How to organize your stuff

Once a year, usually around spring time, I get this urge to sort through all my stuff and reorganize it. I throw things out, move things round and occasionally I’ll even move around my furniture. Since I went through another episode just yesterday and I am rather picky about organizing my stuff, I thought I’d share some of my tips with you.

The first thing you should know is that I live my life on 30 M2. That’s roughly 90 Ft2. That’s not a lot. I do have a separate kitchen and bathroom, but I eat, sleep, study, watch TV, read books etc. all in that one room. It also means that I store all of my shoes and clothes, books, CDs, records etc. in that one room. Over the years I have accumulated tons of stuff. I’m a pack rat by nature, which is why my organization urges come in handy. I think by now I’ve turned organizing my stuff into an artform. My room is filled to the brim with stuff, yet it doesn’t look cluttered (I think). Ikea is my best friend and pretty much all of my organization tips will be available from that store. I will provide links to products and add pictures if I couldn’t find a clear picture on their website.

Tip 1:

Use your wall space. The more you hang on walls and place in front of your walls the better. I got a new wardrobe over summer, which is so big that I had to figure out a different way of storing my CDs. In came Mr. Ikea with this brilliant solution (Lekberg). You can easily mount these on your wall (I have 5 of them) and it stores both CDs as well as DVDs. It comes in white (the one I have linked you to) and in black. Another clever way of storing CDs and DVDs is by using Ikea’s Benno series.

Tip 2:

Learn how to stack. Seriously. The more you can stick on top of things, the better. It does require some thought as you won’t want a box you may need to get into often to be at the bottom of your pile. However, that is just a matter of logical thinking. If you think that boxes are boring and will look crappy: they won’t. Again, Ikea (or any office supply/ decoration stores) for the win. I have a bunch of the Lingo boxes. They come in different sizes and colors, look cute and are ideal for packing away paper, magazines, tea, knitting materials, candles and much more! The colors differ per season.

Tip 3:

Organize your drawers. Drawers are brilliant, but can easily become messy when you just chuck things in there. I love the Skubb dividers. They used to have different ones, but I think they just changed the name and that’s it. They also have great organization dividers for make up called Anordna. You can find these in the bathroom accessories department and work like a charm. I just got myself some of these so I could pack my make up in a set of drawers I already owned, rather than the way I stored them before. They also come in different sizes and can even be mounted as a separate set of drawers.

Tip 4:

Don’t buy a regular book case, but buy shelf racks instead. You’ll be able to divide the shelves according to your liking and it makes your book case more versatile. I particularly love the IVAR series from Ikea. If you think the open book case looks cluttered, you can always add the additional doors that they also sell. Ivar comes in different sizes (height and width) and can be expanded on if needed. As you can see in the picture below, one of my Ivar bookcases stores books (also on top of the bookcase), 7″ and 12″ records. I have another one, which is smaller which holds books, storage containers, my printer and some other junk.

My double Ivar.

Tip 5:

Put your small stuff into boxes/ containers as well. The thing that makes spaces look cluttered is when things aren’t packed away behind doors/ inside of drawers. Luckily many office supply stores and also my beloved Ikea sell smaller containers that make life easier and allow you to pack away your things in such a way that they are easy to reach, yet packed away at the same time.

Ikea Mackis CD storage unit (x2)

Plastic drawers

The kind of drawers you see in the pictures above are ideal for storing small things. I used to store my make up in those plastic drawers. Now it houses my medicine cabinet, as well as some other stuff. The wooden CD storage units hold my nail polish collection. Actually they are CD organizers, which I got from Ikea over fall. However, I cannot find them on their website anymore, so I don’t know what happened to that. If you’re curious though, I put the name of the unit under the picture.

Tip 6:

Keep things together that belong together. My biggest pet peeve is when I can’t find something. Usually I can’t find something, because it is not stored with similar items. And also, I’m lazy, which means that I don’t want to have to walk to the other end of my room to grab something so I can get started on something. Categorize your items. For instance, I store the CDs I really like and still listen to in the Lekberg CD organizers mounted on my wall. Then I have soundtracks, jazz, Backstreet Boys CDs and other categories in Benno CD cases and then I store the ones I don’t listen to anymore but which I just can’t get myself to get rid off either in another CD case in a different corner of my room. This way, if I feel like listening to a certain kind of music, I’ll know exactly where to go and I won’t have to search through stacks of CDs.

