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The weather's finally taken a turn and there's something about open windows and doors with light breezes flowing through the house to get me in an organizing mood! I've always been an organizing junkie...baskets and label makers weren't really things I could use, but things I had to have! Alphabetical order makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Color coordinating sends me to the moon and back. And while I love, and desire, for my life to reflect this obsession (there, I said it!), I also know that organizing skills don't come so naturally to everyone. And so, here are a few little organizing tips I've learned over the years that will hopefully help steer you in the right direction or at least give you a new idea for a problem area in your home.
Before I share some storage/organization solutions that I use in my own home, let me share some basic rules I have for myself when it comes to organizing.
1-I should be able to search for and locate any item in our home in 30 seconds or less. If it takes longer than this, I know that that item is not being stored in the most efficient manner.
2-Set boundaries. If I only have one shelf for storing craft supplies, I have to purge items until what I have fits.
3-Store items where they are used. It makes no sense, to me, to store my cleaning supplies in my bedroom, or my ribbon in my kitchen. Think "where do I use this item" and store it as close to it's most used location. If an item is used all, be sure to store like items together in a central location. This rule is especially useful in the kitchen. I store everything it takes to make a cup of coffee directly above the coffee maker. The things I use most to cook dinner or bake are stored within reaching distance of the stove. You get the idea.
4-A occasional purge isn't an option, but a necessity. I can always tell when we've accumulated too much junk. I try to purge every room in the house at least once or twice a year. I've also learned that when an urge to purge strikes, I'll be more likely to get rid of things that I'd otherwise allow to continue cluttering my home.
And now, for a look at how I organize our chaos...
My oh-so-wonderful step-father built this little recycling center for us last year. I found the baskets I wanted to use, and he built it to my exact specifications. This keeps our recyclables from being a huge eye sore. When we're ready to take them to the dump, we just pile the baskets in the truck and off they go!
Here, I've used an office organizer (for sorting mail or files) to store my baking pans, cutting boards and wire racks. I really like being able to pull out the exact thing I want to use and not have to dig under 4 other pans to find the one that I want.
Oh, the lids. Seems like even the best laid plans for these little boogers seems to come up short! My rule here is to store them in a box or bin with other lids that same size. These lids all fit and are stored with mixing bowls.
We've been married long enough now to know what recipes work and which don't. A few years ago, I typed up all the recipes that we use on a regular basis and store them in this binder. Then, I was able to week out any cookbooks that only contained one or two recipes that we used. It's really nice to have everything stored in one place.
This is how I'm currently storing my fabric. Yeah, it's all color coordinated and tucked away nicely in those clear boxes, but I'm not happy with it. Any suggestions?
Here I am again with the color coordination. It might seem a little crazy to some people, but I'm a firm believer in storing your clothes this way. I never have to spend time looking for a certain shirt. I know that if it's not with shirts of the same color, it must be dirty. To store by color literally adds 30 seconds more to my laundry process. Spending time looking for that one long lost shirt that's buried in a corner could easily take twice that time.
Baskets and bins. Period.
The cabinet space under our kitchen cabinets seems to be more like a deep dark dungeon than a functioning area. These little pull out drawers make it so easy to store all kinds of things and keeps them from getting lost back in the abyss :)
Everyone should have a junk drawer organizer. We all have junk drawers, right? Well, for about $8 at Wal-Mart, you can keep your junk organized! This bi-level organizer keeps that out of control drawer somewhat manageable. And you gotta love those little stickers that come with it to help items get put away in the correct spot.
Check out some of our favorite organizing solutions below or click on the "Organization Tips" label on the right side of the page.
If you have your own organizing tips, we'd love to hear them!