Published on January 21, 2021

Bulky sweaters, old denim, and hard-to-fold pajamas are just a few of the reasons we get a tidying-induced headache every January. One-third of people point to laundry and clothing as their biggest source of clutter, according to a survey by Joybird that polled 1,900 respondents about the organization systems they use and the items giving them the most trouble. Kids’ toys are also a key culprit, topping 20 percent, more than double the third-place response: food. These issues are nothing a few drawer dividers and clever bins can’t fix. Here’s how we’d put an end to each leading tidying woe.

For Clothes

open closet with arched openingPin It
Photography by Andie Diemer; Styling by Elaina Sullivan

Take a cue from Anna Z. Gray, who transformed her tiny New York City closet by adding a central column of six cubbyholes at different heights for shoes, pants, and sweaters. She also cut her existing clothing rod into three parts, dedicating one for dresses and two for shirts and tops, giving every category of her wardrobe a dedicated home address.

For Toys

living room with colorful gallery wallPin It
Photography by Alpha Smoot; Styling by Randi Brookman Harris

Four streamlined storage lockers hide Randi Brookman Harris’s 9-year-old son’s most-used toys, games, and puzzles. For overflow there’s a row of coated linen baskets for his ever-growing Lego collection, while the top serves as a display for his meticulously constructed masterpieces. Psst: Zippable under-the-bed bins are a solid alternative to open baskets. 

For Food Items

eggs and tomatoes in white binsPin It
Courtesy of the Container Store x KonMari

Overstocking is the biggest mistake Marie Kondo sees people make in the kitchen. So try to buy only the groceries that you need, take inventory of all your perishable items every evening, and simplify things in the fridge by placing foods into neat compartments. This way, you always know how much of everything you have. 

For Dishes

lower kitchen drawers openPin It
Photography by Sara Tramp-Ligorria for Emily Henderson Design

Stow plates and bowls in deep drawers (a great solution if your space lacks upper cabinets). A built-in peg system ensures your dishware will stay firmly put when the compartment slides open. 

For Miscellaneous Pantry Goods

streamlined walk in pantryPin It
Photography by Amy Carroll; Design by Sarah Sherman Samuel

Sarah Sherman Samuel customized each shelf height in her walk-in pantry to fit the items she buys on repeat, like paper towels and seltzer. She also made it a spot for cookware, dedicating the tricky corner niche to her Instant Pot. 

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