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Real Simple Solutions for
an Organized & Efficient Home

by | Jan 21, 2010 | Decorating Inspiration, Organization

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Real Simple Solutions for <br>an Organized & Efficient Home

Martha Stewart

I love the idea of an attractive, organized and efficient home. I’ll admit I am not the most organized person, but I do get inspired by the thought and creative potential of being organized! Here are some ideas we actually use at my house, and some that I am definitely going to try!

Real Simple Solutions for <br>an Organized & Efficient Home

This is such a pretty way to organize small things a drawer. So much classier than those expensive plastic dividers. I have quite a few lovely little teacups and saucers that I am just not using in my decor right now. Brilliant to use them in a drawer for jewelry instead of leaving them sitting in a dark cabinet!

Real Simple Solutions for <br>an Organized & Efficient Home

Martha Stewart

Color coding white towels? Yes! We use white towels at our house. We tried using different colors of towels for each family member, but I hated the bleached out hand prints on towels from teenagers using facial cleansers.

With white towels, we can keep them looking good with some bleach. To color code the towels, I love the idea of sewing on a simple colored tab or ribbon to distinguish whose towel it is. Plus, hanging the towels by s simple tab makes it more likely they will stay on the hook and allows them to dry quickly.

Real Simple Solutions for <br>an Organized & Efficient Home

Speaking of towels, putting several rods or hooks on the back of a door gives you more hanging space and keeps the walls from looking cluttered with used towels.


Real Simple Solutions for <br>an Organized & Efficient Home

Martha Stewart

This idea caught my eye. Our kitchen towels are always slipping off the rod onto on the floor or falling off the counter into the sink. Then they are yucky and I have to rewash them. Velcro is pure genius.

Real Simple Solutions for <br>an Organized & Efficient Home

Real Simple

This just makes my heart go pitter patter.
Organized photos on discs, filed in date order. Need I say more? Got to get on this one.  We still have a ton of prints that are not digital so I have my work cut out for me. Here are some tips from Real Simple on photo discs and organization.

Real Simple Solutions for <br>an Organized & Efficient Home

Martha Stewart

My mom has a hanging rack like this with hooks on it for utensils. Anytime you can get something attractive out of a drawer and up on a wall to save space and make it more accessible, I’m all for it.

I use a white pitcher on my counter for my wooden spoons and any utensils that are pretty. It definitely cuts down on drawer clutter.

Real Simple Solutions for <br>an Organized & Efficient Home

Real Simple

Oh, how I love notebooks.

I have what I call a home management notebook (because I like to sound all fancy), but I keep it pretty simple and don’t store more than is necessary in it. I know keeping calendars and doing everything possible on line (using google calendars, for instance) can save time and money, but to be honest, I do everything I can to GET OFFLINE whenever possible (for my sanity!).

I like the look and feel of notebooks and paper instead of always using a computer.  I like to write with real colored ink instead of typing everything. I have purple and green pens that make me very happy!

My home management notebook contains my calendars, various important notes and organizational things I need to keep track of

What are your biggest organizing struggles at home? I think mine is definitely paper.

Need more ideas?
Stylish ideas for home organization

Weekend project: great organizing ideas

Clever Home Office Solutions


  1. Lori

    Paper, definately. And unfortunately all 4 of us seem to have that same compulsion so it is really bad! Thanks for the ideas. Love the Velcro on the towel

  2. Myra

    Love, love, love these ideas! Especially the white towels with tabs, and the velcro-ed towel over the oven bar! How awesome!

    Fabulous post!!!!!

  3. Jackie

    Ditto. Paper can be a pain.

    All these ideas are so wonderful.

  4. Gena

    Wonderful ideas and great inspirational pics from Martha Stewart. Have to agree with you on notebooks and diaries … although I use the Outlook calender for ease of reference, I still keep a paper diary and day book for to-do’s and reminders etc. etc.
    Thanks & have a great day!

  5. Nanci

    Yes paper and recipes! A friend introduced me to notebooks for my clipped and copied recipes. I now have 2 notebooks with dividers for different categories (pasta, desserts, etc.) I hole punch or paste the recipe on paper and put in the notebook. Finally I can find what I want without sorting through a stack. I Love it!!!!

  6. Kimm at Reinvented

    I have a real problem with recipes. :) I have a drawer in my kitchen FULL of recipes that I’ve torn out of magazines, but when I’d like to try something new, I can never find what I want. I keep telling myself to find new recipes on-line only since there are so many resources, but I can’t resist the glossy pages of a magazine!

