With my eyes half open, I sluggishly got out of bed. Making my way across the room, I lost my balance on a toy car that wasn’t put away.
After a loud sigh, I scooped it up along with a few other toys and dumped them in the corner. I head to the closet to grab a towel, where I am greeted by a completely disheveled mountain of linens.
Room after room, the story was the same. The closets were overflowing, toys were strewn, nothing seemed to have a place.
Just looking around at the m
Truth is, if I didn’t start using my space wisely, my home would remain a mess. In order to keep my sanity, I had to figure out what I was doing wrong.
Mistake #1 – Not Using Closet Space Wisely
Closet space is gold. I mean, it’s storage space hidden behind closed doors. Because it’s out of sight, it usually becomes embarrassingly sloppy.
In our current home, all of our closets contained only a clothes rod and a top shelf. So as you can imagine, each of these closets became a disaster in a matter of weeks.
In our previous home, we had wall-mounted wire shelving configurations in each closet, so everything was much more organized.
However, custom shelving configurations can be really expensive.
So to save money, we simply installed a few standalone wire racks in our closets.
Rather than have piles of items shoved into the closet (I had so many of those huge storage bins stacked up), you can neatly slide storage bins, laundry baskets, or other containers on and off the shelves.
This was especially helpful in coat closets and kids rooms, where that single clothes rod isn’t always the best use of space.
The space gained was incredible, and I can easily find everything.
Another idea is to install double top shelves in your closets. Rather than have one shelf running across the top, add another one above it. This is an easy change that doubles your shelving instantly, using more of that high space wisely.
Speaking of wasted space, I then took a look at our closets to see where else I could utilize otherwise wasted space.
I hung small racks on side walls and hooks on standalone doors.
These diy home organization ideas for your closet space will have you using every inch wisely, making more space for all of your things.
Where to Buy:
Closet organizer sets can be really expensive, so rather than buy a hundred dollar kit, just buy a few wire closet racks that are right size for your closet and attach them to the wall.
I found a few wire rack closet organizers at a flea market for a couple bucks (you could also check out your local Habitat for Humanity Restore).
If you can’t find some cheap wire racks, home improvement stores have the racks for about $10-$15 plus the hardware, which isn’t too bad for quick, cheap organization.
How to Make:
If you don’t want to spend but have extra wood laying around, you can install a few wooden shelves instead of the wire racks. Paint them white and they’ll blend right in.
Also, look around for anything you can repurpose into closet shelving.
Every time I’m ready to kick something to the curb, the wheels in my husband’s head start turning. His most recent trash-night-intercept was a CD tower that he installed in our pantry as extra side shelving.
Mistake #2 – Disregarding Empty Wall Space
Closets overstuffed? Attic full? Start using the walls!
Wall space is one of the best space-saving secrets and my absolute favorite of the DIY home organization ideas.
My husband recently mounted a huge shelf to the wall behind my desk. What once was an empty wall is now housing all of my desk and craft supplies!
Corner wall space is the perfect spot to put up some floating shelves or even cubby shelves. You can fill the shelves with baskets and bins of anything – craft supplies, shoes, extra towels, toiletries, accessories, bows, kids clothes, etc.
Putting up a few extra shelves and utilizing empty wall space can easily thin out your otherwise packed closets, making your closets and yourself more organized. 🙂
If you have a little extra floor space – maybe in a basement or garage, you could use it for a vertical storage tower. We did this in our garage with a space about 6 feet wide and 3 feet deep, and gained tons of storage space. The storage tower holds all of our Christmas decorations (and I have 3 trees!), Ash’s oversized tools, and more.
Ash and I are little storage-obsessed… I mean, half of our DIY projects are about storage. Ash goes around tapping on walls looking for hollow space, and I am always oogling at empty wall space 🙂
So, take it from us – look for areas that you could turn into a little extra wall storage and you will be thrilled with the results!
