There is something about the combination of the start of a new year and taking down all the Christmas decorations that spurs me in into organizing mode. Every January, out of sheer New Year’s impulse, I organize some area of my home. Organization is one of my “things”. I am NOT a perfectionist. I am also not obsessive compulsive. My organizing methods are easy to implement, very teachable, and the effects can last indefinitely. I first implemented my “bin method” in my early 20’s and it’s been going strong ever since. I shared on the blog how anyone can do the “bin method”:
Here are the top 6 reasons why the “bin method” is amazing. These benefits will free up your time and energy giving you space for more joy in life!
#1- We save money. I don’t rebuy things we already own. For example, If I need 4 AAA batteries, I go to get the battery bin in the pantry. If there aren’t any AAA batteries there I know that we don’t have anymore. Why? Because batteries aren’t lying around in junk drawers. They have one bin, one place in the house where they belong. If I am running low, I know by one glance in the bin.
#2- We save time. We don’t spend time looking for things we need. If we need a flashlight, candle, lighter, extra silverware for a party, streamers, batteries, extra pens, etc. we know exactly where to find them, as they all have specific bins. Anytime my husband asks for something, 95% of the time I can tell him exactly where to find it, as we have bins in the bathrooms for toiletries and such, pantry, garage, toy room, etc. Wherever they are needed in our house and we have the upper shelf space you will find bins.
#3- We make good use of storage space. One of the most under-utilized storage spaces in any house is the top shelf in closets and pantries. If you have a step stool you can reach this high. It is a great place to store extra products and supplies in bins.
#4- We have eliminated clutter in the house. Our countertops and tables are clean because all those small things that typically get left on table tops and counters are all put away in their specific bins.
#5- Our kids have learned at an early age that everything has a “home” or bin. Even Brielle knows where to find tools, batteries, art supplies, and more. It has taught them to put things away at an early age. Kids learn by example. I am glad my kids are catching onto our putting away habits at an early age (it will make my life easier in the long-term to have teens who are not complete slobs).
#6- Our closets and pantries look nice and neat when you open the door. This isn’t important to everyone, but for me (and other type A personalities) it has a calming effect. Now keep in mind, I am NOT a perfectionist. You can open one of the bins and things are not perfectly stacked in each bin. What is important is that they are in there, not how they look inside the bin. Who has time to organize batteries inside a bin?
Who would have guessed that plastic shoe box bins that cost $1 or less could be so useful and beneficial to your household organization? You can buy them at the Dollar Tree, Target, and Walmart. Many other stores carry them as well. These stores just happen to be my go-to locations for these type of household goods.
Below are some of my other blog postings about organization that you may find helpful to your own purging and organizing methods in the new year.
The Bin Method- Part II
I discussed in my last posting the “bin method”. Basically, if there is a closet you will typically find bins. This is part II of the bin method.
Besides being used in the pantry, my next favorite area for using bins is the bathroom. You can find stacks of well utilized bins in my bathroom closet aka linen closet. I like how bins keep the closet shelves looking nice and clean. It is a great way to store extra bathroom products. We shop at Costco, so I often buy things in bulk packages. Rather than having these items get lost is drawers I put them in labeled bins so I know exactly where to find more product when I run out of my current supply. It saves money and keeps the closet looking nice and neat….to continue click the link:
I have had enough people ask what I labeled my pantry bins that I thought it would be helpful if I just posted my bins and a list of the labels. Now keep in mind, everyone has a different assortment of pantry supplies and needs, so bin needs from one home to another home will vary. Here is the photo of the bins from our home pantry and the list of what they are labeled below.
Radar Detectors and Navigation (We use these in my older sports car that has none and take them when we go on vacation to use in rental cars)
Party Silverware (This is the extra silverware we had when we combined homes when we got married- I kept the extras to use for larger parties)
Matches and Lighters
Scotch Tape and Floral Tape
Locks (Padlocks and luggage locks- I label them with masking tape with the combos for the next use, as I never remember)
Labels and Tags (To label bins, etc.)
First Aid (Band aids, gauze pads, ace bandages, Neosporin, etc.)
Shoe Care (Shoe polish, extra laces, shoe polish clothes, white sneaker coloring, etc.)
Wood Repair (Cabinet repair supplies, special markers to repair scratches, wood filler, etc.)
