The Secret To Stuff {Part 2}


The Secret To Stuff {Part 2}As promised in part 1 of The Secret To Stuff, I am back this month to share the organizational systems and hacks that my husband and I have found and implemented in our new home to keep all of our stuff in order.

First of all, I have to say that my husband is the organizational mastermind of our household. He is a lean six-sigma black belt ninja, and he does this kind of thing for a living. He is constantly searching for ways to make our household more efficient. I’m more of an organized chaos kind of gal, but I’ve grown to love and appreciate his regimented ways. 

When we moved into our new house a couple of months ago, we made a plan to implement as many organizational systems as it took to get our stuff in order. We’d been living for almost two years in total chaos with boxes piled in the garage and stacks of things everywhere with no place to call home.

We knew that there would be a few spaces that we’d really need to focus on: the garage, the bonus room, bathrooms, and our closet. So we got to work and did what we each do best: my husband started researching on the internet for days on end, and I went straight to Target.

Here are a few of our favorite solutions so far:


We knew the garage would be a major challenge. No matter how much you purge and organize, it always seems that stuff just collects there.

The first thing my husband did in the garage was to install a rack system suspended from the ceiling. It is the coolest thing.  It’s suspended about 18”, just enough space for a tote or other small storage container. And it is completely hidden when the garage door is open. It is a perfect solution when you don’t have extra floor space for storage racks or shelving. He found these two 4’x 8′ units at Costco for $300. My husband installed them himself and it took him about six hours. My other favorite garage storage solution are the wall-mounted bicycle hangers. My husband ordered these from Amazon for $34 for four of them. He installed them himself in one hour.

Master Bath/Closet

Our master bathroom does not have a linen closet or medicine cabinet or any space up high where we can put things that need to be out of reach of our three-year-old. The only storage is under the countertops. To address this, we used the top shelf of our walk-in closet and lined it with sturdy plastic storage totes. These are $8 each from Target and I got six. They have all of my hair products, alcohol, peroxide, scissors, anything that we only need occasionally or that needs to be out of reach.

Kitchen Pantry

At one of our old houses, the kitchen pantry had shelves on rollers that you could pull out, so you could actually see what was in there. Our new place has a similar sized pantry built into the cabinetry, with several stationary shelves. One of the first things we did in the new place was replace the shelves in the pantry. My husband was able to find rolling shelves to match our specs and solve the problem. He ordered them from Bed Bath & Beyond for $85 each. Again, he installed them himself in an afternoon, and the result is amazing. I absolutely love them!

Bonus Room

Our upstairs bonus room is part spare bedroom, part office, and part kids’ playroom. Needless to say, it was total chaos and in desperate need of some organization. To solve this problem, I created a dedicated space for all toys with storage cube shelving. These are great because you can display stuff on them, or you can place a tote in each cube and just throw all the small mismatched stuff in there. I got three of these from Target for $55 each. You can also purchase cute totes that all match, but I had this assortment of mismatched totes on hand, so I’m just going with that for now. This particular shelf is perfect for a finished attic space or bonus room where the walls are short with a low wall to ceiling transition.

Entry Way

Every home needs a place to hang backpacks, purses, keys, etc. Our house doesn’t have a mudroom area, but we did have a spot at the bottom of the stairs that was not quite large enough for a piece of furniture and centrally located, so we decided to add a wall mounted coat rack and small bench and make our very own version of a mudroom entry. We found this rack and bench combo on Wayfair and I absolutely love it!

Next up on our list is a built-in bookshelf in my office using Ikea bookshelves and a frame of 2x4s. We’ll be tackling this project over fall break — wish me luck!

It has taken a lot of time and effort to implement these organizational systems, but it is so worth it to have a dedicated space for all of our belongings, even the sentimental, seasonal, or other miscellaneous stuff that we want to keep, but don’t need on a regular basis. 

Do you have an organizational hack that you’d add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

Click here to read The Secret To Stuff {Part 1}.

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Haley McManigal
Hi there! I’m Haley, a middle-aged-momma to Lukas and Laney, and wife to Dan. I’ve lived in East Tennessee my whole life, and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. After moving all over Knox County and surrounding areas, my family has settled in Hardin Valley where we intend to stay at least until the kids graduate from high school. My son was born in 2017, changing my life forever, and my daughter completed our family in 2020. I work as an architect and project manager at a global design firm. I think it’s pretty cool that I get to meet with people from all over the world from my home office on a daily basis. I am happiest when I’m able to strike just the right balance between home and work life. But my family is my greatest treasure and my most fulfilling role in life so far is Mommy. My favorite things are reading, writing, cooking, exploring, and making things. I don’t have much free time these days but when I’m able to squeeze in a few of these activities it really pays off. I love being a part of Knoxville Moms and I cherish the opportunity to share this journey of motherhood here with you!


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