10 Organizing Tricks I Learned from The Home Edit

A Beautiful Mess : Elsie Larson kitchenI am SO excited to share today's post with you! A few weeks ago, Clea and Joanna from The Home Edit came to my home to help organize my kitchen (and teach you some tips too!!!). They are Nashville-based professional organizers. I had coffee with them a few weeks before this and fell in love with them. 

Now, before I share my goals, you definitely need to see my (100% REAL not-one-thing-moved-or-edited) before pics, right? Here we go– 

Before So this space… not good. I knew it wasn't good and honestly, I didn't care. I planned to style it eventually and hadn't gotten around to it yet. So cluttered and messy. Not cute. 

BeforeHaha! This drawer was SO FULL of stuff that it could barely open. What's funny (and also really dumb) is that there were a bunch of other drawers and cabinets in the kitchen that had ZERO things inside them. 

I definitely just threw everything in there when we first moved in and intended to "fix it" later. 

What drew me to want to work with Clea and Joanna was LEARNING ALL THEIR SECRETS. If you've followed them on Insta, you know they are obsessed with organizing, and they make it look FUN. Like, really fun. And I needed some of that in my life. I figured you guys did too! 

So here are ten things I learned from working with The Home Edit! I hope you enjoy it. 

Useful organization ideas1. Don't be afraid to make a giant mess. 
I know it seems counterintuitive, but you have to take EVERYTHING out of your drawers, closets and containers to put them back in a more functional, organized way! Don't fear the mess. 

This is how my kitchen looked for most of the day before it was basically perfect later that night. 
 
MAKE A HUGE MESS. It's the only way to really see what you have and figure out what you want to keep!! 
 
Containers for organization
 2. Declutter as you go! 
In the past, I've pressured myself to declutter EVERYTHING before I organized. And because that first step is never truly complete, I never get as organized as I want to. 
 
When I worked with The Home Edit for the day, they taught me to declutter as we organized. There were lots of things hidden in my kitchen drawers that I didn't use, didn't need and didn't even know I had. And all those things were taking up space, making it more annoying to find the things I actually needed! 
 
Decluttering as we organized really worked for me because I was even more motivated to purge than usual since I had the big goal of completing the job THAT DAY and having a beautiful, organized kitchen by bedtime. So throwing out old, barely used or damaged items was easy as pie! 
 
Inside the kitchen drawers
When I posted this photo on Instagram, some people were calling me out for it being "unrealistic". But I have to say that after decluttering (MAJORLY) and finding new homes for the stuff we actually use, we now have WAY MORE drawer space. It's prettier, but most importantly it's easier to find things! 
 
3. Matching containers work miracles. 
Jeremy's spice collection looked OK before, but the mismatched containers weren't doing it any favors. And I'm not the kind of person who's going to throw away all of my spices and re-buy them all from one brand (wait β€“ AM I that person??). 
 
Anyway! Clea and Joanna found theses simple glass spice jars, they put all the spices into them (didn't have to miss one single spice!), and then labeled them and organized them by color. 
 
The Home Edit
 LOOK HOW PRETTY! 
 
4. Create special stations for your favorite things! 
This coffee cart (previously home to a random mishmash of kitchen items) makes me so incredibly happy. Instead of storing your things here and there, combine them by theme for a prettier and more functional space! 
 
Organized coffee cart
 5. Customize your pantry. 
My pantry is just a very tiny closet. It's nothing super special, but it's way better than nothing. And since Jeremy and I have been working hard on eating more fresh food and produce, we had a shockingly small amount of food in the pantry (but you should see our fridge – jam packed). It was honestly mostly things for kids who visit (mac and cheese and things like that), things I rarely use and snacks.
 
Inside the pantry
Since our shelves are small and deep, Clea found these long, narrow hyacinth bins that would take advantage of the depth. They are from Target and actually in the bath aisle! If you can't find what you're looking for in one department, just walk around the store! 
 
6. Label everything!
Okay you don't have to label literally everything, but as many things as you can. It reminds you where things go and acts as a set of instructions for everyone in your home. It also gives you guilt about shoving something in a bin that doesn't belong. (Tip: Keep your labels as broad as you need them to be so they are easy to maintain. Having a bin labeled "snacks" is a broad category and easier to keep up than something very specific like "dried fruit".)
 
Label everything
 The Home Edit makes these super cute handwritten labels! (Yes, the "pasta" word is actually a label they make, not handwriting!)
 
Thepantrylabelspasta
 7. Line your drawers with pretty paper. 
This little detail made my drawers SO much more special! We used Rifle wrapping paper and also extra wallpaper from my dining room to line the drawers. Look how pretty it is! It's super simple to install and since they don't match, it will be easy to replace when one inevitably gets messed up! 
 
