Organizing on Another Level

Four rooms, multiple organizing ideas, endless style.



Some people love organizing. Others find it overwhelming and tiring. Either way, it has to be done, so we’re bringing in the experts to help you, no matter what space you’re trying to tidy up. Read on for tips for a beautiful closet (big or small), a neat garage even women will love, a kitchen with more than one trick up its sleeve, and a laundry room anyone will covet. 

Photography by Adam Kane Macchia 

A Cook’s Kitchen

First Thing to Consider: Start with the major elements of the kitchen: sink, range, refrigerator, bar, etc. “It helps to have the ‘macro’ picture laid out before you start to think at the ‘micro’ level,” says Sarah Robertson, owner/lead designer at Studio Dearborn. “However, it’s never too early to start a wish list of organizing tools. Your kitchen designer will be very grateful to get this input early!”

 

Biggest Mistake: Having more storage than you need. Yes, you read that correctly! “The most costly mistake I see homeowners make is to think that they need more storage than they really do,” says Robertson. “I think every cabinet placed in the kitchen design should have a job, and that job should be clear during the design process. If you can’t figure out what that job is, then maybe you don’t need that cabinet.”

 

Organizing Solutions: “I’ve been using the Hafele Magic Corner II unit on almost all my kitchen designs, big and small,” says Robertson. “It is super easy to pull out and really maximizes the utility of the blind corner cabinet, which used to be the black hole of kitchen storage areas. Another product that is a client favorite is the docking drawer. It takes all those electronics and their cords and puts them in a tidy drawer, leaving your kitchen counter space clear for cooking.”

 

Tips of the Trade: Organizing elements are just as important as style and layout. “For me, the placement and design of organizing elements is an integral part of the layout process,” says Robertson. “Sometimes I have to adjust the layout to accommodate organizing elements where I want them, so the design process is an iterative one.” 

Also keep tools you use frequently within reach and others stashed away. “I’m a huge believer in an efficient layout, placing your cooking tools and ingredients within easy reach,” says Robertson. “[But] for a client who has a large number of pots and pans [for example], I suggest keeping just the frequently used pieces in the drawer near the stovetop. Having the rest in a more remote location can help tremendously when you are sorting through pans in a hurry.”

 

Design Ideas: Have a well-organized mudroom near the kitchen if possible. “[It] is a tremendous help in keeping the kitchen tidy,” says Robertson. “Sometimes kitchen design is about having well-organized spaces outside the kitchen for non-kitchen items. When I design a mudroom there always needs to be a dumping ground for keys, handbags, and all the things you are lugging in from the car. Having a small desk or surface for papers where mail can be sorted is also very handy, in addition to all the storage designated for coats, boots, and backpacks.”

In this kitchen the following tools were used to maximize organizing and limit clutter: 

1 Pullout drawer for utensils

2 Drawer with an angled tray for spices

3 Drawer with a knife block for knives

4 Drawer with lid dividers for pots and pans and plasticware

5 Deep drawer with dividers for water bottles, etc.

6 Drawer for pots and pans

Pullout drawer with dividers for baking sheets and cutting boards

Stainless tambour door to hide small appliances

 

A Utilitarian (and Stylish) Laundry Room

First Thing to Consider:  One word: functionality. Washing and drying your clothing is a time-consuming and ongoing task. Just when you think you’re finished, the basket starts to fill up again. In order to make this tedious chore more enjoyable, you’ve got to craft an efficient layout for your laundry area. It’s important that the room feels homey and comfortable and has a design that performs as beautifully as it looks.

Photo courtesy of transformhome.com

Biggest Mistake: Don’t get caught up in the “requirements of a typical home,” say the organizing experts at Transform. The basement used to be the main location for the laundry room, but now homeowners typically prefer to have this room located by the bedrooms, eliminating the hassle of hauling laundry up and down stairs. Some other popular areas include next
to the kitchen or in the mudroom. If you’re lucky enough to choose the location of your laundry room, be sure to place it where you feel it best. There is not a “right” answer.

 

Organizing Solutions: Storage is an important element to a happy and healthy home. A disorganized space can make you feel scattered and frustrated, especially in small areas like the laundry room. Custom cabinetry can help eliminate the mess. When designing storage in your laundry room, consider what else you can store easily in this space. It’s a convenient place for a linen closet. It’s also a popular spot for a utility closet.

