When you're ready to get a handle on all the clutter in your home and finally be organized, you can take a trip to your local big-box or specialty store to buy lots of storage bins and container boxes. But there are some other ways to get organized and live in a serene, organized home. Just remember this motto: "A place for everything and everything in its place.
Here are four storage ideas to declutter your home.
1. Declutter, organize, and simplify
The first step to take in getting rid of clutter is to have fewer things -- kind of obvious, but an often-overlooked step. There's no sense trying to come up with great storage ideas when you simply have too many things.
Simplifying involves looking at all your belongings with a fresh eye. Marie Kondo, an expert on tidying, came up with a method called KonMari and now runs a successful tidying consultant business. Her process takes some time, and will probably put your house in complete chaos during the procedure, but the theory is that if you declutter, organize, and simplify your life once, you'll be set for life.
That's a pretty bold statement, and it will probably take some work to achieve. It involves embracing the new minimalist mindset by only bringing in what you have room for and then donating or discarding what you no longer need. It's a lifestyle change, not too different from keeping lost weight off by adapting to a life of healthy eating and exercise.
Using the KonMari method, you declutter by category: clothing, books, paper*, miscellaneous, and sentimental -- and in that order. You keep only the items that "spark joy" in your life and donate or discard the rest. Once you have pared down your stuff, you'll probably feel as if a weight has been removed. It's freeing. Now you can put away the things you really want to keep.
*A note on the paper section: Important papers that you must keep on hand, such as tax returns, your property deed, etc. might not spark joy, but you will likely need to keep them anyway.
2. Create a drop-off zone
The busier your household, the more stuff tends to pile up, ruining your Zen-home goal. You can't get rid of things people use daily, like book bags, purses, umbrellas, shoes, jackets, dog leashes, beach towels, sports equipment, etc., but you can make an area for all of it.
A drop-off zone is ideally located near the door you usually enter and exit the home, which is typically the garage door, but it could also be the front door. A drop-off zone could simply be a shelf, several shelves, or a table. Or it could be a more elaborate affair, complete with cubbies, lockers, a bench, hooks on the wall, baskets, and drawers.
If you don't have a spot right at your entryway, as could be the case with a front door, you can make your drop-off zone somewhere nearby, such as in a corner of the kitchen. Even if you don't have a whole room dedicated for this purpose, such as a mudroom, you can incorporate some elements that a full mudroom offers to make a storage area that works for your household. The goal is to avoid scattering your family's daily on-the-go stuff throughout the house.
3. Keep stuff off the floor
A main tenet of living in a clutter-free zone is to keep stuff off the floor. Think about it. If you use the floor to store things, it usually means you've run out of space elsewhere. Trying to neaten the mess by putting it in storage boxes or bins helps your things stay cleaner and organizes your stuff a bit better than having it piled on the floor, but it doesn't solve the clutter problem.
If you've already gone through the first step above and find that you still have too much stuff for the space you're in (hello, small square-footage home), you can do better than storing those items on the floor.
If your closet looks more like a laundry basket, for example, evaluate where those items currently on the floor should go. You may be able to add drawers for shoes and sweaters, more hanging space, or whatever else makes sense for storage in your closet. Important papers on the floor in your office? You might need to invest in a filing cabinet. Just think back to the motto: "A place for everything and everything in its place."
4. Use wall space
Spaces in the home with often-overlooked potential are the walls. Most people do nothing with walls besides hanging artwork or maybe a mirror. But you can hang anything you like on your walls, including items you normally need to store. While you might not want to hang clothing from a wall mount placed in the living room, you might want to put up an attractive floating shelf and use it for extra storage space.
You could also make an attractive display in your kitchen using pegboard. What about making an arrangement using (smallish) pots and pans, cooking utensils, and metal baskets that could hold small kitchen items that are currently cluttering your countertops? You could even put a plant or herbs in one or two of those metal baskets to make the arrangement look planned, deliberate, and pretty, not just for necessity.
The bottom line
There's nothing wrong with using storage bins to get organized, a go-to that many people gravitate toward first when the word "storage" comes up. The trick with storage bins is to make them blend into your overall design. You might buy a piece of furniture with storage compartments as part of the piece to make this an upgraded look.
Or you could combine storage bins with some of the ideas here: decluttering, creating a drop-off zone, keeping stuff off the floor, and using wall space. Whatever you decide to do, paring down stuff and having storage ideas can help you achieve your goal of having a decluttered home.