Thursday, March 28, 2013

How to Get Organized

Moving from 3500 square ft. to a little over 1700 square ft. we discovered we a) needed to purge much of our belongings and b) find good organizational ideas for the stuff we chose to keep.

We have a fair amount of shelving space in our guest bathroom closet as well as our laundry room.  Initially I just lined everything up on these shelves with 'like' items.  It was cluttered and bursting at the seams.  Stuff would fall whenever we tried to get a bandaid or cleaning spray.  It wasn't working.

I decided these were the two areas to tackle -- pronto like.

I used a lot of baskets in our old house and many of the storage ideas I found on Pinterest included some form of container.  Why not implement that here?  Made sense.

I wasn't convinced ALL the items I hoped to store would fit in small bins like I saw on Pinterest, but... much to my surprise a lot more fits inside a container than just loose on a shelf.  Crazy stuff I tell ya.

So, how I organized our bathroom linen closet and our laundry shelves:

  • First - categorize things according to their use - like items 
  • Second - find 'containers' to hold these items; place items in containers; label; organize on shelves
The laundry room:
This is where I keep the bulk of our cleaning products, extra paper products, as well as laundry supplies (obviously)
The skeletal framework of this room is as follows:  I've yet to paint and 'decorate' this space.
Cleaning supplies easily accessible
  • For daily cleaning supplies I purchased an over the door shoe organizer and placed bottles of cleaning spray, carpet cleaner, etc in the pouches. This frees up my baskets on the shelves.
  • In the baskets on the shelves I placed bigger items - bottles of bleach and amonia, tubs of cleaning wipes, etc.  The things that won't fit in the small shoe pouches.
  • The extra paper products are neatly 'stacked' on the shelves -- not sure this is the 'final state' for this portion, but it's functional and still a work in progress.
  • The laundry supplies are in two places - on the shelf just above the washing machine or just above the dryer (dryer sheets) - I may add baskets here, but I use them so often, free standing is working well.
    • Everything is within reach and tidy
    • Everything has a place
Laundry room shelves - tidy and organized

The bathroom linen closet:
This closet houses the kids towels/wash cloths; all our medicines; wound care; light bulbs; and multiples in body wash/lotion/spray etc.
Initially everything was just "loose" on the shelves with similar items. This was disastrous.  I spent a great deal of time picking up 'knocked over' bottles and boxes whenever we needed something from this closet.  
My solution?  Plastic baskets.
Towels and 'first aid' supplies
  • I kept all 'like' items together, but put them in small plastic baskets and labeled them.  If we have a child who has a 'boo boo' - all we have to do is grab the 'wound care' basket - this houses bandaids, antibacterial ointment, hydrogen peroxide, even gauze for those "bad" cuts.  Headache?  Just pull out the pain reliever basket.  So much nicer. Things aren't falling over and it's all in one place.
    • labels allow for quick access to the contents of each basket.  Simply grab the one that fits your ailment.
  • I added crates beside the water heater on the floor. Stacked them three high. This is where the kids towels are rolled and stacked.  Easy for them to reach.
  • I still haven't found a good solution for our light bulbs.  I think I need to purchase a couple bins that are stackable. Currently all the packages are on the top shelf which has LOTS of space above it.  They are just piled in stacks. Which is ok, until.... you actually NEED a light bulb. Then it becomes a jumbled mess of falling boxes of bulbs.  I don't currently have stackable containers so this will have to suffice.
  • The extra body washes and lotions are also just lined up. But, they aren't used often and it works for now.  I may get a bin for them as well, eventually.
  • Medicines, lotions, and light bulbs, oh my!
    • It's not "pretty" and painted, but it's functional and keeps things at our fingertips more readily.  
Although a work in progress - it's helped a lot.  I'm finding that using containers of some kind to sort 'like items' is key in our new surroundings.  We have much less space to spread out.  Combining like items in containers not only saves space, but makes retrieval of those items much simpler.

Isn't that was organization is all about? Simplicity?  That's the key for me.


  1. Replies
    1. I know you aren't a big fan of 'over the door' storage, but it works so well. :-)


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