Design Recipes: 10 tips to get organized

By Cathy Hobbs
Tribune News Service

Clear the clutter! More than ever before, people are opting for minimalism instead of overstuffed and cluttered homes. From items purchased on a vacation to treasured mementos and those that have been gifted, the accumulation of items may be what is standing in the way of you creating a more organized home.

Closets should be organized and not just used for storage, ditto for kitchen pantry areas and shelving. Bookcases can become organized showcases for home decor.

Organizing clothing in color categories or from light to dark can help with organization.

Here are some design tricks of the trade that can also help organize your space.

1. Follow the A-B-C organization rule. Assemble items you want to organize. Create a system for storing these items in baskets, boxes and bins. Consider containers and cartons for organizing as well.

2. Label. Labeling is a key organization tip. One of the best solutions is to use erasable labels.

3. Color code. Color coding will help items be more easily identified.

4. Hide the small stuff. Often it is not the large items that cause disorganization, but the smaller items that less easily have homes. Store small similar items together.

5. Create both open and hidden storage. Shelves work great for displaying books and small decorative items, but you will also want to have closed, hidden storage as well for those items you don’t wish to be visible.

6. Follow the one in, one out rule. When you get a new item, discard or donate an older, outdated similar item.

7. Inventory. So often, items are boxed away in an attic or basement never to be seen or heard from again. A minimum of once a year, take inventory of what you have, what you need and what you can toss.

8. Minimize. Ask yourself: “Do I really still need this?” Typically if you haven’t used it in a year, the answer is no.

9. Use clear storage solutions. Clear bins and containers allow you to be able to see what you have and actually use what’s inside.

10. Purge! Each season, get rid of something that can go to a new home.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at .