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40 Genius Ways to Be More Organized After 40

Including a truly novel use for that dust-collecting magazine rack.

Organization is so much easier said than done. Once things get cluttered beyond belief — whether that's in your home or on your schedule — it's hard to imagine your world ever becoming manageable again. But heads up: life doesn't have to be so messy. With the help of some simple tricks, you can be well on your way to an impressively organized life. Start with these 40 hacks; they'll target both your space and your day-to-day. And for more ways to live your best life, master these 30 Genius Tricks That Will Make Your Life Easier.

Start a Bullet Journal

boost your confidence Organized

If you haven't jumped on the bullet journal train yet, it might be time to see what the obsession is about. Basically, it's a method of journaling, using bullets as the core format, that involves a lot of visual entries. It can increase your productivity and — you guessed it! — keep your life organized, whether that's with colorful listicles that track your workouts or notes that help you keep up with your family's chore schedule. And for more ways to amp up your productivity, check out these 15 Ways to Triple Your Productivity Every Day.

Store Your Teas in a Tin

St. John's Wort organized

If you're a tea lover, you know how easy it is for your collection to take over your cupboard. Instead of having all those cardboard boxes lying around, create a tin to store all your prized teabags. Then, organize it by type so you can always reach in and grab what you need—even on those mornings you're too tired to think straight. And if you're not drinking the stuff, well, learn Why You Should Be Drinking Tea.

Get a Paper Planner

more organized

If you want to keep things a little simpler than a bullet journal, there's never anything wrong with grabbing a trusty paper planner. You can keep all your events in order, make sure you don't forget anything, and have a designated place that remind you to pay your bills on time.

Stock Up on Containers for Anything and Everything

reusable containers Organized

It might be time to pay the Container Store a visit. Instead of closets, cupboards, and drawers jam-packed with items and nowhere to put them, invest in some quality organizers that will last you for years — and drastically clean up your life. The only problem will be deciding which ones to choose. Thankfully, you can pick many sturdy containers up for less than five bucks. And for more affordable ways to optimize your live, check out these 50 Amazing Things You Can Buy for $5 (Or Less!).

Ditch the Plastic-Filled Pantry

Glass jar organized

Most people's pantries are jam-packed with items still in the original bulky packaging from the grocery store, and that can make things messy. Instead of jumbling up your space with a bunch of plastic bags, get some sturdy containers and mason jars to organize your food. With a crisp, clean, properly-labeled pantry, you'll always know what you have on hand, making dinnertime a breeze. And for more sage advice on getting your home organized, check out these 8 Must-Have Shelving Unit Upgrades.

Amp Up Your Handbag Functionality

Your Handbag Functionality Organized

There's only one bad things about handbags: They never seen to come with enough pockets and compartments. To finally have a place for everything, whether that's your gum or your Band-Aids (hey, it's always good to be prepared!), buy an insert — like this one from Amazon — that perfectly tucks in for ultimate organization.

Stock Up on Over-the-Door Shoe Hangers

Shoe Organizer

But here's the catch: Don't use 'em for your shoes. Those clear, plastic over-the-door hangers are obviously a great place to store your kicks, but they also come in handy for organizing all the odds and ends in your home you're not sure what to do with in a clear-as-day way that won't ever have you digging around trying to find what you need.

Buy a White Board

whiteboard Organized

White boards aren't just for kids to doodle on or for teachers to teach on. They're also a quick way to stay organized and on top of things. Keep one in a place you'll always see it — like by the door to your home or in your office — so you can jot down reminders, to-do lists, and everything else that needs to be done to keep your life in order.

Make a Daily To-Do List

list organized

When people make to-do lists, they're typically super long — and because of that, it can be really hard to check everything off. Instead, cut things down and focus on only a handful of things to complete every day. You'll feel really good once you're finished and won't get overwhelmed — plus, you'll be much more organized in the end because of it.

Create Folders for Your Mail and Receipts

 Create Folders for Your Mail and Receipts Organized

Instead of tossing all your mail in a pile by the door and your receipts in a drawer, create folders — whether they're literal folders in your filing cabinet or decorative metal folders attached to the wall — where you can store all your papers until you have a chance to go through them. Then, add a weekly sorting session onto your to-do list.

Use Your Notes App

man typing notes into his smartphone organized

You take the time to physically organize your life, so why not take the time to mentally organize your thoughts, too? That's where the super-underrated Notes app on your iPhone comes in. Jot down any ideas or reminders throughout the day so you won't forget them. That way, you'll be that much closer to having a clear head.

Give Old Muffin Tins a Second Wind

Cupcake wrapper organized

Not making a whole lot of muffins lately? Put those tins to good use and give them a flashy new spray paint job. If you have plenty of odds and ends in your desk drawers, a muffin tray makes for the perfect DIY organizer to give everything from push-pins to paper clips a home.

