It’s 2010 – Time to Organize your Home

Ah, the beginning of a new year, and for most of us – we are excited about the New Year – a New Beginning.

A New Year’s Resolution – try to organize your living space. We’ve come up with a few ideas to help you with tying up all the loose ends. We thought about how we could approach organizing your home without overwhelming you with the task at hand, so here is our plan. We will break it down room by room, giving you pointers and storage ideas for every room in the house. Even if you take one room each week, you will be organized in a short period of time. No more spending an hour looking for the scissors.


If you live in a part of the country that gets snow, the Entryway can be a nightmare. Organizing the boots, scarves, hats and gloves can be daunting. With storage space at a minimum, we have come up with a few space saving ideas we hope will help.

  • Wall Pockets – mounted inside on the closet door. Label each pocket for each person (kid’s names on the lower pockets). Now they have a space for hats, gloves, mittens, etc.
  • A Boot Tray – placed on the floor of the closet for all those snowy, wet boots. They won’t damage your floor and they will be neatly tucked away.
  • Baskets – try arranging a few small baskets on the shelf of the closet for those seasonal items or little used items. They will help to keep the mess at a minimum. Just make sure to clean them of unwanted items every few months.
  • Wall Hooks – Hang a few hooks (we love our Monogrammed Hooks) so the kids can hang their backpacks/coats at the end of the day. No more searching for the homework assignments. The hooks are also a great place for the dog’s leash and that extra set of keys!


Organizing a Family Room can be simple if you follow a few rules.

  • A place for everything – including the remote. A basket or two slid under the Coffee Table or under an Accent Table can house those magazines and newspaper articles that we all love to keep.
  • Try purchasing a decorative box or plate to place on the Coffee Table to house those “pesky remotes”.
  • A Media Console is an excellent solution for storing all the electronic components, as well as movies, CDs, and cable management. Try looking for a console with glass front doors as this will allow you to use your remote without having to open the doors.
  • If space is at a minimum, try our Terrific Trio Storage Tables. There are storage shelves under the table for some of that unsightly mess. Another solution is a Storage Ottoman. It provides hidden storage while doing double duty as a coffee table and footrest. We love pieces that are dual purpose.


We don’t often look at Dining Room space for storage (other than our fine china), but a dining room can offer some extra storage when space is at a minimum.

  • Aside from china storage, organize your Console to hold your table linens and extra glass ware as well.
  • If you have left over space, use it to house something else. Don’t let the space go to waste. File away some photo albums or family games that are not used as often.


Kitchens are such a difficult place to keep organized, but if you can do it – the rewards will be great!

  • Try as best you can to keep your counters free and clear of all non essential items.
  • Limit your counter to perhaps two appliances.
  • Find some decorative small plates or little trays at a flea market or garage sale to hold your sponge or brush by the sink.
  • A pretty soap dispenser can hold your dishwashing liquid.
  • Try keeping your utensils in a decorative crock for easy access.
  • Adding Shelves to a kitchen window can easily create an herb garden. Try to keep the pots the same color even if the sizes are different. It will look more organized that way.
  • The Pantry – if you are lucky enough to have one, treat it with respect and it will serve you well. Try organizing all like things together. You don’t have to alphabetize them, but some sense of order makes life easier.
  • If you don’t have a pantry, try making one. A flea market cupboard is a great alternative to a pantry. You can fill the shelves with staples and maybe have some room left over for those less-used pots and pans. A couple of Baskets can store your dish towels and extra pot holders. Don’t forget the doors of the cupboard – install some Wall Hooks on the door to provide additional storage. Try storing your larger items (such as pitchers or bread baskets) on top.
  • Keep those grocery bags organized! Try using a Tote Bag to store your empty grocery bags. It will keep them neat and available.
  • In organizing your kitchen, pay close attention to how you store your food items. Keep the refrigerator on a tight schedule. If you clean it each week (right before you food shop) not only will you replenish the items you need, but you will always have a clean and safe refrigerator.
  • Make sure the freezer is in tiptop shape. Rotate your frozen items starting with the oldest first.
  • The Junk Drawer – everybody has one! Try to go through the infamous junk at least once a month, throwing away all non-essential items. Organizing this drawer should be a snap if you place like things together in storage trays. If you haven’t used something in six months, it needs to go in the trash.


If you have a dedicated space for a Home Office, consider yourself lucky! It is such a luxury to be able to store and pay bills, work from home and house your computer all in one space. But keeping that space organized and efficient is a different story. Here are a few hints to keep this space in order.

  • Boxes, Bins, File Folders – are the key to keeping this space organized. If all you have is a small desk in the bedroom, try filing important papers in decorative boxes stacked under the desk.
  • Try keeping the top of the Desk clutter free (easier said than done). If you clean it off daily, it will always stay neat. A desk top organizer can help control the clutter.
  • If you have very little storage space look to the walls. Some sturdy Wall Shelves above the desk can offer lots of additional space.
  • A decorative Bulletin Board is a great investment – not only does it keep those appointment cards from getting lost, but it can be used as a quick reference calendar.
  • If space is limited or you need a dual-purpose room (guest room/office) try looking at an Office Armoire. It is a perfect solution. For instance, our Verona Office Armoire is only 38 1/4″ wide and 22″ deep, so it takes up a small amount of space and yet it has the capacity to function as a full office area. When you are finished, just close it up and it becomes a guest room again.