Where to Buy:
There are tons of great shelves that can easily be mounted to your walls for vertical storage. This iron pipe shelf holds a ton of items and looks amazing. I also just adore farmhouse floating shelves. Aren’t they charming?! I love the finish on these shelves, and farmhouse style shelving looks amazing in any home.
How to Make:
If you make your own shelves, you can choose your exact measurements, which is beneficial because then you can customize them to fit exactly what you need.
We built two basic shelves for my office and made the measurements to fit four fabric storage bins on each shelf. With two shelves, that’s 8 storage bins that are organized and filled. And instead of taking of space elsewhere, they are on the wall!
The shelves were simple to make and moun, and we have free plans available.
Mistake #3 – Not Using Cubby Shelving
Cubby shelves are an organizational gem. The individual cubbies keep items super organized and in plain sight. You don’t have to dig through drawers, toy bins, or storage bins to find what you are looking for. Everything is compartmentalized in neat little spaces.
Cubby shelves also make for for the perfect bookshelf (no more books sliding around). They are an excellent use of corner or closet space and are perfect for organizing toys, crafts, or office supplies.
Yet one of the best parts about cubby shelving is that you can stack your items in the cubbies, or you can also use storage bins in some or all of the cubbies.
Cubby shelves are also very versatile, as you can arrange them in many ways – vertically, horizontally, stacked, or even hang them on your wall.
Where to Buy:
We love these cubby shelves from Amazon – they have quite a few finishes and are really nice. We have them in our kids’ rooms for bookshelves along with the playroom for toy storage.
As far as storage bins, the dollar store is carrying storage bins now as well as lots of other useful containers. You can’t beat that for storage.
You can also get some good deals on storage during back-to-school sales. If you don’t feel like running to the store, Amazon has lots of cute storage bins too.
How to Make:
Although buying cubby shelves is probably cheaper than making them, Ash made me a customized cubby shelf for my craft supplies.
But here’s the best part – he mounted it to the wall, which frees up ground space AND uses otherwise lost wall space.
I was able to empty my entire desk out!
No more digging through my desk or my filing cabinet or those huge storage containers that were in my closet.
Each little cubby holds something different, and I just need to spin my desk chair around to find what I’m looking for.
As far as storage bins, you can also make your own. I made several DIY storage bins for our changing table and coat closets (holding mittens, hats, scarves, etc) from cardboard boxes, contact paper, and knobs.
Mistake #4 – Leaving out items that could be hidden
You know that feeling you get at the end of the day when your house is nice and organized – there aren’t toys everywhere, the pillows are back where they belong, and everything is in its place. It just looks so perfect.
Unfortunately, this usually isn’t the case.
However, if you create a spot for everything, you can hide some of those eyesores, keeping your home always looking organized.
My favorite trick is to use pretty boxes to hide otherwise ugly things.
Our toddler has toys in every single room (literally every room except the master bathroom). The biggest problem area was our family room. I mean, blocks everywhere, tools scattered across the room, puzzle pieces wedged between couch cushions.
I was attempting to organize the mess with those clear storage bins – the ones that are a little bigger than a shoe box. However, I just didn’t like the way these tacky storage bins looked in our family room. They certainly didn’t complement the Pottery Barn pillows that I spent way too much on. 😉
So, I started buying cute baskets and boxes that were on sale at craft stores. Rather than have tacky storage boxes, I have trendy bins and baskets all around the house.
The great thing is that you can’t see the contents of what’s in the bins. So, you would never know what’s hidden in there.
Even if your home isn’t filled with toys, take a look around and see what you can hide. Cleaning up some of these things and creating a space for them definitely makes for a more organized home.
Where to Buy:
You can get baskets and boxes super cheap at Michael’s when they have end of season sales. I have purchased many of these boxes for just a few dollars at 70% off.
I would definitely recommend checking there periodically because I have gotten so many bargains on end-of-season bins and boxes.
As far as baskets, AC Moore and Michaels have a great selection and you can either use one of their coupons or catch one of their frequent 40% off sales. These craft stores offer so much as far as diy home organization ideas.