    • Melissa

      I hear ya! I have drawers full of recipes and even though I can easily find myself heading to, I prefer holding that recipe in my hand. I like shutting down the computer and just doing things the old fashioned way. Plus, I like getting my recipes all covered with eggs and flour. My computer doesn’t like eggs and flower on it. :-)

  7. linda

    Love this post…the images…the unique ideas (velcro on a stove towel…of course!) Thanks, girl!

  8. Chele

    I love these ideas! Especially the velcro on the towel! :) Thanks for sharing!

  9. Kathy

    I love having towels to match my bathrooms, but you are right. I have some that look horrible now because they got bleached from face stuff. I may just go with white when I go to get new ones!

  10. Nancy

    I think paper wins the gold medal for making me nutso. I have a file system but it never truly gets finished to completion. I love that notebook system for the kid’s art from the year. I need to do that. I put it in a file and then transfer it to a box at the end of the school year. This is way better and visible for all if needed. My silver place struggle is definitely photos. I am horrible with them. They stay on my computer. I need to burn them on a cd before my computer crashes. Thanks for all the tips.

  11. Tanya

    Thanks for the info. I am desperately trying to get organized as part of my New Year’s Resolution. I am overrun with paper!! Thanks for the links. Also, LOVE the velcro on the kitchen towel and the multiple towel bars in the bathroom. GENIUS!

  12. Sandy

    I think clutter is my biggest problem. I need to make more storage spaces in my smaller home. We’re plannng to re-do our mini office and add more cabinets and a useful countertop. I need to get started on the photo disc organization too.
    Love all your ideas! Once again, you’ve been inspirational, thx!!!

  13. Jeanne

    Fantastic! Truly inspiring….I am with you on Notebooks. It is a great way to start the day and I am very intrigued with the organisation of CD’s..that is my biggest struggle…I wish someone could come and organise my computer files. Maybe a future post???
    Jeanne :)

    • Melissa

      Oh, yeah, I need major computer and email organization. Maybe we need a support group. Or a series. 10 days to computer organization?

  14. black eyed susans kitchen

    Melissa, There are so many good ideas here! I have been using the notebook method to keep recipes and other magazine inspiration in order. It always makes me happy to go to the magazine book and look through years of ideas and pictures of fabulous rooms.

  15. Holly

    Great ideas! Paper is definitely a big issue for me too…looks to be nearly universal!
    Love the velcroed towel. My mom used to have kitchen towels that had a triangular crocheted top attached to them; you would fold the point over the oven handle and button it to keep it on. The vecro example looks less granny, though.
    .-= Holly´s last blog ..Life Lessons from an Apothecary Jar =-.

  16. Jai

    love the ideas .. especiaaly the towels and photos. my problem? the whole house … 3 boys, 2 tods … seems like i pare down & w/i a week or so, it all grows back! :)
    .-= [email protected]´s last blog ..Happy New Year! =-.

  17. Melanie

    I love me some organizing things. I love everything in its place. My favorite thing is the velco on the kitchen towels! I never thought about that. And that CD storage…Oh my! Yummy!
    .-= Melanie´s last blog ..Fresh Orange Italian Cream Cake =-.

  18. Gina

    I love these ideas, especially the towels. My kids have a tough time making them stay on the hooks, little ribbons or something would do the trick. I might have to try this one!

    And, we struggle with toys, toys, toys-at least right now, that’s the season we’re in.
    .-= Gina´s last blog ..Perceiving Time =-.

  19. Vee

    Paper…it’s always the paper. Perhaps you need to show us how to create a useful, attractive, destination for the dreaded paper. I have the feeling that it must involve a shredder. Lately, it’s just plain overwhelming to even look at the mail so perhaps you’ll need to include restful music and a tea pot. A valium dispenser?

  20. melissa*320 sycamore

    I LOVE all of these ideas, especially the towel ones! Now to actually implement them… :)

  21. Karen B

    Okay, so I have a problem with several of these things, paper, photos, recipes, yada yada yada. I have made great attempts at organizing, but it never seems to be finished. You answered a big question for me! I never knew what was making my DD2’s towels bleach out. I didn’t actually look for the answer, but I bet you’re right! I don’t use face wash and she does! Question answered! Thanks so much!
    .-= Karen B´s last blog ..UFO Finally Done =-.

