I completely disagree with you House Beautiful

Confucious quote - Clutter Rescue - Get organised

Last week I read a post on House Beautiful online called Six Places You’re Better Off NOT Organizing. I had a few opinions from a Professional Organisers point of view on what they wrote so thought I’d share them with you (and House Beautiful).

The junk drawer

We all have them (yes, even me) but I don’t think they should be full of junk. Sure there’s a mix of everything in there from bandaids to rubber bands to take away menus and goodness knows what else, but really, it doesn’t need to look like a chooks breakfast.

Organise your junk, put like with like, and you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for faster (and maybe, just maybe, it will be less likely to attract ‘real’ junk). I have an episode of Clutter Rescue TV on organising your junk drawer – check it out here.

Photos from last summer’s vacation

In this digital era I’m sure you’ve taken photos on your digital camera or smart phone while on your last holiday. Now if you’re super organised (and a little bit of a perfectionist) you probably want to download all your photos, look through them all, delete the ones you don’t want and rename the ones you want to keep.

Now this is all well and good if you have nothing better to do. But chances are you don’t.

Create a folder on your computer with the name of where you holiday’d, download all the photos and drag them into this folder. Back them up if you want to but otherwise that’s it.

The laundry room

The House Beautiful article says to have your detergent and bleach handy and that you need access to your clean clothes. Yep, I agree with this, but there is one major reason you HAVE TO organise this space – and that’s your children.

Kids and chemicals don’t mix.

I would go as far to say ‘be a control freak’ in the laundry – the last thing you need is a trip to the hospital.

Your kids play area

If toys end up in a bin at the end of the day you’ve won (according to the article). Yep, I agree 100%. But if you want your kids to grow up and move out you need to teach them to organise themselves – and starting in the toy room is as good a place as any.

Label boxes and cull old toys at least once a year.

You’ll thank me in ten years when your teenager actually knows how to pick up their stuff off the floor and put it where it belongs.

If you want your kids to grow up and move out you have to teach them to organise themselves.

Your nail polish bin

Now, I am not a nail polish officionado (I think I have three bottles in total) but if you are, like my friend Sherry and her daughters, feel free to do what suits you.

I think a great way to organise your nail polish bottles would be to store them in a spice rack on a wall or in a drawer, or a basket on the shelf that you pull out as you need them. Just an idea.

Your serving spoons, spatulas and other kitchen tools

This to me is a little like a the junk drawer. Do you really want to scramble through it for five minutes trying to find that random small kitchen tool you know is there but just can’t find?

Unless you want to spend hours searching and have your cooking time blow out because you just can’t find what you know is there – organise it!


  • Step 1 – declutter your kitchen tools (ie get rid of the ones that have seen better days or that you just don’t use). If you need help check out this nifty idea (and short video) by Peter Walsh.
  • Step 2 – get some tubs, trays or containers to organise the rest in.
  • Step 3 – put the tools back where they belong.

So, what do you think? Do you agree with House Beautiful’s list of areas NOT to organise – or are there others? What about my opinion on each? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Until next time, happy organising!


About Helen Butler

Helen is an AAPO Accredited Expert Professional Organiser who is passionate about helping Mums get organised in their home, schedule and life. She has developed the Mum Organising Styles, a personality test to help busy Mums get organised in a way that works for them and their family, and discovered the Eight Traits of an Organised Mum.


  1. this is my favorite thing from this whole article…

    “If toys end up in a bin at the end of the day you’ve won (according to the article). Yep, I agree 100%. But if you want your kids to grow up and move out you need to teach them to organise themselves – and starting in the toy room is as good a place as any.”

    so true! kids SHOULD be able to put things back where they belong, and if you don’t start enforcing it somewhere, your whole house can end up with a lot of “junk drawers” or a whole lot of “well mom will just put it where it goes later.” (this goes for hubby’s too i think!! or maybe that is just mine.)

    thanks helen – great post =)

  2. Fiona Hansen says:

    Some gems to share that I learnt through working with children were: during the first year baby observes where everything is placed; during the second year toddler expects things to be in their place (sense of order gives security) and children have been observed to become very agitated when e.g. a painting has been moved from its former place; between 2&3 yrs is when the child has developed sufficient motor skills to enjoy being able to move things and place them back to their place after use. Of course they are internally programmed to copy anyone older than themselves as to what and how to do until mastered to their satisfaction. Tidying with them is also very powerful……while singing of course!
    Children also become overwhelmed if they have too many possessions. My way of coping was to have 6-8 various activities available and put the rest away for rotating later. I was quite sure soft cuddly toys were capable of reproduction inside the container in the cupboard!
    Toys that weren’t really enjoyed or outgrown we recycled and that was fabulous learning in giving and sharing in a one child household.
    Thanks Helen for your brilliant response to the House Beautiful article.

  3. 3 bottles of nailpolish? I probably have that many in my purse at any given time! Just kidding.

    I found a wonderful 3 drawer unit at IKEA that helps to keep our polish sorted. One drawer for normal lacquer, second drawer for Gel polish and third drawer for all the accoutrements such as files, buffers, clippers, cotton balls, etc etc.

    With me and the girls I find it so much easier for our ever growing collection (read addiction) to have its own space and its portable. Either drawer by drawer or the whole unit. However there are some strays found about my house…but eventually they get back to where they belong.

  4. Am teaching my 4 year old to put his toys away before bedtime. He doesn’t always do it and it can be a struggle at times. I absolutely agree that we need to teach them how to clean up after themselves otherwise they will never move out!

  5. It’s still a struggle for me too Cassie with Mr 8 but it’s definitely easier than when he was 4. Keep going – it’s worth it! 🙂

  6. Wonderful gems Fiona, thank you so much for sharing them with us. I had a giggle about the soft toys – I think it’s very true!!

  7. LOL Sherry! Thank you for posting (seeing I did speak about you in this post!). I am super impressed by your organisation and classification of nail polish bits and bobs. I didn’t realise a girl needed so many!! I’m hoping to post the photo you sent me on Facebook if that’s ok?

  8. Helen, I have to say, I agree with you completely.

    Digital photos can quickly become overwhelming if you don’t mange them (and more importantly, back them up).

    I love that you acknowledged that toy rooms are another great way that we can teach our children basic organisation skills. We are working on this with our son (3.5 years) and he loves tidying up. So much so, he now gets upset when is dad doesn’t clean up! One happy mummy and wife here! My work is done!

  9. Oh Helen I am all over this article!

    I love anything organizing. Your tweaks are more mom-friendly and practical for my lifestyle – thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    I love the idea of putting your nail polish on a spice rack, mine is currently in a clear/see through draw, but I recently edited it like mad. I do a big spring and fall edit every year – its so refreshing.

    I also found myself nodding at the kids play area – I just recently insalled more organizing boxes and wrote on them blocks, books, puzzles, cars etc. for my tot – the toys can easily take on a life of it’s own and I see how he had started to sort things and understand that all his “blocks” or “cars” – now live in one place and he is starting to sort things too (yay! the organizer in me is so proud).

    We are not born with the ability to be organized – and it’s such a valuable lesson to teach our children.

    Thank you for another great post Helen.

  10. Great rebuttal, Helen! I agree with you 100%. Even the junk drawer can be organized:)

  11. Such great timing for me Helen. As we settle into our new house I can see the junk areas starting to grow. Time to get on top of it. 🙂

  12. Haha, I had exactly the same thoughts when reading that article!: ) Once you have kids being organized takes on a whole new meaning.

  13. It certainly does Adrienn! Thanks for your first comment – I really appreciate it! 🙂

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