Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tips, Please!

If you've been reading here for any length of time, than you know that I struggle with organization. I love it. I want it. I work towards it. I get rid of things. And yet, I never seem to achieve it. Simplicity and minimalism is what I really want - my family isn't quite on the same page. And, well, who can blame them? I have a kitchen full of things that probably wouldn't fall under the simple and minimalistic plan but they would definitely be exempt. :)

So, the point of this post? Please, PLEASE (!), I beg you, give me one or two of your most effective organizational tips - it can be pantry, laundry, kitchen, bedrooms, cleaning, clothes...whatever. Just something that works for you and helps keep your household (or a portion) of your household running well.

My current most effective organizational thing - canvas bins w/handles that hold (and hide) the toys. The boys are awesome about sorting all the blocks into one, cars into another etc. It's definitely working - in fact, I need to pick up a couple more!


Jenny said...

My best organizational tip is to get together with Jenny for a visit soon. Ha ha ha! Check your calendar... next week?
(In other words, I have none. I am completely disorganized. And we have just entered the world of teeny tiny legos!!! YIKES!)

Ashley A. Judd said...

Hi Alaina! I only have two tips, and I'm sure neither one will be new to you...but I'll leave them anyway.

1. Keep it simple. If your organizational process is too complex, you won't want to/be able to spend the time needed to make it work. Maybe try gross organization over detailed organization to start with, and then go from there.

2. This is how I organized my mass amount of art/supplies: I went to Target and bought about 10 of their storage containers, about 10x5x5. I then labled each one, and wrote down everything the box contained. So, for example, if I am looking for tape, all I have to do is open my closet door, and look for the box that lists "tape" as one of its contents. This system is contingent upon me putting things back into their boxes, so it only works about 75% of the time for me. But I'm happy with that. I have a box for paints, drawing supplies, sewing supplies, woodcut tools, et cetera. This would be great for the boys, so they could paint without getting out every single art-making supply in your home.

Jodee Leader said...

Hi, Alaina. Here are a couple of links of organizational items that I use:



I completely feel your pain. It is a constant struggle for me too! I live with a bunch of pigs!

Mama10EE said...

Agh! The perils of too much stuff and not enough space. We use a lot of bins around here for Morgan's toys (like you do with the boys). I go through and sort them every couple weeks to make sure that all parts are accounted for.

Actually, I like bins for LOTS of things (that must be why I am an empty box hoarder!). My basement is full of boxes with labels. It especially works for presents. I shop all year long for Christmas gifts and birthday, etc. I got a bunch of paper boxes and labeled them by family (and further broken down by couple, so my brother and his wife have one box, my SIL and BIL have another, Julia my niece has a box all to herself, etc). Whenever I buy a gift I take it directly down to the box. That way I know where it is and who I bought it for (because sometimes I forget!). It's the best way to keep things organized and easy to find.

Another thing I use a lot of are empty baby wipes containers. I keep all of Morgan's art supplies in those boxes. They stack nicely, are easy to use, and Morgan knows what each colored bin holds.

Can't wait to see what others have to say!

Margaret said...

I'm so bad at this. My organizational genius is Philip once or twice a week pointing at a pile of my shoes or papers and saying "Hey do you think maybe you can go through those soon and find their home?" Haha, I try, but alas he's much better at this and kindly nudges me in that direction.

Monica said...

Okay, maybe I actually have on. When the kids were younger they wanted to keep everything- every little happy meal toy, award, picture....had meaning. I got an under the bed storage box for each of them. They could keep whatever they wanted in their box, but no where else. It was good for them because, they had their own stuff. It was good for me because it was contained and I didn't have to manage it for them. Every couple of months I would make them go through their boxes and clean them out.

Micah said...

I'm definitely NO EXPERT on this subject ;), but here are two things that have helped me in areas with my kiddo's stuff:

1. Get rid of toys they don't/have never played with. I don't care if it's from Nana or their best friend - if they don't play with it, I don't have room for it! I Limit the amount of toys we own to one toy box full (obviously this excludes toys too big for the toy box :). I clean out the toy box once a month - whatever won't fit once I'm done goes to Goodwill.

2. For their clothes, I use the plastic tubs and the vacuum bags (did we talk about those when you were here?) they are GREAT - you can fit at least twice the normal amount per tub! I only keep one tub per size, and once it's overflowing, I go through it and get rid of the too worn clothes. This fall I had so many cute dresses I had to part with, but it was so worth it to have the extra space!

Definitely nothing new to you, or anything that I practice regularly enough - trust me, I'm not pretending to be an expert! Just what I *strive* for :). I haven't read anyone else's yet, but hope to get some good tips myself! I'm really trying to get back into the fly lady routine, and this fall, my challenge for myself is one small closet a week (I started with one per day but quickly discovered that was TOO much ;).

Thad and Ann said...

oh I so need help in this area too! One thing that did help was getting an thing where we put bins in with their toys so they are divided up like you have, one for wheels, one for blocks etc. We have built-ins & I put their "extra" games & toys in it, they can only play with the toys on the bin unit, train table(which has been a play-doh table) & play kitchen. That has cut down on so much toy clutter!

I have a list/schedule that I try to go by for cleaning & laundry. Our house is too big for me to try & clean the entire thing in one day so on Monday I'll clean the kitchen, Tues-diningroom etc. Same with laundry. That has helped me tons.

Rachel said...

I'm fairly happy with my own level of organization. It probably wouldn't be enough for some people and too much for others, so one idea is to find that level at which you're comfortable but not constantly fighting it. (Hint: it might mean lowering your standards a little. I've certainly had to.)

I generally have a housekeeping/laundry schedule which helps me because I tend to clean too much. That sounds dumb, but I could vacuum everyday, but I don't really need to (I guess I lowered my standards.) I think it would also help the person who avoids cleaning if they followed the schedule they set (and kept it realistic). Nothing piles up and I don't feel like I'm doing everything, every day.

I also think it's a myth that you can stay organized without constantly organizing. So, like someone else said, they go through their kid's toys once a month. That's pretty much what you have to do. I like organizing, so I like to go through the toy box, closets, etc and get rid of things, (give away or sell). And I know that if I don't, things pile up. But again, find the level for yourself.

Also, never, never, never (I'm gonna get in trouble for this) ask your kids if they play with a certain toy. 'Cause if you're getting rid of it, of course they do.

Rona's Home Page said...

1.Menu planning - a big lifesaver!
separate laundry baskets - one for Marcus and one for Charles and I. 2.I always make sure Marcus' clothes are washed, folded and put away. Now that he's older he's pretty good at keeping up with his laundry.