Our best home organization ideas, tips and mistakes to avoid.


When you feel like you’re out of space but you can’t find anything you need either, it’s time to overhaul your house. Try these expert tips from home organizers on Thumbtack. 

1. Commit to organizing your entire house.

You won’t finish the project if you organize a few things here or there. To get a really organized home, you need to plan to cover your entire home.

Make a list of the rooms in your house and decide exactly when you’ll organize each one. Start researching organization ideas. Half the battle is deciding what approach to organization works best for your space, lifestyle and personality. 

2. Start with the small spaces.

Build your confidence by starting with the areas that are easiest to organize (small spaces like drawers and cabinets). Leave the tougher decisions or bigger rooms for last.

3. Give everyone in the household tasks to complete.

Remember to delegate to other family members — each kid handles their own closet, for example, or whoever uses the home office the most tackles the piled-up paperwork or junk mail.

If you get overwhelmed, find a home organizer near you who can create a custom plan based on exactly what you need.

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4. Understand you can't keep everything.

You can’t have a clutter-free home until you throw out all the things that are unusable, expired or outdated. That means the ragged towels and orphaned pillowcases stuffed in your linen closet, the spices in your kitchen that are so old they don’t even smell like anything anymore and the mismatched Tupperware filling your kitchen cabinets.

Plan for a few trips to the closest Goodwill donation center (or have a junk removal specialist haul things away for you). 

5. Keep frequently used items visible and easily accessible.

How often do you find yourself looking for your keys, wallet, TV remote control and other items you tend to use every day? Misplacing these items can cost you time and cause you to make a mess while looking for them.

Prevent disorganization by making sure certain items are always easy to see and grab. For example, try the following:

  • Wallet and ID. Always place your wallet and ID in a bag or purse when you get home. But don't throw your bag in the closet. Keep it hanging on a closet door handle. Or, always place it on top of the same table, counter or chair.
  • Keys. Place a little dish or tray on top of your entryway table. Drop your keys on the dish every time you return home.
  • Remote controls. Don't put your remote in a drawer or let it sink in between your couch cushions. Get in the habit of always placing the remote on your coffee table when you're not using it.

6. Keep things you use in each room in that room.

Whether you're getting ready to go out, taking care of the kids or doing chores around the house, it's easy to misplace your things.

For example, after a shower, you may have a habit of leaving your towel in your bedroom instead of hanging it right back up in the bathroom. Or, after working in your office for a few hours, you decide to get a change of scenery and work in the living room. However, you neglect to put your paperwork and devices back into your office when you're done for the day.

It's a tough habit to form, but making sure your items are in the correct rooms every day can help you maintain an organized home.

7. Only buy storage solutions you can’t make out of something else.

One of the best ways to keep your home organized is to avoid buying things you really don't need. So before you spend a small fortune on new cabinets, drawers, boxes and other storage items, see if you can make do with what you already have.

Feeling stuck? Try using shoeboxes and cardboard boxes to organize smaller items in your closet, under your bed and even in your drawers. You can also place paperclips, thumbtacks, pens and other office supplies in old mason jars. You may even want to consider repurposing old wood furniture to create storage cabinets and other organizers. 

Here are more ideas from Better Homes and Gardens.

8. Clear storage containers (and descriptions) are your allies.

Imagine this scenario: You just finished organizing your home now that summer is over. You have several cardboard boxes in your garage that contain summer clothes, gear and toys. All of the boxes have short labels, but there are no descriptions of what's inside these boxes. 

During the fall, there's a surprisingly hot day and you decide to get some summer clothes out of the garage. However, multiple containers have the label, "SUMMER CLOTHES." You're not sure which one to open, so you open all of them until you find the clothes you're looking for — and now you're left with a little mess to clean up.

This would've been easier if you had clear storage containers and/or descriptions on these boxes. So if you decide to buy new storage containers, opt for ones that come in clear instead of solid colors. And consider making a list of what's in each container, and tape it on the exterior. 

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Home organization ideas for every room.

Now that you've read our general home organizing tips, here are some basic organization ideas to implement in every room:

Tidy up the entryway.

Clean up whatever you see when you first walk into your house — whether that’s a foyer, mudroom or living room. The feeling you get when you walk into a cleaner house will motivate you to keep at it.

Find an easy system for shoes and coats, put a mirror near the door and find a console table or tray for mail. Put a bin near the front door, too, so you can recycle junk mail as soon as it comes in.

Create a clutter-free living room.

