Many years ago...when I just had 2 little kids and only 900 square feet to worry about...I took an Organization Workshop. And I am not exaggerating to say that it changed my life! I really learned to love a clean, uncluttered environment. I am so grateful that I took that class when I did, because my family has been raised all these years with those basic principles. I love that I can tell my three oldest kids (16,14,12) to clean out their closet and de-junk anything they don't use or want...and they do an awesome job!
When they were younger, we would have "back-yard sales"...which meant that they could "sell" anything that they wanted to get rid of to us...their mom and dad. Things could only be 5-25 cents and we would tell them...."Just like a real yard sale...whatever doesn't sell, goes to D.I.! So be sure to price it reasonably". The kids LOVED this! My husband always drove a hard bargain and it was such a hoot to see him as the discriminating customer. We usually ended up spending about $2 at each kids table...and then everything got given away. It was so worth it.
I am afraid to say that I have become less fun as the years have passed and I have never let my two youngest have a back-yard sale! ; ) Oh well, what can I say? It must be a product of aging! ; )
So, for this new year...I thought I would share a few random organization ideas from around my house that have really worked! The biggest challenge (to me) in organization is making A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING...not that it is then easy to keep everything in its place...but it's an impossible task if things don't have "homes".
OK...here is just a totally random look at a few ideas.
Our main utensil drawer....I have a serious shortage of drawers in my house! (Which is why when I wanted to extend my bar, I put in a cabinet with three drawers...it did help, but I could use more!)
I love labeling things because then everyone knows what is supposed to go there...not just me! As my kids have grown up, they are increasingly the ones doing the chores (it is great!), so when they empty the dishwasher, I didn't want to have to re-organize every space! I made some labels and laminated them at the library and then simply taped them in place. Before I took this picture, I also decided to put contact paper on the bottom of the drawer and I am loving how clean and crisp it looks!
And here's what it looks like full:
This "shoe" organizer hangs inside our coat closet and right now it holds scarves, ear warmers, gloves, and other winter paraphernalia. In the summer, it holds sunglasses, visors, flip flops, sunscreen, etc. I have loved how it just simplifies the storage of all the LITTLE things that often make such BIG messes with little kids around!
How I love IKEA!!! So many great storage solutions!! I bought this row of buckets from IKEA and our computer area has never been the same! It holds pens/pencils, scissors/glue sticks/hole punch, iPod/camera cords, and the stapler. I found the black trimmed cork board at Walmart a couple years back and thought it made a great match. Now I can just make myself a note about things I need to do at the computer and they are right there when I come back.
My jewelry board... I realize that if someone had a LOT of jewelry, that they might need a bigger board...but this one has worked PERFECTLY for me. I have it hanging on the wall of our walk-in-closet and it is so easy to store all my jewelry now.
Another great IKEA find... I always had a hard time controlling all the paper clutter of kids pictures. Now, I let them do it! I hung this wire (it is actually sold as a curtain wire, I think) in one of my kids' bedrooms and all the kids now get to hang their favorite artwork on it. And when they want to put up a new one, then they get to pick an old one to come down. It has completely solved the issue and they love having their art hanging.
One more FABULOUS IKEA purchase...
Our towel rack (behind the door in the kids' bathroom). Each kid has their own towel and (theoretically) just hangs it back up on the hook. In reality...it's pretty easy for me to hang them up when I make my walk-thru of the house each morning. Inevitably, whoever has showered that morning has left it on the floor of their closet...but, oh well. ; ) I made this YEARS ago...probably soon after we had our son (5th) and my husband was happy to see only 5 hooks on the bar!
Another place with only 5 spots is our laundry cubbies.... Once again, my husband held his breath until he knew that I was only planning on 5 cubbies! ; ) Surely he should know that someone already doing laundry for 7 people is not especially anxious to add another! Well, not me, anyway!
I love these laundry cubbies and wish that I had made them the minute we moved in!! Along with the folding counter, they totally simplify my laundry routine! I actually delegate folding to my older kids a LOT. And I let them watch a show on my iPad while they do...it's a WIN-WIN!!
This last idea is something that I did years ago, but then we stopped...and as of yesterday, we re-adopted. Each kid has their own bin on their dresser to hold their own stuff. Anything they want to keep goes in there. It really keeps their personal clutter all contained and keeps the room looking so much better.