The beginning of a new year typically sparks a desire to “start fresh” in many areas of life. Among those ambitious goals is often the plan to get organized and whip the house into shape! While that is a worthy and noble goal, the reality is that without daily maintenance and a system to help keep you organized, you will likely be making the same resolution next January.
There is an abundance of articles and blogs available to walk you through the process of how to save/recycle/store/donate. But at the end of the day, if the things you save don’t have a “home base,” they will be floating around the house and winding up in locations that cause frustration and last-minute frantic searches for lost items.
Depending on how your brain is wired, the typical avenues for organization might feel so lofty you give up without trying. Thinking outside the box can be a useful tool when it comes to organization, especially if your home is small or storage space is at a premium. Here are several low cost/high impact ideas to consider implementing in each room of the house to help keep all your belongings under control.
BATHROOM: Consider using a Lazy Susan for makeup and hair supplies. This can maximize storage space in a closet and give you clear visibility of all your items so you can avoid knocking over the ones in the front to get to the ones in the back. If space allows, use a second Lazy Susan for medications and band aids. This helps you easily identify when something is running low and needs to be purchased. Install a shower caddy on the back of a closet door. Curling irons, blow dryers, and flat irons can be tucked into the compartments instead of taking up valuable drawer space.
BEDROOM: An over-the-door shoe organizer can be used for a whole lot more than shoes. If you lack space for a dresser or bureau, small items like socks and underwear can be neatly arranged in the plastic shoe pockets. Rolled up T-shirts could be organized in rows according to color. Command Strips can be placed on the back of a door or even a closet wall to hang scarves, belts, or necklaces, items which can quickly become entangled when simply tossed in a drawer or bin.
KITCHEN: Use clear containers when at all possible. Being able to see the contents of a container (with or without a label) cuts down on time wasted trying to find or identify food items. This ensures that leftovers get eaten and pantry items get restocked, avoiding emergency trips to the grocery store. Alphabetize your spice rack and turn all cans and bottles facing forward so you can quickly grab what you need. Install small hooks inside cupboard doors to hang frequently used items like measuring spoons or beaters.
OFFICE: Buy a label maker! This will be the smartest purchase you ever make! Label folders for various bills so they can be quickly filed. Control all of that school paperwork by designating a specific area and labeling a folder for each child. Consider keeping a miscellaneous folder for items that are temporary, such as receipts for gifts or recipes torn from magazines. Sort through this occasionally and discard anything that’s no longer relevant. Keep a file for current bills so they all end up in the same place. There’s nothing worse than paying an overdue fee on a bill that simply got misplaced.
TOY ROOM: Making your toy storage more specific can help eliminate frustration for both parents and children. Think through which toys need “specific storage,” and which ones can be housed in a more general fashion. For instance, Barbies, Legos, and Matchbox cars should each have their own bin. Random items can all be tossed into the same storage unit. Invest in secondhand or inexpensive shelving for books; it’s easier to find those favorite titles and keeps them from getting damaged.
A few small changes or additions to your household systems can give you a real boost as you attempt to bring order to your home. It’s not about organization for organization’s sake; it’s about increasing your efficiency by saving time and avoiding frustration. And any time saved by being more organized is time better spent on family, friendships, and fun!