  22. kathysue

    Great post, I love the jewelry in the pretty cups. Why not have pretty containers to organize items. I did a post the other day on towels that you might enjoy taking a look at. I also have a link to Neiman Marcus for their pink sale and you can get white or colored towels with a monogram for under$12 ea. I stock up every few years. I am an only white towel girl myself. Oxy is my new best friend in the laundry room,Kathysue
    .-= kathysue´s last blog ..What COLOR Are YOU?? =-.

  23. The Stylish House

    The baskets in the 1st photo are a neat idea! I’m currently doing a major clean up on my basement, so this is good motivation. I think it would be so much easier if Martha S. would just drop by for a visit and work her magic.
    .-= The Stylish House´s last blog ..Powder Room Makeover & Crown Moulding Tips! =-.

    • Melissa

      Agreed. We need Martha. Stat.

  24. Cottage Dreamers

    I’m terribly unorganized with pretty much everything! I love the idea of colored ribbons on the towels. With five kids in the house, that’s always been a pain in the neck!
    .-= Cottage Dreamers´s last blog ..Happy days! =-.

    • Melissa

      Oh, yeah you definitely need those colored ribbons for your towels!! You’ll cut way down on laundry!!

  25. teresa

    Oh Man, I love how the photos are organized! That really has me thinking I need to get to work! This is the year. =)
    You are sweet, thanks for sharing wonderful ideas.
    Happy Day!
    .-= teresa´s last blog ..Adding piece by piece- =-.

  26. the BLAH BLAH BLAHger

    Paper…I’ve got a mail issue. Because I pay my bills online, when I get them in the mail, I keep them for “shredding”, but do I EVER do that? No, they sit in a pile until I move that pile to another pile, and then company comes over and the pile goes into a secret cupboard, then several months later, I toss them. I’m a DISASTER!

    • Melissa

      LOL. That is exactly what happens at my house. I need someone to come shred for me. I need to shred myself too, come to think of it. Haven’t done my video workout in like six months. Meh. Disaster is right.

  27. Michelle

    Fabulous ideas! Now if I would get off the computer and actually do some of them I would be doing great, LOL!!!

  28. Stephaine

    Oh my goodness…i am in love with those baskets!
    Thank you once again for inspiring me!

  29. Cathy

    We color code our towels here too! Mainly because some folks around here used to grab the best towels to dry off our dirty wet puppy.
    Tan for bathrooms.
    White for cleaning.
    Color for outdoors, going to the gym, and drying off muddy dogs.

  30. gina

    Oh I love the towel racks on the BACKS of the doors- they would dry so much faster than they do on the hooks we have now on the backs of the girls’ doors!! Thanks for the great idea!!
    .-= gina´s last blog ..step one to becoming a gift wrapping guru… =-.

  31. Heathahlee

    Velcro…on kitchen towels! What a fantabulous idea!
    And I have to say I really like the peg board idea. We’ve got to do something in my kitchen soon or I’m going to run screaming from the room. That idea would be so good for keeping clutter off the counters!
    .-= Heathahlee´s last blog ..A Hero Once More….My Husband Rocks! =-.

  32. Eddie Ross

    I love the towel bar for hanging pots! Thanks for the remind to deal with the mess in my kitchen!

    Would also LOVE your support on the ELLE DECOR window I did for the Big Window Challenge this year with Apartment Therapy. Check it out at http://www.bigwindowchallenge com. As we all know, AT doesn’t make it easy, but you can vote TWICE a day, once online and the other by texting “1” to 89800.

    Your support means the world to me!!


  33. Crystal

    Oh, I thought I was the only one with those bleach marks from facial cleaner. If it does that to my towels, I wonder what it is actually doing to my teens faces? I am slowly turning to white towels everywhere in the house. Also, love that velcro kitchen towel.

    Clutter would definitely be my problem, including paper. We are remodeling a room to be a laudry room and craft room/office, hoping this will help :)

  34. Tammy

    I love the idea of the towel with the velcro….maybe I can find time to stitch some velcro on mine this coming week. Thanks for the ideas!

  35. Jean

    I like the triple towel racks! And I am with you about loving little notebooks and different pens. There is just something about being able to touch it that gives me satisfaction. My biggest dilema is how to store my craft/art/sewing supplies because of the low slanted ceilings in the closets in that room. I am always hunting for the items I need because my current system is not working. If I conquer this problem in 2010 it will be a good year! Thanks for asking.
    .-= Jean´s last blog ..Tablescape Thursday I love Dishes! How I store them =-.

