How to Declutter and Decorate at the Same Time
Get organized: learn smart ways to store those magazines, batteries, remotes and other everyday clutter.
Decluttering might sound like a tiresome job best lumped together with spring cleaning and tackled once a year—but with the right technique, you can declutter and give your house a design makeover. Here’s how.
Table those magazines
Keep the most recent issues of your favorite magazines and newspapers neatly stored in a side table with pull-out trays. A divider in the center of one tray maintains a tidy look for magazines. You can adapt an ordinary side table for this purpose by attaching runners to each pair of legs for trays to rest and slide on. Paint the table and trays in one color for a cohesive finish.
Hang your reading in a bucket
No room for a bedside table or nightstand to hold your late-night reading material? Here’s an easy solution: Create a magazine catchall with a vintage metal bucket suspended from an outdoor plant hanger next to the head of the bed. In addition to magazines, it can hold a notebook, pens and reading glasses.
Create a remote caddy
Keep remotes tucked away in a cabinet with other media storage. Put remotes and game controllers in a small bin with handles that’s easy to remove and carry to the sofa when needed. Because it will likely spend a lot of time sitting on a sofa or side table, find an attractive storage bin that will add a decorative touch when it’s on view.
Hook up your keys
Turn a shadowbox into a key case. For a decorative touch, line the back of the box with scrapbooking paper that complements your decor. Screw in a row or two of hooks, depending on your needs. If the keys are not distinctive, include a small label above each hook for easy identification. Hang the box on the wall next to the front door.
Let your keys “rule”
Create some vintage personality at the door with a key rack made from old wooden rulers. Those with advertising or store names have the most character. Attach small picture hooks to the backs of rulers with glue and secure rulers to the wall with small nails.
Give old and mismatched cups new purpose as containers for batteries. Attach size labels to cup handles and sort them accordingly. Keep the cups on a small tray in your storage cupboard or pantry.
Recycle those paint cans
Create a spot to drop incoming and outgoing mail with this clever project. Remove the handles of paint cans and paint the buckets to match your room. Add words using stickers from the scrapbooking store, and then reattach the handles. Set the cans near the front door or at a kitchen workstation.
Decorate a pretty mail bin
Use pretty patterned bins for storing mail. The large size of the bin also allows you to sort the mail using folders or dividers for such things as outgoing mail, bills, cards, catalogs, etc. Label containers with fun letter magnets, or make your own labels using a button-making kit.
Store in plain sight
An old crate turns a pile of shoes into an organized work of art. Even the kids will get a kick out of making sure their favorite sneakers are part of the display. To protect the piece from wet shoes, coat the cubbies with weather-resistant varnish. Old metal grates, attached to the wall above the shoe cubby with screws, offer another alternative for holding incoming and outgoing mail, while a key box made from an old drawer hangs nearby.
Shelve your shoes
Half the battle of keeping an entryway or mudroom clean is to come up with a shoe storage solution that's attractive and functional. At the back door, an antique shoe rack maintains order by ensuring ready access to footwear. An absorbent patterned rug hides messy footprints and warms stockinged feet. Place a chair or bench next to the rack to make removing or putting on shoes a bit easier and more comfortable.
Reuse egg cartons
Control clutter in a junk drawer by painting an egg carton, then stashing small items in the cups and larger items on the other side. Use colorful silicone cupcake liners for other loose goods.
Make your own drawer dividers
Quarter-inch-deep baking pans make perfect dividers for shallow drawers. Stow extra supplies in one, mailing necessities in another and junk-drawer essentials—lint brush, lip balm and sewing kit—in the last.
Creative bathroom storage
If your bathroom is short on surface space for your toiletries, employ a small rolling cart that can be placed near the sink or rolled to the tub when needed. If that’s not practical, go vertical with storage. This narrow ladder-style shelf is just the thing to hold toiletries and fresh towels in a small space where even a conventional towel bar might not fit. Bathroom organization can also be achieved with bathroom storage baskets; just the thing to corral clutter in a stylish way.
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