25 Well-Designed Household Organizers Can Calm Chaos and Simplify Life

Getting organized isn’t easy. But staying organized can be even harder. A place for everything and everything in its place. That’s the mark of an organized home.

As a natural-born messie with a bent toward hoarding, I know the struggle. But I’ve learned the joy of decluttering and gaining control over my disorganized self—one drawer, cupboard, closet, and room at a time.

Today I want to update 26 of my best organizational helpers that can help organize your bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, handbag, and car. Any one of these organizers can quickly turn chaos to calm.

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Update! Kitchen Junk Drawer from Chaos to Calm in 3 Easy Steps (It Works Every Time)

Im going to go on a limb and assume that you have a junk drawer. We all have one, and I dont know about you, but Im not about to get rid of mine. After all, where else would we put our … junk?

junk drawer

Recently, a reader wrote asking how to conquer his junk drawer. I cant find anything in there, so I keep re-buying all the stuff I bought already!

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5 Easy Steps to an Organized Closet

Want to make your life easier? Clean out, clean up, and get your clothes closet organized. With an organized closet you can see what you have, what fits, and the clothes you love to wear. Even better—everything is easier to find!

modern closet with clothes hanging on rail, white wooden wardrobe, interior design concept

What’s behind your closet door? Orderly rows of shoes, stacks of folded t-shirts, and hanging clothes arranged by color and season? Or do you have a situation that could be declared a national disaster? If the latter, you might ask the President for federal disaster relief funds, or you could get organized.

closet mess with piles of clothes on the floor

Knowing you would feel guilty taking funds from disaster victims, here are simple steps to find calm in all that chaos. By the way, these same principles for organizing a clothes closet apply to linen closets, utility closets, and your food pantry.

Here’s the best part: You can do this without spending a dime—using items and tools you have already.

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35 Best Gift Ideas for Grandparents

Gifts for grandparents don’t always require a trip down memory lane. Today’s grandparent is more likely to be tapping out e-mail than pounding away on a typewriter. Here are 35 of my best gift ideas that are sure to delight grandparents everywhere, whether this is their first year on the job or they’re old pros by now—even those you perceive are hard to buy for!



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The Chair

When I tell you that I am a born-messy, for whom the years have magnified that trait, it is not with joy. Embarrassment would be more like it. Join me as I step into the confessional. 

Empty chair in a closet

Faithful readers of this blog know that I often write about the power of organization to defeat clutter, a subject that has been proven to be a source of both physical and mental chaos. 

First confession

I write about that subject primarily to lecture myself. Writing about it keeps the problem clear, ever present in my mind. Messies like myself can easily slip into denial. We see the problem, but we can quickly move it out of mental view. That makes procrastination part of the equation. Writing makes me think, and that keeps the problem front and center.

The master bedroom in our home includes a spacious walk-in closet with a door. I tell you this so you will understand how easy it is for me to close the door to make my problems disappear. Can’t see it, for now it doesn’t exist. That lets me slip into denial. I’ll do it later. Next weekend when I have time to go through things.

Next confession

In this closet, we have a chair where my husband used to sit to put on his socks. Over the years, my problem has escalated to the point the chair and all of the space surrounding it has become covered, as in “buried” in piles—piles the height of which could be measured in feet, not inches. Clothes. Junk. Horrible. Worse than that. From time to time, I would dig it out, reorganize, and promise to do better. But then I’d backslide into my horrible, old patterns and habits.

Finally, I could not take it any longer. I cleaned the closet. Purged. Did all the things I encourage you to do. But more than that, I gave myself a little talking-to.

My spoiled, bratty child self agreed with my more wise and mature adult self that I would never again drape, lay, hang, or pile anything on that chair. Nothing. Not even for a moment. We did a pinkie promise, a heartfelt, I-can’t-take-it-any-longer kind of commitment. Beyond that, she and I agreed that I would repeat this mantra to myself whenever tempted: Do the right thing, do it now.

As I write, it has been 16 months—24/7 485 days. And I have repeated the mantra 365,876 times. At least. From that day to now, that chair has had nothing on it, around it, or hanging from it. More than that, there has been nothing on the floor. Not even my shoes, not for a moment. 

The mantra has been upgraded a bit. It’s more like, [sweetly spoken] Do the right thing … [then as a drill sergeant] DO IT NOOOOOW!!!! 

Yes, I am ecstatic. The change has been epic. The closet—all of it, not only the chair—has remained as organized as it was on that day I completed the makeover and determined that I’d had enough and would change my ways.

You should expect a follow-up post some time in the future, the title of which shall be: The Kitchen. 

How to Organize a Refrigerator

Lately, have you cleaned out your fridge? Once the expired condiments and forgotten take-out containers hit the trash, and the shelves and walls get scrubbed clean, you might as well go ahead and organize the refrigerator. The way you do that matters.