Try making your Bedroom a “safe haven” from all the stress of the day. It should be calm and restful without much clutter around. That’s the ideal. But realistically we know the bedroom can become a catchall. Here are some suggestions to keep your bedroom a retreat.

  • The closet (YIKES!) can become messy in a short period of time. Keeping it organized is easier than it appears if you follow a few rules. Organize your hanging clothes, putting them on like hangers – shirts together, pants together, longer items together.
  • Shoes – they can become a messy nightmare, but shoe racks and flat organizers can keep them neat and tidy. Pack and store any shoes that are not in season. It will help eliminate too many shoes. If you don’t wear them, donate them if they are in good shape or throw them out.
  • Shelf Life – purchase matching bins or Baskets to house your “extras” and to line the shelves of your closet. It will keep everything uniform and neat.
  • Hamper – if you use it, it will help keep the closet organized. The key is to use it.
  • Under-the-bed storage – this can give you additional space to store less used or seasonal items. There are many under-bed storage units available.
  • When cleaning your bedroom, always make your Bed first. Believe it or not, visually it will make the room seem less overwhelming.
  • Bedside storage – try using our Terrific Trio Storage Tables. They have storage shelving under the skirt, or you can invest in side tables that have cabinet storage below. Try to keep the tops of the tables clutter free.
  • Try containing costume jewelry and little extras in attractive boxes on the top of your dresser. Again, it will keep things looking orderly.


Everyone is looking for that “Spa Bath” lately. The look is filled with lush towels, creams and soaps and all the amenities that constitute a retreat. You can achieve the look in your Bathroom with a bit of organization and planning.

  • Organize all your beauty supplies in attractive Glass Apothecary Jars. They look great and all of your items are at your fingertips.
  • Lots of fresh Towels, neatly rolled or folded, add to the spa atmosphere. White towels will go with any decor and always look fresh and inviting.
  • Keep all non-essential, daily items stored below the sinks or in out of the way Baskets to be called on when needed.
  • Try installing Wall Hooks on the inside of the doors to hang hair dryers, flat irons and the like. Keeps them handy – but out of sight.
  • Decorative Wall Hooks on the door or on the outside of the shower can give you added storage for that terry robe or extra towels.
  • Shelving can really create additional storage space above a toilet or almost anywhere in a bathroom.


One of the busiest places in the house. Most Laundry Rooms do double duty as a broom closet and laundry room. It is important to keep it functional and yet neat and clean. Here are some practical ideas.

  • Try installing a fold-down shelf for folding clothes – out of the way when not in use.
  • A Drying Rack installed on the wall is great for drying delicates, etc.
  • Shelving above the washer and dryer can house detergent, fabric softener, etc. Try arranging it all in a Basket. Come laundry day, everything is where you need it.
  • Keep a small covered trash can to keep the dryer filter clean.
  • If space is at a minimum, purchase a broom rack to house your mops, etc.


Ugh, bad enough we have to keep the house clean, but the garage? Today, we seem to use our garage for a workshop, recycling center, storage area and garden center. We think we have some suggestions that help you get your garage organized and help it to stay that way.

  • Organize the space by categorizing the areas of storage. Tools and workshop, recycling/trash, garden area, etc.
  • Shelving is a great way to store your garage inventory. Try to keep like items together so when you need something it is close at hand.
  • Try to keep everything off the floor. This makes it easier to sweep and keep things neat and tidy.
  • A row of Wall Hooks can keep garden tools in order.
  • If space is at a minimum, there are ceiling racks available.

We have tried to break down the organizing of your home. Try taking a room at a time and in a short amount of time, you should have everything in good working order. We suggest that you print out this rather long list of ideas as a reference. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to open any door and know that everything is in its place. We hope that this list will help you re-organize your life in the new year.

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply


    September 16, 2011

    I have a standard 2 car garage and no access to the attic (there is a small cut out in the laundry but no stairs) what is a good storage solution in the garage we had standard cabinets from lowes but with all we need to store they collapsed. I tried talking my husband into commercial metal shelving but he is concerned because we have two small children under four. Do you have any suggestions for a limited budget?
    Thank you.

  2. Reply


    January 15, 2010

    making dining room look and feel cozy? Mine looks very formal and has a dark cold feeling about it. My furniture is dark wood antique.I want to make it look “ballard designish!” thanks.

    • Reply

      Ballard Designs

      January 27, 2010

      Carla: With limited information it is difficult to advise you, but we have a few ideas that can “warm up” your dining room. Paint the walls a warm color to coordinate with the surrounding room. Place an area rug under the table. Try picking a color out of the rug to cover the chair cushions. Add some softness to the room with floor to ceiling drapes. Some artwork on the walls, a new chandelier with matching shades and some candlelight and you should be well on your way to an inviting, warm dining room.
      The Style Studio Team