Ask the Experts

Dear Organizing Coach: Too Many Toys, Too Few Closets

Three young children can easily blanket a small home with toys, clutter, and chaos – especially when there’s no designated playroom or closet for them. Here, learn how to make the most of hidden storage in even the tiniest home.

Q: “I live in a small townhouse with my husband and three kids, all under five years old. Their toys and discarded clothes litter every surface. How can I organize when we don’t have much storage space, but we do have lots of things?” — ACADHD


Hi ACADHD:

I feel your pain. Small spaces are often shared and must be multi-functional — living room, dining area, play space. It’s not easy to keep the clutter at bay. Here are some of my tried and true tips from the trenches!

1. Save space. Store. When we live in small spaces, we need to consistently edit and weed out our belongings. Change of seasons is a good time to sort through clothes, papers, and books. Then, pare down what’s not needed or used. In the process, take a hard look at what is living in your home. Can out-of-season clothing go into a storage unit? Can you donate some books or toys? Set up designated baskets or bins for each member of your family in a communal space such as the attic, basement, or garage. Make sure they are clearly labeled with each family member’s name to create natural and separate zones.

2. Use wasted air space. Wall-hung storage helps maximize space by keeping everything off the floor. Place hardly-used items up and out of the way while everyday items remain within reach. Try hanging pegboards (my favorite). They come in fun colors, are easy to put up, and provide space for little baskets filled with hard-to-organize stuff.

Hang clear shoe bags in closets, behind bedroom or bathroom doors. Repurpose them to store small toys, electric cords and wires, jewelry, socks and underwear — or any other loose items — for instant organization and better use of vertical space.

[Instant Download: Your Free Guide for Controlling Clutter]

3. Make storage multi-purpose. A good rule of thumb to follow is that most of your furniture should have more than one purpose. So, instead of a living room coffee table, purchase storage ottomans; swap out a regular bed for a platform one with drawers underneath. Or, replace your kitchen table chairs with a storage bench. In other words, multi-purpose pieces will instantly maximize your hidden storage space.

If you want more tips and tools to organize your home, visit orderoochaos.com.


Organization guru Leslie Josel, of Order Out of Chaos, will answer questions from ADDitude readers about everything from paper clutter to disaster-zone bedrooms and from mastering to-do lists to arriving on time every time.

Submit your questions here!

Leave a Reply