How to Organize a Refrigerator

Here is a general strategy followed in professional kitchens based on the temperature the foods need to be for food safety:

Upper shelves

Leftovers, drinks, and ready-to-eat items like yogurt, cottage cheese, and so forth. This area of the refrigerator is slightly warmer than the lower areas, so keep that in mind as you decide what should go here.

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How to Store Fruits and Vegetables at Home to Remain Fresh Longer

Could you use an extra $1,600? You might want to take a look in your garbage. According to the nonprofit organization Feeding America, the average American family of four throws out $1,600 a year by tossing out produce that’s become more suitable for a biology project than human consumption! 

fresh produce in small baskets

Mind-boggling, right? Here’s a fun crash course on how to store fruits and vegetables so you can retrieve all that cash from the trash.

Start following these insanely simple tips, and you’ll be amazed to see far fewer of your food dollars (hopefully, none) in the garbage in the form of stinky, rotten produce.

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10 Minutes to Painlessly Declutter and Organize Your Home—Seriously!

If you think organizing your home or getting your personal affairs in order requires a lot of time, you might be right. However, if you feel that you just don’t have enough time to spend on these tasks, then you’re probably wrong. All you have to do is recognize little chunks of free time throughout the day.

beautifully organized closet

Best Idea Ever

OK, perhaps that’s extreme. But as I contemplate, that idea—a simple tip shared by one of my dear EC readers—has profoundly affected my life; I cannot help but define it as Best Ever. I’ve taken her simple —Figure out all the things you can get done in the time it takes to brew your morning coffee—and developed it into ways of organization that have genuinely changed my life.

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Clever Ways to Use Inexpensive Tension Rods to Organize Small Spaces

A tension rod is one of the world’s most underrated tools. Used well, they can perform a variety of functions to corral clutter keeping one’s household spaces beautifully organized. Typically used to hang curtains, there are so many clever ways to put tension rods to good use. They’re easy to install and won’t leave marks on walls or in drawers, cupboards, and closets. And best of all? They’re surprisingly inexpensive—cheap!

clever use of tension rods to organize spools of coloful ribbon

What is a tension rod?

Typically used to hang a shower curtain, a tension rod is a metal or plastic rod that uses a spring mechanism to hold itself in place, as long as it’s positioned between two smooth, level surfaces. This type of rod does not require any hardware to install or specific know-how. It’s easy for almost anyone to install and use.

Tension rods work best on narrow windows and spaces, typically up to 48-inches. In wider spaces, a rod with a smaller diameter tends to sag in the center. Using a rod with a larger diameter (think, shower curtain rod), can help you span wider areas without sagging.

What size tension rod do I need?

You should use a rod that’s longer than what you need when fully expanded. For example, if you need to fill a 24-inch space, get a rod that can expand up to say 28-inches. Tension rods always indicate on the label or package the minimum and maximum length. Make sure you measure the space you’re planning to install the tension rod before you head for the store or website. Don’t guess.

Create Sections in Drawers

Installing simple tension rods inside a drawer can keep things like spices or other food storage containers, clothes items, or desk supplies in place within a drawer.

Once you set tension rods in place, you can change your mind no problem. They are easily rearranged until you get it just right.





Make a Shelf

tension rod hack in cupboard

Image: Joe Lingman

By adding a tension rod inside a cupboard you can make good use of its vertical space.

To instantly double your spice cupboard’s capacity, all you have to do is put a tension rod at the back above the very back top row of spices. That makes the perfect space for your smaller spice jars, and you’ll be able to see your entire collection at once. Worried about balancing? Install two or more tension rods close together to make that back top row more stable. So easy!

Organize Accessories

Image: Pinterest

Install a tension rod in any nook or cranny where you have two secure parallel solid surfaces. Make sure the tension rod is secure.

Next, add simple S-hooks and let the organization begin!

You can hang all kinds of accessories such as purses, jewelry, scarves, belts, bags, hats, and more!



Double Undersink Space

Image: Pinterest

Is that mess under the sink driving you nuts? It’s so hard to see what’s in there, right? Here’s a very easy way to fix that. Get a sturdy tension rod.

Position the rod high enough so that when you hang spray bottles by their sprayer arms, they don’t interfere with other supplies and equipment you place on the floor of the cabinet. Now, organize everything to see how that works. If the rod is too low or perhaps too high to make this work well, adjust its location until it is perfect.



Make a Paper Towel Holder

paper towel holder tension rod

Image: Pinterest

Can’t find a decent paper towel holder that’s the perfect size, will tuck away out of sight but not fall off every time you dare to use it? Here’s your solution.