How to Make:
To make boxes, you could reuse any box and cover it with contact paper to make it look nice. I have a tutorial on how I DIYed these storage bins. You can usually find decent contact paper at the dollar stores too 🙂
Mistake #5 – Ignoring Messy Drawers
Who doesn’t have a junk drawer in their home… or like five or six of them? I think every drawer in our house became a junk drawer at some point.
There’s little I despise more than wasting precious time looking for something. Rather than succumb to disorganized drawers, think what solutions will work for your items.
I eliminated my entire desk of office and craft supplies by using cubby shelves and pegboard. At first, I wasn’t sure I would put things back on the pegboard after I used them. Yet, there’s nowhere else for it go, since I ditched my old desk.
I am loving the pegboard organization – I can clearly see everything I have, and it looks really cool.
If you don’t have a huge space for a pegboard, it’s no problem. You can use small pieces of pegboard in creative spots, such as on the back of kitchen cabinet doors to hang measuring cups or special utensils.
You’ll be surprised just how many messy drawers you can empty with this organization trick.
Another idea is to use drawer dividers to separate things. I put these in our kids’ bedroom drawers to separate socks, bibs, accessories, and more. I also organized our kitchen junk drawer with bins.
And, don’t forget to give your drawers a good ole clean-out, especially those kitchen junk drawers.
You don’t need to keep take-out menus because everything is online. Those extra ketchup and soy sauce packets never get used either.
Lotion, nail polish, and make-up all get old after a while.
So, definitely clean up your drawers a bit as you are organizing, and you will easily gain some coveted space.
Where to Buy:
The Dollar Tree and Big Lots are my favorite places to find storage, especially around back-to-school time. You’ll find lots of neat little bins and baskets.
If you like your storage bins to match, buy a few more than you need because it’s hard to find the same bins and baskets again. But overall these stores are great for frugal diy home organization ideas .
If you would rather shop online, these interlocking bins are awesome. There’s eight of them, and you can use them individually or interlock them. Did you know they make adjustable drawer organizers too?! I love anything that can be easily customized.
Last, here’s a great drawer organizing kit for dressers.
How to Make:
Look around your house, or your recycling bin, for things you could use as drawer dividers.
You could use empty plastic or cardboard bins or boxes, such as shoe boxes or cereal boxes. Cut them to size or reshape with some masking tape, and you’ll have yourself free organization.
You could even make dividers from cardboard – and spiffy them up with some cute contact paper.
Mistake #6 – Not using doors and walls for hooks and racks
Every time I came home with the kids, I would always drop the diaper bag on the ground. Sometimes it would make its way over to the closet and embarrassingly, sometimes it remained on the ground for a few days.
I don’t know why it took me so long to realize the solution was to buy a $2 hook for the mudroom.
I can now easily grab the diaper bag when I’m on my way out the door, and it doesn’t drive me crazy on the floor for days. If you always have school bags on the floor, add hooks in your mudroom or entryway for kids to hang their bag up.
If your kids are always leaving their hoodies around, put some hooks up for them in a hidden spot.
Simply find the problem areas, and then think about how you can create a spot for it.
Don’t disregard your doors and little spaces on the walls, where you can easily add a hook or a rack.
The back of the closet door is perfect for holding towels – rather than throwing them over a door, having kids leave wet towels on the floor, or cramming them all on the same towel rack.
Closet doors are also perfect for little containers, such as spice racks, to hold toiletries. Pantry doors are perfect to add basket storage too.
Look around your home and identify what is driving you nuts and then create spots for these things.
Where to Buy:
You can buy command hooks to attach easily to walls (no tools involved and easy removal). These provide a solution in just minutes. You could also go for a more classic hook. These hooks are very inexpensive and add classy organization.
I love this hook rack with a cute shelf. It’s so modern-looking, and I love the way three of them look on the wall – it’s like a gallery of organization. 🙂
If you are trying to maximize closet door organization, this organization rack is huge and can hold so much! You can even attach it to your door (or wall) with command hooks. It doesn’t get easier than that!