Lining the shelves
 8. Double buy and then return. 
A lot of my hang up with organizing has been what to buy. Like, recently I drove to the other side of town to The Container Store and just walked around the store getting overwhelmed. I ended up buying one thing, and then when I got home, realized I needed (at least) two more. 
 
Something I learned from Clea and Joanna is to buy TOO MUCH and then return all the things you didn't use after the project is complete. This eliminates running back and forth to the stores, and it can also keep you motivated to actually complete the project since you'll want to get that return $ back!
 
Organized open shelving
 9. Store like with like. 
Before this organizing day, I had my blog styling stuff scattered between three rooms. Things like these paper straws and cute cloth napkins were almost impossible to find when I needed them. Now, it's all grouped together! SO MUCH BETTER. 
 
Organized cabinets
 10.  Function first! 
Not every drawer and space needs to be beautiful. Some are definitely going to be prettier than others and that's OK! 
 
Organized shelves
First, decide what you use most often. Prioritize those spaces and make them functional. Then, along the way you can choose which ones to make SUPER pretty and which ones to not worry about as much. We all have ugly drawers (that I'm not including photos of); it's OK! 
 
Everything has a place!
If you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comments!!! 
 
Huge thank yous so much to The Home Edit for helping me create this post and for making my kitchen 1 million times more organized and useful. xx- Elsie 
 
Credits//Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.
  • I loved this so much. Organizing and making things pretty just makes my heart go pitty pat.

    One tip to share is I”ve found that those pretty plasticy reusable bags that lots of stores sell (TJ Maxx, Michaels etc) for about $1 each make great drawer liners in the kitchen. There are lots of patterns available and they clean up well because they are plastic – never stain or get stuck to a shelf or drawer when something spills on them. You just cut off the logo and use the front and backs of the bags, cut to size.

  • thanks for this post, I loooove having an organised kitchen but very often it is messy. I read Marie Kondo last year and loved it. Made a huge difference to me. But not I realise some spaces, like certain kitchen cupboards need a bit more tlc. Its on my current to do list. I am finding it hard to get containers that I like and I think that has put me off a bit. But seeing your post just gave me some motivation. Planning to clear out the cupboard to see what I have and want to keep and then analyse what size container I will need. Def going to use your tip and overbuy and then return. I am always worried I buy too much but now will remember that I can just return it πŸ˜‰

  • OH MY! where can i buy those glass spice jars with the white lids? so cute!

    Thanks, Christna

  • Interesting. My kitchen is open to the living room and dining room, so I want everything to be hidden and neat. But we have very little cupboard space. You make me want to go through and toss!

  • Looks amazing! So many good tips!

    Random question, but are your copper pots useful or just for display? I just got a set but I’m nervous about the upkeep on them! Thoughts?

  • Great post! I’ve been waiting for it!! I have been needing to organize my stuff and I love all your tips πŸ™‚ I know I’ve seen all the jars from the first and second picture before but don’t remember where you got them. (the spice jars, the ones with wood lids and the ones where your oats are in!) I love them all!!!

  • I would love a list of all of the organizational containers they used!

  • I recently just added pretty papers to the bottom of my drawers and you’d be surprised what a difference it makes!

    Some great tips here, going to try a few out, thank you πŸ™‚ x

    ChloΓ© Harriet

  • LOVE the gold flatware – where’s it from? I’ve been wanting to save up for Almoco because I’ve heard such bad reviews about the West Elm ones!

  • Ahhh, this was so inspiring! Looks ah-mazing. Also, can I ask where you got those little yellow cups?

  • I recently moved and the kitchen is still such a mess! I was going to make it my goal today to get started on decluttering unused items, so the timing of this post is perfect! Seriously, this is so inspiring. I wasn’t looking forward to organizing before, but now I want to get started right away! By the way, the tea kettle is adorable!

    Thanks as always for the wonderful inspiration!
    Laura
    http://laurelandfern.com/

  • Wow! So neat and organized and pretty! When I get my own place, I hope for it to be this nice! Great stuff.

    Nicole | In The Life of NM

  • Thanks for the great tips! I’ve been putting off reorganizing my kitchen and pantry and this was the kick in the pants I needed. πŸ™‚

  • How did you label the ones that are not the pre-made labels? They look like paint marker – is that what it is? How does that clean off?

  • Hi, Jesse!

    We used a Sharpie paint pen – they are water resistant which helps with cleaning, but can be removed by scrubbing or using nail polish remover.

