The Room-by-Room Guide to Setting Up a More Productive and Healthier Home


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For many people, there's really no place like home. If that's true for you, you're going to want to make it the best it can be because you do a lot there. You get rest and relaxation; you work on projects (and might even work from home); you entertain; you do chores and cook; you might even raise a family there—in short, everyday life happens at home, with some milestones or momentous occasions in between.

But if your home isn't set up to help you go about your daily life, it can cause a lot of unnecessary stress, which can lead to bigger health problems if left untreated, such as anxiety or depression, or even high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

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We've written about the effects clutter has on your health and shared our favorite buys for a healthier kitchen and bedroom, but what about setting up and organizing your home with health and productivity in mind? We asked the experts to give us their best tips roo mby room. Here's what they had to say.

In the Living Room


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Whether you live with other people or not, the living room can be a dumping ground for clutter, which might make it harder to find things. This scenario might seem familiar to you: You're running out the door because you're already late to work, but now you have to turn your whole living room inside out because you can't find your keys.

To streamline your living room, make sure everything in it has a "home," recommends Julie Morgenstern, an organizing and productivity expert and best-selling author of Time to Parent: Organizing Your Life to Bring Out the Best in Your Child and YouYou won't keep losing the remote to your Apple TV if you know it's always stored in a tray on your coffee table. It also might even be easier to store different categories of items by zone. Store only books on the bookshelves, or gadgets by the TV console. 

In the Kitchen


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Like the living room, the kitchen can also be a "command center" of sorts for many people. You might gather there with your family or roommates, do work there, and obviously you cook and clean. But if your kitchen becomes too cluttered, the less likely you'll want to cook and the more likely you'll be opting for greasy takeout. 

Morgenstern recommends applying her "zones" idea to the kitchen, too. Store seasonings, mixing bowls, cutting boards, and knives in the cabinets above and below the countertop where you prep food. For easy cleanup, stash your dishes near the sink and dishwasher (if you have one) so they're easy to unload, dry, and put away. Put your pots, pans, spatulas, etc., near the stove. If you use your kitchen to store mail and other paperwork, get a bulletin board or organizing trays so you can easily find the important stuff.

In the Dining Room


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The dining area—whether it's a separate room, nook, or just a table—can be a multipurpose space, too. A lot of us use the spot to do work, some might even use it for side hustles or hobbies, like crafting. When the stuff piles up, you won't have a place to eat, so you might post up on the couch to eat your meal, which could lead to distracted eating. Research has shown that not paying attention to your food can cause you to eat more than recommended.

This can be easily fixed. Morgenstern says you should keep the surface clear when you're not using it for other purposes—she recommends investing in a credenza or cabinet to hide all your stuff. Storage bins can work, too.

In the Bedroom


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The bedroom is for sleep, and if you're not getting good sleep, that can lead to short-term problems like a lack of alertness, impaired memory, relationship stress, and greater likelihood for car accidents. Long-term problems can include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, failure, or stroke.

While we've learned that how you get good-quality sleep depends on personal preferences, there are a few things you can do to streamline and organize your bedroom that may be a benefit.

"A bedroom should hold the essentials, and that's it," says Teplin. "There shouldn't be a ton of decorative items or storage shelving. The less you can store in your bedroom, the better."

In the Bathroom


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Are bathrooms (and their storage) getting smaller, or are our beauty and wellness collections getting bigger? Whatever the case, the bathroom can get pretty cramped. And when it does, it makes it harder to do anything in it (like getting ready before work) and then even harder to clean (well, that's just gross).

Shearer and Teplin suggest finding storage solutions that will streamline your particular routine. "It helps to consider what items you need within your immediate reach and make sure they remain visible and accessible—all the other items can be neatly stowed away," Shearer says. "Items like baskets, dividers, jars, and turntables will help you maximize the space you have and create a system that works for you. We love an aesthetically pleasing space, but just remember—function comes first." Keep the things you use every day out or easily accessible and the other things more hidden.

And If You Live in a Studio Apartment


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You might have read through this whole story and thought, "What about me and my studio apartment?" Well, the "zones" rule still applies here, too. Think about your sleeping, cooking, eating, doing work, hanging out zones. 

Additionally, invest in furniture or products that do double-duty. "Make sure every piece of furniture has storage," Morgenstern says. "End tables in your living room should be storage ones. The coffee table should have storage—not a big, open glass thing. It might look nice in a magazine, but you've got to be more clever than that because you're so limited."


This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions.

Managing Editor

Sarah is lifestyle writer and editor with over 10 years of experience covering health and wellness, interior design, food, beauty, and tech. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she attended New York University and lived in New York for 12 years before returning to L.A. in 2019. In addition to her work on THE/THIRTY and Who What Wear, she held editor roles at Apartment Therapy, Real Simple, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, and The Bump (sister site of The Knot). She has a passion for health and wellness, but she especially loves writing about mental health. Her self-care routine consists of five things: a good workout, “me” time on the regular, an intriguing book/podcast/playlist to unwind after a long day, naps, and decorating her home.