Find Out How to Organize as You Decorate

Get tips for decorating in an organized fashion.

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Organize While You Decorate

Professional organizer and Mission: Organization guest Kendra Muscella offers web-exclusive tips.


  • View the rooms in your home from the point of view of a guest. For example, look at the room that one sees first when entering the home. How do you feel when you look at the room? If you feel overwhelmed with the amount of items in the room, then chances are your guests feel the same.

  • When displaying items in a collection give thought to the arrangement and placement of the items. You can either choose to rotate pieces of a collection between storage and display or you can create one area to choose as a showcase for the collection. The goal here is to prevent the room from looking like a store.

  • When displaying books in a room do so decoratively. A small stack of books can be laid down on a shelf and a picture frame placed on top. In addition, consider that the books that you display will represent your interests. You might not want to share all of those interests with guests.

  • Keep books that you have read if they have great sentimental value, will be passed along to a child or will be used for reference. All other books should be passed on to others.

  • I suggest keeping the current issue and one back issue of a magazine. If you need a magazine for reference, file either the entire magazine or just the article that you need. The rule of thumb is that if you can find catalog or magazine information online, do it. It's a great way to reduce the amount of paper laying around the house or taking up space in files.

  • When filing items put the most recent papers upfront. That way when you clean out the files, you will know that the most dated information is toward the back. You may even want to scan papers onto your computer and then save them to a CD.

  • Children's toys are quite an issue. Work to corral the toys and keep them in an easily accessible container with like items together and within easy reach. It is very worthwhile to occasionally review the toys and donate those that are not being played with regularly. Go ahead and discard toys with broken or missing pieces.

  • When a room needs to serve a dual purpose — work and entertaining, for instance — think of how you can make the room accommodate both activities. Find decorative storage solutions so that you can quickly store work materials with a minimal amount of disruption. Keep in mind seating comfort and arrangement so that the space is inviting to you and your quests. Lastly, consider the room's lighting. You will probably need good task lighting for work and good ambient lighting for entertaining. Dimmers can control the overall room lighting, or you can use individual lamps.

  • Painting a room is a quick and inexpensive way to bring life to a room. Buy a quart of the paint that you want to use in the room and paint a small area to see if the paint sample is true to what you will have on the wall. When choosing paint keep in mind the activities that will occur in the room. High-traffic areas need paint that can easily be wiped to remove fingers prints, scuffmarks and crayons.

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