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The Traditional Moms
Organizing Tips

I can not stand not being able to find stuff easily. My husband even teases me because I'm always labeling and stacking something. In my house there is a place for everything and I go nuts if everything isn't in its place. I even tried to make it as easy on my family as it can get by using hooks instead of towel bars. Of course this does not mean that they don't still hang their towels on the floor, but I try.

My house doesn't really have much of a junk drawer either. It's more of a broken remote control drawer because batteries, rubberbands, balloons, Chuckie Cheese tickets, curtain hooks, ac adaptors, and shoe strings all have their own labeled container in a cupboard in the laundry room. Broken toys, torn stuffed animals, and falling apart headbands go into the fix it basket, not the junk drawer where they are forever forgotten.

Here are some of the ways I keep organized. I hope this simplifies your searches and gives you needed space.

Those pictures your kids made that you couldn't possibly throw away - I took the front cover (the kind that slides in to the plastic cover) out of a huge three ring binder that was a computer manual we don't use. (You can buy one of course, but that would contradict money saving tips). I replaced the cover with one of my favorite colored pictures and labeled the side with an extra home vidio tape sticker. Now all those special Mothers Day cards, drawings, and pictures get a punch with a three hole puncher and go into the binder. This sits well and easily found on the book shelf for easy access to add to and enjoy.

Boots and Gloves - This tip was created by my mom and is one of my favorites. Use your imagination for hats and scarves or skates and beach bags.
My mom built shelves about a foot long and and 8 inches in depth up the side of our coat closet. Before installing the shelves, our feet were dipped in latex pant and planted firmly on the shelf, making a right and left footprint (cute little toes and all) on half of the shelf. On the other half, the same was done with our hands. Installed in the closet, our boots went on the footprints and our mittens belonged on the hand prints. This was fun for us and our winter stuff was always easy to find.
By the way, hooks lined the bottom half of the closet for snow pants, coats, and jackets, making them easy to reach for hanging.

Ughaa!... Those Darned Happy Meal Toys - Well, since they must keep them, and since they last for like forever, here is an idea. If it is possible to spare one of their dresser drawers or better yet a desk drawer if they have one, keep them in there. It makes for very easy clean-up when it is the bottom drawer so close to the floor. An added plus is that they are kept seperate from the other toys and go unnoticed for a few hours of playing. It takes a good full day for them to get all mixed together again (lol). If you really, really can't spare the drawer, even by putting dress up sweaters on the closet shelf, then try to give them a big container that is easily moved for playing and clean-up. Rolling carts are great, as are Duplo™ buckets (It takes one bucket to keep two sets of Duplos™). Suitcases work great too and they slip easily under beds.

Christmas Decorations - Everyone has received popcorn and cookie tins at one Christmas or aother. Don't throw them away. The popcorn tins because of size are a great place to store ornaments, small wreaths, holiday towels (tins keep spiders out if kept in a garage attic), holiday music, and many other Christmas items. You can pack them well and a long drop wont allow anything to break. The cookie tins are great for miniature tree ornaments. This also keeps them seperate from the other decorations and easily found to keep the kids occupied while dad gets the tree up.

Junk Drawer Stuff - Is your junk drawer so full that you can barely open it to add more junk? Did you save the battery compartment lid from a remote control car over a year ago promising yourself you would fix it and then finally throw the car away six months ago because no one knew where the compartment lid went? Do you now have more than one junk drawer? If you are laughing, there is a good chance that your junk drawer even needs organizing. Save those shoe boxes (kids shoes have perfect size boxes) and take some time to clearly label them. I like to cover mine but it isn't a must. Label them for batteries, rubber bands, string, toy parts, and whatever else you find in there. Find an easy reach place to keep the boxes so they are used! If you have a first floor laundry room, that is perfect. An extra cupboard is good too. Just find somewhere! Now when you go through the kids rooms with a garbage bag, you can take along the toy parts box and check before you toss. When you need to replace some shoe strings, you pull out the shoe string box rather than digging through dawers, looking under coupons, and scooting over keys from the home you owned ten years ago.

Extra Blankets And Bedspreads - All of us have guest blankets or blankets we take off of the bed in summer months. They can be really unruly too! Keep them folded and inside pillowcases. The filled pllowcases can be stored a few differnt ways. They can be set directly on the beds under the real pillows for easy access on a cold night. Coordinating patterns (or even shams) give the impression of a bed from a magazine without the cost of pillows too, hee, hee (don't tell Better Homes And Gardens™ I'm sure this is an official decorating sin for 'spend money' attitudes about interior design.).
For a conventional approach, keep them in the linen closet with pillow cases from the appropriate room the blankets belong in. This makes them easy to find when you need one since you can no longer see the blanket. Why should I store them in pillow cases if I'm just going to keep them in the closet, Michelle? Well, have you ever needed the one on the bottom and had all the other blankets start to unfold and cause a not so neat linen closet? This does not happen when they are in the pillow cases. It keeps them neatly folded. (I also do the same for sheet sets. The fitted and flat are kept in the case). Or...under the bed, in a huge basket with bows tied on the end of each pillow case, under the quilt at the end of the bed, slip some inside the mattress of the sofa bed beore folding it back up, etc.

Bills To Be Paid - If you don't have a desk, finding a place to keep the bills where they wont get lost or left un-paid can be tough. My solution is a set of ceramic canisters (The kind for flour, sugar, etc.) kept next to the calendar on the bullitan board that is next to the phone. The bills are opened and the amount and date due is immediately written on the calandar. If there is a discrepancy, I have the phone right next to me and I call right away. The bills are then kept in the largest canister. The checkbook and calculator is kept in a canister and pens and pencils are kept in another. (if you don't have kids, you can keep tums and asprin in the smallest canister. Just kidding!). Now each pay day, you sit down next to everything and know what is due that week from the calandar, pull out those bills, write the checks, seal and send.

Board Games - Or rather the game pieces. If you have kids, you probably find these all over the house on a daily basis. Sometimes I don't even know what game the pieces go to. Besides, if I didn't play the game, it's not my responsibility to put it all away. I have a few small Tupperware™ or Rubbermaid™ type containers that stack easily kept with the games. All I do is pull those out as I find pieces. The 'men' for moving around the board are kept in one (this also makes it easy to borrow one from another game when one has been lost). Dice are kept in another, money in another, beans and marbles from games like Hungry Hippos™ and Don't Spill The Beans™ in another, and so on. I don't spend the time separating Monopoly™ money from Pay Day™ money. My kids know where to look and if they didn't put them back in the boxes right the first time, they have to sort through it now. But it has been off the floor and out of the way in the containers protecting the pieces from further loss.

Kids Craft Supplies - Now don't forget I'm frugal on this one! My husband built a shelf unit (beautiful I might add) that lines a full wall in or dining room and is about hip high to me (waist to chest high for my kids) from the wood that was our water bed as newly weds. Hey, thats good wood under there! The side and foot boards (about 2 inches thick, probably oak) were cut in half to make up the sides and middle upright for support. The thinner pieces of wood that the mattress sat on were cut in half and sanded to make the shelves. Some staining and painting was done and it is complimented by everyone who visits. They can't believe it when we tell them. Anyways, those little plastic baskets (the kind that look like tiny laundry baskets) line the shelves. One for scissors, one for glue, one for construction paper scraps, one for coloring books. There is one for old catalogs (cutting out pictures), one for fabric scraps, one for crayons, etc. etc. They easily take to the table the needed baskets, and easily replace them. It sure helps keep the stuff neat and tidy!

This Site Is Created And Maintained By
Michelle (The Traditional Mom).
The Tradional Mom © 2000