‘Fixer Upper’: 8 Simple Organizing Tips to Steal From Joanna Gaines

Between the piles of new holiday gifts and New Year’s resolutions to “finally get organized,” there’s something about January that inspires people to run out to the store and purchase organization bins in bulk. And it’s not a bad idea to have — most Americans would be better off living with less clutter, or at least with more organized rooms to inspire mental clarity.

There’s no one better for the task at hand than the undisputed queen of HGTV, Joanna Gaines. Fixer Upper may be off the air, but the most popular show on the network lives on in reruns. Plus, Gaines will make her triumphant return when she and Chip launch their own Magnolia Network in fall of 2020.

Joanna Gaines
Joanna Gaines | Laura Cavanaugh/WireImage

We’re not sure if the mother-of-five will be including a home organizing show such as Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on her new network. But for now, we can all appreciate some of her best organizational tips we’ve learned from her over the years.  

Open shelving forces decluttering

Open shelving in the kitchen is sweeping the nation, with some designers calling it chic and others calling it impractical. But one thing that open shelving can do is force homeowners to get rid of stuff.

Joanna Gaines uses open shelving all the time in her designs. And this might be a genius move. Because if your shelves are on display for the world to see, you’ll be less likely to shove stuff away without properly stacking it. Forget avalanches of stuff falling on you when you open a cabinet — this look is airy, clean, and minimalist.

To achieve this look, invest in good quality plates and cups, get rid of the old stuff you don’t need, and never look back.

Walls are for shelf storage

One genius way Gaines maximizes space in a small home is by utilizing vertical storage. Hanging shelves, oversized bookcases, bins suspended from rods — these are all smart ways to store items that won’t take up valuable floor space.

Make your design pretty and practical by using this easy trick in your home.

Storage cubbies corral the stuff

Gaines is a big fan of a well-placed storage cubby. But instead of using cheap bins, she often injects her favored modern farmhouse style into her designs by using wire baskets or other vintage-looking pieces instead.

In general, storage cubbies make a great solution for all types of situations, from playrooms to living rooms and any place that needs a few baskets to contain all the things.

Hanging nightstands are quirky and fun

Nightstands tend to become dumping grounds for a myriad of different items. But instead of using visually bulky pieces of furniture next to the beds in her designs, Gaines often opts for floating nightstands suspended from the ceiling. They look chic and function fine.

What more could you ask for?

When in doubt, add a basket

Instead of leaving stuff loose, try adding baskets for bulky, oversized items that have nowhere else to land. Blankets and extra throw pillows should be neatly piled in a pretty basket, not left to languish on the floor.

Think outside the toy bin

Gaines often designs rooms for kids, but she never, ever uses obnoxiously colored toy bins for the mess. Instead, she’ll often find new uses for vintage items, like toy storage in antique cubbies hung on the wall.

The key here is making the playroom appeal visually appealing to family members of all ages. That will make everything look less cluttered no matter what.

Make room for crafts

The Gaines kids love to create. Artistic endeavors can get messy, but Gaines usually incorporates specific areas for creating projects and storing pens, markers, papers, pencils, and other craft items.

Having a dedicated space for artists means fewer messes in other areas of the home.

Go outside more

View this post on Instagram

Weekend wonderment ❤️

A post shared by Joanna Stevens Gaines (@joannagaines) on

Finally, one way Gaines keeps things tidy in her own home is by owning fewer toys and encouraging her kids to play outside more often. Instead of accumulating tons of toys, the Gaines children help in the garden, play with the animals, climb trees, and generally spend time in nature.

We can’t all live on 50-acre farms in Texas. But everyone can benefit from focusing less on stuff and more on experiences and physical activity.