how to Arrange your home

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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. Image courtesy Mullet Cabinetry

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: Shopping First, Organizing Second

"The biggest mistake I see is that people think buying a bunch of organizing products will solve their clutter nightmares, but it usually just adds to the frustration, " says professional organizer Vanessa Hayes. "Instead, you need to edit your stuff first, then decide on products to help you organize what's left." That way, you'll buy only what you need.

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. Design by Brian Patrick Flynn

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. Design by Jennifer and Kitty O'Neil

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. Design by Jennifer and Kitty O'Neil

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." Design by Toni Hammersley

The Mistake: Stuffing Small Spaces

"Be realistic about the space you have and how you use it, " says professional organizer Nancy Heller. "If you are in a small home, you really have to be realistic about how much you can really have there without it being cluttered and overwhelming." Opt for hidden storage under the bed or stairs, but know when to minimize your stuff, too. Image courtesy Matroshka Furniture

The Mistake: Being Spontaneous

When it comes to organization, predictability rules. "I am a firm believe of putting things in the same place all the time, " says professional organizer Kendra Stanley. "My checkbook is in the same place. My wallet's in the same place. Flashlights, tools, everything in the kitchen — put things back in the same place every time. You'll condition yourself to be organized." Design by Brian Patrick Flynn


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