Please Help Me Get Organized!!

Updated on March 01, 2011
S.J. asks from Cherryville, MO
13 answers

We have about 1100 square feet for a growing family and I need to get organized. I want to do this on my own and not hire someone so I need ideas. My main areas of concern:

- clothing closets - Of course the easy solution is to get rid of everything, but I am not sure society would accept our constant nudity. I have downsized as much as possible but still cannot fit everything. Our closets are so small that my hubby (who doesn't like to shop at all) has our bedroom closet all to himself. I have the hall closet and share a closet with the new baby. I have to run from room to room to get dressed. I also store off season clothes in the basement. Suggestions?

- the basement - it is full of things we don't have room for upstairs - extra furniture, toddler beds we will use in the future but not yet and don't want to buy new, clothes, our computer desk and computer, storage containers w keepsakes, washer/dryer, off season items like Christmas trees and decorations - it is crammed full.

- the linen closet - full of necessary OTC meds for kids and us, and it is also the only place to store our bath towels, but we can only fit about 6 towels at once - the rest must remain downstairs until ready to use.

- the kids' games/puzzles/toys

Any suggestions to help me organize my problem areas and the house generally would be greatly appreciated!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Columbus on

Go to I started a few weeks ago on her plan (it's FREEEE!) and my house looks better than ever. She talks so much about decluttering and simplifying and giving everything a proper place. Take a look and see what you think.

Also, I think Amom2 is thinking about space bags maybe?

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Portland on

We lived in a place with TINY closets and I tried a ton of ways to make more things fit. My favorite closet solution in our house was using hanging shoe racks to store folded clothes. I bought ours from ikea (cheap like $3!) hang them in the closet and put your folded clothes/towels on them. Takes up the space of about 4-5 hanging items but you can put about 20+ items on them. Woohoo!!
They also have a lot of under the bed solutions. The best way to get organized is to use your space more efficiently. Check out Not necessarily to buy anything, just so you can "borrow" some of their cool ideas!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Check out Basically, you can't organize clutter you have to get rid of it. Be ruthless is what you keep. If you don't need it and love it, out it goes. That's step one, and we all have to do it, all the time. Even if you think you will eventually use everything you have, you won't really, so get rid of it. Once you have only what you actually need, then pick storage areas by function. For example, your in-season clothes belong in your room. Your hubby HAS TO scale down his clothing and make room for yours in your room, it's as simple as that - use dressers, closets, under bed storage etc. My husband had a ridiculous amount of clothes so I just started to clear out things without saying anything (after years of asking and getting no cooperation) and made room for what I needed. He was annoyed but really, he's never short on clothes so he knows that I was right. Use shelves and boxes to maximize space (stack boxes so that shelves are full). Most if us have bathrooms full of cleaning products we don't use or like, soaps and shampoos that we'll never use, old curling irons, etc. Use that stuff up or toss it, and use only general-purpose products to eliminate clutter under your vanity and kitchen sink and give you room for storing other things.

Believe me when I say that I know your pain - our current house is 1,100 square feet and there are six of us - four kids ages 5-13 plus DH and me. We finished half of our basement so we had to get rid of a ton of stuff in the past year and consolidate our storage to half of the basement. I don't miss a single thing that we tossed. We have OK storage here (two bedrooms have closets that have double doors and the 3rd bedroom has a single door closet, plus we have a small utility closet in the hall and a linen closet in the bathroom) but our old house was even worse. It was 868 square feet with two closets in the whole house and no kitchen cabinets lol. Talk about no storage...

Anyway, check out for some inspiration. You can do this!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Yes, do check out You won't be disappointed.

You might try something like this for the bathroom to clear room in the linen closet for kids' games/puzzles/toys, and other lesser needed items on top (keep OTC meds up top). Keep towels under bathroom sink. Use up all cleaning stuff and start using less items to clean. (You can clean nearly anything in the house with baking soda, white vinegar, and lemon juice.)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Have you thought about using one of those towels stands that fit behind and over the toilet tank? They actually hold alot of towels. I loved the one I had . The 'Space Bags' are also a great thing (for off season clothesand blankets),you can get them pretty reasonable @ Big Lots or even Walgreens/CVS. Sometimes you can get a real bargain for a large amount on the actual TV commercial. My house is very old (86 yrs old)small, and I have 1 linen closet in the bathroom, a small closet in the Middle bedroom and a larger closet in the small bedroom. I have NO closet in my room ! Over the door hooks work great for clothes you know you're gonna wear soon/ coats, and maybe you could use a clothes rack if there is room. Make use of the floor space in the closet,too. They also have some special hanger tools that are supposed to minimize the space you hanging clothes take up in the closet, but, I can't remember what they are called !Just a few suggestions, hope this helps ! C. S.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Harrisburg on

1. Get a suction bag (don't remember the right name) and pack the clothes you don't wear regularly in that OR

2. Get plastic bins and store them

Get rid of some of the kids toys, the ones they don't really use as much

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

I wish we were neighbors-I would come over and help you! Check out the Container Store-online-and see if you get inspired!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

line the entire basement with storage shelves. Purge every single tub BEFORE you place it on the shelves. If the item has not seen the light of day in the past 12 months, then it's out of the house!

All of the other posters had excellent ideas. I personally use the over-the-door shoe holders for many different applications: on the basement door for all of the misc household items, craft supplies, my son's room for all of his little bits & pieces & collectibles. They're handy & compact, & I find that by using these storage units - I have more drawer space!

I recently gutted my front hall closet (the coat closet). I have a storage tub on the floor for all coveralls. I have a storage tower (with drawers) for all winter supplies: the gloves, scarves, & hats. The shelf holds all of our life jackets & boating supplies. The corners hold the bat bag which has all of our sports equipmt in it. It was amazing how categorizing the closet contents made organizing so much easier! It's no longer a jumbled mess!