Plan (Way) Ahead

next week to-do list Organized

There comes a time when not planning isn't even an option. An organized life requires a little prep work, and that means thinking in advance on everything from your work schedule and weekend plans to your groceries. Sitting down every Sunday and figuring out what lies ahead (and what you need to accomplish your goals and breeze through the week!) will make you feel more put-together than you have in years. And all it takes is 5 minutes.

Download Google Calendar

essential dating tips for men over 40 organized

If you're only going to download one app, make it Google Calendar. It helps you keep track of everything that's going on in your life in a clean, organized, and visually-appealing spread. Plus, while a paper planner is nice, having your events in digital-form will let you stay on top of your day no matter where you are; it syncs right to the browser version on your laptop and desktop, too.

Use Paper Towel Holders for Your Belts

paper towel rolls Organized

You know those metal paper towel holders? Well, they're also an easy way to store all those belts you're not sure what to do with. Instead of having them jumbled up in a box, this method will let you easily stack and store them where you can see them. It even looks fun and eye-catching right on top of your dresser.

Invest in Some Turntables

lazy susan Organized

Nope, not the kind DJs use — the kinds that are going to take your cupboard organization skills to the next level. Organizing spices and other essentials on turntables (or Lazy Susans) in your kitchen will let you see everything you own, making cooking much easier. Plus, jumbled cupboards will be a thing of the past.

Marie Kondo Your Life

mess Organized

Marie Kondo's genius organization technique has been making waves since she first unleashed her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Now, the KonMari method is a go-to around the world, and there's one organization hack you can start with. Take everything out of your closet and put it in a pile on the floor. Then, go through each item individually and decide whether it "sparks joy" or not. If it does, keep it — but if it's something you haven't worn in the past 6 months, get rid of it (though not without telling the item "thank you," so you can let it go without any guilt.)

Use Toilet Paper Rolls to Store Cords

Toilet paper tube Organized

People go through a lot of toilet paper rolls every year, so you might as well put some of them to good use, right? Use the cardboard containers to store your electronic cords that aren't being used. By bundling them up, sliding them into a roll, labeling them, and storing them in a box, nothing will get tangled — and you'll know exactly what (and where!) everything is.

Sync Up Your Calendars

girl syncing up calendars Organized

Sometimes you can feel like the most organized person in the world, but when it comes to your family as a whole? Not so much. To help things run a little smoother, get everything on the Google Calendar train then sync up your calendars so everyone knows what everyone else is doing and can plan things easier.

Store Sandals in Letter Holder

flip flop sandals Organized

Letter holders keep your desk in-check, but they can keep your closet organized, too. Place them side-by-side on a shelf so you can easily store your sandals. Instead of them always getting lost in the shuffle, it's an easy way to grab what you need without a second thought.

Magnetize Your Makeup Storage

best skin Organized

One area ladies tend to get a little overwhelmed with the beauty department—overflowing makeup boxes are all too common. The good news is that all it takes is a little tossing and creative storage to keep everything tidy and organized. First, get rid of the things you don't use anymore. Then, create a board using an oversized picture frame for storage. DIY it so there's a piece of metal glued in behind some cloth; that way, when you glue magnets on the back of all the makeup items you use, they stick right on and you can easily grab what you need.

Create Designated Spaces

Label maker Organized

If all your closets and drawers are a jumbled mess right now, you're not alone. To fix the issue, all it takes is giving those items a space of their own. Create labeled storage for everything that needs a home — from scrapbook materials to all those old baseball cards — to turn that mess into an organized masterpiece. Once everything has a space, you'll know exactly where to put things and how to keep your home looking clutter-free.

Give Tinfoil and Plastic Wrap a New Home

tin foil Organized

Tinfoil and plastic wrap tend to take up their own drawer, but they don't have to. Instead, get a magazine rack from the store and attach it to the inside of one of your cupboards. It's the perfect fit for of your go-to boxes and lets you store them in a functional, organized way.

Color-Code Your Life

Colored Pens Organized

If you've always wanted an excuse to buy that big pack of colorful highlighters, here you go. Whether you're color-coding things in your planner or want to make your filing cabinet easier to navigate, organizing by color is the way to go. You'll never have to think twice when searching for what you need.

Eliminate Your Junk Drawers

junk drawer Organized

It doesn't matter how organized you are; everyone has a junk drawer. Until now, that is. Go through your home and identify exactly where you tend to stick things when you don't know what to do with them, then empty those spaces out. What you'll find is most of what's in there really is garbage. Toss what you don't need — cables from electronics long tossed away, for instance — and reclaim those spaces for something more worthy.

Re-Organize Your Filing Cabinet

Avocado Green Cabinets Organized

How often do you parse through your filing cabinets to weed out what you don't need? Probably not enough. And all those extra documents are only making it harder to find what is important. Dive into your folders and toss out any papers you don't need, then keep what you do. You'll have a fresh space for anything of importance that comes into your life.

