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Home By Design: Conquer the clutter and store it in style

By By Holley Price
WV Design Team
One way to organize household items is to categorize items for each member of the family — and personalize the containers.
Design a look that includes storage in nontraditional ways, like a serving tray, an old vase or an ottoman.
Covered boxes, compartment organizers and file containers come in a wide variety of colors and patterns to match any home design.
Wooden boxes and trays offer a unique “finished” look that provides plenty of storage options.
A wooden serving tray that holds an eclectic assortment of containers gives a home office both structure and visual appeal.

You made the big New Year’s resolution: get your home in order, everything in its place and a place for everything.

Now, it’s spring and the stacks of papers and piles of stuff still don’t have a home and you’re pretty certain they’re multiplying while you’re at the grocery store.

It’s time to tackle the clutter.

You will be amazed at how it will positively affect your stress level to have things in their place and after a few weeks of practice your family will be putting things where they belong without thinking twice about it.

Be creative when thinking of storage containers. You can use a metal bucket for magazines instead of a basket, or an old vase for a pen holder on your desk.

If you are a stacker (I proudly wave the stacker flag myself), embrace it, then come up with a clever way to contain it. I use antique trays and serving pieces for my magazines and papers.

A friend keeps all of her recipes in a huge mixing bowl of her grandmother’s. It makes her smile every day to see it on the shelf.

First things first, start in the kitchen, which seems to be a dumping ground for most families.

Move everything that doesn’t belong in a kitchen out, and put items into their respective spots (the kids’ backpacks to the mudroom or their bedrooms, magazines to the living room and the tangle of cords and plugs for who-knows-what to your desk space).

Next, clear off as much of your counter top as possible. Everyone loves their brightly colored stand mixer (they are sassy-looking), but are you really doing that much baking? Stash it in a cabinet or laundry room with your other rarely used pots, pans and appliances.

Clear counter tops, no matter how big the kitchen space, will make for a much calmer and cleaner feeling environment.

Moving on to the living room.

Put all of the remotes in a favorite box on the coffee table. They’ll be accessible but out of sight.

Stack your magazines in a copper tub or interesting wooden crate and place next to the chair you love to sit and read in. Ottomans with storage are great for blankets or board games.

Again, this puts the focus on having items near you but out of sight.

Storage is a breeze with low, rolling containers that slide under your bed for out-of-season clothes in the bedroom.

If you have bedside tables that have space for fabric-covered boxes below, you can stash reading materials in them and keep your drawers available for other necessities. Then you won’t have to shuffle through a pile of old magazines to find your lip balm in the middle of the night.

A small crystal bowl can hold reading glasses in style next to your lamp and alarm clock.

And finally, the dreaded home office — the belly of the storage beast, the dark cavern for lost projects, papers and photos.

Start with that knot of cords that you moved from your kitchen earlier, make sure you still have the device the cord goes to and then label it with duct tape or a label maker, if you have one.

Make a ring out of the cord and secure with a zip tie (that’s a small plastic fastener that looks like a mini belt) and toss all of the cords in a basket or drawer. This will save you an incredible amount of time and frustration.

Each family member should have their own area for papers, forms and information. They can be stored in open-top vertical file boxes or flat “in” box depending on how much deck space you have in your office.

If you have a file drawer or cabinet, use it for everything. Again, once you get used to putting things away, it will be life-changing.

I keep a small expandable file folder in my car for receipts for clients and tax purposes and it has made my monthly paperwork a snap since I’m not searching through pants pockets or under my car seat for receipts any longer!

There are great sources around town for storage items. My favorite is HomeGoods — they have covered boxes in all sizes, desk accessories, baskets, bowls, storage items and — if you hit it on the right day — maybe even the kitchen sink!

Michael’s is another great place, especially if you want to personalize your storage pieces. There are endless wooden boxes and trays, baskets and glass pieces that you can customize to fit your décor.

While you’re collecting your storage containers, try to think of interesting holders and look around your home for unused items that could be repurposed as storage pieces. You might even be able to get completely organized without spending a penny.

Go out, organize and conquer your little corner of the world.

Holley Price is the owner of Holley Price Interiors in Charleston. She can be reached at 304-421-1505 or by email at, on Facebook, and on Twitter: @Holley_Price.

Next week in “Home By Design,” Elizabeth Yeager Cross of Yeager Design and Interiors has the how-to on “layering” to make a room feel warm, cozy, and give it that finished look.

Send your design questions — and photos — for anyone on the WV Design Team to

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