  36. heidi

    Oh how I big ol’ sloppy heart organization ideas! ;)

  37. Melinda

    I love the white pegboard idea with the hanging baskets. We turned our garage into a playroom and will soon turn one corner into my office and craft space. I was trying to think of storage solutions that would look cute and I found one here!
    The paper storage is another problem. I like the binder idea that you showed. I plan on making one for my oldest when she goes to school next year to save papers.

  38. Tara


    I can never see enough posts about being organized! These are some gr8 ideas!
    .-= Tara´s last blog ..Surf’s Up Bedroom =-.

  39. Tia

    I like these ideas. My biggest problem is laundry. Ugh. I shudder just typing it.

  40. 31everything

    Clever Martha!
    .-= 31everything´s last blog ..NYC =-.

  41. Lesley

    I love organization. And I really love organizing things. And I’m really good at it…

    … And then…

    …there’s keeping things organized. I’m not so good at that. Even when things are beautiful and well organized and easy, I still struggle.

    .-= Lesley @ TheDesignFile´s last blog ..Pretty in pink — even in your living room =-.

  42. lorrie

    I am doing the basket orginization in my closet

  43. Lisa

    I know I’ve said this before but your blog inspires and energizes me with each visit. I LOVE your angle on things and your ideas! I soak it all in. THANK YOU!
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Meal of the Moment: Cheesy Ham Snuggles =-.

  44. Fifi Flowers

    LOVE the copper pots and pans… I think I may have to invest in some… I wish I would’ve gotten my All Clad in copper instead of stainless… le sigh!
    .-= Fifi Flowers´s last blog ..Fashionable Sofa Model… =-.

  45. Suzanne

    i love these decorations!

  46. girl, inspired

    So glad I stumbled onto your blog, it’s amazing! Really love the teacups as drawer organizers, so pretty! I’ll be back to visit again soon, xo
    .-= girl, inspired´s last blog ..have a glamorous weekend =-.

  47. Phaedra

    I agree with these posts and my main fight in my home has bben how to manage paper. I am such an information junkie and a confessed packrat, I am sad to say. SO I love the idea of using notebooks and will definitely have to try the home management notebook. Could be that is what I have been searching for all these years. : ) Great ideas and I am so motivated to get more organized now! Keep up the great work!
    .-= Phaedra´s last blog ..A poetic moment =-.

  48. N.

    I love the white towels with coloured tabs idea, but if you bleach the towels, what would you use for the tabs to prevent them from being bleached too? Love all of these organization ideas!
    .-= N.´s last blog ..Post-Christmas Reds =-.

    • Melissa

      Hmmm….thinking….mmm…maybe if you put the loops on with buttons, snaps or velcro or something you could detach if you wanted to bleach them?

  49. Christi at Charm & Grace

    Melissa, thank you so much for this terrific post. If there’s anything I need help with it is definitely organization. I have done a lot of organizing with my business out of necessity, but sometime my personal organization tends to slip by. Great tips.

    .-= Christi at Charm & Grace´s last blog ..A lump in the road…. =-.

  50. Alisa

    Paper is my biggest challenge, for sure.

    Thanks for the tips! I might have to try that velcro one.

  51. Rae

    My biggest struggle is with my crafting supplies. My table gets COVERED with them constantly. I have to set aside time every week to reorganize, and I still haven’t found a permanent solution. I think more drawers and less shelves is the answer, as my shelves get messy and overcrowded quickly!
    .-= Rae´s last blog ..Nature Watch: Hybrid Fruits =-.

  52. Alexis

    I live in less then 800 square feet in the most adorable beach front cottage, so everything has to be organized. I mastered the paper issue by doing the following: Get a PO Box. At the post office eliminate all the envelopes, junk and ads. You only bring into your home what you must have and I shred it every 30 days. Everything paper releated these days should be done online and you can request paper free billing. Keep all paper together in a organized fashion in a bill holder outside of view in a shelf or cupboard. I am not tempted to keep paper, you become more apt to shred it. My problem is I have a extensive jewelry collection from my Mom and I, and learning how to make it organized and attractive as well as available is a challenge. And those drat DVD’s-any ideas with getting those out of sight? My clothes have to be rotated every season in and out of storage as I only have (1) very tiny closet and no ladies, its not a walk in, LOL. I rotate and if I do not wear it , I send it to thrift within the end of the season. That helps me keep organized and my lovely little home picked up and neat.


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