The Complete Book of Home Organization

The Complete Book of Home Organization

If on my way through the checkout line at a store, I see a magazine with the word “organization” on the cover, you better believe it will make it’s way into my cart.  Organizing is a passion of mine and that’s why it’s also the main subject that I share about on Graceful Order.  For me, organizing is therapeutic and living in an organized (not perfect) space, helps me relax and be more creative.

Before I started this blog, I had followed Toni from A Bowl Full of Lemons for years and I always loved her ideas and style.  Since I started this blog almost 3 years ago, she has been an amazing friend in the blogging world, helping me any time I need it.  I love how beautiful her blog is and most of all, her passion for helping others live in a space they love, free of clutter.  When Toni reached out to me last year to tell me that she was writing a book and to ask me if I would contribute one of my organized spaces for the book – Um hello, of course I said yes!  I was so happy for her and I knew that the book would be awesome, even before seeing it.

And then I saw it and it was even awesome-r than I expected.  Here is “The Complete Book of Home Organization” that finally launched this week!

The Complete Book of Home Organization

From following Toni’s blog, I knew the photography would be beautiful and the book didn’t disappoint. Most of the pictures in the book were taken by Toni herself and they feature many beautiful and organized spaces in her home!

The Complete Book of Home Organization

She also included a few sections where other organizing bloggers shared their best tips for keeping an organized home.  I shared about my dining room organization.

The Complete Book of Home Organization

The book is not called “The Complete Book of Home Organization” for no reason.  It truly is a comprehensive book, covering every area of the home.  One of my favorite chapters is the one that covers organizing the entryway – so many ideas!

The Complete Book of Home Organization

If my friend had not written it, I would still have purchased this beautiful book and recommended it to all my friends.  So I am personally recommending that you pick up a copy.  I tell ya, I organize all the time, but I even need a little inspiration every now and then to kickstart my projects.

The book is now available for purchase and you can find it here!  It is already a #1 release!

The Complete Book of Home Organization


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Let’s Make This The Year

Let's Make This The Year

Let’s make this the year that we get organized.  Not just organized, but simplified.  Let’s finally get rid of all that clutter and unnecessary items, that are filling up our homes and leaving us little breathing room.  Just organizing is not always the answer, because sometimes we are organizing junk, instead of discarding it.  Maybe what’s excess or unnecessary for you, is necessary to someone else – let’s donate.

I have to confess that while organizing is my strength, purging is my weakness.  I tend to keep items, especially sentimental ones, way longer than I should.  I am working on this.  I am trying to practice what I preach.  I don’t think I will ever be a minimalist, but I don’t want to hold on to things that I am not using and probably never will.

Just imagine your whole house organized, everything has a home, nothing is out-of-place.  Doesn’t that give you a feeling of peace?  Granted, I have never lived in the utopia that I just described, but I am just stating that to show the connection between organization and peace.  Mess begets mess and that brings about feelings of despair and hopelessness.  Order begets order and that brings about feeling of peace and optimism.  At least that’s what it does for me.

So join me in the challenges that I will share with you this year and know that YOU CAN DO IT!  Organizing is not overwhelming if you take it one step at a time.

Let’s do it!  Let’s make this the year!

Organized Home Week 6 – Kids Bedrooms

Organized Home Week 6 - Kids Bedrooms


Today we organize the kid’s bedrooms…yay!  Ok, no yay.  Kids are not usually known for their organizing skills, they are better known for their disorganizing skills.  But there is hope, I promise. At the end of the trail of socks, there is hope.

I always notice that when my 11-year-old’s room is tidy, he loves to sit at his desk and work on homework or draw.  However, when his room is messy, I see him working on the kitchen table.  We all like to work in spaces that have “space” for us.

There is no way to organize a child’s bedroom in a manner that it will remain that way forever (or even a week) but there are certain steps to organizing kid’s rooms that will make them way easier to pick up.

1- Edit the amount of toys/stuff they have

This step is key!  Kid’s get overwhelmed with clutter just like we do.  Sometimes they don’t know where to start, just like us.  If items don’t have a place, or the designated space is full to the brim, things won’t get picked up regularly.  Sort through all of their toys and think KEEP, DONATE, TOSS.  Only store what is being used.

2-  Edit the amount of clothing that is in their closet and drawers

This is a two-part solution: get rid of the excess and don’t over-buy in the future.   I have been guilty of both.  Make it a habit to go through their closets often and have a bin nearby to place items that no longer fit.  Only keep items that they still like and fit them properly.  My boys grow out of their shoes often.  The other day I noticed that my toddlers closet had 3 pairs of shoes that no longer fit him and the other shoes were crammed in the shoe shelves, which wasn’t necessary.  I placed the shoes in the donate bin and now the rest fit nicely.

