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Organization

10 creative ways to hide clutter before company arrives

Put the mess away before the guests get there

Collage of creative ways to hide clutter, including cube storage, baskets, shelves, and bins. Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / Liudmila Chernetska / Olga Peshkova / Wayfair / Amazon

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If you have a home, chances are you have stuff in that home, and if you’re like most people, sometimes that stuff makes its way all over the house until suddenly you feel overrun with clutter. It’s a common cause of embarrassment when guests come over, especially when guests show up unexpectedly, leaving you with little time to clean.

However, clutter can be easily tamed both in a hurry and on a day-to-day basis if you get a little creative.

Professional organizers Francine Bill and Jenna Kotlar, of Easily Organized LLC, share 10 creative clutter storage ideas to help you clean up quickly when company is on the way.

1. Utilize a storage ottoman for a quick pickup

Image of a gray ottoman from Christopher Knight Home Store.
Credit: Reviewed / Christopher Knight Home Store

Ottomans have a fantastic dual purpose as furniture and storage.

Couches and sofas are natural congregation places for families or anyone looking to unwind, and because of that it’s not uncommon for them to be littered with blankets, remote controls, books, and more.

Swapping out a coffee table for a storage ottoman is an excellent way to help control clutter because instead of needing to find a place to put everything when guests come over, you can just toss it directly into the storage ottoman.

“Storage ottomans are quite popular because they serve two purposes,” Kotlar explains. “Being a functional furniture piece and a place to store things in a closed container, the size of an ottoman makes it appealing to conceal larger items or many items in one place.”

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2. Decorate with baskets

Providing excellent storage space for anything you need to get up and out of the way in a hurry, storage baskets bring a visually appealing natural ambience into a space by softening the appearance of hard furniture and rigid lines.

Both decorative and practical, you really can’t go wrong by adding a few baskets into your home—and because tossing items into them only takes a minute.

Baskets make it easy to personalize your storage space by bringing in your own elements of design or style. Both Bill and Kotlar agree that baskets are great for catching stray hats, gloves, scarves, and other small items that you might need to quickly toss into your linen closet.

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3. Think outside of the box (or can) in your pantry

Both designers agree that a pantry is an extension of a kitchen, and in many homes the pantry is a visible space from the main kitchen area. Since guests tend to gather in the kitchen, it’s not a space that you want to leave cluttered because it can make the whole kitchen appear disorganized.

But by simply dumping boxed foods or storing cans into matching bins that compliment your kitchen décor, you can bring cohesiveness to an otherwise visually overwhelming space.

You won’t be rushing to close the doors to your disorganized pantry, when the organized space showcases a sense of calm design.

$23 at Amazon

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4. Embrace the pillows with basket tables

Image of a sofa flanked by two basket tables from Lavish Home.
Credit: Reviewed / Lavish Home

Basket tables are functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Ottomans aren’t the only storage furniture option because basket tables are huge right now. Designed to catch blankets and extra pillows while blending them into your décor, you don’t have to hide your fluffy clutter because it looks like it’s supposed to be there.

“There are also closed basket style tables,” says Bill. “If you’re storing items other than just pillows and blankets they are also a great (and sometimes better) option because you can hide everything inside.”

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5. Get creative with your cords

Cords, cable boxes, and modems can be a glaring distraction from any decorated space, but it can be difficult to know what to do with them when they are such a necessary evil. Creative clutter storage ideas like a paintable cord covers and CovoBox, which looks like a set of books (but is actually designed to hide electronics), you can hide away the electronic clutter while making it part of your design décor.

“Cords add to a cluttered appearance because they tend to be bunched up and draw your eye and attention to it,” says Kotlar. “In a pinch, you can also use velcro strips to keep cords together so they aren’t just a bundled mess.”

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6. Greet guests with a basket by the front door

The front door is a natural drop zone for bags, coats, packages, and more, but both designers agree that the entryway of a home also sets the mood of the household.

“If your entryway is organized, guests can focus on the design points you want them to see and not a bunch of shoes they have to walk over just to enter your home,” says Bill.

Thankfully the resolution is easy, because by simply placing a large decorative basket (or a smaller option if you’re tight on space) next to your door, you have created a designated spot to catch and house everything that would otherwise be laying on your floor. It’s a quick way to make your entryway look clean and organized, even when you really don’t have time to deal with it.

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7. Understanding the beauty of cube storage

Image of a set of white storage cubes from Wayfair.
Credit: Reviewed / Wayfair

Cube storage is a versatile way to meet many needs.

When it comes to clutter storage ideas, cubes are a great option. Offering many ways to both store and showcase your belongings, you can leave some cubes “open” for items you want to display such as framed photos or books, while using other cubes to house storage bins where toys, blankets, games, and more can easily and quickly be stored away.

It's a design and storage element that the professionals are totally on board with, explaining that it’s the most used organizational piece they utilize with their clients.

“Cube storage is affordable, can be personalized with the huge variety of cube baskets available, and it makes cleaning up clutter quick because all you have to do is pull open a bin and place items inside,” says Bill.

$287 at Wayfair

8. Hide your work from prying eyes

If a storage ottoman isn’t for you, that doesn’t mean that you’ve lost the opportunity for ample storage because lift top coffee tables are an awesome blend of a traditional coffee table and some pretty stellar storage.

“Furniture with closed storage options are great to have in a living room,” says Bill.

Perfect for anyone who regularly settles into the couch to catch up on their work, these tables not only lift in height to function as a desk, but they then store away everything in a hurry so your guests will never know that five minutes before they arrived, your sofa was covered in papers.

$76 at Amazon

9. Decorate your kitchen with clutter in mind

The easiest way to avoid clutter is by having a practical and designated space for items to live. Kitchen counters are a natural catch all place for things to be tossed, but Kotlar says that “if you want to avoid having clutter on kitchen counters, it’s important to create spaces for your items. For example, having a designated place for keys, receipts, sunglasses, will prevent you from having a cluttered mess.”

Wall mounted organizers are a helpful option to catch kitchen counter clutter and are very functional from both a storage and design standpoint. Another popular option is to place matching jars or canisters on the counters, so items can be quickly scooped up and tossed inside until you have time to go through them later; stylish and decorative, guests will never know what’s hiding inside.

$20 at Amazon

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10. Provide kids with age-appropriate toy storage solutions

Image of toy bins from Humble Crew Store filled with children's toys.
Credit: Reviewed / Humble Crew Store

Toy bins should be easy for children to access and use.

Most parents would agree that the messiest members of their family are the children and that’s mostly in part due to children’s brains not being developed enough to understand and facilitate their own organizational skills.

In keeping that in mind, you can understand why open bin storage is such a practical solution for cleaning up toys and reducing the toy clutter overtaking your floors, so that when guests arrive to visit they won’t have to look at every toy you own.

Highly recommending the Ikea Trofast system, Kotlar explains that overall families should look for “bins that are easy for children to access and pull out smoothly,” noting that you can even place labels on the bins so that everyone will know where the toys go when you’re cleaning up in a pinch.

$152 at Amazon $115 at Amazon

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