Hannah Young, Houzz Contributor
Many people like the idea of living in a calm and clutter-free home but don't want to go down the all-white, minimalist route. Here are some great storage ideas that will help you stay tidy while retaining those all-important personal touches that make your place feel more like a home and less like a show house.
1. Go up the walls. In any home, a great rule to adopt is "declutter first, storage second." This mantra is essential in a small room, and if you can't find space for everything, you may need to be even more ruthless with what you choose to keep.
To maximize a small room, create vertical storage up to the ceiling. Here, the open shelves keep the room neat and provide space to display personal items, such as family photos and ornaments.
Keeping all flat surfaces, like this coffee table, clear allows a room to breathe -- and provides a handy space for your cup of coffee.
2. Make good use of your hallway. Entrance hallways attract clutter like a magnet -- unless you provide suitable storage. Make the most of a narrow hallway by creating a little alcove with lots of hanging space, shoe storage, a phone charging point and even a custom umbrella nook. If you have little ones, make sure some of the hooks are within reach so they can hang up their own things.
This hallway has a cozy, lived-in feel, but every item is neatly in its place.
3. Tame kitchen clutter. Kitchens are easily cluttered, ending up with dirty dishes, sticky recipe books and out-of-date food hiding at the back of cabinets. Invest in some beautiful storage jars into which you can decant dried goods. Not only do they look lovely, they keep food tidy, are easy to clean and let you see when items are running out. It's also a great way to encourage your children to get involved in cooking, as they can see all the available ingredients.
Square containers are more space-efficient than round ones -- and be sure to measure your shelves and drawers before buying them.
4. Choose what you love. This kitchen is organized, but it's certainly not minimalist. Reclaimed and repurposed materials create a unique design that's full of personality.
When it comes to maintaining a clutter-free home, remember the old saying: "A place for everything and everything in its place." If you have somewhere to store all your possessions, all you need to do to keep order is simply put things back in their place.
In this kitchen, a combination of offbeat shelves and wall-mounted open storage -- along with vintage storage tins, a box for condiments and a weathered cutlery tray -- provide a home for everything, but also lots of personality. For a space that's even more streamlined yet still filled with character, attach more storage to the walls to free up work surfaces.
5. Weave in secret storage. Hidden storage is one of the best tools for maintaining a clutter-free home. This ottoman brings color and coziness to the room, but it also has a hinged lid, making it perfect for stashing away games and blankets.
Ottomans also can be used as a coffee table or as extra seating, so they're the ultimate in flexible furniture. Plus, the need to get inside the ottoman regularly is a great incentive to keep the top clear.
6. Organize your bedroom. Smart alcove shelving with drawers below ensures this bedroom is sleek and free of clutter, but it still has a cozy, welcoming feel thanks to its coordinating cushions, comfy throws and patterned rug.
When tidying up your bedroom, think about what you use there and where. If you love curling up to read at night, store your books neatly near the bed for an organized feel, rather than leaving them halfway across the room.
Make time every morning or evening to put things away, whether it's putting clothes back in the wardrobe or in the laundry basket. Just a few minutes each day will help you keep clutter under control.
7. Put pretty pieces on display. Storing items in cabinets is the best way to keep them free of dust, but if you love to see your things on display, glass-fronted cabinets are the way to go -- and can be a feature in themselves.
Glass-fronted cabinets can be used in any room, whether you want to show off your best tableware in the kitchen, favorite clothing or shoes in a bedroom, or colorful craft items in a spare room. And having glass doors on bookshelves is a great way to reduce dusting chores.
8. Get your kids in the game. Always stumbling over toys or picking up after your children? Provide storage they can easily reach and define a play area with a vibrant rug, then get everyone to participate in a five-minute "tidy-up time" before meals.
Toys don't have to be hidden away completely -- cubbyholes containing colorful boxes are great for storing things, and adding photo labels will make it easy for children to find what they're looking for.
Try to make it as easy to put things away as it is to get them out for the best chance of success.
9. Love your workspace. Improve your home office and it could help your productivity. If you like to have your projects around you, make space for your books and tools. The book display shelves in this office are a great way of keeping research close at hand but neatly out of the way.
Love the space you work in by providing a home for everything but keeping your most-used items within arm's reach so as not to disrupt your workflow.
10. Cherish your memories. Do you have a lot of old photos and prints lying around? Hang as many as you can on your walls. Sort through piles of old family photos, print out the new ones, grab your children's artwork and get hanging.
For a more cohesive look, choose your pictures and buy the same style frames in different sizes to hold them. Command strips are a quick way to hang photos, and they make it easy to reposition pictures if you change your mind or you rent your home.