Have you ever paid attention to the bins and baskets aisle at your local Dollar General, Family Dollar or Dollar Tree? If you haven’t, you definitely should.
For example, these little white baskets are 3 for a dollar. They are in use all over my house and they make excellent drawer organizers. Here they are organizing some hair bows in my oldest daughter’s dresser.
Next up are plastic chests of drawers. We use them in our bathroom vanities to give us a little more storage space inside the cabinets.
We also use the little plastic baskets as drawer organizers here as well.
Fabric drawers have many uses and are a steal at $4. Here we use them to organize our playroom.
Dollar Stores also have some pretty sweet deals on hangers. I bought the velvet coat hangers in this closet from the Dollar Tree and they have held up amazingly well.
Dollar store baking dishes Make awesome storage bins for your fridge. Plus, the glass ones are dishwasher safe. Plastic food storage containers work well for fridge bins, too.
The Dollar General stores have these awesome metal baskets, which I am using to store cleaning supplies.
There are a number of different plastic bins available, which we use all over the house in a variety of ways.
These are just a few of my favorite dollar store organizing tools. Please comment down below to share a few of your favorites.
I used to create and print this eleaborate calendar. It was great, but too big and too bulky, and it wasn’t very durable. It was also time consuming to design and assemble.
Enter this pretty little $14 agenda from Anthropologie.
It has whole month calendar pages
And weekly pages as well.
There are also blank pages in the back, which I’ve used for a number of things. Some of them I have used to paste in my own pages.
And on others, I draw or write in whatever I need it to be.
Now that I’m getting into bullet journaling, I can see how these boring, handwritten lists will be much more eye catching in the future.
I met a girl at a teaching workshop I attended earlier this year who had a gorgeous bullet journal. She graciously allowed me to photograph it.
I am learning to use my agenda to organize the things I am scheduled to do, the things I need to do, and the things I want to do. I am also using it to set some goals and keep track of other things.
Each evening, I look back over my day and I look to tomorrow to get a good idea of what I need to accomplish. I also make sure I’m ready for the next day.
I am encouraging my readers to share their agendas. How do you use your agenda? What does it look like? Do you make your own from scratch or customize a pre-made one like I do? Please comment and show me your agendas.
Last week, we discussed why it is important to be organized, and how being organized positively impacts your health. This week, I am going to share some tips for getting organized, but also maintaining it.
Sort and purge
The first step to getting organized is to pare down and simplify. I like to make three piles- one pile of things to keep, one pile of things to trash, and one of things to donate.
2. Categorize, categorize and categorize
I like to dump everything into a really big pile and sort it into piles with like objects. Then, store all the like objects together in a bin or basket…. and pop a label on it.
Make sure the label indicates exactly what’s in the basket or bin, and that nothing else gets put in to the basket.
3. A place for everything
Use some boxes, containers, or bins to corrall your newly “categorized” items. Make sure you have a specific place to put everything.
4. Regularly re-organize
Keep a regular “maintenance” schedule so you can make sure you’re staying organized. If something isn’t working for you, restructure it to meet your needs and then try again. Go through your bins and baskets regularly to correctly put away things that might have gone into the wrong basket. Throw away things you no longer use or need. Donate things that you don’t use anymore.
6. Pick up and put away
This is where we struggle in our home. When you get something out, return it to its proper spot when you’re finished with it. Grab a basket and walk around your home before bed each night, and pick up anything you see that isn’t put away. I feel a little silly writing that since it seems like a given, but it’s definitely something we struggle with here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our tips for cleaning and organizing your home!
I try to do a post each week on organizing: usually I post about something I’ve organized, or I share some organizational tips I’ve learned along the way.
I am asked the following questions on a regular basis: why is organizing so important to you? AND why should I care about it?
As a teacher of middle school students, I have been able to observe that some people are naturally more organized than others, while others are extremely disorganized by nature. Those who are disorganized can become organized, but they really seem to have to work hard to change their natural tendencies.
