Stuff piles up. We all have this problem in some aspect of our lives, some of us may have it in all aspects. We are a materialistic culture, and we tend to “hoard” our possessions. This can become a problem, when, like us, you run out of room to keep everything!
Over the years, we have tried a number of different methods to control the clutter. I’d like to share with you a few that have worked.
A Place For Everything, And Everything in Its Place
It sounds simple, but as you acquire more and more stuff over the course of a lifetime, it tends to pile up. One of the most straightforward ways to keep that from happening is to make sure everything has a “place” to put everything away. We always had a hard time with that concept. You bring the mail in and put it on the table, day after day. Clean clothes sit folded on the dresser, dirty clothes waiting in the laundry room. Happens to the best of us. I had to get a handle on the mess, and quick. I went through all the areas of our house and tried to organize items based on use, and find the most logical place to store them. And then I followed the rest of my steps!
Bins & Labels!
I highly suggest finding a designated area for bin storage. If you own a lot of sentimental things that you plan on keeping, or if you have kids who quickly grow out of clothes & toys, bins are the way to go. They allow you to quickly and easily keep your stuff stored away without worrying about moisture or animal damage. They can be purchased pretty cheaply and in all types of sizes, stack easily and store well even when empty.
Now having a bunch of bins without knowing what is in them will not help much. We purchased a label maker and it was one of our best investments. It can create labels in various sizes and can be used for organizing and labeling any space in your home or office.
Basement, Attic, Garage, Oh My
Living in a small 1 story ranch, we quickly ran out of any storage we had in our partially finished basement. When we completely finished the basement, we were forced to make use of attic storage. Fortunately for us, our attic runs across the whole house. Unfortunately, there was no flooring, no light fixture, and only a small opening with minimal access. To make it usable, we installed an attic pull-down ladder, plywood for flooring and a couple lights. Ta-Da! Plenty of storage for all my nicely labeled bins.
We make a habit of often going through clothes and household items at least once a year. We get rid of anything we haven’t worn or can’t see ourselves wearing. We also set aside anything in the house that is deemed “excessive” or un-needed. Maybe you have a tendency of receiving gifts you don’t need, or acquire more coffee cups than you will ever use. I like to keep a bin especially for donate items, that way throughout the year I can consign unwanted bits and pieces there.
Storage as Décor
One of the best ways to keep your house clutter free is to use your décor as part of your organization. I have found a couple simple solutions that won’t break your budget.
Fabric bins or baskets on shelves
These are perfect options for those of you who already have shelves or storage units already in your home. Easy to find, relatively inexpensive, they come in all shapes, sizes and colors for all your organizing needs. Especially useful for those of us with children/pets. They store all types of items and allow for quick and easy clean-up. Another plus? Some shelving units are even sold with bins/baskets to save you the effort! One downfall: Although they make it easy to store things, the bins/baskets themselves may become unorganized. Some come pre-made with pockets or sections to help with this problem.
Bench or Ottoman with storage
These are one of my favorite new products on the market. Benches or footrests that are multi-use as storage units. Our first purchase of one of these was for our theater room. Perfect for storing extra blankets & pillows, and the flip top trays came in handy for popcorn and drinks. Ours also came with 2 small foot stools that fit inside the main unit. Then when we had our daughter and her toys took over the house, I decided we needed another in our loving room. This time I was able to find a bench with a hinged top, so children would have access to the contents. Another bonus? This bench came with 2 footstools that also had inner storage. I’ve seen these in every size & color, and a variety of price ranges.
So those are some of my favorite ways to keep things organized in our small house. What are your favorite organization tips?