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12 Tiny Storage Hacks to Banish Clutter and Feel Instantly More Organized

A professional organizer reveals simple ways to organize your entryway, car trunk, laundry room, desk drawer and other cluttered areas of your home.


In the entryway

Stash tote bags for every activity you or your kids regularly participate in. (For instance, have one bag for soccer practice and one for band rehearsals). That way you can simply grab the bag and go, with all the essentials inside. Depending on your needs, here are three other totes you might want to consider

Car travel/restaurant: Filled with travel-friendly toys, quiet games, or projects the kids can do while waiting for dinner in a restaurant

Dry cleaning: For clothes that need to be taken to the cleaners (here’s how to tell if you really need to dry clean your clothes)

Library: For books and library card


In your car trunk

Keep three foldable totes clipped together for any unexpected needs. You can also keep a foldable bag or two inside your luggage for separating dirty laundry or for toting home souvenirs.

iStock/George Clerk

In your car

Keep one umbrella in your car for unexpected downpours. Do not keep it in the trunk, because you’d have to get out of the car and get wet to grab it.


In your kitchen drawer

No locking clasp on tong handles? Simply slide the tongs into the cardboard tube from your empty roll of paper towels to prevent them from popping open inside a drawer. (Here’s how to declutter your pantry and cabinets.)


In your spice rack

Keep red spices in the fridge to extend their life. Paprika, chili powder, and other spices in the red pepper family will remain fresher longer when stored in the refrigerator.


In your desk drawer

Odd-size plastic containers or those with missing lids from your kitchen can work well as drawer organizers. Use them in your desk as well as in junk or vanity drawers.

iStock/ nzphotonz

In your closet

If you need more room, consider slim, space-saving hangers, which are just one-third the size of standard hangers but are just as durable. Also: suits take up a lot of space. If you don’t wear them on a regular basis, store them in another closet such as a guest room.


In your laundry room

Stop wasting time folding cleaning rags. Hang a reusable shopping tote bag from a hook and toss them inside after laundering.


In your suitcase

If you don’t travel very often, consider storing out-of-season clothing in your luggage. If you take a trip, you can just leave the clothes on your bed until you return. Here are some brilliant ways to get the most use out of the extra room in your suitcase.


On your takeout menus

Staple or paper-clip any coupons for a restaurant directly to their takeout menu so you’re more likely to remember to use them next time you place an order.


In your kids’ rooms

Put games and crafts that require adult supervision, like beading or race-car kits, in a closet or shelf away from little fingers. When you hear your child utter the dreaded phrase, “I’m bored,” just pull one out to play together. (Here are 10 organization tips for every room in the house.)


In your garden

Inside or near your garden, hang a mailbox or stake it in the ground for on-the-spot storage. This is perfect place to stash smaller items you reach for all the time, like clippers. No more running back and forth to the garage. Here are some other storage ideas for gardening tools.

What to Keep, What to Toss

In her new book, Keep This, Toss That, professional organizer Jamie Novak reveals thousands of secrets, tips, and tricks to unclutter your life and save time, money, space, and sanity. Learn more and buy the book here.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Jamie Novak
Jamie Novak is the author of “Keep This, Toss That: The Practical Guide to Tidying Up.” A cleaning and organizing expert with more than 20 years of experience, she covers these home topics and more for Reader’s Digest. When not on deadline, Jamie spends her time clipping recipes she never prepares.