The Super-Smart Organizing Tip I Stole from Joanna Gaines

updated Sep 4, 2019
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No matter how hard I try to relocate them, random items from the rest of my house tend to magically reappear in my kitchen. Seriously: Who put that stack of papers on the kitchen counter right after I brought it to the office? Why are there socks and shoes in the middle of the floor? And how did these matchbox cars get under the fridge? 

When I think about it, it makes sense that this area of my home is a catch-all for, well, everything. Kitchens have a lot of traffic, and they’re often the first place you go after entering the home, which makes it second-nature to plop mail, outdoor clothing items, and keys there. And then people KEEP COMING BACK into the room with more stuff! The problem is, kitchens are made for kitchen things! Kitchen space is hard to come by, and these items are far easier to find when they’re in their rightful places. Plus, who likes a mess? (Besides my kids, that is.)

To mitigate the kitchen-clutter problem (and train my kids and husband to keep their stuff literally anywhere but the room where I cook their meals), I stole a trick from none other than Joanna Gaines: I encourage all members of the household to drop their stuff in a labeled basket in the entryway off the kitchen. They can do it immediately upon entering the house, and when they’re done using something but don’t feel ready to put it away entirely.

Then, a few times a week, I ask (or tell) my kids to grab their baskets and put their stuff away where it goes. The cars go back to the toy area, the socks go back to the closet, and the papers from preschool go either in the trash (don’t judge me) or in my kids’ memory boxes. This part obviously helps reorganize the house, but it’s also a great way to get my little ones involved in household chores.

For the baskets themselves, Joanna uses farmhouse-y metal ones on her staircase, but because I live in a one-story (and I have toddlers who are prone to injure themselves on metal), we use plastic bins in the entryway, instead. That’s the beautiful thing about this organization trick: No matter how you customize it to fit your aesthetic or home layout, it will accomplish the same thing (keeping clutter out of areas it doesn’t belong).