One of the biggest problems with messy and cluttered space is that disorganization breeds disorganization. Once we give ourselves permission to just lay our stuff down wherever and not think about it, the junk just piles and builds until one day, you're looking for a small, silly item and you're two hours into your search, about to lose your mind.

Eventually, you get to a point where you just can't take it anymore, and you feel like you just need to sort out your space. And that's a good thing! We promise, once you get around to it, not only will you feel better about your home, but your mind will be much less cluttered when you're able to easily locate anything you're looking for pretty much instantly.

Your Bedroom

organized system of shelves
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When it comes to organizing a bedroom, decluttering and rotating out seasonal or unnecessary items is especially important. Getting organized is much easier when you know you've trimmed the fat from your space and are working only with essentials. If you do decide to put items away for storage, there are plenty of places in a bedroom for temporary or longterm storage, including the top of the closet and under the bed.

One of the best things you can do for bedroom organization is separate the items on your shelves and in your drawers. Dividing up drawers with individual sections for socks, underwear, pajamas, t-shirts, etc. not only makes those items easier to find but after a while, you should start to notice which items you use the most and which might be clutter in disguise.

women's clothing drawer with dividers
Kostikova Natalia/Shutterstock

Another great way to keep your room organized is to keep more of your stuff in plain sight, maximizing wall space with hooks, floating shelves, and cubbies. Instead of crowding your dresser with accessories, hang jewelry, sunglasses, hats, belts, and other light items from walls on hooks. At the moment, there are plenty of hanging shoe organizers and jewelry pouches on the market, designed specifically to hang from closet rods or doors.

A great trick for keeping your room organized and clutter-proof is to have an "outbox" for stuff you might take home and not immediately know where to put. A lot of the time, we come home with miscellaneous items or things we don't want to keep but also don't want to toss out right away, and that's how random junk ends up on our nightstands and dressers. By keeping a dedicated bin for those items you don't know what else to do with or just want to postpone dealing with until later, an outbox temporarily holds them instead of you dumping them where they don't belong and forgetting about it.

Your Closet

young woman looking through organized closet
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Organizing a closet is all about using the space you probably don't even realize you have. Take a good look around and identify how much spare room you're working with. Is there a lot of unused space above the top ledge? Could you group together shorter-hanging clothes to open up space for a second closet rod underneath? Is there room on the floor for stackable shoe cubbies? Are you using the closet door to its fullest potential?

Because it's your closet and you're going to be the one using it all the time, set things up in a way that works for you and, importantly, that you'll be able to maintain so you won't have to reorganize everything again the following week. Consider organizing items that are typically worn together in the same areas - work clothes and accessories in one section, casual day clothing in another, activewear in its own area, etc.

closet cubes holding towels and clothes
Try not to waste closet space with cubbies you can't fill! Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Reserve the center of your closet for the clothes you wear most often and that get laundered frequently and keep formal wear nearer to the back. Use the top shelf of your closet for special or sentimental clothing items and garments you may wear only once a year, like a Halloween costume or Christmas sweater.

If you plan on using store-bought closet organizers, be sure to measure the space you have available before buying. We all know what it's like to eyeball it, only to find out later your brand new hanging shelves don't fit. Also beware of over-burdening your closet space with elaborate storage products - buying too many cubbies, shelves, cubes, etc. can crowd the little space your closet has available. Don't buy any closet organizers that are too structured unless you know for certain you can fill the spaces in them comfortably. Sometimes solid racks and shelves end up being higher or wider than the items you wanted to put in them, meaning that extra space that doesn't get filled is unfortunately wasted.

Your Desk

clean and organized desk
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The best way to start organizing a desk is to clear everything off so you're working with a totally blank canvas. Use this as an opportunity to clean and dust the surface and remove any surface stains that might've built up over time. Take all the objects from your desk, move them to a new environment like a table or other surface, and go through each item one by one, deciding whether you want to have that back in your workspace. Try to put yourself in a frame of mind as if you're organizing a totally new desk, fresh from the store. We sometimes accumulate unnecessary trinkets and clutter just because we get used to lazily incorporating miscellaneous items onto the nearest or most convenient space, telling ourselves we'll deal with them later. So now's the time to really audit all the loose documents and knickknacks you've been letting crowd up your work area.

modern and clean home office
Ds design studio/Shutterstock

As you're setting up your "new" desk, set up the space from the inside out, starting with the most frequently-used items and working outwards with the ones you reach for less often. If it helps, sit down at the desk and imagine a typical work session, think about what tools you use the most, and set those up nearest to your hands. Place the office supplies you use fairly often but not super frequently around the perimeter of your desk, and then the remaining ones that you use rarely up on any shelves or in the desk drawers.

Use designated office supply holders and organizers to group together any items of the same type or similar size. Writing utensils might be kept together in a cup, while documents may be sorted according to category in a layered letter tray. Design your desk according to what will make your work process most streamlined and efficient. For example, set up items like staplers, paper clips, and hole punchers near the printer.

Cosmetics

makeup station in natural light
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Makeup is notoriously tough to organize and keep organized, since cosmetics tend to get used every day and most of the time, they're being used by someone in a hurry. As with desks, a smart way to start organizing a makeup table or dresser is to think about which products you reach for most frequently and what order those products are used in your daily routine. Arrange your most-used products closest to you and work your way outwards with the items you find yourself reaching for less.

When organizing cosmetics, consider building up your makeup station or dresser vertically with little drawer systems, drawer dividers, and brush holders. One of the biggest mistakes a lot of us make when storing makeup is keeping everything laid down flat on a single surface, which forces us to messily stack products and then unstack them the next time we're scrambling to get ready. Setting up mini drawers, racks, and container systems not only helps with preserving space, but makes it easier to find items when they're grouped together into neat categories. Opt for more see-through organizational systems when it comes to makeup, as this will make it even easier the next time you're in a mad dash to find that specific lipstick or mascara.

Another neat idea for organizing cosmetics is to repurpose common household items for makeup storage. If you have a lot of makeup palettes you find yourself stacking on top of one another often, a magazine rack can be the perfect divider as well as a great way to prop those palettes upright. Jewelry organizers and hanging shoe organizers with clear pouches are perfect for storing all kinds of makeup products, from eyeshadows to brushes to false eyelashes. A DIY classic, mason jars, tissue boxes, shoeboxes, and more can be decorated and reused to house and sort your cosmetic collection.

Tips and Pointers

woman reaching into closet top shelf
kazoka/Shutterstock
  • Use as many turntables and Lazy Susans as possible, especially for smaller items like jewelry, makeup, and office supplies.
  • Consider going paperless with bills and documents to reduce paper clutter. Scanning or taking photos and uploading them as digital files can save a ton of space in an office or desk, and also protects those documents from any physical damage.
  • Keep a foldable stepstool in rooms where you've got items stacked high. Maximizing storage space is important, but not as important as safety!

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