Storage & Organizing Ideas

I’m not exaggerating, or making it up, when I say that my favourite chore is to get my house organized. Instead of tackling it all at once from top to bottom, I find it more effective and rewarding to pick a spot and purge. For me, it tends to happen unintentionally. I start by rearranging a few spice jars, and next thing you know the entire pantry has been cleaned and organized. It feels fresh and new and makes working in the kitchen much more enjoyable. Our hot-off-the-press March 2010 issue is full of great ideas (pick up a copy to check out some of my favourite organizing products and ideas) — here are a few more I think are worth pointing out.

Photo Blog February 12 Suzanne Dimma Ladder Bookshelves

This built-in bookshelf in Max and Lubov Azria’s Los Angeles home is a smart mix of open shelving for display and closed lower cupboards to hide clutter. I love traditional library ladders, more for the look than their function. Even if you never use it, it’s nice to know it’s there. Painted out white, this one feels fresh and modern, especially with the contrasting green trim on the adjacent wall.

Photo Blog February 12 Suzanne Dimma Kitchen Shelving

This is a great way to get the effect of a vertical storage cabinet: using open shelves that are already there. It’s slightly impractical, unless you are super organized and don’t mind opening and closing all of those boxes over and over again (it would drive me crazy!). The bill quickly adds up when you have to buy multiple storage items, too. But there is something so appealing about a series of boxes lined up in neat rows. It’s the same reason we love the look of open shelves in a kitchen.

Photo Blog February 12 Suzanne Dimma Bathroom

Because mornings tend to be frenzied, I prefer closed storage in the bathroom so I can hide everything out of sight in a flash. My biggest bathroom pet peeve is only having drawers to keep all of your bottles and products in — they never fit neatly. Inevitably, there are a few must-have products that are too tall. This is my bathroom in my first house and I loved having a vertical storage cabinet that kept everything hidden. I could see everything at a glance and get to it easily.

Photo Blog February 12 Suzanne Dimma Bath Tub

Agape’s new Cartesio 981 tub at Toronto’s Scavolini showroom Dekla, has storage smartly built right into it. It’s not cheap ($21,600) but at least it is multi-tasking! And stunning to look at if you keep the shelves tidy and uncluttered.

Photo Blog February 12 Suzanne Dimma Closet

Stylist Sabrina Linn’s closet is a pass-through from the bedroom to the bathroom so it has to be organized. Her wardrobe includes so many amazing colours and patterns that her closet winds up feeling just as dynamic as the décor in the rest of her condo. Sabrina strategically placed Ikea shelving units high up on the wall to leave room for tall boot storage underneath. I highly recommend getting boot shapers to keep them upright. It’s better for your closet visually and for your boots.

Photo Blog February 12 Suzanne Dimma Dining Room

Designer Michelle Lloyd of Lloyd Ralphs Design used storage to create a focal point in her own kitchen. The highlight is the weathered wood antique doors that line up with her table — its narrow shelves make it perfect for glassware. Adding to its impact and letting it breathe are the side cabinets with white painted caning. What a gorgeous detail — along with the chunky, brass hardware and exposed hinges.

Photo Blog February 12 Suzanne Dimma Sabrina Linn

Here is a great example of controlled chaos, again from Sabrina Linn. This is her bedside table — unique because it is so large and wide, allowing her to store and display a ton of items. This is the vignette you see as you walk into the bedroom. She definitely has a knack for styling her stuff so that it looks special.

Photo Blog February 12 Suzanne Dimma Chair Bookshelf

This living room vignette shows a built-in that mixes open and closed storage — I love the subtle detailing that makes it special. Simply allowing the bottom cabinet to extend out from the wall makes that wood section feel like a floating credenza. Paired with the wide spacing on the white shelves above, it makes an elegant living room storage solution.

What is your best organizing or storage trick? Let me know at

For more storage ideas, view our Storage & Cabinets photo gallery.

Photo credits:
1. Harper’s Bazaar, photography by Douglas Friedman
2. Living Etc
3. Photography by Per Kristiansen
4. Agape
5. From House & Home August 2009 issue, photography by Michael Graydon
6. Lloyd Ralphs Design
7. From House & Home August 2009 issue, photography by Michael Graydon
8. Unknown source: Help! Does anyone know where this shot comes from?

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