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How one mom stays organized living in 500 square feet

She writes about living in tiny spaces in her new "Simple Matters," and to help get that clutter under control, Boyle is sharing six things she has learned about keeping a home organized with TODAY Home.

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See how a mom of 2 stays organized living in tiny apartment

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See how a mom of 2 stays organized living in tiny apartment

Play Video - 1:01

1. Get rid of as much as you can. In a small space, I’ve found that going through the ritual of giving away as much as I bring in helps to counteract any clutter. If I get a new pair of socks, I’ll finally retire the pair with holes in the toes. If I get a new sweater, I’ll take a few minutes to go through my sweater drawer and weed out any that I don’t wear anymore. Happily, it’s a habit that can help keep stuff at bay all year long.

Stephania Stanley

2. Put things away immediately. Living in small quarters means that even necessary things like a scarf and jacket can feel like clutter. My best tip to combat that feeling is to establish a place where everything belongs, and then to return an item to that place immediately after you are finished using it. If I make myself hang up my coat as soon as I walk in the door, I never give it a chance to let it crowd my living space.

Stephania Stanley

3. Store creatively. In a tiny home, it’s nice to be able to take advantage of even the smallest and most oddly-shaped storage spots. I’ve often found that thinking creatively about storage and opting out of large store-bought storage solutions often affords me the most space and flexibility. I like to take think about which spots in my home could be doing more work to keep clutter out of sight. In my apartment, for instance, the space beneath our couch is large enough to fit small boxes that I’ve filled with my daughter’s books and toys.

Stephania Stanley

4. Hang it up. Small hooks and nails are some of my favorite organizing tools because they can make even a tight space more usable. Hanging a broom on the back of a closet door, for instance, gets it up off the ground, makes it easily accessible and helps keep a closet looking neat and clean.

RELATED: See how a family lives in a 500-square-foot apartment

5. Be selective. The holidays are a time when a lot of things tend to accumulate on the surfaces in a home. I like to use January as a time for a fresh start. After I’ve cleared away holiday decorations, I do a careful dusting and leave only a very select few items out for display.

Stephania Stanley

6. Less is more. Finally, less really does mean more. An impulse to bring a lot of new things into your home can be curbed by establishing challenges for yourself. For instance, you might decide to only purchase items that have been made in the US, or that have been handmade. Whatever you decide, putting self-imposed limits on your buying habits will stop you from making too many extraneous purchases and can help keep your home clutter-free.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Steve Niedorf

    Take a tour of tiny homes across the country

    Obsessed with tiny homes? We are, too. See inside some of our favorites from across the country.

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    If Joanna Gaines designed a tiny home, this 290-square-foot home from Handcrafted Movement would be it. 

    Handcrafted movement
  • Take a tour of tiny homes across the country

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    The home features a cozy electric fireplace, a farmhouse-style sink and an Edison Bulb chandelier that gives it a chic but homey vibe.

    Handcrafted movement
  • Take a tour of tiny homes across the country

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    Home sweet home. 

    Handcrafted movement
  • Take a tour of tiny homes across the country

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    LED lighting brightens up the bathroom which features a five-foot long freestanding tub with rain shower-head.

    Handcrafted movement
  • Take a tour of tiny homes across the country

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    Upstairs in the loft bedroom, a storage shelf, baskets and hanging rod make space for clothes and other items.

    Handcrafted movement
  • Take a tour of tiny homes across the country

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    This 400-square-foot charmer is a slice of heaven.

    Stephanie Butchin/Broken Glass Images Real Estate Photography
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    "It's very open, very airy and very much a sanctuary," the owner said. "You can live there year-round and feel like you're cuddled in the space."

    Stephanie Butchin/Broken Glass Images Real Estate Photography
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    With vaulted ceilings and hardwood floors, the home offers a spacious living room that flows past an eat-in bar to the kitchen, all with stylishly exposed beams and large skylights. 

    Stephanie Butchin/Broken Glass Images Real Estate Photography
  • Take a tour of tiny homes across the country

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    The bedroom offers a double closet, a ceiling fan for staying cool in the summer and a door to the backyard.

    Stephanie Butchin/Broken Glass Images Real Estate Photography
  • Take a tour of tiny homes across the country

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    When designer and architect Christi Azevedo came across a place with a former French laundry for sale in San Francisco, she had the perfect idea for the 88-square-foot boiler room: to transform it into a full-service guest apartment.

    Cesar Rubio
  • Take a tour of tiny homes across the country

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    “The entire place was a wreck, but there were loads of details remaining,” she said. The space, which she lovingly calls the “Brick House,” was given an efficient and modern upgrade.

    Cesar Rubio
  • Take a tour of tiny homes across the country

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    It now hosts a new IKEA kitchen, complete with a stainless steel countertop and custom upper doors of sanded acrylic.

    Cesar Rubio
  • Take a tour of tiny homes across the country

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    The bed loft, complete with a queen mattress and plenty of storage, is located by way of a glass landing.

    Cesar Rubio
  • Take a tour of tiny homes across the country

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    A 42-inch bath features a wall-mount toilet, a custom stainless steel medicine cabinet, small sink and floor drain shower.

    Cesar Rubio
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    It may be tiny, but the new 160-square-foot home feels much bigger thanks to its long panoramic windows that draw the outdoors in.

    Steve Niedorf / Courtesy of Escape Vista
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    The living space is small but efficient. There’s a double-sized daybed (queen-bed optional), extensive storage and LED lighting.

    Steve Niedorf / Courtesy of Escape Vista
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    Maple cabinetry fills the kitchen, along with a stainless sink, small dining/work table, undercounter refrigerator/freezer and solid butcher block tops. Vacation in the mountains, anyone?

    Steve Niedorf / Courtesy of Escape Vista

This post was originally published on Jan. 8, 2015.

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