Label Your Pantry Goods with Chalkboard Paint

paint Organized

If you keep your pantry items in mason jars, there's one easy way to make sure everything stays properly labeled: coat the lids with chalkboard paint. That way if you change out what's inside, you can easily erase and relabel the jar, keeping your space tidy and organized.

Store Bath Towels Vertically

towels Organized

Instead of stacking your bath towels on top of each other, stay better organized by folding and rolling them then snugly storing them vertically in a drawer. They won't topple down if they get piled too high, and you'll be able to see everything you have and quickly grab what you need.

Give Minimalism a Try

minimize Organized

Minimalism might sound scary, but you don't need to ditch everything in your life so you're only left with your toothbrush. Just focus on the "less is more" concept whenever you can, getting rid of any duplicates, cutting down your wardrobe, and getting rid of any clutter. When you have less things, you have less to deal with, making it much easier to stay organized.

Store Board Games in Hanging Sweater Racks

board games Organized

Those hanging sweater racks for closets aren't just great for your knits — they're also the perfect way to store all those board games you're not sure what to do with. They'll stack easily in the compartments, making it possible to find the game you're looking for without an avalanche of boxes falling on your head. (Hey, we've all been there. #GameNightProbs.)

Reuse that Old Stool That's Not Being Used

bar stool Organized

Have a stool that no longer serves a purpose in your home? When you turn it upside-down, you'll be left with a simple way to keep wrapping paper rolls from getting tossed around, sides to hang your tissue paper over, and room in the bottom to house your bag of bows and ribbon.

Use Magazine Racks for Your Cutting Boards

cutting board organized

Magazine racks aren't just a great option to keep track of your tinfoil and plastic wrap — they're also a genius way to organize your cutting boards. Instead of trying to squeeze them wherever they'll fit, store them vertically in the rack inside your cabinet for easy access.

Keep track of Tupperware Lids with a CD Rack

Plastic Lids Organized

You know those CD racks you hardly use anymore because, you know, technology? Well, before you take them to Goodwill, put them to use in your kitchen cupboard or drawers by turning them into a quick way to organize your Tupperware lids. Yes, that means you won't be left searching for the right fit every time you have leftovers.

Stay Away from the Sale Shelves

holiday sales Organized

Being organized isn't all about what you do in your home; it's about what you do when you're away, too. If you're constantly hitting up the sale shelves and bringing home an endless amount of things you don't need, step far, far, away from the discounts and really rethink what's worthy of coming into your life. The more stuff you have, the harder it is to keep up with your organization methods, no matter how good they are.

Use Shower Curtain Rings to Organize Your Scarves

cashmere scarf, brunello cucinelli Organized

It's hard to give scarves a proper space in your closet. And, that's where shower curtain rings come in. To keep them from getting tangled and wrinkly, you can simply put them on shower rings and hang them in a rod in your closet so you can grab what you need, totally hassle-free.

Set Deadlines for Yourself

man checking in with deadlines Organized

Sometimes you have all the motivation in the world to get organized. The only issue is you're also giving yourself all the time in the world. Time can be a great thing, but it can also limit you from actually checking things off your list when you have too much of it. Start giving yourself deadlines to complete projects — be it cleaning out the closet or going through drawers — so you get the job done.

Create Separate Bins for Clothes in the Laundry Room

Dirty clothes, laundry Organized

Your laundry room can go from clean to messy real quick. That's why making it a priority to organize the space will help out a lot in the long-run, starting with the most important job to tackle: creating separate bins for colors, whites, and gentles. That way when people bring their dirty clothes down, they can instantly separate it and keep the space mess-free, making the washer's job much ever.

Hide Your Garbage and Recycling

Waste basket Organized

If your kitchen feels like it's being taken over by garbage and recycling bins, ensure things stay a little more organized by creating a hideaway space for them. By turning one of your tall cupboards into a pull-out drawer that houses both plastic containers, you'll never have to look at stinky garbage sitting out in the open ever again.

Store Your Perfumes on a Spice Rack

perfume on rack Organized

So many perfumes but nowhere to put them? Find a pretty spice rack with tiny shelves perfect for storing your favorite scents. It can easily fit right on the dresser in your room, and if you're not too fond of the color, there's nothing a little spray paint can't do to make it go with your theme.

Take Advantage of Hidden Storage

Wooden trunk Organized

When it comes to being organized, you can really never have enough storage. Since closets and drawers only go so far, rethink the furniture you have in your home. There are plenty of furniture items with sneaky storage areas, whether that's ottomans or built-in drawers under your desk. It might not seem like much, but a little goes a long way and giving your items a designated space can create a cleaner feel overall. And for more ways to optimize your home, start by purging the 30 Home Decorations No One Over 30 Should Own.

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Tehrene Firman
Tehrene Firman is a freelance health and wellness writer. Read more