Light Up Ice Cubes (purchased these for a New Years party a while back and use them from time to time)
Rit Dye (Important supply for dying things like Birthday dresses)
Sewing Kit (I do have a rolling sewing cabinet and sewing machine- This is a simple kit I can easily grab for things like mending projects and sewing on buttons)
Rope (This is smaller rope like twine and butcher’s twine- big rope is in the garage)
We have had some other bins in the pantry in the past, but it has changed as our home has grown in size and bins are in other rooms as well. Some of the bins that were previously in the pantry as well, include the following…to continue click on the link:
Brielle’s closet has to be organized, otherwise it becomes a pile of stuff that isn’t used and we can’t find what we need when we need it. Most girls have lots of “stuff”. Brielle is certainly a girly girl, so she has LOTS of “stuff”. We moved into our home in Texas 2.5 years ago and this (photo below) was the organization method I set up in her small walk in closet. I tried to maximize space in her closet. If there is wall space, I certainly use it! Her closet had clothing rods on only two out of the three open walls. For the wall on the left that had nothing I knew I needed to do something to take advantage of that space. I put in a shelf unit from Target that I assembled myself. I purchased the baskets too, and they work well to hold miscellaneous things she owns. On top of the white shelving unit there is an Asian Cabbage Patch Doll and a Porcelain Doll with Fur that were from my Mother in Law Carol. I put them there on display to keep them safe and remember her daily when we go into Brielle’s closet.…click the link to continue:
One of the first arguments that Justin and I had after being married was about the spice cabinet. I am not kidding. I like to keep things in the household organized, fresh, and neat (as much as I can anyway). Justin is the true chef in our household. I cook, but he is a chef and master of the grille. One day I decided to clean out “his” spice cabinet. I really thought I was doing him a favor. I sorted things out and threw away anthhing that was expired. BIG MISTAKE. He was very upset. Ever moreso because I did it while he was out of town for work and I had thrown things away, the garage had been collected, and I couldn’t tell him which spices had been thrown out. He didn’t know which ones he needed to now buy. It was a problem, because now he had to check to make sure we had the right spices every time he made a meal. Before my clean-up he knew they were all there (expired and all). Most men would freak out if you throw things out in the garage. Mine will freak out if you throw out things from the spice cabinet. Ok, so he would freak out if I threw out or gave away any of his tools too. It is always a learning process when it comes to boundaries, especially early on in marriage.
I decided to organize the spice cabinet last week. This time, I assured my husband that I wouldn’t throw out a single item and I didn’t. Every spice is still in that cabinet, but it now looks a whole lot better! I used a spice organization system I found on Amazon. You can click on the pic to go to the link….click below to continue:
Shoe Storage Solutions for a Shoe Hoarder (Shoes give me Joy, if they do for you then this is for you!)
I LOVE shoes. Proably too much. I have gotten better with my shoe addiction over the years. Now that I am buying clothes for three kids, my time and need to buy shoes for myself has greatly dimisished. However, I still have a pretty vast collection of shoes. Not ashamed (ok maybe just a little). I am however admitting that I once had a shoe addiction problem. I have subsequently sold and given away shoes over the years. I once had over 300 pairs of shoes. I am under half that now. Don’t hate me. Just please understand I had a shoe problem. Some of you can understand because you relate.
I now have the problem of storing shoes in small spaces. Ok, not that small, as I have a walk in closet. However, this method worked when I had even smaller closet spaces.
I had to get creative with my solutions. Especially when I moved from a larger home into a condo in Naples, FL. I found a solution that has stuck with me. I love it because it is truly a space saver. I can easily see all my shoes, and the cost of said storage is not expensive at all!
I bought these cubby storage units. I purchased them at Target. Each cube measures 12″ high, by 12″ wide, by 11″ deep. The cube units are a variety of sizes. Some are 3 cubes by 3 cube, some are 1 cube by 3 cubes, and others are 2 cubes by 3 cubes. I was able to stack and drill them together. I also drilled them into the wall so that they wouldn’t fall over. I wear a size 9 so they fit nicely within the cubes. For regular heels and ladies shoes I am able to store about 10-12 pairs within each cube. The limit for number of pairs of flip flops within a single cube is much higher. I like to put the shoes within color categories. I have cubes for black shoes, white shoes, cream shoes, pink shoes, brown shoes, navy shoes, multicolored shoes, and red shoes. For other types of shoes, I have cubes just for slippers, sneakers, water shoes, short boots, flip flops, and valuable shoes. For the valuable shoes I put them in shoe bags within their cube, as I want to protect them…click the link to continue this article:
I love playrooms. When walking into a playroom it should make your heart smile. It is a child’s special place where they can imagine, play, create, and simply be children. I smile when I walk into ours, as it is filled with artwork made by my children, bright colors, lots of books, and toys that ignite imaginative play. However, when the toys start to take over the space and there isn’t order to things (i.e. pieces missing from most toys, toys not having a “home”, they are instead piled together with no rhyme or reason) it is time for a playroom revamp. I did a playroom revamp this week. It gave me the opportunity to purge the toys that the kids had outgrown. The twins are now two years old, so the baby toys had to go! I will share below some of my tips from my playroom revamp project.
Start with 2 boxes and a large garbage bag- Label one box “sell”, label the second box “give away”, and use the garbage bag to toss any toys that are broken or have missing parts. Once they are broken toys they are worthless. They need to be tossed. Unless, of course some super glue can fix it. If not, then toss it. We hold on to WAY too much junk. I am speaking from past experience. However, this playroom purge resulted in two full garbage bags of junk. The boxes were filled as well, but It was a relief to toss the things that were worn out, broken, or useless.
Use bins and sort toys- Toys should have a home. I used a variety of baskets we owned and then of course clear bins. I used more medium sized bins for the playroom organization, as the shoe box size don’t have enough space for things like blocks, Barbie dolls, etc.
Label bins- I used picture on the labels for the kids to easily recognize where things belong. They can’t read yet, so pictures are very helpful! I used sticker sheets that I easily printed on our HP printer. I then cut them and applied them to the bins. Here are just some of the photos that I created for our bins and baskets:
I used Avery Labels for the playroom bins. I took actual photos of our toys to make the labels, as I thought that would make things very clear to the kids which toys went where. Even the two year old twins understood this system. Victory! Here are some photos of the bins and their label…click the link to continue:
Dr. E. Magdalena Battles has a PhD in Psychology, a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology. Her specialties include child development, parenting, family relationships, grief, domestic violence, and sexual assault. She shares her expertise and real-life experiences on this blog and on www.LifeHack.org. She and her husband reside in TX where they are raising their three young children.