Organizing is all about taking into account your personality and your working style. I love taking a tip or a system and making it work for my home. If a system won’t work for the way you live, it will feel as if you have no system in place at all.
Take a look at 5 of my favorite tips I use all throughout my home. If you see an idea you like, don’t be afraid to tweak it to make it work for you!
1. Keep items where you use them
When evaluating my kitchen organization, I decided to move my coffee mugs right next to my coffee maker, where I use them.
As you can see I have this very narrow cabinet that I tried to use as a pantry when we first moved in. My husband even installed this handy pull-out rack to make it easier to get to the items hidden in the back. Even though I could reach all of the items, the cabinet was away from where I prepare food and so it never quite seemed to make sense as a pantry. And since it’s so narrow, I felt limited as to what would work in the space.
Turns out the rack is now perfect to hold all things coffee and tea related! Since coffee is such an important part of my day, I am delighted to have an area dedicated to my addiction.
Another example of making my kitchen systems work for me came from an unsightly build up of dirty rags. I use cloth dishtowels, instead of paper towels, and I go through around 1-2 towels a day. When a towel was dirty, it would sit and wait on the counter until I had a chance to take it back to the laundry basket in the bedroom.
Even though that sounds simple enough, the dirty towels never seemed to make it to the back bedroom. Finally I realized that I could put a basket for dirty towels under the sink.
Now there are no more dirty towels just hanging around on the counter. I put a basket right at the point of use.
In the case of the coffee cups and coffee beans, I wanted to store them right where I was about to use them as I make coffee; and in the example of the dishtowels I needed to find a solution that could solve the storage of the items already used.
Although I had every intention to take the towels to the laundry basket, it just wasn’t happening. I could sit and beat myself up about being a horrible housekeeper or I could evaluate my system and realize that I need something that works with my own style (I like to call my style simplistic rather than a little on the lazy side).
Take a peak around your home. Do your shoes always land at the front door even though your shoe rack is in the bedroom? Perhaps consider moving the shoe rack or some other sort of storage near the front door. Go with your own style and flow instead of creating a system that you’ll end of fighting to maintain. When a system is really working for you, it can feel almost effortless.
2. When in doubt, make a drawer!
I love drawers! When I don’t have a drawer where I need one, I make one. I make drawers all over my home.
In the freezer I added a drawer to hold frozen veggies (pay no attention to the giant turkey).
I re-purposed a dish tub into a drawer for all of my baking supplies.
If I need one item, like the measuring cup, then I pull out the drawer and grab what I need. If I am doing my weekly muffin baking session, I pull out the whole tub and put it on the counter. It makes for easy prep and clean-up.
Along the same lines of a removable drawer for my baking supplies. I use one container to hold all of the various accoutrements of my immersion blender.
Seldom used appliances, such as this blender, are stored above the microwave. With the immersion blender in its “drawer,” I retrieve it as one unit instead of a mass of parts.
I even created a stacking drawer system for my extra Tupperware
I keep my everyday Tupperware in a standard kitchen drawer. (Yes, I am aware that I have everyday and backup Tupperware! It sounds very strange as I am typing it.)
As you can see by the nearly empty drawer, all my Tupperware was in use when this picture was taken. (This was previously used as a play drawer when the girls were smaller. They loved being in the kitchen when I was cooking, so I kept old kitchen items they could play with in one space. It kept them entertained and also gave them a boundary since they knew everything else in the kitchen was off limits.)
For my extra Tupperware, I use the top drawer to hold the containers.
The bottom drawer holds the lids because that is the order of use; container first and then lid. The “drawers” have a shelf divider, similar to the one in my bathroom cabinet, to keep them stacked and in line.
In the bathroom I moved our medicine out of the medicine cabinet and into a basket I can use as a drawer.
I can pull it out easily and get to the medicine in the back or I can take the whole basket out to have a closer look. Easy access to my headache remedies is a must when my head is clouded with pain.
Once you find a functioning system that works, repeat it all over your home, which clearly I have done with drawers!
3. Re-purpose items
When you are looking for items to re-purpose, you will be surprised at what you find when you look around your home with a fresh perspective. The hanging organizer I originally purchased to organize my sweaters was re-purposed, complete with labels, for items I use often, like bras, pjs and t-shirts. I even made the bottom section a space for clothes needing extra laundry care (because it hangs right above my laundry basket). To think, I almost donated it.
A similar re-purposing success story was with the pull-out pantry caddy. It was originally purchased to hold soup cans and now it holds coffee mugs.
As much as I love all types of organizing gadgets and containers; it’s worth being wary of ads promising you, “If only you had the next new product your home will be organized.” Gadgets don’t organize your home, you organize your home.
4. Utilize extra space
There is a small space between the top of our fridge and the cabinets. Turns out it’s the perfect size for small baskets.
I am able to take advantage of a previously unusable space. (Technically, I think those baskets count as more drawers…)
Get creative with your space! Look up, areas such as tops of cabinets or under the bed can be perfect for storage. The inside of cabinet doors is a frequently forgotten area. It is a perfect place to hang hooks or containers for extra storage. You can also hang paper that is referred to often, such as a phone list or a menu.
5. Be realistic
The last tip when you are organizing is to keep realistic expectations. Organizing is about making your life easier and simpler. It doesn’t make your house or life perfect. I don’t expect my 2 and 4 year old to line up their shoes on a shoe rack like my husband and I do. A basket to corral shoes and sometimes socks is a perfect fit for their age.
Find those organizing tips that work well in one area of your home and then look for ways to repeat them.
What organizing tips are working in your home? Does anyone else go drawer and container crazy?