10 Home Organization Must-Haves

Combat clutter by keeping these essentials on-hand—because your stacks of papers and overflowing closets and junk drawers aren’t going to organize themselves.

1. Hooks

Any hook you hang will get used. Nothing is better at getting gear off the floor—and designating a spot with a hook gives items that are easily misplaced a home (keys, coats, handbags).

2. Plastic storage bins

You can find a storage bin in any size to serve any need, from keeping chips fresh to stashing hand-me-downs. The organizational options are endless.

3. Staged desktop filing system

In that desktop pile there are three kinds of papers: urgent, not-so-urgent and file. (Toss goes straight into the recycling bin or shredder.) Instead of sorting through the pile every day or missing important dates, try a desktop filing system that allows you to sort by urgency, but doesn’t engulf your space. It’s short-term parking for the long-term file drawer. (Stratford Desktop Sorter, See Jane Work, $12.25, pictured right)

4. Shredder

For bills and statements that you don’t need to keep, a shredder ups your urge to purge, with the added comfort that anything you pitch won’t end up in the hands of identity thieves. (Fellowes Powershred P-48C 8-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder, Staples, $100)


5. Color-coded file system

It’s as simple as assigning color to category: blue=insurance; yellow=household; green=money. Makes filing and finding those important documents a breeze, especially when clearly labeled. Add some style with decorative, patterned folders. (File folders, Paper Source, $3-16)

6. Label maker

Forget the chicken scratch. A clearly printed label is easier to read and revise, and more visually uniform on your files. Use it instead of a permanent market to label your plastic storage bins, frozen foods, anything that needs marking. (Brother P-Touch PT-D200 Label Maker, Office Depot, $40)


7. A well-sorted, organized “junk” drawer

Every house has one. A drawer for the misfit items you need, but can’t seem to find a better home for. Empty and sort your drawer at least twice a year, and use drawer dividers for some semblance of order. (Silver mesh drawer organizers, The Container Store, $3-6)


8. Plastic-grocery-bag holder

Even if you bring your own eco-bags, chances are you’ve still got a stash of plastic shopping bags that seems to expand before your eyes. Try hanging a plastic bag holder on your pantry door or near the pet leashes. The bags become instantly manageable and accessible. (Grocery bag dispenser, Simple Human, $10)


9. Digital storage sites

Whether it’s iCloud for your music, Flickr for your photos, or Pinterest for your design ideas, there are a wealth of digital storage sites that take the burden off your hard drive and allow you to pitch the CDs.

10. A candid partner

We all need someone to tell us that a dress looks bad and needs to go. Some of us are hoarders and some obsessive purgers; together you can find a perfectly organized balance.