Organized Home Week 6 - Kids Bedrooms

3- Organize books

I recently got rid of quite a few books that were in my toddlers room that were meant for babies.  For some reason I kept making space for books that he was no longer interested in.  I added them to the donate pile.  My older son loves to read but does not like to part with his favorite series books, so I dedicated a large bookcase to house his books.

4- Use different sized bins to organize kid’s bedrooms

I use these matching bins from Target in different sizes to store all the small and large toys.  Also, alternate between closed and open bins,  depending on who will be accessing the items.  Toddlers do well with open bins and easy to open bins.  However, closed bins like the ones below, are great to hide massive amounts of little toys without looking messy.

Organized Home Week 6 - Kids Bedrooms

5- Label bins

Labeling will help you organize your child’s room and it will help them as well.  Labels with pictures are great for toddlers and regular text labels for older kids.

Organized Home Week 6 - Kids Bedrooms

Happy Organizing!


Week 1 – Organizing the Refrigerator

Week 2 – Organizing Kitchen Cabinets

Week 3- Organizing the Pantry

Week 4- The Master Bedroom

Week 5- Organizing the Entryway


Organizing Tips for Girls’ Rooms

Organizing Tips for Girls' Rooms
I have two boys and I am not exactly the authority on organizing all-things-girlie but I do have a few tips to share, after all I was an organized little girl once. 

Here are five tips for organizing girls rooms:

1- Designate a dress-up station.

Little kids love to dress up, especially girls.  Hooks on the wall can hold costumes and canvas bins underneath can hold the accessories.

2- Designate an area for dolls

Use an over-the-door shoe organizer to place dolls.  You can even label the pockets with the doll name.  That way they each have their spot.  You can attach the organizer to the side of a closet, a dresser or behind a door.  A second organizer can also be used for the dollies accessories.

3- Sort through all the clothing.  

Little girls (and big girls) love their clothing.  It’s surprising how many times we keep items that are not being worn just because we like them or we are used to seeing them in the closet.  Constantly reassess what stays and what goes.  Having a ton of clothing crammed in the closet or a drawer is overwhelming for you and for her.  Ask yourself if the item fits, does she like it, will she wear it again?  With every item think “keep” or “donate” and make neat piles on the bed until you have gone through everything.  This way you know that what goes back inside the drawers or closet, deserves to be there.

I use these dividers for the kid’s clothing and even my husband’s t-shirts.  They are not inexpensive but I love how durable they are, so I just buy a few at a time.

Organizing Tips for Girls' Rooms

4- Designate stations for play time.

Use bins to organize tea sets, legos, toys and learning tools.  Also try to choose bins that still have a bit of room left inside. Bins that are full to the brim will likely spill out and they are tricky to get items back inside.  You have to make clean-up easy for kids.

5 – Organize jewelry or hair accessories.

Go through all the accessories and toss the ones that have lost stones, have lost their pair or your little girl has outgrown.  There is no use in organizing items that should be given or thrown away.  Then organize what is left in a plastic insert inside a drawer.  I found the organizer below at the Target closet section.

Organizing Tips for Girls' Rooms


So yeah, I don’t have little girls but I was a little girl once upon a time and I remember how I loved to retreat into my room and color-code my closet and organize my drawers and play for hours.

~ Maria


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Organizing Costumes

Organizing Costumes

You wanna be Spiderman or Wolverine today?  How about Supermom?

Over the past 10 years we have accumulated quite a  few costumes in our home.  Kid’s costumes can be pretty expensive and if you have more than one little one, it’s wise to keep them so that they can later benefit from dress-up options (and your wallet can benefit too!). Organizing costumes is a task that can take a while, but saves a lot of time and aggravation in the long run.

I used to keep the costumes in one big box in the garage.  Then it turned into two boxes because the costumes and accessories were just too many.  The contents of the boxes were spilling over because although I had a pretty good idea of what costumes I had, I didn’t know the sizes.  Bottom line, it was a mess.

I came up with a great system that I want to share with you that has really worked for us.  The first thing I did was purchase 2-gallon zip lock bags; these are ginormous and that’s exactly what you will need.  I separated all the costumes and placed each one in a bag, removed the air from the bag and wrote on the zip lock bag the name of the costume and the size.

