originally from HGTV.com by Liz Gray

Your house may look clean, but these common organizing mistakes can make it hard to maintain order. Professional organizers share their top pet peeves and how to solve them.

The Mistake: Keeping Counters Too Clear

Once you’ve cleared off what doesn’t belong on the kitchen counter, don’t forget to leave room for things you use every day. If you make daily smoothies, make a spot for the blender. It’s easier to keep the surfaces clean and organized if you have what you need at hand and everything has a designated spot.

The Mistake: A Full Refrigerator

“A big, messy focal point is a refrigerator tacked with magnets and reminders and notes and letters and photos and wedding invitations and art projects and shopping lists,” says professional organizer Jeni Aron. “Instead, keep one clipboard on your kitchen wall with all of the reminders and lists you need. When the clipboard is full, that’s your maximum number of papers you can keep.”

message-centerThe Mistake: Using the Fridge as a Message Center

Another reason to skip the note-filled refrigerator? No one will read it! “You think everyone will see it, but actually no one does. They’re just going for a drink,” says professional organizer Linda Rothschild. “Households need a place where people go for messages or mail or permission slips…an area where everyone knows things are kept.” A built-in bulletin board, is the perfect solution.

The Mistake: Stuffing Kitchen Cabinets

Getting organized means making good decisions about what to keep and what to let go of, starting on the inside of the cabinets,” says professional organizer Linda Rothschild. Take everything out and take stock. If you’re not using it, let it go.

organized-entryway

The Mistake: A Non-Functional Entryway

An entryway offers a home’s first impression, but it’s often covered with coats, backpacks, shoes and more. The solution? “Rearrange the coat closet in the entryway where kids can hang things,” offers professional organizer Alejandra Costello. “Or put a basket by the door to toss shoes inside. If the shoes can just make it inside, it can make a huge difference.”

The Mistake: Skipping By-the-Door Paper Storage

Give everything a home, even the mail. “Even stacks of mail need a place to live. Find a crate, box or door or wall pockets where you can place the mail when you get home. Then later when you have 10 minutes, sort it out,” says professional organizer Alejandra Costello. Design by Toni Hammersley

The Mistake: Choosing Closet Form Over Daily Function

We all dream of a chic walk-in closet, but think about what you really use before devoting tons of space to baubles and high heels. “Things you wear on a regular basis need to be accessible,” says professional organizer Linda Rothschild. “If you go running everyday, those shoes should be in the front,” she says. Wear boots to work? Keep those out and stow away heels. Being realistic about your real-life closet needs makes it easier to keep the space neat. Image courtesy Rakku Designs

The Mistake: Out-of-Order Containers

Throwing your stuff in a box or drawer doesn’t make it organized. “Every drawer, cabinet and shelf is a container, but consider taking it a step further by using additional containers within those storage areas to organize your things even more. Use bins, baskets, cups, tin cans, stackable bins and dividers to help keep your items better contained and visually appealing,” says professional organizer Vanessa Hayes.

The Mistake: Stocking Up on Storage Bins

Professional organizer Nancy Heller’s top pet peeve? Too many storage bins! “They don’t use the space efficiently, so they end up sitting in the corner, collecting dust,” she says. Instead, search your home for containers you already have. “Use salad bowls…put dog’s toys in one, some Tupperware in another. Put shoeboxes in your drawers and tidy up the shoeboxes when you have a chance.” Bonus: You’ll save money, too!

labelsThe Mistake: Skipping Labels

“Bins are fine, but they need to be space-efficient, properly labeled and specific,” says professional organizer Nancy Heller. “Leave a little extra space, but don’t throw a mismatched glove in there because there’s room. A label helps you halt and say, ‘oh, this doesn’t go here.'” Design by Cas Aarsen

The Mistake: Scattered Collections

When styling bookshelves, small pieces look more dramatic (and less cluttered) when grouped with like items. “Collections of vases showcase what you love, versus having one on the coffee table and two on the end table. It doesn’t look cohesive,” says professional organizer Nancy Heller.

The Mistake: Displaying Every Book You Own

“Don’t put paperbacks or the ones that got wet on vacation out. If you have a good collection of books, you don’t need to display paperbacks. You have to be able to let go,” says professional organizer Linda Rothschild.

The Mistake: Packed Bookshelves

Displaying only books you love leaves breathing room and space for decorative accessories. “I always go for balance. I’m fond of telling people when your bookshelf is 80 percent full, it’s really full,” says professional organizer Nancy Heller.

The Mistake: Letting Laundry Linger

When the laundry room is downstairs, piles of un-folded clothes can accumulate. “It’s all about just doing it right away,” says professional organizer Alejandra Costello. “Don’t do laundry unless you have enough time to finish it. When you’re ready to fold it, take it out of the dryer and put it away right then.”

The Mistake: Packed-Full Rooms

“Too many chairs, couches, tables and decorative items can quickly make a room look cluttered and feel closed-in,” says professional organizer Vanessa Hayes. “Selecting just a few pieces can open up a space and make it feel more relaxing and peaceful.”

under-bed-storage

The Mistake: Messy Under-Bed Boxes

Under-bed storage is a great space-saver, but exposed boxes and bins can make a bedroom look cluttered. The fix? “Add a bedskirt, or make the stuff on the edges of the bed look more contained or organized,” says professional organizer Alejandra Costello. Or, opt for a bed with built-in under-bed storage like blogger Erin Hiemstra did here.