    Thanks!
    Clea

  • Love these tips. In picture 9, the white bowls next to the gold utensils…where are they from? I’m on the hunt for white bowls and they look like the perfect size.

  • This is my favorite post ever. I’m so glad to be looking through The Home Edit’s portfolio and crying happy tears. Maybe I love organized spaces a little TOO much…..

  • Now I want a personal organizer!!!! this is so cool – I love the transformation and I am so happy to hear I am not the only one who needs a little help in this department!

  • A lot of this reminds me of the Konmari method, except for declutter while you organize. That to me makes so much more sense. I tried the Konmari method and honestly, lost steam after the whole declutter and purge step. In her book, she said that some of her clients were decluttering for like six months. Ain’t nobody got time for that! This has inspired me to, if nothing else, organize my kitchen. Thank you for sharing your tips. πŸ™‚

  • This has to be one of my very favorite posts you’ve done! Love the photos, ideas, and inspiration! Question: are there any markers that will write on glass jars and canisters?

  • What a great idea for a post! Would be so cool to have organising tips for more rooms. πŸ™‚

  • Oh man, I love that y’all aren’t afraid to mix metals. The copper and gold and silver all over the place makes me happy!

    Thanks for sharing all of these tips! We just moved at the beginning of April and I still have a few more places to organize so these tips will come in handy.

  • I love organising things! I think I may be a tiny tiny bit OCD, but i start to get really iritable when things aren’t all neatly put away. I got home from work the other day and decided that it was the perfect time to clean out all of our cupboards, and I got rid of so much food that had gone off years ago! It felt so good to do it, and now everything is all neatly lined up in their spaces!
    I love the idea of lining draws with old wallpaper or wrapping paper! It’s so cute! Now I feel like I have to go organise the rest of the kitchen haha!
    xo April | April Everyday

  • This is a great post! I really liked how everything is meticulously organized in a way that makes sense. This is the first time I read “A Beautiful Mess”, and it definitely won’t be the last!

  • Love this post! Getting ready to move into a new place with a cute kitchen with open shelving, so I will definitely be referring back to this! I’d love to know what brand your oven/range is! And do you love it? Thanks!

  • These are great tips! I live in an apartment where I literally only have 2 drawers in the kitchen, so they both inevitably become cluttered from time to time. It’s good to narrow down exactly what you do and do not need.

  • Less stuff is always the best first step! Even as someone who moves more often than most (and sometimes moves overseas!) I still have to edit myself and my home items regularly. Kitchen gadgets are so easy to just buy and buy and buy. My husband and I get the keys to our new rental today and I’m chomping at the bit to get in there and organize some drawers!

  • Everything looks really great! But it looks like you have massive kitchen and well designed! How about poor designed ones like the one I have? How to store things in it? Love the customized jars. And don’t you think putting plates, cups on open shelves will make the cleaning extra chore?

  • Really liked this post πŸ™‚

    You know I think I would actually like seeing photos of the ugly parts – like the huge mess before making it perfect and ‘ugly’ drawers. Helps me relate more and feel like ‘yes! I can do this!’

  • Ah! I love this post! We are still in construction phase on our whole house, but have a lot of white in our design because I love that “clean” feeling. Obviously, clutter is not friend to that “clean” feeling, so I’ve been obsessed with organizing and trying to make sure everything is purposeful. This is definitely helpful. Gives me something to aspire to as we continue to tick off our reno to-do list.

  • This is so inspiring, Elsie! We’re gearing up for a garage sale to make our home more enjoyable since our plan is to stay here for another three years. I’m anxious to get a bunch of stuff OUT of my kitchen (and bathrooms) ASAP. -Mandi

  • I love every little piece in this post. I love your pans in the drawer and the planter – from far away, it looks like a pineapple. Would love to know where to buy the pans and planter.

  • I love a beautifully organized space…though you wouldn’t be able to tell that by looking at my home. Love the cabinet with all the copper items. So pretty!

  • I Love, love love this post! I’ve been looking for saucepans like yours, could you share where I can find? Also love the planter – the succulent gives it the look of a pineapple – everything so cute. Absolutely fabulous!

  • This is a big task for everyone to organizing drawers, cabinets, Container Store in the kitchen. I have never read these tips before and i really love this and learn how to organizing everything in your kitchen.

  • Elsie when are you going to talk about your amazing stove and fridge color reno?! Dying to know more!

  • Hi! Sorry for commenting so late here, but I have a quick question – did they have any tips on keeping track of expiration dates when putting all of your food in new containers? I love the look of it, but I worry I’d end up with expired snacks and spices that I should really replace but no way of knowing that! Thanks for sharing, your kitchen looks amazing. (Now, if only I had half as many drawers as you do…. :P)