And although this laundry room, like many laundry rooms, is small, it’s packed with commodities and designated work zones. Deep countertops provide ample space for sorting and folding laundry. Also, be sure to have space for hampers so you can sort your laundry. Keep drying racks or hanging rods and an ironing board in a separate area, so you can hang or iron garments as soon as they come out of the machine to avoid wrinkles.

 

Tips of the Trade: Be smart and pack as much functionality into your space as you can. This laundry room includes tilt-out hampers, a valet rod, drying rack, and an Omni wall track allowing convenient storage and access to larger outdoor or household items such as shovels, brooms, mops, and dustpans.

 

Design Ideas: A touch of color can transform your workspace into a bright and cheery sanctuary. This design includes blue metallic, high-gloss cabinets with white glass inserts and modern, polished-chrome hardware. Flat, Shaker-style doors and drawer faces are very easy to clean. The high-gloss finish is a plus since it can be easily wiped down, as well.

 

Photo courtesy of California Closets

A Cool Closet

First Thing to Consider: Before you get started, think about who is going to be using the closet, should there be drawers, how much hanging space is available, and what special things—a safe, laundry storage, design touches—should be added. 

 

Biggest Mistake: Rushing into a decision and not thinking about what you need. Take your time and come up with a plan that will serve you for years. 

 

Organizing Solutions: Purge before you get started. “[With] almost every closet, we’re starting with a raw, empty space, so be selective as to what is going in that space,” says Chris Reynolds, sales manager at California Closets. Also consider how much you can fit into your closet. “[With] small closets [we] generally try to cram a lot more in and maximize shoe storage, hanging, if [you] need a dresser, and do you need drawers?” says Reynolds. “I like to group [things]; everything should have a home. Cubbies work well for women’s shoes outside of [their boxes], and containers are great for staying organized. We [also] offer accessories like belt and tie racks, drawer dividers, jewelry inserts, garment/valet rod to help keep a closet organized.”

 

Tips of the Trade: Don’t be afraid to be bold and choose something other than white. You should also think about lighting, Reynolds says. A big part of the reason the design of this closet is so successful is the accent lighting. 

 

Design Ideas: Color and lighting are often overlooked. “If you have bad lighting, it doesn’t matter how beautiful you make the closet,” says Reynolds. 

 

Photo courtesy of transformhome.com

A Functional (and Fashionable) Garage

First Thing to Consider: It’s important to understand that getting organized is an ongoing process that requires a determined mindset and an accumulation of good habits, suggest the experts at Transform. When approaching your garage, figure out why you are holding onto certain items and ease your way into the process by cleaning one section at a time. Once you de-clutter, you’ll need to think about storage for the items that are left.

 

Biggest Mistake: Using materials that won’t stand up to everyday abuse and not considering what you need to store and what you will be using your garage for. The experts at Transform recommend scratch-resistant aluminum finishes for cabinets and hardware. Since deep, reinforced wall shelves are designed to hold heavy items, you should also consider doubling up on thickness. Rock-hard mica countertops withstand wear and tear. Durable epoxy floors were chosen for this project; they are moisture resistant and easy to clean.

 

Organizing Solutions: Some great storage solutions in the garage include fully adjustable wall track systems; strong overhead custom shelving; deep, reinforced wall shelves; custom-designed workbenches; and high-quality cabinets. 

 

Tips of the Trade: Think about what you need to store before you get started. Contain baseballs, mitts, helmets, and other such items with hanging wire baskets. A fully adjustable wall track system is great for hanging bikes, shovels, yard tools, hoses, extension cords, and more. Shelves—both overhead and on the wall—are great for large, bulky items, and they free up floor space. 

 

Design Ideas: If you have the space, consider incorporating a workbench. This one comes with durable aluminum shelf-edge protectors, aluminum grill inserts in cabinet doors for ventilation, leveling legs, a mica countertop with ample workspace, and LED task lighting. High-quality cabinets are also important in a highly trafficked garage, as they resist dings and dents. 


Interior designer, Wendy Srauss of Strauss House Designs.