Since childhood, I’ve been the happiest and functioned the best in an orderly environment, but some of my most used organizational strategies are things that I have had to teach myself to do.
Being organized has a lot of benefits, and some of them are even beneficial to your health. Surprisingly, organization is something that has been widely researched. Today, I’d like to share some of those things with you.
Being organized creates a calming environment.
Having a place for everything and putting everything away makes for a more tidy, less cluttered environment. According to a study by Personality and Psychology Journal, women who had cluttered homes had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Plus, not having a designated place for everything leads to losing things. Not being able to find something when you want or need it can make you stressed out and frustrated. This leads me to the next point.
2. Being organized saves you time.
I once read that the average person spends four years of their lives looking for things. I don’t know about that, but what I do know is that my days run much more smoothly if I don’t have to search for the things I need. I also know from experience when things are not located in a timely manner, it takes time to find them, and then I’m stressed and running late. When you are a working mother, you have to juggle getting yourself and your children ready in the mornings, and you actually have to leave. Time tends to be tight at our home in the mornings, and the less I have to look for, the better. I don’t want to be redundant, but I’ve already mentioned how having to locate something takes time and makes you frustrated. Wouldn’t it be so much better to spend that time doing something you’ll actually enjoy?
3. Being organized increases productivity.
Not only can clutter distract you and stress you out, it can also decrease your productivity.The Journal of Neuroscience said looking at too many things at once can actually overload your visual cortex and interfere with your brain’s ability to process information. Having an organized work space means that you can accomplish more things at a reasonable pace. I know from personal experience that if I leave my desk messy at the end of the day, just the sight of it will stress me out the next morning. This was starting my days off on the wrong foot, so I knew I had to tidy up my desk top at the end of the day.
Making to-do lists of things that need your attention help you remember your tasks, but it also feels really good to check off those completed items.
4. Being organized can save you money.
How many times have we bought something to replace an item we needed but couldn’t find? What about when you buy something you already have a lot of, because you didn’t know how much you already had? This happened with me in our pantry. Before I re-organized it, I got really slack about putting things away in the pantry. Then, I ended up buying several canned foods we didn’t need, because I couldn’t see the cans to see what was already there. We ended up with about 8 cans of corn, when we really only needed 3 or 4.
5. Being organized can help others in your family to become more organized.
Sometimes, modeling good organizational habits CAN help our children to learn the same ones. I say “sometimes” and “can,” because some children still require a lot of effort to become organized adults. I’ve also read studies that suggest being organized improves your relationships with others for many of the same reasons I’ve already listed above.
Because I cannot leave this post without offering some tips, I thought I’d share a few of those as well. To become more organized, start by writing down everything you need to remember or need to do. Checking off completed tasks truly does feel good. Also, when you’re tackling a big job, break it into smaller pieces. This actually helps you to accomplish the task completely, and it makes it far less overwhelming. My last piece of advice is to be flexible. Often, I have unrealistic expectations and I will cram too much into one day. It’s hard, but sometimes I just need to accept that I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do. Rushing through a job just to get it done ultimately helps no one!
Have a wonderful week. I have some great organizational posts to share with you next week.
Most of us who have small children would agree: it’s very easy for toys to take over your home. Your life even! We can certainly do things to cut down on the toy clutter, such as simplifying your child’s toy collection. Truthfully, even a large toy collection can still be organized and stored so that it doesn’t take over the world.
One of my favorite ideas is to use hampers and vertical bins to corral stuffed animals. Not only does the tall, skinny bin store a lot of critters, it also takes up a small amount of floor space. For the win!
Bookshelves. This goes back to vertical storage with a minimal footprint. Bookshelves will hold a lot of things and can be decorated so that they are attractive. The idea is to create a zigzag pattern across the shelves to keep the eye moving. These playroom shelves hold books and large toys, while bins stored on the shelves hold art supplies, school supplies, small toys, and paperback books. The bottom shelves hold stuffed animals and dolls, while the top shelves hold games and puzzles.