Install a tension rod in the cabinet, vanity, or other location of choice where you have those sturdy side walls. Now slip on the paper towel roll as you change the toilet paper in the bathroom. So easy.

To change the roll, loosen the rod tension, slip off the old roll, and replace it with a new roll. Reinstall the rod and you’re good to go.





Tension rods are available in many places such as dollar stores, Target, Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowes. They come in many sizes from as small as 12-inches up to 12 feet! As you shop, make sure you are matching quality with need.

Here are a few online options:




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18 Clever Home Organization and Storage Tips, Tricks, and Hacks

“Sorry, my place is such a mess!” If you have to pull out that one every time you welcome friends or family into your house, it might be time to get organized. Marla Cilley, known as The Flylady, calls that C.H.A.O.S. … Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome!

before and after picture of getting clothes organized

Organization is an important aspect of any home. And we’re quite familiar with the rule: A place for everything and everything in its place. Right? The challenge is finding that place and then actually following through by making sure that place is regularly occupied!

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How to Cook and Keep the Kitchen Clean at the Same Time

my clean kitchen

I love to cook. And I enjoy inviting guests for dinner parties or more casual meals. What I hate is the big ugly mess that happens in the kitchen as I’m cooking and concentrating on getting everything on the table. My kitchen is right out there in the open for all to see, which is why I’ve come up with strategies to cook and keep the kitchen clean at the same time.

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Financial Planners 101

Over the past few months, Ive noticed a growing trend in my mailboxreaders in search of financial planners or advisors. Or assistants. When taken in the messages context itpretty clear that not everyone means the same thing when they refer to a financial planneradvisorcoachassistanthelper!  

One reader wanted to know where to find a financial planner who would just take her paycheck, pay all of her bills, invest for her retirement, give her an allowance, balance her checkbook, and not charge her very much. (Wed all like one of those, right?)

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19 Clever Ways to Use Bread Bags that Have Nothing To Do with Bread

As you know—and only because I write about it so much—I may as well be president of the Artisan-In-Five fan club for how the book and method of making homemade bread have rocked my world.

2 loaves fresh homemade artisan bread

Back when I was first learning to make homemade artisan bread (it is so easy), I decided I needed bread bags not only to store partial loaves, but also for presentation. Let’s just say that when you bake bread, you have a lot of friends.

Turns out bread bags are quite inexpensive, purchased in bulk. And when I say bulk, I mean a case of 1,000 bread bags. I did. I bought a case of 15-inch, gusseted bread bags.

As I look back, I’m not sure what I was thinking. Apparently, the idea of 1,000 loaves of bread ever coming out of my kitchen was overshadowed by a (then) bargain-basement price of large bread and bakery poly bags when purchased in bulk. These slightly smaller bags are equally useful, for about half the price.

While I continue to bake bread as needed by my household of two people, I use one, maybe two, bread bags a week for bread. But for dozens of other uses around the house? These bags are the best thing since, well, sliced bread! Read more

7 Common Clutter Problems and How to Solve Them

I have a theory that most of us would be more than willing to let go of the stuff that’s cluttering our homes if we knew these things would serve a worthwhile cause or help someone else—the good things, kitchen things, the highly useful possessions that we just don’t use. Check out these worthwhile solutions for most households’ seven biggest clutter problems.

Ceramic Bakeware, Ovenware. Bakery Kit. Ruffled Pie Dish


Common Clutter

1. Vases, baskets, containers

And anything else that held flowers and gifts you have received. If they’re cracked or broken, no one wants them. Toss them.

For the rest, take those which are in “like-new” condition to the closest flower shop to be recycled. You’ll be gratefully received.

Keep this in mind: As you have possession of these things, they may appear to be more valuable and desirable than they really are. Once out of sight, they will become quickly out of mind. Within hours you’ll completely forget what it was you thew out.


2. Excess dishes and bakewareCeramic Bakeware, Ovenware. Bakery Kit. Ruffled Pie Dish


No matter how pretty or potentially useful, if you do not use those items at least once each year, sell them to an antique dealer. Or give them to a local thrift shop or the church’s annual rummage sale.

If you’re fairly certain your items are generally desirable by your neighbors and local community, offer them on your community’s Freecycle.org site.

Knowing someone else will love and use these things should ease the pain of separation.

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How to Store Important Documents and How Long To Keep Them

If the paper monster has you buried under an avalanche of receipts, bank statements, ATM slips, investment records, paycheck stubs, and bills—the good news is you can probably throw most of it away without worry when you have a simple record keeping routine.

But before you fire up the shredder, you need to know what to keep and for how long.

Image and Paper

Toss all you can


Once you have recorded the amounts and reconciled your bank and credit card statements, you can shred ATM receipts, bank deposit slips, credit card receipts, and sales receipts at the end of each month.