I also utilize underbed storage. I am very careful to think twice about keeping stuff if I have to get down on my hands/knees just to stash the stuff! It really helps me eliminate rather than store!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

i also asked this question a few days ago. One thing I found very helpful that I have done is I took a heavy plastic magazine holder that was sturdy and put all of my kids baby albums in one. I used another one for photo albums. It saved a lot of space and i was able to store these in a cabinet where they won't get ruined. I hold on to all sorts of stuff and throw stuff out/take it to good will all the time yet it still piles up when I turn my head. I just bought a clear container for my scrap booking pages. I am going to buy some more for the kids papers/artwork.The thing I have a hard time with is the breakables the kids make me in school. i display them and don't want to ever take them down. Some are in my curio cabinet and some in my hutch. The drawers are full of all different things. I go through them periodically but it never stays tidy. Yet I know right where things are when I need them. I have a knact for that!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

Closets: We actually had someone build an additional closet in our bedroom when we got married. Now we each have one. But, if that's not feasible, you can buy another rod to hang from the top one to hang more clothes. You could buy under the bed rolling storage for folded clothes or shoes. Also, you'd be amazed at how much more room with skinnier (wire) hangers.

Basement: That's what they're for right? I put up all plastic shelving units and bought big tubs for storage. If you have the money, you could put things in a storage unit...

Linen Closet: Mine is small too! I fold my bath towels long ways, then roll them, that seems to fit more. My linen closet is in my bathroom, so I put an over the door hanger with 5 hooks up and hang our robes on that. I put up additional hooks on the wall so that there is one for everyone's towel. I have bath/hair essentials in a basket in closet and keep first aid/OTC meds in labeled empty wipes containers.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

sounds like my house. We also have 1000 sq ft house with family of 5. kids ages 18, 15, and 11. Small closets and no place to put things. Toys are in storage drawer/bins. they hold a lot and more organized than toy boxes. We have one of those shelf units over the toilet. It has 3 shelves and holds tons of towels. half our basement has shelves wall-to-wall and store a lot on those shelves. All the beds have organizers underneath. I have one under my bead for all my sweatshirts and slide it out to the side when I need a shirt. I don't put the lid on it so I can slide it easier and don't have to take it completely out to get the lid off. I also store my dress shoes under the bed at the foot of the bed. It is easier to find them than to sort through a big pile in the closet floor.

In the boys closet we put another rod in it.. halfway between the top one and the floor. Oldest son's clothes are on top rack and youngest son on bottom rack. It worked well when they were smaller but now the top clothes are hanging over the bottom ones and sometimes shirt tails get stuck under hangers but it works. Otherwise we wouldn't fit both boys clothes in one closet without the 2 poles.

have few kitchen cabinets. so use a drawer organizer. I have one drawer for utensils that mainly gets used for cooking--big spoons, spatula's, etc.
2nd drawer is for baking utensils--measuring cups/spoons, cookie cutters, and anything else you use for baking. 3rd drawer has mixer, and several misc items. I have a shelf in the basement for all the kitchen appliances like crockpot, deep fryer, blender, and other appliances that don't get used everyday. I have a med size bin in the floor of the pantry that holds all the lids.
We use one of the big little tyke type plastic toy boxes to store blankets. You can cram a lot of blankets into those big toy boxes and doesn't take up your closet space and they are bulky and don't stay on shelves very well.

we use an old dresser that is also in the basement to store movies in. They are easy to find and each drawer holds a lot of DVD's.

roll your t-shirts and jeans.. you can fit a lot more in the drawers when they are rolled.

can store camera tri-pods and other narrow things behind the couch. No one will see it and can utilize a little space behind your couch if it is against a wall. That won't work well if your couch is in the middle of the room like open space rooms.

I store meds above the refrigerator in baskets. Little kids can't reach them and the basket hides where no one knows what's in it.

Go through your closets.. If things haven't been worn for a year then get rid of it. If you haven't worn it in a year, you probably won't ever wear it again.
My husband and I share a 6 foot closet. He has half and I have half.

work at putting things away right after you are done using it. It helps to keep everything in it's place and organized if everyone would put things away as they use them.

Good luck getting orgainized.. It is a challenge with a small house.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

You really need less than you think...from clothing to toys. DOWNSIZE, donate, sell & toss. I'm not a believer in keeping things for use "down the road"!



answers from Minneapolis on

We are in a similar situation without a basement! You have to look at every cubic inch in your home and ask if it is serving a purpose. Are you utilizing all of your drawers, cabinets, dressers, etc. the best they can? Can you hang additional shelving in the closets? Using space under the beds? Back of doors?

We use a shoe caddy behind the playroom door to hold play items like necklaces, dr. toys, baby doll accessories. Use one in the laundry room for scissors, tape, misc. items (non kid stuff up high).

We use the drawers in the TV armoire (we still have a boxy tv) for the girls' clothes (keeps me from having to go upstairs to change them OFTEN and for putting clothes away).

We installed shelves in the furnace room for anything that we don't use often enough but can't be stored in the garage.

We put shelves in the bottom of the cabinets in the bathrooms (put together ones from store).

We bought the cube storage units that stack (2 high....mounted to the wall) for toys. Buy the fabric bins. They hold many more toys than just the shelves and hide the clutter. It also allows us to rotate toys out for the baby and the 3 year old. When you can't see all the toys, there are less choices, making those toys more fun when you pull them out.

Towel rack for over the door in the bathroom. $20 at Target.

And keep getting rid of what you don't need and use. :)

Good luck!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions