Best Organizing Secrets

Because spring is a season of renewal it often comes with a frenzy of organizing, tossing and storing. In step with our April organizing issue — on stands until April 2nd — I’ve rounded up some inspiration photos to get you excited about spring cleaning. Check out these innovative ideas for solving your organizing dilemmas in kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms and more.

In the Kitchen:

I love the simple pot hanging hooks in this industrial/contemporary kitchen. They’re right where you need them within easy reach above the stove and the pots themselves add to the deconstructed flair of this kitchen. This display idea works particularly well if you have a cohesive pot collection — think all black or copper. I love the simple matte black hood and streamlined cabinets here as well.

Adding lights to the inside of cabinets adds so much warmth to this white kitchen. This is a gorgeous way to showcase your wares while still having them tucked away behind doors. Again, this approach works with well-edited collections. I love how the designer has worked in bits of black in the tilework on the counter, backsplash and floor, and in the artwork beyond to create some contrast.

A large jar of wooden spoons kept near the stove is always handy and chic. This glass container turns a large collection into a wooden countertop sculpture.

I always get excited by new and innovative storage ideas. This bread compartment recessed into an island counter is brilliant for keeping counter clutter and crumbs at bay.

I am a big fan of open storage in the kitchen because it makes cooking so much easier. Here are two different but effective approaches to open storage. On the left, simple white painted shelves with classic L-brackets work well in a kitchen with a touch of country style. Ikea sells brackets like this for next to nothing.

On the right, long rectangular boxes — also readily available from Ikea — are a modern alternative that don’t require any brackets. I love this box idea because the back panel can be drilled into the wall, making them super sturdy. That’s a plus when you are storing heavy dishes. Plus, you can easily add doors to them down the line if you tire of your dish displays.

It’s always intriguing when designers make use of every square inch or highlight unusual details. These shallow built-in shelves are perfect for storing and displaying a tight collection of objects, as long as the shelf isn’t in a high traffic area.

Sometimes a freestanding piece of furniture adds so much more character than a built-in unit. This handy cart adds extra counter space for utensils and jars of cooking ingredients, and it’s so easy to access. Plus, I am simply crazy about those giant dark grey tiles with chunky grout behind the stove.

I recently added two expandable bamboo drawer dividers from Kitchen Stuff Plus to the inside of one of my kitchen drawers. Such a simple move that made a big difference — no more scrambling to find the spatula! The bamboo blends perfectly with my drawer’s maple interior so they look built-in, and the expandable system means that it can work with various drawer sizes. I love these kinds of brilliant problem solvers.

In the Bathroom:

I’m a big advocate of vertical storage in a bathroom, since much of what we use is too tall for standard medicine cabinets and under-counter drawers. I also love the idea of bringing in antiques like this stunning secretary for a bit of character. It would be a great spot for storing towels and hiding a mish mash of bath products. I think most of us would be afraid to pull it out of the living room, but this proves that a piece like this can work in a bathroom.

I always opt for hooks instead of towel bars. I like the look of a few in a row instead of one long bar, and you can say goodbye to all that folding.

Toronto blogger Emma Reddington hung a vintage storage rack on a charcoal grey wall in her own bathroom. The rack adds so much character and works perfectly with the Turkish towels.

I picked up this bamboo towel bar in a Parisian flea market years ago and I still love it.

There are so many freestanding tubs on the market these days, but I have to be honest, I prefer built-in tubs with a wide surround that can act as a storage ledge for vases, soap dishes and candles — anything you want close by while you bathe.

If you do opt for a freestanding tub then be sure to include a built in shelf behind it so you can reach your stuff. And I know it sounds crazy but I seriously think about the packaging on all of my shampoos and soaps. I only select products that I know will look good out in the open or repackage any unsightly products into pretty bottles or glass jars with metal lids. It makes a big difference!

Here’s a great idea for maximizing storage space above a toilet. Simply add some custom shelves — totally affordable but loaded with character.

I had to include a shot of this clever built-in bathtub storage system I came across on Apartment Therapy from GW International. They’re pull-down panels fitted with chrome baskets that you add to your existing tub. Genius!

In the Dining Room:

If you can afford it, full height built-in bookcases will forever change your organizing life, plus they add so much visual interest to a room. And they don’t need to be just basic white. The rich glossy grey-brown finish on these shelves paired with a rust backing is totally striking, especially with all of the blue books and those blue leather chairs. Designer Steven Gambrel has simply worked with the basic principle of complementary hues for stand out effect.

In Small Spaces:

Shelving on either side of a built-in day bed frames a stunning view and transforms a landing into the best seat in the house. And what a place to escape to with all that foliage beyond!

Talk about double duty. The architect who designed this staircase has worked the multifunctional angle so well, using the wall behind the stairs as additional storage and the space under the stairs for extra seating. The combined elements work together beautifully for maximum impact.

Effective double-duty rooms like this home office/guest room usually hinge on clever built-ins to make both functions work. Here, the corner shelves open up to frame a built-in day bed that’s prefect for single guests (or home office clients) with storage for bedding in the drawers below. The result is neither too bedroom nor too home office — a perfect blend.

For more tips, see our Storage & Organization Guide, and pick up our April 2012 issue for even more inspiration.

Photo credits:
1. Emmas Designblogg
2. Gamla Skolan
3. La Maison Boheme
4. Viola Park
5a. Color Outside the Lines
5b. Remodelista
6. Solo Thais
7. Style for Living
8. Suzanne Dimma
9. Elle Decor, photography by Simon Upton
10. Freshome
11. The Marion House Book
12. Suzanne Dimma
13. Simple Dwellings
14. Design*Sponge
15. This & That
16. Apartment Therapy
17. Mrs. Blandings
18. Ffffound!
19. The Pursuit Aesthetic
20. First Home

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