The key to a clean living room is having a place for everything. Find a rack for magazines, a caddy for remote controls and a bin for toys.

Don’t go wild on throw pillows — they end up on the floor. Stow board games or books you’re currently reading in covered cabinets or a storage ottoman.

Stop hiding your mess in your bedroom. 

You’re supposed to rest in your bedroom — not surround yourself with all the stuff you couldn’t find a place for elsewhere. Start by putting away anything that’s on the bed, and then make the bed.

Follow the same decluttering steps you have with other rooms so far, going through nightstand drawers and shelves, tossing out things that belong elsewhere or you don’t use. Clean out and organize your clothes closet too.

Make your kitchen functional again. 

It’s too easy to stuff things in cabinets and pile up your counters with things you haven’t found a place for. But your counters are supposed to be for prep space — not storage.

After you’ve tossed everything you don’t need, look for space-saving devices and storage supplies. You can get lazy Susans to make pantry items easier to get, clear canisters so you don’t forget what food you have, and hooks, racks and dividers to tame your kitchen gear. Utensil drawers and cabinets that hold pots and pans need attention too.

Before you run off to IKEA, make a specific list (with measurements!), and note exactly what you plan to store there.

Find a place for everything in the bathroom. 

Ideally, each person who uses a bathroom should have their own drawer or shelf for toiletries. The medicine cabinet is for everyone and needs to be cleared and reorganized so you can easily keep it neat.

Clean towels should be kept in the bathroom for easy access, so you may need to mount a wall shelf or get one that fits over the toilet. Keep basic supplies like toilet paper, soap and toothpaste in stackable open bins.

Get more work done in a clean, organized home office.

Start by dealing with all piled-up papers (shredding, scanning, filing), completely clearing off your desk. Store everything you need regularly in drawers or vertical files.

Label cords to match them with devices and tame them in their own bins or just corralled neatly with binder clips.

Make your utility and storage areas work harder. 

Don’t forget the rooms where you do laundry, store cleaning supplies or work on DIY projects.

In the laundry room, get rid of what you don’t need. Recycle any nearly empty detergent containers and empty that lint basket you just keep stuffing down.

In a workshop, shed or garage space, hang pegboards to hold tools, use recycled clear plastic containers to hold hardware and group gear by type or activity.

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Avoid these home organizing mistakes.

You're probably going to make a few mistakes when organizing your home. But here are a few you can easily avoid:

Mistake #1: Organizing before purging.

Professional organizers’ first rule is to get rid of absolutely everything you don’t need so you can take stock of what’s left. Don’t buy storage accessories until you know what you’ll be storing, how much of it there is and how best to store it. You’ll waste money on supplies you don’t need, and those same supplies will become even more clutter.

Mistake #2: Keeping broken things because you think you can fix them.

It's tempting to hold onto a broken item if you believe it can be easily repaired. But ask yourself, "Why haven't I already fixed it?" Chances are that if you haven't done so already, you probably never will.

Unless the item is expensive, valuable or sentimental, just get rid of it. 

Mistake #3: Ignoring the one in, one out rule.

Getting rid of one thing every time you buy a new one is a good way to keep all your possessions in check — especially clothes, shoes and toys. It may also help to record every nonessential thing you buy for 30 days, then review the list and get honest about what you actually need and what’s an impulse buy.

Mistake #4: Biting off more than you can chew.

Lastly, set realistic expectations for your home organizing project. Don't try to do everything in one day. Give yourself at least a few days (or even weeks).

Mistake #5: Not asking for help.

Don't hesitate to ask for help. You can find home organizing professionals near you. They help you create a plan, pick out storage solutions and give you personalized tips to help you stay organized.  

How much does organizing your home cost? 

Many home organizers have an hourly rate that covers decluttering, organizing, removal and other services.

Costs depend on where you live and how much experience your organizer has. Some pros specialize in certain areas of organization, like photo archiving, space planning or managing family finances, which may affect their rates. Other professionals specialize in helping people who specifically want support to rein in their shopping habits. 

For more on costs, see “How much does a home organizer cost?

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Who to hire for a more organized home. 

Get a fresh perspective on what you should keep, what you should toss and where to store it all. Find every pro you need for an organized home on Thumbtack:

A note about project costs included or linked in this article: Figures represent national average cost estimates using data provided by Thumbtack pros and additional research. These figures are provided for educational purposes only and are subject to change at any time due to various factors. Details about your specific project and local rates can impact costs.

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