!

Sink and drawers

  • Assign individual drawers to things like kid’s bath toys, first aid kit, shaving kits, hair dryer, and so on.
  • Place a basket under your bathroom sink for all your toilet and bathroom cleaning products. This way they’ll be easy to find and you won’t have to worry about them being near the products you use on your body.
  • Install dividers for your drawers to place makeup items, manicure sets, and other toiletries into separate compartments.
  • Use a dedicated tray or small container for your daily lotions and scrubs, and have this placed near the sink. This will save more space than having the items placed separately.

Medicine cabinet

  • Regularly clean out and throw away outdated prescription medications.
  • To save space, you can fit a magnetic strip to the inside of your cabinet door to hold tools like nail scissors, tweezers, and pieces from a manicure set.

dining room

Back to plan view
  • Create space around the table on a daily basis by storing extra dining chairs away from the dining room and only bringing them out for large dinner parties.
  • Sort your table linen, placemats, and serviettes and dispose of items no longer used or of good quality.
  • If you have kids, make sure they're aware of what activities can be performed at the dining table and where school bags, books, or study material is to be stored once the activity is completed.
  • If you allow school and craft activities in the dining room, make sure you cover the table with a scratch resistant cover.

living areas

Back to plan view
  • To save space, install a spacious sideboard with room for a music system. Add shelves for displaying books, ornaments, and souvenirs. The bottom part of the sideboard should have cabinets and drawers where items like photo albums, DVDs, camera equipment, and other belongings of this nature can be stored.
  • If you have children, arrange a dedicated play area for them so that their toys do not end up strewn all over the place. Furnish this area with plenty of toy boxes and encourage children to return toys once used.
  • Arrange your seating around a coffee table and ensure there are side tables available for chairs not within reach of the coffee table. This way you'll avoid having cups and plates left all over the place.
  • Place attractive trays or bowls on places like the coffee and side tables so that remote controls and other miscellaneous items can easily be stored (and you won't have to worry about where they are!)
  • Get into the habit of quickly tidying up your living room every morning. A quick scan every morning will ensure the space stays in tip top shape for longer.
  • Have a universal laundry bag for the whole family to use and place it inside your laundry. This saves more space and time than having individual laundry bags or baskets in each room.
  • For extra organisation, divide your laundry basket into smaller sections using smaller wire baskets so that everyone can automatically separate the washing into whites, colours, darks, and hand wash.
  • Consider installing pregless washing lines so that you can dry your clothes even when it's raining. These can be mounted in the laundry (depending on space), between chairs positioned back to back, or between door handles in a corridor.
  • Consider installing storage cabinets that are suspended above the floor. This stops crawling visitors from hiding below the cabinets and improves cleaning as the floor is easier to access.
  • To aid the drying of washed clothes on rainy days, install a retractable clothesline that extends across the garage walls.
  • The garage is an ideal place to add an extra fridge and save some space in the kitchen. Here you can keep soft drinks, beer and wine, as well as leftovers from dinner.
  • To stop bringing wet or muddy clothing into the house, consider installing an overhead shelf with hooks fitted underneath. Here you can hang rain coats, protective clothing, and dirty garden clothes.
  • Installing racks or hooks on the ceiling is a great way to save space in the garage. Bulky items like surfboards, skis, ladders, or inflatable dinghies can all hang from the ceiling.
  • To provide storage for hand tools without a tool box, install a pegboard on a wall and hang your tools there for easy access. Drill holes into the pegboard and you can hold your screwdrivers as well. Take it a further step and install a magnetic strip, and you can now also store your small hand tools, drill bits, and accessories.
  • Drill a hole in old soft drinks and fit these onto your pegboard to hold small items like screws, hooks, and nails. Larger containers can be used to hold things like paintbrushes.
  • Keep garden chemicals like fertilisers, weed killers, plant chemicals, fuel containers, and other hazardous materials in a special container that is child proofed.
  • Install hooks on the wall to hang leaf blowers, edge cutters, bicycles, garden chairs, extension cords, and sporting equipments like tennis rackets.
  • Cut and fasten short pieces of PVC pipe onto a wall and use them to store long, shafted garden implements like spades, rakes, hoes, and other items.
  • Fit large, plastic recycle bins onto a wall to hold your recyclables and save some space in the kitchen.