Closets, garages and storage bins can help you create an organized living space, keeping infrequently used items out-of-sight until you need them. But you may still find yourself struggling to find a home for clutter that accumulates over time.
Putting everything in clear, labeled plastic bins isn’t practical with oddly shaped items or with things that are so small you’ll be stuck digging through a whole bin just to find one little item. When you’re tackling odds and ends, use some different organization strategies depending on the type of item.
Gift wrapping supplies: You don’t want to be digging through your attic or basement looking for paper and bows when you need to wrap a gift, but where else can you put gift-wrapping supplies? There are many solutions to this storage problem, one of which is keeping all your supplies in a dresser. Each drawer can hold a different item - bows, tissue paper, gift wrap, tags, tape - and you can use the surface of the dresser to wrap gifts.
Another idea is to use an over-the-door closet storage system, which allows you see what you have at a glance. If space is more limited, put together a bin with compartments for smaller items and store it under your bed.
Sporting goods: Pegboards aren’t just for tools. They can be helpful for organizing sporting goods as well because it’s easy to hang gear of different shapes and sizes from hooks and you can see where everything is. Pegboard hooks come in different shapes and sizes, and the beauty of this storage system is that you can change it around as you add new pieces of equipment.
Holiday decorations: You only use these once each year, but you want them to be organized so you can find the right types of decorations when you need them. Plus, because so many items are fragile, you need a system that protects them from damage. Old egg cartons are ideal for storing small, delicate Christmas ornaments. And if you have an artificial Christmas tree, you can get a Christmas tree storage bag to keep dust and insects from damaging your tree during the off-season, so even if it's in the garage, you know it'll look pristine when you roll it out after Thanksgiving.
If you decorate your home for different holidays, color-code your labels - red for Valentine's Day, orange for Halloween - so you know at a glance what's in a storage container.
Junk drawers: Every house has at least one junk drawer where you keep those odds and ends that don’t seem to live anywhere else. Rather than digging through a whole drawer, create drawer dividers or compartments to break the space into smaller sections so you can organize items by category. Miscellaneous office supplies can go in one area, pens in another and batteries in another. Of course, if you find anything that truly is junk, it belongs in the trashcan, not in a drawer.
Every household has its own types of odds and ends that seem to take over storage areas. For you, it may be camping gear, special-purpose tools or mementos from your kids’ childhoods. The trick with any of these is to create a space where you can group similar items together while developing a way to separate items so you can find them.