I do the same for clothes and shoes. I cannot begin to tell you how exciting I was to finally store all of my clothes and shoes into one wardrobe when I bought my Pax wardrobe over summer. My old one was crappy and falling apart, and not all of my stuff even fit in there! So I bought a bigger and better one over summer and I still have space left. Woohoo! I picked the one with the mirror as the mirror would make my room look more spacious and with it being huge, I just thought it would be prettier as well. The doors also slide, which makes it perfect for a smaller space.

Tip 7:

Be creative! A little creativity will go far. My greatest find of the decade would be my jewelry rack. I was storing my jewelry also some of those plastic drawers pictured above. The only downside was that my bangles didn’t fit into the drawers and my necklaces got all tangled up. I decided to search online for a jewelry rack, but those things are a) expensive and b) the majority only store earrings. Then I was searching on the Ikea website again and found the Kroken series. It is actually a kitchen utensils organizer with a spice rack and a paper towel holder, but I immediately though it would make a great jewelry rack. Here’s what I turned it into:

Kroken series as jewelry rack

All I needed were a few extra nails in the wall for my longer necklaces and I have an instant jewelry rack. I put my bangles on a paper towel holder, hung my earrings from a spice rack (which also holds my watches and my rings!) and hung my bracelets and necklaces from the hooks that you can also buy in the series.

So there you go! My organization tips!

Q: do you have any other tips for room organization?

Q2: If you’d like to see what my room actually looks like, I could do a room tour video some time this week if you’re interested. Just let me know in the comments below.

7 responses to “How to organize your stuff”

  1. Oh when it comes to those things, I am really bad. I have never had a space issue, so never had to be creative in that sense. Our house is pretty big and I always think that less is more. I don’t like to stack things, don’t like too many things on the wall or anything. What I do think is that you should really clean up every now and then. Think if you have used something in the past 3-6 months, if no: throw it out or pack a box which you store in a cellar or inside a closet where it’s out of sight. I can’t stand clutter, so everything that is visible in our home are things that look nice or things that we actually use on a daily or weekly basis.

  2. Wow, heel slim gedaan!! 😀

    Ik bewaar in de zomer mijn winterkleren buiten de garderobekast (dan past de rest tenminste beter!) Ik doe ze in van die doorzichtige plastic opbergboxen in de zolderkast. Dat is echt zo’n plek waar ook de kampeerspullen en rugzakken enzo terechtkomen. Eerst stopte ik ze in een verhuisdoos, maar dan weet je al gauw niet meer wat je hebt. Die boxen zijn wat dat betreft veel handiger. Gewoon van de Blokker, maar je hebt ze ook bij de Xenos, Hema, Ikea. In de winter doe ik uiteraard hetzelfde met de zomerkleren!

    In de bijkeuken staan drie van die grote plastic shoppers voor oud papier, glas en plastic. Eens in de zoveel tijd draag je die naar de bakken, en je hoeft niks om te pakken! Een oud vuilnisemmertje zonder deksel heb ik voorzien van een uitgeprint biohazard-symbool, daarin gaat het klein chemisch afval, grinnik 😀 In dezelfde bijkeuken staat al het wasmiddel op een plank aan de muur, zodat het aanrecht niet vol staat. Heel handig zijn ook al die oude keukenkastjes in de bijkeuken, daar zit van alles in, van gereedschap tot plastic zakken!

    O ja, voor mijn schoenen wilde ik een keer deze aanschaffen Alles in losse schoenendozen is namelijk erg rommelig en onoverzichtelijk :-S en uit deze dozen kun je tenminste je schoenen halen zonder dat je de doos ertussenuit moet trekken!

  3. Tja.. Ik gooi gewoon véél weg! Alleen schoolzooi vind ik nog al eens lastig, omdat je dat vaak moet bewaren, maar er niks mee doet. Vreselijk vind ik dat! Ook om alles makkelijk terug te vinden… (dan heb ik het niet over zelf getypte verslagen natuurlijk, die kun je opnieuw uitprinten, maar boeken, stencils, losse papieren, schriften met aantekeningen… TROEP)

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