Designed to Organize: Creative Ways to Tackle Clutter

By Susan Young | Home Organization

custom storage bench with bins

Hundreds of articles circulate online about how to de-clutter, organize your home and streamline your life. But rather than tell you that you have too much stuff (which most of us do), and that you have one too many junk drawers, I thought I’d take a different spin on the traditional organizing tips article. Let's look for opportunities for organized design -- in other words, to organize in a way that's inspired by your design style.

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Don’t have a design style? Look around your home. Are your furniture pieces and décor more traditional or modern and classical? If your answer is none of these, take some time browsing websites like HGTV, and Pinterest, home magazines or even your local home improvement store to find what home design and decorating themes speak to you. 

Maintaining Order from the Chaos

Once you’ve established your design style, start by reviewing the rooms that you live in the most (probably family rooms, kitchens or other high-traffic areas). Tackle your clutter first by removing unused, broken or unnecessary items, and recycle, sell or donate them. Then figure out a way to maintain order with what’s left. For instance, do you have too many magazines on your coffee table? Keep the last 3 issues, but put them in a nice basket underneath your coffee table, and recycle the rest.

Organized Design


Browse online or in local stores for beautiful or creative ways to solve your organizing problems. Here’s where the fun comes. All you need to do now is find a creative way to store your stuff in a way that adds to your home’s overall décor. That's organized design. So let me give you an example. My daughters, Elaina & Evelyn, love to create art pieces, which they expect me to display around the house. However, their art began to take over my kitchen fridge, so I researched online for a solution. I found some cute wall art clips several years ago and put one set in each child’s room. Now they can display their most recent creations in their own rooms, and my refrigerator is free of magnets and paper. I display their most frame-worthy pieces in my home office. 
kids artwork frame - organizing design

This hallway art frame stores additional artwork behind it.

Don't be afraid to DIY

If you can’t find a solution for organized design with what’s available, try building it yourself. During the process of remodeling our kitchen this summer, my husband expanded our small, builder-basic kitchen island to include extra shelving and cabinets, plus a pull-out drawer for our recycle bin. I love the finished result, and it allows us to store so much more underneath our island than we could before. I purchased some inexpensive fabric bins to store extra paper, notebooks, pencils and crayons for the girls, while the cabinets on each side store my recipe books and extra kitchen appliances, getting them off the kitchen counter.

kitchen island expansion storage solutions and organizing design solutions

This renovated and expanded kitchen island allows for storage of cookbooks and appliances, as well as bins for storing kids' artwork and supplies.

Another clutter issue for our family was where to store the girls’ art and school supplies. We wanted to keep them accessible for the girls to use, but keep them out of sight. A shoe organizer was a good start, but our hall closet was still overflowing with boxes of craft projects, coloring books and other items. So my husband purchased $100 worth of lumber from Lowe’s and built a shelving system. Now we have a designated art closet that makes me want to open it just to enjoy how organized it is. I sure hope it stays that way!

art closet organized design

This art closet was once a hallway closet, but now stores the girls' art supplies.

Creative Storage Comes in Many Forms.

I love finding creative ways to organize my home that also add to my home’s overall design. Look for pretty items that also serve as storage. Here are some ideas that might work for you:

  • Use pretty canvas bins to store everything from nightstand books to toiletries and medicines.
  • Use storage ottomans as clever seating that stores your extra throw blankets, magazines or other items. This works in bedrooms as well as family or living rooms.
  • Put a storage bench with decorative hooks near your main or garage entry for your family to remove shoes and coats as they come into the house. You’ve just added seating, but now you also have an extra place for hats, gloves and other items in the bench.
  • Use a decorative bowl as a catch-all to store keys, loose change or eye glasses – much better than leaving them sitting on the counter or table!
  • Corral your kids’ outdoor toys and sporting goods in a mesh bin that matches with your garage organization system (found at most home improvement stores).

I hope I’ve inspired you to think more creatively when it comes to home organization. With your design style in mind, you’ll come up with clever ways to stash your stuff, while adding to your home’s overall design. if you need help with your home organization, let us know, or check out our interior design services.

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About the Author

Susan is a Midwest mom of two and lover of all things colorful in the home. She works with homeowners to find their unique style and color palette while keeping their budgets and lifestyles in mind. You can find her hanging out on Instagram at @colorjoyinteriors or Twitter @getcolorjoy, where she shares her latest colorful projects and inspirations.

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