Exception: Keep receipts for purchases that may be tax-deductible, those that involve a warranty, and any item whose replacement cost exceeds the deductible on your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance.

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9 Secrets of a Successful Garage Sale

Whether your goal is to purge your home of stuff you no longer need or you want to raise some cash—or both—you have options.

You can sell your items on an auction website like eBay.com, list them in classifieds in a local newspaper, on craigslist.org, or give the stuff away. Or, you can create a killer garage sale that turns your cast-offs into cold, hard cash.


garage sale

Plan ahead

Give yourself more than a few weeks to get ready. Make sure the date you select is not conflicting with a holiday or community event. Check local laws regarding signage, restrictions, and a requirement, if any, to get a permit.

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27 Things Never to Put in the Refrigerator

If you’ve outgrown your refrigerator, you may assume it’s time to start thinking about replacing it with a larger model. Before you do that, take inventory to see just how much stuff you have in there that really does not need to be refrigerated. You just might discover that your current fridge is a lot roomier!

A bunch of different types of food, with Refrigerator

While some items always need refrigeration, others should firmly stay outside the fridge or else risk being ruined and inedible. Then there are items that will do just fine in either place Do you know which items that really should not be in the refrigerator?

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7 Tips to Keep Your Inner Hoarder in Time-Out

I don’t know why some of us have a strong propensity to accumulate, collect, and otherwise hold onto stuff beyond a reasonable limit. Maybe we’re born that way. Or, more likely, we’ve picked up an understandable yet unfounded fear of not having enough of what we might need someday.

Whatever the reason, it starts with clutter that can quickly lead to hoarding—something that is expensive in terms of time, money, relationships, health, and peace of mind.

It didn’t happen overnight, but one step at a time, by applying these seven simple tips, I can say with confidence that my inner hoarder has been put in permanent time-out.

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Quick and Easy Outdoor Cleaning and Storage Tips You Can Use

Many outdoor cleaning and storage solutions can be rather expensive, especially when compared to do-it-yourself or homemade alternatives. Here some of my favorite cleaning tips and storage solutions for the garage and patio that will give you the results you need without the costs you don’t.

white plastic patio chairs and table

Chalky Plastic White Chairs

If your white plastic lawn furniture has taken on that “chalky” dull, ugly finish, it’s disheartening when you’re not in a position to buy new ones. Good news! You may not have to. It’s going to take some arm muscle and a bit of time, but you can get rid of that chalky finish, which is evidence that the plastic has begun to degrade to get at least another season or two out of that furniture.

Caution: Do not go for steel wool or scouring powder if you don’t want to scratch up your chairs for good.

Instead, get out the baking soda and that can of car wax. First, wet down the chair with a soft wet sponge. Next, Liberally sprinkle baking soda all over it and rub the wet baking soda/water mix to cover the entire chair.

You may find it easiest to sprinkle baking soda on the wet sponge before rubbing down the chair. Either way, the baking soda paste will work some magic on the chalky finish. A good water rinse job, towel dry, and then a dab of car wax rubbed in with a soft cloth, then once dry, buffed to a shiny finish will seal the plastic again.

You’ll be amazed at how you’ve prolonged the life of your furniture!

Charcoal Starter

After the food has been cooked on the barbecue, don’t leave coals to burn out. With a shovel, scoop them up into an empty can and smother them by placing a non-flammable lid over the can. They can be used again.

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25 Fantastic Items That Will Simplify and Organize Your Life!

Getting organized isn’t easy. But staying organized can be even harder. A place for everything and everything in its place. That’s the mark of an organized home.

woman buried in closet clutter

As a natural-born messie with a bent toward hoarding, I know the struggle. But I’ve learned the joy of decluttering and gaining control over my disorganized self—one drawer, cupboard, closet, and room at a time.

Today I want to update 25 of my best organizational helpers that can help organize your bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, handbag, and car, too. These organizers can quickly turn chaos to calm.

1. Makeup Organizer

This professional vanity makeup organizer is clear acrylic so you can see exactly what you have and exactly where everything is because it is large enough for everything to be assigned a place!

Holds makeup brushes, skin care products with lots of room for lipsticks, eyeliners, shadows, powders, and more. Easy to assemble. Adjustable shelves.

Brush and Beauty


2. Classic Shower Dispenser

This Classic Shower Dispenser is perfect for eliminating shower bottle clutter. Fill the chambers with your shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. Pumps pre-measure just the right amount, eliminating waste and saving money. Installs in minutes without tools, using silicone.

A close up of a device

3. Hair Styling Tools Organizer

This compact Style Station holds a hairdryer plus two more tools such as a flat iron and curling iron—or brushes and other tools.

Designed for safely cooling down and storing styling tools. Can hang on a towel bar, sit on the countertop or store in a cabinet or drawer.

Brush and Hair

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