Thursday, January 20, 2011

use-what-you-have organizing

Getting organized seems to be a very popular New Years resolution and it's also one of my favorite things to do. Just ask Mark, I'm always tinkering, moving things around, trying to figure out what is working and what isn't as far as containing all the stuff in our house. Over the past few weeks I've been working in spurts, consolidating, purging and making sure everything has a home. And most importantly, I'm doing it without buying any new bins, boxes or containers. I'm using what I have and some are just ordinary objects not necessarily meant for storage.

I used to keep Morgan's bibs in a cabinet next to our kitchen table, just loosely laying on a shelf. It worked fine for a while, until our bib stash tripled after Parker started teething/drooling constantly/eating solids. Most of the time, they were haphazardly just tossed in there and it became a bit of a mess. Time for a basket.
I just rolled all of the bibs up and packed them in a nice round basket. At meal time, it's easy to just pull the basket out and grab bibs for the kids. Or let Morgan do it. It takes up very little space and it's bright and colorful too.

Next, Parker's table toys:
When Parker started sitting with us at the table in his highchair, I kept a few toys for him to play with while we were eating. But I quickly got sick of losing them on the floor or moving them over to clean off the table after meals. I needed something to contain the toys. I had a few empty plant pots back in the pantry, so I grabbed one to stash the toys in. Simple and it doesn't look bad if left out on the table.

Then, there was the junk drawer type items:
We don't have a junk drawer, per se, but we do have a lot of random stuff that was just laying around, usually on the kitchen counter. Notepads, post-its, pens and pencils, my laptop mouse, memory card reader, thumb drive, the video camera. I also keep Morgan's combs and brushes along with some ponytail holders and barrettes in the kitchen since I usually pull her hair back before meals. We had a leftover silverware tray that we used in the old kitchen, so instead of letting it just lie around, I wrangled up all of this loose, but useful everyday stuff, and organized it within the compartments of the tray. Very simple and it's kept out of sight, but within reach, in the same cabinet as the bib basket.

Another problem area was all of the loose little baking stuff stored in the pantry.
The muffin and cupcake papers, sprinkles, cookie cutters, extracts, and candles. All very small and likely to go missing in our deep pantry roll trays. The last time I bought clementines at the grocery store, I kept the wood box they came in. Right away, I had come up with a use for it. It was the perfect size to keep all of these little baking supplies and I could just tuck it away in the pantry and pull the whole thing out when I need it. Some day I want to fill an entire box with sprinkles. Just because.

Like it or not, we use food as a reward for Morgan's potty efforts. And I wanted to keep them out in the open as a reminder and motivation for her to keep doing a good job.
Before the holidays, Mark installed some open shelves in the kitchen (which I haven't completely figured out how I want to arrange or decorate yet) but for now, I am displaying her special treats here in a couple of empty IKEA jars.

Sometimes people seem to get overwhelmed with the whole idea of getting organized. It can be a lot to absorb, and a lot of work, but often, it's as easy as putting like items together in the place you use them. You don't have to buy a trunkload of matching plastic storage bins to "get organized." You can just as easily make a home for your things with stuff you already have.


  1. You go sis! Might have to hire you to come over and organize the baby room after we get everything situated. =)

  2. ha ha, sis! Somehow I don't think you are going to have a problem getting all of that baby stuff organized. :)