Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Thursday Thirteen 241: Get organized

I am a fairly well-organized person. This comes in part from my abhorrence of clutter, a penchant for liking everything in its place, and four years of college dorm life where I learned to economize space. Here are some ideas for organizing your home, taken from my own.

1. Closets are notorious for wasted space. For example, my linen closet. There is about three feet of empty space between the top shelf and ceiling. The solution? A storage module placed on the top shelf instantly adds more room for storage. If adding units to top of a longer shelf--such as that of a bedroom closet--make sure the shelf has proper support (use anchors if adding extra brackets), or it will sag and either make it impossible to move hangers, or tip everything onto the floor--or both.

2. Since my bathroom does not have a medicine cabinet, baskets help corral health and beauty items on one shelf of the linen closet, keeping shelves neat, and items easy to find. Decorative baskets can also be placed on bathroom vanities or back of the toilet, to hold soaps, lotions, etc., and I have one under the sink for cleaning products.

3. Shelving and storage modules come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes these days. Some companies sell mix-and-match units, such as the drawer and two-unit combos below. The only caveat here: be careful not to place too much weight on the drawer unit. Yup, learned that lesson the hard way. After repairing the drawer, I had to move it from bottom of the five-unit stack to the middle.

4. Other free-standing units are perfect for creating extra storage space in the bedroom, playroom, craft room, walk-in closet, garage--you get the picture. You can stack them for a tall corner unit, or line three or four up in a row at the end of a bed, or to divide a larger room in two, without making it look cluttered.

5. This set (two 3-shelf units stacked atop each other) adds space to the closet, and is perfect for sweaters, sweatpants and other items you might not want to hang. You can also buy wicker or fabric baskets to fit each shelf, if you want a classier "drawer" effect.

6. Storage bins are perfect for seasonal items such as Christmas decorations, or winter/summer clothing that is out of season. I highly recommend plastic storage containers over cardboard boxes for use in basement or garage space where leaks could occur. Depending on weight, they can be stacked three or four high--or slide them onto a sturdy, wide shelving unit.

7. Corral wrapping paper and trimmings with a hanging organizer (pictured), a standing module, or under-the-bed model. Yes, I have two. One is entirely Christmas paper and gift tags, the other for all other occasions.

8. Hanging shoe bags aren't just for shoes. Hung on the back of doors, they can be used to store cleaning supplies, hats/earmuffs and mittens, or pet leashes. In a child's room they are perfect for Barbies, balls, cars or small stuffed animals.

9. Organization does not have to be expensive. Many items can be repurposed after their original use, such as glass jars, tin gift boxes or photo/shoe boxes. Jars come in assorted shapes and sizes and can be used to organize the pantry or kitchen cupboards. In the craft room, they are perfect for buttons and ribbon. Tins and photo boxes can be used for storing small toys such as Matchbox cars, doll clothes or Legos.

10. Crates also come in assorted sizes, and can be used for a variety of media storage. Not only do I use them for CDs, I also have some in my craft corner for clear stamp sets, stored in CD jewel cases (available at any office supply store).

11. Moving on to the office...a file cabinet is an excellent place to start. Hanging files easily designate paperwork pertaining to home, medical, appliances, bank, utilities--or any other category you deem necessary. I clean mine out every January, shredding what I no longer need to keep.

12. Another way to corral paper is with vertical or horizontal desk trays. Easily organize printer paper, photo paper, stationary, research materials or anything else that usually ends up in a haphazard pile on the desk or floor.

13. Letter trays are another item that come in a variety of styles. The blue one pictured below sits in a corner of my desk and holds pens/pencils, stationary, envelopes, stamps, and bills needing to be paid. The green one hangs on the wall to keep track of letters, extra notepads, etc., until I have replied to or properly filed the contents.

Granted, getting organized can take time and be expensive, but it doesn't have to all be done at once. Start with one room, and watch for items to go on sale. After Christmas and spring is when you can find the best deals for storage bins. Back-to-school sales are best for shelving/storage modules, baskets and office items.

More Thursday Thirteen


Shelley Munro said...

Wow, you are very organized. Good tip about using plastic bins instead of cardboard in garages and basements.

CountryDew said...

I have found that using dish washing tubs instead of baskets works really well for storing things and organization. They're also really cheap.

These are great tips!

colleen said...

I could use a tip or two on this. My closets are stuffed to the max. I do use baskets a lot for catching things.

Heather said...

Shelley: Thank you. I also recomend plastic bins for apartment dwellers who run the risk of being flooded by upstiars neighbors, as my walkin closet/hallway was four years ago. After having to dry and even throw out a few books, I invested in more waterproof bins for storage. Nothing goes in there or the basement unless it's in a plastic bin.

Heather said...

Anita: That is a great tip about dish tubs, though they sometimes seem hard to find these days outside hospitals.

Colleen: I would love to tackle a friend's closets armed with a few of these tips. Heck, who am I kidding--her whole house! Her home is so cluttered she can never find anything. *shudder*

jayedee said...

wow! i'm impressed! i may even put a few of these into practice....someday! lol

happy TT!

Adelle Laudan said...

We're on the same wavelength. I'm home alone this week so am taking advantage of the time to declutter the house. It feels good.
Great ideas. Happy T13!

Alice Audrey said...

We do all this and still end up with clutter. Comes of being part of an entire family of pack-rats.

Jana said...

Great tips, ye goddess of organization! :-)

I have several of these organizational methods in place already but I have a couple of closets that still need to be cleaned out and organized from the chaos of moving in nearly three years ago and just tossing stuff wherever I could hide it. lol If you ever get the urge to tour the deep south...;-)

Hazel said...

A very helpful list, especially that I'm planning to move to a smaller space and I got loads of stuff being a pack rat.

thebluemuse said...

Oh I needed to read this today, thank you! I love, love, love the behind-the-door wrapping storage idea. I have such a hard time corralling that stuff. Thank you!

I am Harriet said...

I'm working on my organization early this year thanks to the early spring.

Have a great Thursday!

Pearl said...

small caper and mustard jars can be recruited to use spice in, labels on the lid to keep them alphabetical.

Heather said...

Jaydee: me, this didn't all happen over night. It's a couple decades in the works.

Adelle: Doesn't it feel good to declutter and organize stuff? I make a point especially of weeding out the wardrobe every spring and fall when I swap seasonal clothes. I've detrmined that the obly thing I really need to buy right now are new ankle socks for summer walking (and not the footy kind, either).

Heather said...

Alice: You? A packrat? I never would have guessed it! *G*

Jana:'re funny. Do you know how ruthless I can be? Seriously, as I said--take it one room (or closet) at a time. Experts say you should have three boxes when you go through stuff: keep, donate, and toss. Get cracking, woman!

Heather said...

Hazel: Downsizing can be a difficult process. Good luck in moving to a new home!

Bluemuse: I'm glad you liked this, and that people have found these tips useful. :)

Heather said...

Harriet: Good luck with your organzing. Isn't this weather unbelievable? Forget spring, we've gone right to summer. It was 81 degrees here today. 81! In mid-March! Crazy! lol

Pearl: Yes, small jars have a myriad of uses, both in the kitchen and out. Thanks for visiting!

Paige Tyler said...

Those are great! I'm kinda, sorta, organized! LOL!


My TT is at http://paigetylertheauthor.blogspot,com

Heather said...

Thanks, Paige!

Forgetfulone said...

Those hanging shoe bags are great for so many things! Shoes, of course. Craft supplies. Socks. Clasroom items (for the teacher)