Organizing costumes

I then “filed” the costumes in a large plastic container.  I was able to fit two containers worth of costumes into one by simply placing everything into the zip lock bags.

Organizing Costumes

This is also a good opportunity to donate whatever costume is too small for any of your kiddos.  This year when deciding what my 3 year-old was going to wear, I didn’t have to make a mess trying to find the right size since it was already written on the bag.  This is definitly a time and space saving project!

I would love to hear from you how you store your kids’ costumes.



Other Graceful Order posts about fall include:

Easy Thanksgiving Gifts

Five Minute Thanksgiving Table Setting

Fall Mantel

Decorating a Fall Porch

Creating a Master Bedroom Retreat

The last two weeks we have talked about the master bathroom, and shared ideas about creating storage in small bathrooms, I also painted my laminate cabinets and organized under the sink.  But now, let’s step into the master bedroom.  Creating a master bedroom retreat is our project this week, and I want to share with you some decorating ideas.

Creating a Master Bedroom Retreat

The master bedroom should feel like a hug.  Creating a master bedroom retreat is so rewarding because after a hectic day, you want to go into a space that says “peace”.  My favorite bedding is all white because it has a casual, welcoming feel.  I never try to make my bed perfect, I even like the wrinkles.  I don’t think I have ever said those words before, but I do.  They add to the casual, inviting feel.  And it works because my boys always seem to feel that they are “invited” into our bed.

I purchased this bedding from Ballard Designs and I LOVE the large monogram.  The sheets are not fussy-looking but they feel luxurious.  Monogramming has a bad rap for being stuffy, but when paired with cotton, it’s just an elegant touch.

The “Graceful Order” wasn’t monogrammed into the sheet, that was editing. 😉

Creating a Master Bedroom Retreat


On the foot of the bed, I place a throw.  Honestly, we rarely use it but I think it warms up the room.

Creating a Master Bedroom Retreat


Our bedside tables are large and thanks to that, we opted for a sitting area instead of a dresser.

Creating a Master Bedroom Retreat


I love this lamp and shade, both from Target.  In this picture the lamp was off, but the sunlight was flooding in.

Creating a Master Bedroom Retreat


My husbands nightstand has a valet box where I store all the little papers and receipts that he brings home.  Otherwise, the nightstand would be covered with receipts and business cards.

Creating a Master Bedroom Retreat


I love having an Oil Diffuser in the bedroom to disperse lavender and eucalyptus.  Bring the spa-feel home!

Creating a Master Bedroom Retreat


Right now, the Oil Diffuser is resting on my jewelry cabinet.

Creating a Master Bedroom Retreat

There are a few steps in creating a master bedroom retreat.

  1. Clear the clutter from the night stands.  They become the “catch-all” in the bedroom and get messy fast.

  2.  Clear items from under the bed.  I used to store stuff under the bed and I have to admit, it was just a big dust magnet.  Most of the stuff I had under the bed, I should’ve either thrown away or made space for it in my closet. If you can, clear out this area and it will be so much easier to keep the room clean.  I am glad I did this years ago.

  3.  Decide what “look” you are going for and get rid of decorations that don’t match the “look”.  Sometimes you need to shop-your-house and bring in items that you already own and love into your new space.

  4.  The biggest investment (besides furniture) and the one that will make the biggest difference, is the bedding.  Splurge on nice sheets.  They last longer and therefore more economical in the long run.  I look for a comforter that is washable since the boys love to jump on our bed.  White comforters are my favorite because I can always add color pillows if I want to add a pop of color.  For now, all white is my favorite.

  5.  Have the books that you are currently reading out on your nightstand, but not an entire set of encyclopedia next to your bed (do you still have those by the way?  I do).

  6. If you are going to go all out and paint the walls, choose a color that is relaxing.  Skip “Peacock Green” and “Magenta Madness” for this project.

  7.  The next thing on my list (which we still don’t have) is purchasing a nice rug for under the bed.  We have wood floors and I would prefer stepping onto a plush rug when I get out of bed.  I know it will be a finishing touch to our bedroom and also add an added layer of comfiness.

Soon we will talk about creating a seating area and how to use ottomans in bedrooms.

Until then, please share with me your favorite color scheme for the master bedroom.  Is your bedroom decorated in warm neutral colors, do you prefer cool tones, or just pops of vibrant color?  I look forward to reading your comments!


Organizing Spices

A new week of kitchen organization is here!

This week, we peek inside the kitchen cabinets and reveal the spices.  I think most of us have 30 spice jars and only regularly use about 5 of them.  It’s ok.  No one wants to drive to the grocery store just to pick up “old bay seasoning” for a special recipe.

