25 Ways to Organize Everything
Create a functional front seat: A visor organizer, such as The Visor 1000 ($16), is perfect for stuff you'll need on the road — sunglasses, favorite CDs. Put maps in a large resealable bag in the driver's-side cubby; manuals and registration go in the glove compartment.
Make backseat space: Keep second-row storage in order with an organizer like Back Pockets ($13) for toys, ice scrapers, and umbrellas.
Limit trunk junk: Put emergency car supplies like jumper cables and flares in an empty toolbox that you keep in the trunk. Also store the emptied laundry basket or bin for double duty: It can hold multiple grocery bags upright for easier transfer into the house, then ferry indoor items — clothes headed to the cleaners, overdue library books — back into the car when it's time to run errands.
Develop some hang-ups: Start by moving everything in this middle area — lawn chairs, hoses, extension cords — up onto the wall hooks (assuming you've got some). Hanging not an option? Line things up against the walls.
Organize garage bins: No need for fancy containers. Use what you've got: flowerpots and planters (good for collecting pruners and stray gardening gloves), an empty garbage can or two (for long-handled brooms, baseball bats, and hockey sticks), and a laundry basket (perfect for gear like balls and helmets).
Bag it: Next, open two trash sacks. Into one, toss anything broken, empty, or rusty; that can go in this week's garbage. Use the other bag to hold things that are in the garage but really belong in the house (not that you have to put everything in its place at once).
Sticky notes and markers: As you sort items, label the groups for daily use, often, seldom, and never. Daily-use things should get prime storage real estate, while never-use things should go out the door.
Grocery sacks and trash bags: Use them to sort and discard items.
Pen and paper: Jot down to-dos, products you need to buy, and organizing ideas you may have along the way.
Tape measure: Determine what your storage needs are. After you declutter, measure the amount of available space you are left with in order to get the correct-sized bins and storage receptacles.
Label maker: Choose a simple and portable model to label bins and storage spaces — so you can know exactly what's inside.
Presort your lights and darks with either individual hampers, like a pair of lightweight scrunch cans, or a portable divided hamper — neither should be too big to fit in a corner of the bedroom or bathroom (which means family members are more likely to use them). Added benefit: You can do single loads without having to pull everything out of the hamper.
Most machines now have "delicates" settings that are gentle enough not to harm your finer things. Just make sure to contain underwear, bras, etc., in a mesh laundry bag that will allow water and suds to circulate freely. Also, don't forget to fasten closures to cut down on tangles and snags.
Avoid adding another task (ironing) to your laundry list by starting to hang and fold barely-dry items before the cycle ends. (Set a kitchen timer or your cell phone alarm for 10 minutes ahead to remind you.) Or utilize your dryer's extended tumbling feature, which will fluff clothes minus any heat.
Keep Legos tidy with the Box4Blox ($40), a tiered bin that sorts the stackable blocks by size. Meaning, your kid won't need to dump the whole thing to find just the right piece.
Stay in the decluttering game with a hanging canvas organizer that keeps controllers for various systems (Wii racing wheels from Xbox controllers) separate, and off the couch or underfoot. Also, consolidate the games themselves by sliding discs into a CD wallet or binder. (Save the cases if you'll be reselling them later.)
There's nothing more annoying than searching for gone-missing pot toppers in cabinet recesses. The fix: a door-mounted lid rack.
Sort food by use and designate the shelves accordingly (one for leftovers, one for meal prep/ingredients, one for snacks, etc.). This makes items easier to find and gives you a visual cue as to when you're running low on something.
Put away protein properly: Put meat and poultry anywhere inside the fridge except the door, unless your deli bin has a temperature control. If so, set it on the coldest level and stash items in there.
Veggie storage: Vegetables go in the crisper. If you have a humidity-control vent, close it. That way, damp air will be trapped inside and your veggies will absorb moisture, which helps them stay fresh longer.
Keep fruit fresh: Stick fruit in a drawer separate from vegetables, as moisture can speed up spoiling. If the fruit drawer has a humidity-control vent, keep it partly open.
Prevent perishables from spoiling: Put milk, eggs, yogurt anyplace but the door — the temp there can get too warm.
Smooth as butter: Store butter in the door because it's warmer. Translation: Your butter will spread more smoothly.