I vanquished my kitchen junk drawer on New Year’s Day, and it has stayed mayhem-free. First I tossed out everything I didn’t use often, then installed high-sided compartments so Post-it notes didn’t mix with paper clips. Next, I labeled every area so family members less invested in the project would know what goes where. I can’t even call it a junk drawer now. Maybe an efficiency niche?
Oak Park, Illinois
When my daughters were little, I would put together complete outfits, down to the hair clips, place them in large plastic bags, then stock their dressers. The system worked great until a few years into elementary school, when my girls decided they wanted control over what they wore. Today they’re teenagers and don’t even match their socks. Oh well!
I organized all my tablecloths by length and hung them on flocked hangers usually used for pants. I wrote the length of each tablecloth (36 inches, 72 inches, 120 inches, etc.) on the top of each hanger before putting it in the closet. Now when I need a particular size, I can find it without any fuss.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Inspired by my local bookstore’s orderly shelves, I organized my cookbooks into categories. My best friend—my label maker—was put to work labeling the shelves with subjects like regions, kids, chefs, slow cooker, holidays, and baking. Now my 100 or so cookbooks have a home, and I know exactly where to look when I need one in particular.
I found an old armoire on the side of the road and transformed it into a beauty station for my bedroom. My husband installed interior lighting and mirrors, racks for nail polish, canisters and shelves for cosmetics and hair products, a wire-mesh screen for earrings, and cute hooks and knobs for necklaces. The best part: When I shut the doors, everything is out of sight.
Ormond Beach, Florida
To organize my boys’ vast Lego collection, I purchased a rolling chest of plastic drawers. They have labeled compartments for every color (red, orange, and yellow go in one drawer; brown and tan go in another; and so on) and separate drawers devoted to instruction books, Lego “guys,” and tiny miscellaneous pieces. At long last, my house isn’t consumed by stray blocks.
Los Angeles, California