The problem is having 3 jars of old bay seasoning because you keep buying it – since you can’t see the other 2 that you already purchased last year.  Unless, you have seafood boils on a weekly basis.  In that case, it’s ok.  It is also ok to invite me.  (I will organize your cabinets if you let me, as a trade-off).

I love the idea of having spices in the kitchen drawer, but I have such a limited amount of drawers in my kitchen, that I choose to keep my spices in my pantry cabinet.

My cabinets are really deep and narrow.  Initially, I purchased tiered spice shelves and placed them the traditional way.  That didn’t work since the cabinet was so narrow and I could only fit one set.  There were always spices behind the tier organizer that were not visible.  I tried placing the larger jars towards the back and labeling the very top of the lid since I could see the label and that helped.

Ultimately, I found the best way to organize my spices is by placing the tiers side-by-side against the cabinet wall.  I added a similar tiered divider to the amazon store and you can find it ” HERE “.  Of course, you can also find these almost anywhere else…Target, Walmart…

Organizing Spices

I try to buy the same brand of spices, not only because I like the brand, but it adds more of a uniform look.

I also organized the spices alphabetically.  It seems like a crazy thing to do at first and it will take you a little while the first time you do it, but it is worth it – I promise.

Finding spices is so much easier this way, especially when you lose a bit of the visibility of the spices towards the back of the cabinet.  On the other side of the tiers, I place larger, frequently used items like salt and pepper shakers.

I also left enough room for my hand to be able to reach back, without knocking things over.

Organizing Spices

On the wall of the cabinet, I placed an adhesive acrylic box for all the seasoning packets.  I usually only use a sprinkle or two, and then I’m wondering where to put the open packet.  This solves that problem.  I think I purchased it at Walmart.

Organizing Spices


I do recognize that this method will not work for everyone, but I wanted to share this space with all of you just in case you had a similar-sized cabinet.

We still have a couple of things to touch on before we are done with the kitchen – so until next time,

Spice up your organizing!  (I had to!),


Linen Closet Organization

You may remember that I recently released a post on the { linen closet } that I have in my master bathroom.  You may also remember that there are no linens in that closet.  The irony.

I also have another linen closet that is extremely narrow and is bookended between my sons room and the boys bathroom.  I need every bit of space in that closet to store not only linens but also items that don’t fit under the bathroom sinks.  Here is the closet.


Since the closet is narrow I pulled out all the baskets so that I can share with you the contents.  Also, the lighting in this corner of the house is horrible so I took most of the pictures in my bathroom.  My bathroom has 3 windows so the lighting is amazing for photography AND for seeing every single hair that falls on the floor.  Every strand of hair that falls on that floor looks like a garter snake…perfect lighting will do that!  Since I love well-lit rooms, I have a broom nearby!

Here are the baskets that I use for corralling the items the linen closet.  They are Rubbermaid Bento boxes and can be found at Target.  I like that they have pop out dividers so small items don’t move about.  I chose to mix the khaki pattern with the solid Khaki.  These are the medium and large sizes.  There is also an extra-large size but it was too large for my closet; maybe it would work in yours.


I used one of the boxes to put all of our band aids.


In the smaller pop-out dividers I placed the ointments and smaller items.  In doing so I realized that I will never run out of Neosporin.


I used the larger box for other first aid items such as bottles of peroxide, rubbing alcohol, sprays and gauze.


Here it is full.


One box holds all the sunscreen and insect repellant.


I chose a plastic container for bubbles and sidewalk chalk.  These items would make a mess inside a fabric box.  These are the ITSO bins from Target.



In the very top of the closet I store water toys that I use in the backyard.  The other water toys I keep with the {beach bag}.


In every closet that is nearby a bathroom I like to have a cleaning caddy.  This one holds some of my favorite cleaners and favorite brands.


Here are the items back inside the closet.


Linens, of course.


I added cute labels to the baskets and I secured them with square clips.  I am attaching this free printable in pdf format for all of you.  Click HERE for the printable.  I left the labels blank so you can either write on the labels or use a label maker to print the tag.  I had my labels laminated to make them sturdier.


In the very bottom of the closet I used a large bento box for my son’s school supplies.  The only thing that would make it more perfect would be adding small wheels to the bottom of the basket.  That would make cleaning the floor underneath easier.  I will add that to the honey-do list.


Please share with me what you currently have inside your linen closet.  Do you only store linens in there or a bunch of stuff like me?

Happy Organizing!