Here is the bookshelf in Emorie’s room. The box on the top holds small toys that her sister shouldn’t be able to reach. The same rules apply. It’s a nice mixture of actual books and toys.
These closet organizer cubes and fabric drawers live in our playroom and we love them. Actually we don’t just love them, we lurrrve them. They hold so much and they slide in and out of the cubes so well. The toys are sorted with like objects and placed into their own bin by category. The labels contain the word and the picture to help the littles know where to put them up.
These ideas are just some of the way we deal with the toy clutter. I hope I have shared some useful ideas with you. If you have any ideas that are different from mine, please comment below. I love sharing ideas and learning new things from my readers as well. Have a wonderful week.
Currently, our home has no mud room or entry way. When you enter the door, here is what you see.
We do have this lovely sofa table and mirror and I like how it looks in this space. What I don’t love is how the table catches everything and how the space is so boring. Just look at all that wasted space behind the front door!
Our plans for our home do include an improved Kitchen and laundry room, with the addition of a mud room. This could be years away, so we’d like to repurpose this entry into a mini mudroom of sorts. Here are some ideas I’ve found:
Now that we are in “back to school territory” I thought I’d share some ideas for staying organized during the school year. I have found as a student and as a teacher, the more organized and prepared you are, the better your day will be. Since I will be the parent of a school age child for the first time this year, I’m trying my best to make sure we’re prepared and organized.
How much easier will it be to tackle that homework when you have your school supplies in an easy to access place? We love being able to grab up that caddy and haul it over to the dining room table.
2.Use folders to organize paper work
Here’s an idea we are just now trying. Get an inexpensive pocket folder. I like the plastic ones as they’re more durable. Use one side to stash papers to bring home or take to school and one for homework.
Your school days will run much more smoothly if you form a routine and stick to it. Homework will be less of a battle if you designate a time to do it. Stay consistent and it will work. 4. Have a special place for your child’s bookbag
This one goes right along with having a routine. Have somewhere for your child’s backpack to hang as soon as they walk in the door. I like to put everything else she’ll need right there beside it (shoes, coat, etc.)
What tips can you share for preparing for a successful school year?
The vanity cabinet in my daughters’ bathroom looked like this:
Not horrible, but not much space and kind of hard to find things. My oldest has her own towels and washcloths, as well as her beach towels, while my baby uses hooded towels and baby washcloths. I could never find the right towels when I wanted and I was tired of rooting for them.
You may recall that this past Christmas, we used a gift card to buy this shelf to help with the “lack of storage” issue in this bathroom.
While it does help, we still needed more space. I had toyed with the idea of putting a plastic chest of drawers in the vanity. The first one I brought home was too tall. #measureitbeforebuying
I did end up finding modular drawers at Wal-Mart for $9. I bought three of them. I did measure them first this time.
Then, I came home and pulled everything out of that cabinet. I decided to keep the wire shelf and the large tote with my cleaning supplies. I fancied up those drawers with some scrapbook paper to make them less ugly.
I didn’t have room in the drawers to put the girls’ towels and washcloths, so I chose to utilize the wire rack for those. The baby towels got folded and put into a white basket that acts almost like a drawer with the rack. Emorie’s towels were folded and put on top of the rack.
I designated one drawer for each girl and stowed their washcloths and daily personal care products there. I used plastic drawer organizers to section off and organize the drawers.
The bottom drawer is holding the girls’ first aid items and some seasonal items, like sunscreen and insect repellents.
Wanting to utilize every ounce of possible space, I stuck two plastic drawer organizers on top of the unit (and had space for them! I was amazed) to store extra toiletries and baby wipes.
I also put the cleaning supply tote on the top rack. I would put the towels in front, but it is a lot easier to move a bucket with handles to get the towels than vice versa.
I am so pleased with this organization project and it has really helped a lot.