How to Make:
You can easily DIY a hook rack with a wooden board and a few hooks from the store. Or instead of hooks, get a little creative and use washers or screws, as long as they have enough length to hold your items.
To DIY racks to attach to doors, use dollar store bins and a few screws to get the same effect. If you have any spice racks that aren’t being utilized in the kitchen or garage, you can attach them to closet doors to hold toiletries.
Mistake # 7 – Missing out on furniture storage
Furniture takes up most of the space in our rooms, so why not capitalize on it?!
If you are looking for a new piece of furniture, think about furniture with built-in storage. We were in the market for a couch that converted to a bed, and we found one that had a massive amount of storage under the cushion.
Stools, ottomans, and end-of-the-bed tables all usually have storage space built in too. If you are looking for a kids bed, lots of them have drawers built-in underneath the bed.
You can also buy under-the-bed storage containers to slide under beds. These are great for holding things like kids artwork collections, craft supplies, pillows, out-of-season clothes. Depending on the size of your bed, you can get quite a few bins underneath.
As far as DIY home organization ideas go, using furniture as storage is really underutilized and can offer so much additional storage.
Where to Buy:
Amazon has lots of options for under-the-bed storage – from the plastic containers to carts to clothes storage bags. I am loving the clothes storage bags. I purchased a few of them to store comforters, blankets, and extra throw pillows in and was able to clear out two shelves in our hall closet!
Think about all that storage you will gain by using the space under your bed more wisely.
How to Make:
There are tons of awesome tutorials out there that have storage built-in furniture. You can make a platform bed frame that has tons of storage underneath. I’ve also seen cubby bookshelves built into beds. There also are coffee tables you could make, where the top opens and provides hidden storage.
And, if you are feeling really ambitious, you could make a couch or chaise lounge with storage entirely underneath. We haven’t tackled any of these projects yet. If we do, we will be sure to post them 🙂
Mistake #8 – Lack of using labels
If you have ever felt the frustration of pulling down bin after bin looking for something, then you know the importance of labels. I’ve pulled down many closet bins looking for scarves – only to find shoes, hats, and everything in between.
When you label items not only do you save yourself time when you go to use those things, but you keep yourself and your items more organized. You get used to seeing the labels, so you know where everything is. And, you know exactly where to put things back.
Labels are great for kids too, giving them the tools they need to put their own things away. For younger kids, include a picture of the item, so they can clean up on their own. (The picture label then becomes a learning activity – as kids see the picture along with the word and learn the word.)
Additionally, labels are great for husbands too. 🙂 You’ll notice things get put back in the right spot much more easily.
How to Make:
Labels are really easy to make. Just use masking tape or paper, but I do love the idea of adding pictures for kids to help clean up.
Simply google the item, grab a picture, and paste it into a printable document. I was definitely surprised at how much cleaner my toddler’s toys were when he knew where everything went.
Where to Buy:
As easy as masking tape and paper are for labels, I love my label maker. It makes everything look much more neat, organized, and consistent.
I LOVE this label maker– and it is a dream come true! It has tons of fonts and decorative options, making for very cute labels and of course, easy organization.
You can also find cute labels at the craft stores. I found a bunch of mini chalk boards attached to a clothes pin and used these to label my fabric storage bins. The dollar section at Michaels never lets me down as far as DIY home organization ideas 🙂
Picture a completely organized home. You can walk to the bathroom without tripping on toys. You can reach into your linen closet and easily find a pillow case. You can find a pen in the junk drawer with one swift reach.
Everything has a place. It’s perfection.
By choosing a few of the above DIY home organization ideas and seeing them through, you will start to regain your sanity. Start small – with just one or two items, and you’ll start to see a great change.
You’ll make more space in your home. You’ll create places for things to be put away. You’ll use the space you have more wisely.
Above all, you will no longer be stressed out by a disorganized house. Instead, your organized home will be your place of zen.