So, you've made the excellent decision to get organized, you've sorted through your belongings and you now have only items that you love and are usable. This may be for one small area of your home, a few areas, a drawer or two, or the whole house. However much you have done, it is an accomplishment no matter how big or small, so congratulations!
A very important aspect of being and staying organized is to have a place for everything. If you don't have a place for everything, then it all starts piling up again and pretty soon you're keeping everything because it's hard to tell what's what and what's where. Here's the scenario: You don't have a home for anything and whenever the mail comes in or you go shopping, you just put the items wherever you find room. Pretty soon, you have a mess! Believe me, I know; I've been through it.
I urge you to put some thought into making a home for every single type of item that you keep; this is so important! If you bring something new and different home and you don't have a place for it, make a place for it immediately or as soon as possible. If you don't have room, you'd better get sorting again. Here are a few suggestions on how and where to store some common items found around the house.
In the Office
Paperwork: A filing cabinet is a huge lifesaver when it comes to organizing your paperwork. I made files for every type of paper I had lying around, from movie reviews to our house papers and this has made my life a lot easier. I put these files in alphabetical order in my filing cabinet and now everything is put away, but even more thrilling is the fact that I can actually find a piece of paper in about five seconds! This is a huge improvement for me when before, I wouldn't even know where to begin searching for a piece of paper let alone have success in finding it.
Magazines: Cereal boxes are very handy for keeping magazines neat. To make a magazine holder out of a cereal box, cut off the top inch or so of the box, then, starting at one side of the top and cutting at a downwards angle, cut down half to one third the height of the box. Do this on the other side also and you will then have a magazine holder. At this point, you can decorate the holder by pasting pretty magazine pictures on it or painting it, then adding lace or ribbon. You can also put magazines in big wide wicker baskets.
Coupons: I have found envelopes very handy for storing coupons. Just label them the way you'd like them labeled (alphabetically or by type of food) and put your clipped coupons in them. The envelopes can be stored in a recipe or card file box of appropriate size.
In the Closet
Blankets: Laundry baskets make excellent holders for blankets that sometimes fit awkwardly on shelves.
Shoes: An over-the-door shoe hanger is a great way to get shoes off the floor.
Travel bags, purses and totes: Plastic storage bins are very handy for storing these.
In the Craft Room
Crafting items: See-through plastic storage bins are a very good container for this because you can see where your items are and thus find things quickly.
In the Living Room
Remote controls: A great way to store these is in small wicker or wire baskets.
Odds and ends: We use a wooden chest as a coffee table and it's handy because it doubles as storage. We keep some of our collectibles in there along with craft pattern books and other odds and ends. Another idea for this is to put a wooden or glass circle on top of a new garbage can. You would then drape a decorative tablecloth over the top of the circle. The garbage container can then be used to store your odds and ends and you would also have a decorative table for fresh flower arrangements or knick-knacks.
In the Bathroom
Miscellaneous items: Wicker baskets are great for storing a lot of items in the bathroom. You can put all your hair styling aids in a large one, washrags in another and cosmetics in another.
Medicines: For the medicine cabinet, I bought short, plastic drawer organizers that fit the shelves just right. I have one for headache medicines, one for cold medicines, one for owies (band-aids, ointment, etc.), one for stomach medicines, etc. This not only makes it easier to find items, but it also makes it easier to wipe the shelves when they become dirty.
Toilet Paper: I crocheted a toilet paper holder to hang right above the toilet, so when someone runs out of toilet paper, there should be a roll in the holder for easy retrieval. You may be able to find one of these at a craft bazaar.
In the Bedrooms
Miscellaneous items: Under the bed storage organizers are great for storing seasonal clothes, Christmas wrapping supplies, gifts to give, books, and other items.
Kids toys: The see-through plastic bins are great for toys because the kids can see what goes where. You can also mark the bin with a picture or word.
Crayons: Save baby wipe containers or coffee cans to store crayons in. If using a coffee can be sure there are no sharp edges to cut the children.
I hope this gives you enough ideas to get you started in finding a place for everything. If you'd like more ideas, check out the e-book Storage Solutions and learn how you can get it free here:
http://homemakersjournal.com/storagesolutions.htm [Ed. note: link no longer active]
Once you have accomplished making a place for everything, you only need to train yourself and family members to put things away in the appropriate places.
Copyright © 2003, Monica Resinger