Creative director Matthew Axe is a collector, but that doesn’t mean his home is jam-packed with things. The two-bedroom apartment he shares with his husband, Peyton Hays, is, in fact, the opposite of cluttered. (Don’t take my word for it: For a tour of his beautifully minimalist home, head over to Remodelista and see Quiet, Please: A Stylish Apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens.)
What their home is is considered. Everything has a place and a reason to be there: “If something isn’t useful or beautiful, it goes,” says Axe. Below, he shares how he organizes his belongings and where he stows items that aren’t up to his style standards.
Photography by Eric Piasecki for The Organized Home.
1. Ban flimsy plastic containers.
There’s a plethora of inexpensive yet beautiful baskets, bins, and boxes on the market, so there’s absolutely no reason to corral your things in something unappealing. Picture this space, below, with a plastic bin, instead of a wire basket, holding the dog toys. (Better yet, don’t!)
2. Repurpose what you have.
Think creatively and, whenever and wherever possible, repurpose your belongings for a different function. We’re lucky to live in an age when you can purchase anything with the click of a button, but the feeling of giving something old new life and discovering a creative solution without spending any money is just priceless.
3. Don’t overload your hooks.
Wall hooks are inarguably great storage tools, but many of us tend to overuse them. Go through what you really wear or use every day, hang those items up, and stash the rest in a closet.
4. Take advantage of your home’s quirks.
Every house has them: architectural quirks that may seem like a hassle but if you put your thinking cap on, you may just end up finding surprising benefits. Too-narrow cabinet spaces can turn into storage areas for cutting boards; a deep window casing can mean an opportunity to add a laundry drying rack, and exposed radiators can turn into improvised shelves.
5. Create stations.
Think about your routine and create stations—a hardworking entry that’s organized to get you out the door quickly, a coffee station set up for easy morning brewing, a bedtime kit with a book, eye mask, and lavender lotion to help you transition to sleep. This way, you don’t have to fumble around for your daily essentials.
6. Look for items designed for small spaces.
There’s a reason that many furniture chains now offer small-space lines: Products and pieces made specifically for smaller residences can make it easier to maintain an organized home. After all, it’s hard to find a place for a shoe rack when your coat rack takes up the entire entry.
7. Invest in a sturdy shelving unit.
Well-made shelving units can be costly, but they’re worth the investment when what you get out of them is a ton of storage space and, oftentimes, the showpiece of a room.
8. Conceal the electronics.
Some essentials are just unattractive and unpleasant to look at. Whenever you can, hide them.
9. Organize with trays.
We love a good tray for organizing smaller items—and for creating a canvas on which to make a pretty tableau.
10. Use slatted shelves in the linen closet.
It’s such an important feature in a linen closet, yet most of us don’t do it. Install slatted shelves to encourage air circulation and your linens won’t get musty.
Looking for more storage and organization solutions for your home? Here are more good reads:
- Tricks of the Trade: 8 Tips for Elegant Storage with Architect Barbara Chambers
- Think Like Marie Kondo: 9 Tips from the World’s Top Storage Fanatic
- Ideas to Steal: 7 Smart Tips for Storing Linens and Keeping Them Fresh
N.B.: This post is an update.