4 Things You Should Never Store Out in the Open

According to a professional organizer

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Clean living room with bright windows

Getty Images / Thomas Barwick

An overflowing kitchen utensil cup or a congregation of cords tangled near the TV stand aren't too bothersome when it's just you at home. Though it's easy to get comfortable, for the sake of your own stress levels and to cut down on the amount of tidying needed when guests are coming, some things are better off hidden. There are a few categories worth prioritizing over others when it comes to items typically deemed okay to leave out for you and your guests to see and things that probably shouldn't be.

Luckily, there are a number of ways to cut down on clutter and keep certain items out of view. Still, it's much easier said than done, especially in homes where organizational space comes at a premium. That's why professionals are experts in their field after all. The challenges of hiding unmentionables (like that mountain of dirty laundry) may make you sweat, but there are plenty of expert tricks and ideas to make things work.

Meet the Expert

Joanna Wirick is a professional organizer based in the Midwest. Her goal is to help clients reduce the stress and overwhelm that surround some of life’s biggest transitions like the arrival of a child or moving to a new home and everything in between.

The Objects Worth Hiding in Your Home

Some items are more obvious than others when choosing what to keep out of sight. Your toilet paper supply and collection of undergarments are probably already hidden away in a storage closet or bedroom drawer, but other things aren't so clear-cut. These are the objects that create excessive clutter, may cause some slight embarrassment when friends stop by, and add to a general feeling of disarray.

As a good rule of thumb, there are four things professional organizer Joanna Wirick recommends keeping hidden if possible: cords and electronic cables, kitchen utensils, laundry, and prepackaged branding. There are several reasons these items stand at the top of her list. Everything from the overall color and appearance of these items, to their unwieldy shapes and space-consuming sizes, leads to an extra messy look around your home.

There is a fifth category, too: appliances. But Wirick adds a disclaimer to this group. "This one is starred because it absolutely depends on the space in your kitchen," she explains. "Hiding appliances such as a toaster, blender, coffee pot, grinder, or kettle, allows your counters to be clear and clutter-free." Short on space in your cabinets or pantry? Don't worry too much. Wirick notes, "If space is really limited, try hiding away a couple that are used less frequently than daily." So if you find using your blender is a once-a-week affair or that you rarely rely on the food processor, it's worth tucking away those items rather than your coffee machine.

How to Organize and Store These Items

Knowing what should be hidden is the first step, and finding the right methods and products for actually camouflaging them is the second. These expert-approved picks and useful items will turn a cluttered drawer or bathroom floor into the clean space you've been envisioning.

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Delamu Cord Cover Raceway Kit

Cord cover kit


Piles of chargers, cords, and other electronic accessories can be frustrating to deal with. They're essential but definitely not the most aesthetically pleasing things to have sitting out. A cord organizer will be a saving grace in rooms that feel wrapped up in wires. "My husband and I love using this cord raceway kit to hide unsightly cords," says Wirick. "You can run them along baseboards, or you can affix them to a wall to hide cords from a mounted television or sound system."

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Dynamic Gear Premium Bamboo Drawer Organizer, Silverware Organizer

A bamboo drawer organizer with utensils


When it comes to organizing silverware and kitchen utensils, Wirick says to "keep these in a drawer instead of on the counter." Dividers are perfect for forks, knives, and spoons, and there are larger versions for your spatulas and other cooking must-haves. "If space is extremely limited and this isn’t an option, invest in a matching set of just a few utensils (avoid the 8–10 packs and avoid bright colors)," adds Wirick.

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Rebrilliant Bamboo Rectangular Laundry Hamper

Natural Wood Bamboo Rectangular Laundry Hamper

Courtesy of Wayfair

Clothing, towels, and sheets tend to accumulate faster than anything else and these piles often leave dressers, beds, and floors full of stray clothes. "Most people don't think they need to hide their laundry, however, it's a category that often gets left out in the open when it shouldn't," says Wirick. "Piles of dirty clothing can collect in bedrooms, and piles of clean laundry can remain in laundry baskets, stacked on top of dressers, or on stairs (this is way more common than you may think) for days on end."

Her fail-proof fix? "Put dirty clothes in a hamper, rehang and refold anything that's partially clean, and put away clean laundry right away." Choose something with a little more flair than a classic plastic basket so it feels more like decor rather than a reminder of chores that need to be done.

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Crate & Barrel Chet Ceramic White Soap Dispenser

White minimalist soap dispenser

Crate & Barrel

Occasionally there will be rooms that feel messy despite being clean and you just can't put your finger on why. In these instances, it may be more of a visual thing rather than physical clutter. "Anything with prepackaged branding, such as Dial soap, should be transferred into refillable containers like this," explains Wirick. "This makes a HUGE visual difference."

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Anchor Hocking Montana Glass Canisters With Acacia Lids

Glass canisters with acacia lids

The Container Store

Wirick explains that this rule of eliminating obnoxious branding continues into the kitchen, too. "Removing loud, commercial packaging from your pantry by investing in containers like this (or this) helps to create the calm that everyone desires for their space," she says. When you have a collection of matching containers and a set place for everything, it instantly cleans up the look of your pantry and makes refills easier. It also prevents empty boxes and containers that aren't transparent from taking up storage space.