“25 Ways to Organize Your Home”
By Darlene Schacht
I once had a galley kitchen no larger than 5 x 12, which meant that I either learned to be organized or I sacrificed standing room.
Our bedroom was large enough for a double bed and one dresser, with a closet too narrow for an average-sized hanger. The clothes hung at a bit of an angle, and since I didn’t have all that much dresser space I hung up most of our things. There wasn’t a single linen closet, pantry, or medicine cabinet in the house, but I knew I could make it work. Rolling up my sleeves, I got creative seeking ways to store toilet tissue, towels, and bed sheets.
I grew up in a household where everything had a particular place, and my sisters and I were taught to keep the established order. Mom and dad raised six girls in a small house that was always as neat as a pin, because my Grandma—mother of eighteen children—taught her daughters well.
An organized home eliminates stress and the need for unnecessary spending. We lost a pair of glasses once that cost us $150.00 to replace, when all the while they were in the bottom of the kids toy box. If we had less toys—and those toys were organized—we might have seen the forest for the trees. But then again, how can you expect a kid without glasses to see trees? *grin*
I’ve learned that the key to getting organized and keeping that state of order is to…
replace cluttered chaos with wise solutions. With that in mind, here are 25 organizing tips and creative ideas that I’ve gleaned from my family and friends. Maybe some of them may help ease your load:
- Discard or give away unused items. You’ll have less clutter in your storage spaces. If you haven’t used an item in a year or two, you will likely not use it again unless it has sentimental value.
- When it comes to kids—labels are a mom’s best friend. I have labeled my children’s dresser drawers so they know exactly where to put clean underwear, and where they can find it. Tops, t-shirts, pants, pajamas—they’re all labeled.
- Designate a “kid cupboard” for small children. We had a kid cupboard for five years in which we stored plastic bowls, cups, and dry cereal within their reach.
- Use a sock basket. We have a sock basket in the house where all of the kids and mom’s socks go. When we want a pair we go to the basket. It eliminates a lot of hassle on laundry days. And our basket is tucked into a linen closet in the hallway.
- Put aside plastic CD cases and store your music in a CD wallet. Either discard the cases, or pack them in storage, or use them for kid crafts. They make great frames for kid’s artwork!
- Remove the handle from old rakes, clean them well (spray paint if you like) and use them to hang items on the back of a door: mittens and scarves in a mudroom, ties in a bedroom, large utensils in a kitchen, or tools in a garage.
- Ask a local bakery if they have any large plastic pails. Many of them (especially those that are franchised) get them in with their cookie dough. I’ve had one for over 20 years, and I think it holds 33 pounds of flour. I don’t worry about flour bugs, and I keep a scoop in the pail at all times.
- When you buy furniture, look for items that hold storage. We picked up an antique hope chest several years ago, that we use as a coffee table. We keep all of our photo albums in there, and any important newspaper clippings, or interesting birthday cards are stored in there too. Last year my husband bought me a set of vintage suitcases that I stack together for an end table. I store my sentimental items in those.
- If you find an old dresser, or you plan on discarding one, keep the shallow drawers. Small drawers like those from an old singer sewing machine not only look fantastic, but they go far in organizing items like recipe cards or sewing notions. Other shallow drawers can easily be slid under a bed. Remember the little galley kitchen I had? When we remodelled that kitchen I saved the original drawers and slid them under the bed.
- Fill your garage walls with rows of hooks so you can hang anything and everything from bicycles to garden rakes.
- Keep a small basket in the living room to store remote controls and electrical cables.
- Place a wicker basket in your bathroom with rolled up bath towels. When towels are rolled they store better, and they give you more space.
- Do you have items in your dresser drawers that you rarely use, but want to hang on to? Some items might include fancy lingerie, slips, pantyhose, camisoles or bathing suits. Store these items in a shoe box under the bed or up in the closet to free up space in your drawers.
- Keep all computer disks in one CD wallet. Use mailing labels to attach important information such as passwords and user keys. (Do they even have user keys anymore?) Mine are all labeled with the original product keys and all programs are stored in one CD wallet.
- DVDs take a ton of room on the book shelf. I know they’re cute, but wouldn’t it be easier to store them all in one wallet? Again use the casings for crafts.
- Use baby-food jars to store:• pins
• paper clips
• thumb tacks
• rubber bands
• bobbins-Store these baby-food jars neatly by screwing each lid to the underside of a shelf. Remove the shelf from the wall, flip it upside down, lay the lids in two rows across and attach the lids to the shelf with small screws. Screw each baby jar in place and flip the shelf back over. There you have it—hanging baby jars, perfect for a craft room or work shop. I discovered this baby-food jar idea inside the shed of my last house. The older gentleman living there before us used them to store nuts and bolts. I think they’re cute enough to use indoors!
- If you have a mud room, get a large cork board to post appointments and other important reminders where the family can see them.
- Take digital photos of your children’s artwork, and print off small replicas to post on the fridge. Magnetic sheeting can be purchased to create the most adorable fridge magnets. Store the original artwork away for safe keeping.
- Find small storage containers for use under the bathroom sink. Plastic pails may work well for your area as they are taller and narrow. Keep cleaning products in one, hair appliances in another, and toiletries in the third. It’s helpful to have all cleaning products in one pail that you can pull out on bathroom day or easily carry to any room of the house.
- Use bins to divide the floor space in your mud room or entrance closet. Mine is big enough that each kid has a bin for their own shoes, boots, hats, mittens and scarves. Mittens and scarves should be tucked into the sleeve of their coat, but when I’m in a rush, I throw it into their bin. On the top of my wish list is “lockers.” I’m hoping to eventually get one for each member of our family but haven’t afforded them yet.
- If you don’t have a mud room, store two bins inside your closet. One for footwear and the other for miscellaneous items like hats, scarves, purses, and gloves. Clean this bin out whenever you get a chance, so mittens and scarves stay organized. It’s a temporary solution to calm the chaos of overfilled closets.
- If your house doesn’t have a closet in the front entrance, hang hooks on the wall for the jackets and keep your eyes open for a small bench or trunk that has storage space.
- Keep small wicker baskets in areas that act as junk magnets. Have the family drop their items into the basket so that when it’s time to clean you can easily carry the basket and put items away.
- Used coffee tins are great to store markers, Lego or crayons. Have kids decorate and label them for a sense of ownership.
- If you and your husband are handy enough, consider building a drawer into the bottom of a staircase, or the bottom three steps. The space under the stairs is always too low for use anyway. It’s a handy solution for hiding shoes if you have steps leading to a foyer.
Darlene Schacht is the well-known Time Warp Wife whose purpose in ministry is to encourage wives to put God first in their lives. She inspires us to love our husbands and children, and to be good homemakers. In doing so, we bring glory to God. God has created each one of us with a purpose, which is first and foremost to glorify Him. When we live as Jesus lived in obedience to the Bible, we bring glory to God, bring peace to our home, and draw closer to our husbands in the process.
Darlene is an Evangelical Christian who has been married to her husband Michael for over twenty-five years. They have four children and two adorable pugs. Their lives are basically surrounded by three things: faith, family, and books.
Her newest book, Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages (Thomas Nelson), delivers an incredible testimony of grace that offers hope for today’s marriages and a spark for rekindling love.
Visit Darlene’s website at: www.TimeWarpWife.com