How To Get Organized In Style + Free Fancy Printable Labels

by Caitlin Kelch

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 10.28.35 AM Image above: Lisa Congdon for Design*Sponge Printable Organization Labels | Download them here!

Getting “organized” has so many different meanings for everyone. For me, it’s generally a catch-all phrase for getting my entire life together, which really isn’t a realistic goal for a Saturday afternoon. After getting discouraged for (literally) years and then living with my jumble of everything from shoes to home office accoutrements, I decided that all of the 10-point tip articles were kind of right. Start small and label — so easy, yet so hard to actually get started and keep in the habit of doing.

I decided that I was going to do some digging in our archives for some inspiration and actually attempt to tackle a few key problem areas in my home. Note I said home, not life. The life organization will come in time, but it needs the seeds of environmental changes and habits. Click through my slideshow to see some of my motivation, and if you’re looking to find some peace in your own closet or office, I’m hoping these tools will help you, too!

And one final note — I know some of you out there have this organization thing down. Would you PLEASE SHARE your tips and/or what keeps you motivated to keep up with good organization habits? Your methods might just be my saving grace! —Caitlin

P.S. Be sure to get to the last slide to download Lisa Congdon’s labels! I’ll be using them this weekend for some summer clothes going into storage.

This is the kind of image that makes me throw in the towel after an hour's worth of organizational work. It's hard for me to remember that there's most likely a team of 10 people creating this beautiful photograph, so I get discouraged. This is wonderful inspiration, but it's so important to remember this cannot happen in an afternoon! For me, it's about baby steps and small victories. Image via IKEA
I love the metal piping shelving in Tara Mangini & Percy Bright's home office space. I tend to resist attaching anything to my walls after so many years of renting, but I'm coming to the conclusion that shelving is a huge organization helper. If you see it, you can find it.
I love the nook-feel to this office space that has both closed cabinets and open shelving. I really just want to peek inside the cabinets to see if they're as messy as mine. Probably not! Image via JH Interior Design
Again -- shelving. It's holding both useful things and decorative ones, which I'd assume make it more pleasant when tidying up. Image via Marie Claire Maison
If you're like me and always have that one big neon sticky note on your computer, trade it in for this. You'll also gain a low-maintenance desk plant! Cork Cactus
Honestly, I've never paid much attention to my bathroom vanity's drawers, so it's no surprise they look like a Jackson Pollock painting from various cosmetics I've shoved in there. I'm upping my game and thinking of visually appealing ways to corral my makeup. This system looks perfect! Metal Boxes
If my frequently used tools are tucked away in drawers, they always end up scattered around the room because I can't put them away without moving something (or myself) so I can open the drawers. I like the idea of a decorative desktop organizer, especially if it's mountain-shaped and under $20! 5-piece Mountain Caddy
What are these strange little sculptures, you ask? They're folded plastic bags! You know, the ones that clog up any available space in your kitchen? Even if you use your cloth bags for shopping, you invariably end up with a few of these. I've taken to folding these bags with my daughter as a rather meditative activity on our device-free Sundays. It keeps us aware of environmental issues while we practice environmental origami. This tutorial shows you how.
This under-the-stairs organization piece Grace wrote a few months back has some really great ideas on maximizing the space around staircases. These extra bookshelves add color and storage!
I know that over-the-closet-door shoe organizers can be notoriously unattractive. However, with a little paint or easy appliqué, they can be pretty AND do wonders for your closet floor. I'm getting ready to DIY (paint) a clear plastic version for my craft supplies. Try it if you're not already on board! As for those annoying metal hooks that don't always stay put, use some clear packing tape to secure them to the top and inside of your closet door.
I've embraced the Lazy Susan for some tricky organization spots. I always poo-pooed them because they reminded me of of the endless spinning on my Aunt's kitchen table, but now I get it. There are some beautiful versions available now so that helps, too. I use them for countertop essentials like olive oil, etc. and for in-cabinet spice storage, which is a lifesaver. I'd even use one of these chic versions on my dining table, too! Images clockwise: Wood and Metal Lazy Susan, Napa Lazy Susan, Rohan Lazy Susan, Copper Lazy Susan.
Download these free lables from one of our favorites artists, Lisa Congdon, here. Print them out on plain paper and use rubber cement to attach to your containers. Happy organizing!

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  • I’ve struggled for years to get my clutter (especially paper related) under control. I tried different methods – even followed online seminars… Nothing worked: after the initial motivation, it wasn’t long until everything went messy again. And then last year, I read about Marie Kondo’s book here on Design Sponge and something clicked. I’m following her method since the beginning of this year, have reduced a huge amount of my belongings and what I’m keeping is still very neatly organised. I’m not finished yet, but I can already see a huge difference ! Both in my home environment and in my attitude towards life in general ;-)

  • The link for downloading is broken, please fix it, so we can have these beautiful printables. Thanks.

    • Hi Carola!

      The link is working on this end. I just downloaded the PDF of the labels :)

      I’m sending them to your email address!