Cottage Style Home Decorating: It's Wise to Containerize

Kathryn Bechen

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You don’t have to settle for clutter taking over your cottage style home. Containerizing is the key. Here are 11 tips to help you get and stay organized at home.

1. Point of Entry. Entering your home should be a pleasant experience. Place a basket near the front door to containerize shoes, a small table with a drawer to hold keys, and a pretty “indoor mailbox” to hold the mail until you can sort and process it.

2. Remote Chance. Your living and family rooms do not have to be taken over by black plastic remote controls. Place a basket with a lid or a pretty covered box on the coffee table to containerize remotes.

3. Book Nook. Books don’t have to all go on shelves. Arrange them in a pretty garden urn, stack them neatly on the coffee table, or put them in colorful baskets next to your favorite chairs.

4. Shining Dining. Contrary to some popular beliefs, the dining room table is not a desk. Take the papers to your home office or kitchen desk area and put a vase on your dining table to containerize flowers!

5. Kitchen Kudos. The kitchen is an easy place to containerize. Store your utensils in a colorful ceramic planter or pitcher, your vitamins in pretty fabric lined baskets, and roll your kitchen towels and put them on your counter in a wicker basket.

6. Blooming Bathroom. Clutter can easily take over the bathroom, especially if several family members use the same one. Store Q-tips in a pretty creamer from the kitchen, cotton balls in a clear glass vase, and combs and brushes in a basket. A picnic basket can hold magazines and an old silver or ceramic wine chalice works dandy for containerizing toothbrushes. The container for towels is the towel bar.

7. Sleep Tight. Magazines and other papers strewn throughout the bedroom prevent a good night’s sleep. I keep my magazines in pretty baskets of all sizes and shapes and types. Put your remotes in nightstand drawers next to the beds. Hang all clothes in the container they belong in—the closet. Store videos in dresser drawers or a colorful photo box that has a lid. Your bed is the container for you and should be made daily.

8. Laundry List. A hamper is the most important container for the laundry room, or two or three of them for pre-sorting laundry before it goes into the washer. Cabinets or shelves near the washer and dryer are necessary to hold your laundry supplies.

9. Bargain Basement. Basements can often become a “black hole” for clutter to congregate. Install shelves to sort and hold belongings, or use plastic bins and crates.

10. Garage Guru. Guess what garages are supposed to “contain?” Cars! As for all the other “stuff, ” shelves, storage bins, and hooks on the walls are the keys to an organized garage.

11. Home Office Hero. Be the “home office hero” in your family and keep your home office organized. Containerize papers in file folders and holders, or in filing cabinet drawers, and put office supplies in attractive containers such as planters, baskets, and pretty covered boxes.

An orderly cottage will set the stage to showcase your pretty cottage style furniture and decorative items rather than drowning out their beauty. And you’ll feel at ease in your well-managed and lovely home.

c 2006 Kathryn Bechen Designs. All rights reserved worldwide.

Visit to sign up for Kathryn's full color photo e-newsletter of decorating tips and resources, and to view her color photo blog . Kathryn is an interior decorating consultant, former professional organizer, and published author who has been interviewed by and featured in San Diego Home & Garden Lifestyles magazine, the Omaha World Herald, and others. Her originally authored articles have been published in newspapers and across the internet and she has recently released the e-book, Moving With Ease: The 8 Week Plan for an Organized & Stress-Free Move Whether You Hire a Mover or Do It Yourself! based on coordinating her own 11 household moves during 25 years of marriage. In addition, she has taught seminars and spoken to groups as large as 400.

c2006 Kathryn Bechen. All rights reserved.


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