So you want to organize your life. You see all the beautiful Instagram posts and magazine layouts of perfectly organized homes. Beautiful built-ins where kids backpacks are hung, baskets for mittens and shelves for shoes. You think to yourself how wonderful it would be to have such organization, if only you could afford to have someone come build a mudroom with cubbies and shelving. What to do? Not everyone can afford to live like the photos in House Beautiful, and sometimes the pictures are unrealistic to maintain. There are simple inexpensive tips that you can put to practice in your own home which can help with various “dumping areas.” These areas are usually the places strewn with clutter. For example, backpacks dumped by the garage or front door, mail in a large pile in the kitchen, and laundry areas filled with clutter.
Home from School
For backpacks, try hanging hooks by the area where your children come into the house. Remember to use heavy duty hooks so that as they get older and the backpacks get heavier, they won’t fall off the wall. Baskets are inexpensive and can be bought in most stores. These inexpensive plastic wicker looking baskets can be found at Bed Bath and Beyond. These baskets come in three sizes. Maybe have one basket per child for them to put their hats, mittens and scarves. You may want to purchase different colors and assign each child to a color. Milk crates can be another inexpensive option for kids shoes.
Children bring home a large amount of paper. If you don’t have lots of shelf space, you can find inexpensive rolling carts with tiers so you can have a tier per child to hold their papers. Here is an example:
Mail can pile up if not dealt with immediately. Try getting in the habit of recycling your junk mail daily. Assign an area of your kitchen, office or foyer where you would like mail to live. Purchase a small desktop mail holder to keep mail from laying in piles on your counter. If you get magazines or store catalogues, try to read them promptly and then recycle. We all fall into the trap of putting mail aside and saying to ourselves we will get to it later. Before you know it you have a pile of magazines which builds and builds and never is read.
Wash & Fold
The laundry room ends up being a catchall for many things. Pet supplies, cleaning products, dirty laundry- you name it. Try putting your cleaning supplies in a container. Perhaps an inexpensive carry-all caddy or an open-top container. The carry-all is convenient as you can just grab it in one hand and rags in another. All of your supplies are at your finger-tips. For pet supplies, create a small pet zone. Food dishes, beds/crates, pegs to hang leashes/collars, and a shelf to put food. Be sure everything is not in the flow of traffic so people do not trip. By creating a pet area, you can see how much pet supplies you have and it will help you from over purchasing pet supplies at the store. Laundry can be a hassle. Everyone in the house is dumping their dirty laundry all over. If space allows, having 3 hampers makes sense. A dark color for darks, white for whites and a lighter color such as light grey for light clothing. As your children get older teach them to bring their dirty clothes to the laundry room and put in the correct hamper. This is a win-win for everyone. Your kids will not have dirty clothes strewn all over their rooms, it teaches them responsibility, and it will make your life easier when doing the wash.
Basic, Casual or Formal
One final note, kitchen tables and dining rooms tend to be dumping areas for everyone on the family. One way to avoid that, is to have it set with placemats, and a center piece such as candles all the time. Most people will not dump their stuff on a set table. Remember, organizing does not have to break the bank. As you can see there are inexpensive ways to organize to bring calm and less chaos into your family’s life. Have another inexpensive idea to help organize your house? Post on our Facebook page and let us know!