Nowhere near finished, but I am making significant strides in one of this year's goals. #38 on my "Bucket List." Just for fun, I thought I'd share some of the things I've done in regard to organization in my home. I have no brilliant ideas, nothing new or fancy, and certainly nothing that costs much in the way of money. But some tried and true tricks that are working wonders in our home.
Project #1: My shower. I invested in a shower caddy to keep everything organized and to make it easier to do a quick wipe-down after use. Words can not express my love for this. I wish I had more thumbs to give it, but for now, it's two thumbs up. You can get it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
Project #2: The garage. Space above the car has been put to good use, with an overhead hanging rack. We store items there that we use less often, but use more than we would like to go to the basement or attic. We actually have space for more, and are considering purchasing another. Well worth it, and can be found at Home Depot.
Project #3: Kitchen cupboards. I do not like cluttered messes of lids. I use this dish rack above my ovens on one side of the pots cupboard, to keep lids easily accessible and somewhat organized. Obviously, right now many of my lids are in the dishwasher.
Also in the kitchen, I use plastic cereal containers both for freshness as well as organization. It seems to me that random cereal boxes when left in their original box, end up getting spilt, smashed, and somehow lost in the pantry. Using containers seems to demand order and consistency when they are returned. Not to mention, the cereal stays fresher.
Project #4: Medicine cabinet. Ours was a very unorganized, disaster of a collection of old, expired meds mixed with this and that. Once I cleaned things out, I put in a "lazy susan" to store things used more often so we can easily spin through and find it when we need it. Extra space in the cupboard stores other first-aid and emergency equipment like flashlights, skin care, etc...
Project #5: Entry. First, I started with the coat closet. It was awful. After I gutted it, I simply added 3 baskets on the shelf above the coats for running items I like to grab quickly on my way out, winter hats and mittens, and misc. items. I also added a couple of organizing cubbies below the coats which are stacked on the floor for winter boots, snow pants, etc.
We brought a small dresser into the entry which has great drawer space for misc. items to be stored. I use these drawers for Benny's arts and crafts, puzzles, and other materials, but others might use space like this for purses, keys, or whatever.
Project #6: Clutter. Benny has a lot of toys that ALWAYS end up in the family room. Sometimes I need a quick place to stash them when people come over, if I don't have time to be running up and down the stairs to put them away. We had a chest that was once just for decorative use, but now it's filled with these migrating toys. I really like to keep it in front of the fireplace, but, during the winter WE are usually in front of the fireplace. Now we tuck it away behind the chair, and it doesn't cost us any more space. Benny even helps "cleannup" now, he likes to latch the lock.
Project #7: More clutter. We don't really have a great room for toys, so Benny's room is really his only playroom (except for when he brings his toys downstairs...). I had to figure out two things here. One, was how to make good use of the corner in his room where the roof cuts off a sizable chunk of standing space. Obviously, I chose to put two end tables side by side. This is his puzzle and "quiet corner" now.
The second issue? How to organize the books and toys. A simple solution was found at the grocery store. Baskets for toys, organized by type, and books left out. Benny knows which baskets are for which toys, and where on the shelf each basket belongs. I really believe that even at just 2 years old, people prefer structure and organization when given the option.
Project #8: The laundry room. Dreaded place, once, as it was too small to do what needed to be done in there. And while it hasn't grown any, I can work better with the washer and dryer stacked. Also, there is a place to keep the ironing board out at all times for a quick press if needed. I store a divided hamper in there for towels, sheets, and dishrags. The hamper is easily wheeled out if I need to iron, and nicely tucked in when I don't.
Project #9: Pictures. I have never been a real fan of the collage frame until recently. Michaels has (and often at 60% off), collage frames like none other. They are beautiful, in my opinion, and allow me to display the moments I never want to forget. Below are a couple examples, and a close up so you can see how each picture isn't just matted within the frame, it is framed within the frame!
Project #10: Toddler proofing. I love having a little one around, but sometimes I just have to draw the line of when and where it's okay to go (aka make messes)! Hence, the slide-locks on the doors to places like the pantry, laundry room, DVD closet, etc... So far so good, he hasn't bothered to go to the effort of pulling up a chair to unlock.
Also, Benny uses the "public" bathroom downstairs. I picked up this stool for his hand-washing. He can move it around on his own, it goes with the room, and most importantly, it has a cubby! The top step lifts and underneath is a nice little place for misc. bathroom necessities. I love secret hiding places for random storage!
Last but not least, I tucked shampoos, soaps, razors, and other dangerous things of interest to a toddler into a basket and store them under the sink behind a latched door. While I was at it, I painted the walls and made some curtains. My bathroom has a whole new look now. It was fun to do a quick and rewarding facelift on the bathroom, after lots of organizational work!
I still have a looooong way to go before I'm done, but I am pleased with the progress so far, to organize my home better. I can honestly say, that things appear to be STAYING organized as well. When the family can clearly see where things belong, they make an effort to keep it orderly. I should have done this years ago! I feel addicted, however, and am not sure I'll ever want to stop sorting, dumping, cleaning, painting, filing, labeling, preparing, mending...
"Organize yourselves, prepare every needful thing"