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5 Easy, Clever Ways To Get Your Place Organized

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    Illustrated by Isabel Castillo Guijarro.

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    You're one of the lucky ones. In almost every way, you and your roommate get along famously. You’re down to binge-watch the same shows, have wildly different tastes in delivery food (she’ll never snag your last soup dumpling), and neither of you feel a pressing need to practice your improv exercises into the wee hours of the night. Your one cohabitational flaw? Your bedroom alternates between boho dishevelment and straight-up apocalypse-level disaster, while hers is so perfectly neat that you question whether she’s ever actually slept beneath her military-precise comforter. As a result, the tight communal areas you share are an unstable mix of both your styles, not to mention the fodder for a whole lot of quarrels.

    To keep the peace, and bring order to your more, shall we say, free-spirited approach to handling mess, we enlisted expert organizer and designer Jeffrey Phillip for his five best space-saving, clutter-tackling tricks. With the help of a few key pieces from Target's Back To College Collection and the Made for U College Styler by Target online tool — which helps to find a decor middle ground both you and your roommate can live with — each tip is pretty darn easy to stick to, no matter how cramped your quarters.

    Go ahead and text your roommate right now. You don't want her to fall over from shock the second she walks through the door.

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    Create A Hanging Vanity
    Take a quick inventory of your bathroom. If your hair and makeup arsenal is covering more than half of the shared counter space, it's time to come up with a new, less intrusive plan. Create a vertical vanity by hanging a full-length mirror on the inside of one of your closet doors and an over-the-door organizer on the other. Store styling tools like your curling iron and blowdryer in the largest pouch, and use the clear ones for cosmetics, arranged by product type. "Save the smallest pockets for the little items you need everyday, like clips and hair ties," says Phillip. Peak organization is, after all, being able to locate a bobby pin in less than 30 seconds.

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    Forget The Shower Caddy — You Need A Cleaning Caddy
    Even if you splurge on the fancy stuff, cleaning supplies just aren't that pretty to look at. But, instead of banishing them to a dark region under the sink — which can fast become a jungle of half-used bottles — Phillip suggests stowing everything in a shower caddy. "Look for one that's deep enough to hold all of your sprays but also has some shallower spots for brushes, gloves, and sponges," he says. Once the chores are done, tucking the caddy out of sight is easy, and it doesn't require a lot of shelf space.

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    Multipurpose Your Furniture
    Fake the effect of a mudroom — which, let's be real, not a one of us has — by lining up two or three ottomans by your front door to create a bench that doubles as hidden storage. "Use the space for things you reach for as you're walking out the door everyday," says Phillip. "Right now, that might be reusable grocery bags, dog-walking gear, and sunscreen. In the winter, swap in hats, gloves, and scarves." When you have guests, pull the ottomans apart from their bench formation, and scoot them into your living area for extra seating — now they're working triple-time for you!

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    Redo Your Under-Bed Storage
    Okay, this one's a little scary because, yes, we're suggesting you brave the no-man's-land that is the space beneath your mattress. But, don't worry — there's a system to it. Start by pulling out all of your clothes, shoes, and accessories, and divide them into summer and winter piles. Next, Phillip suggests neatly packing anything that's off-season into a basket and sliding it to the farthest corner under your bed. Items you only occasionally use — like household tools and crafting supplies — can slide in next. Finally, place items you use weekly, like chargers, workout gear, and even pajamas, into the easiest-to-reach baskets with the handles facing out for easy access.

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    Say Yes To Movable Furniture
    Your trusty flat-pack bookshelf may have traveled with you since high school, but at this point, it's safe to say you've gotten your money's worth. Take the next step, and invest in a rolling cart that looks just like normal shelving but can be easily moved out of the way when you need extra room for entertaining. "You can disguise it and add some life to your space by lining the top-most rung with decorative plants, potted hanging vines, and terrariums," says Phillip. Stock the second tier, which may be partially oscured by hanging leaves, with not-so-pretty manuals and iPhone speakers, and designate the rest for books and framed photos.