Organizing the Home, On a Dime!

My house has clutter, lots of clutter and I am often in awe of some of those super organized mommas!   Nicole from Restrained Chaos has offered to guest post a few of her organization tips… I love them!   They are cheap and easy!   Hope you can take and glean from them as I have.   Here is Nicole in her own words:

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Now, I can't give the key to total organization. This is not because it's a secret from Martha Stewart's vault or hidden in a remote (and very clean) monastery in Tibet. Honestly, I haven't figured it out myself.     After 6 years of domesticity, you think I ™d know something about organizing and how to make many things fit in a limited amount of space. And, yes, I do have some tips gained through an entire marriage (so far) lived in small student apartments with no storage to speak of. Small spaces and the ever-increasing stuff that comes with kids have forced me to think creatively about how I organize, particularly in my kitchen and pantry. I reevaluated the way my mom did things and had to throw out what was not working for my family. It's amazing what you can re-purpose if you put your mind to it.

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Some Quirky Home Organization Tips:

1. Keep your Kool-Aid packets in a notecard organizer.
Who knew that those little boxes meant to hold 3×5 cards would be just the right size for Kool-Aid and the odd cocoa packets. I literally had this epiphany 2 hours ago.

2. Use a shower organizer to hold garlic, and potatoes in your pantry.
We had a multi-tiered metal shower unit that wouldn’t fit in our current bathroom. So, instead of sending it into storage, we tucked it into a corner of our pantry to hold the things that need to breathe to stay fresh. I originally kept onions on it too, but it seems potatoes and onions have an antipathy towards each other. I now keep my onions in a separate perforated tub with a handle.

3. Keep your knives in a tupperware container.
Growing up, it seemed like the only solutions for storing knives were either in a block or in a drawer beneath the counter. Having been poked by the knives in the drawer one too many times, and unwilling to use counter space for a block, I had a Brilliant Idea early on in our marriage. I keep my knives-the nice pretty ones side by side with the Walmart specials-in a tupperware container just big enough to fit them. It tucks neatly in the cabinet next to my plates. This keeps the kids safe and Momma happy.

4. Use applesauce cups for measuring.
Did you know that individual serving size applesauce are each a 1/2 c.? So, in theory, you can wash and reuse the leftover cups. I find the half cup measure is the one I use most of all. Instead of having to worry about whether my measuring cup is dirty, I simply grab a clean applesauce cup. And, since they are meant to be disposable, I have no problem using them for holding paint or other goopy, messy things. If a cup is too filthy, gets mangled, or can’t be cleaned off, you can throw it away without remorse. It just means you have to buy another packet of individual applesauces. I’m sure your kids won’t mind helping you empty them. Aren’t they helpful?

5. Get an ottoman or coffee table with storage space within.
Although I don’t have the room for my coffee table (it’s pining away in storage), we have discovered how useful a storage ottoman is. It can be a footrest, a low table, and a seat for little people. However, I would never have bought it if not for the internal storage space. Now, when a neighbor or friend sits on the ottoman, they have no idea their rump is reposing right above my cloth diaper stash. I keep my Gdiaper pants, the waterproof liners, and the cloth insert (along with wipes and cornstarch for rashes) all tucked away in my lovely ottoman. It’s almost as cool as a secret passageway through a bookshelf. Almost.

6. Drink out of mason jars.
For those who preserve food by canning, one look in closets and pantries can reveal an overflow of empty jars. I just plain don’t have the room to let empty jars languish on my shelves. Any opened (and then emptied and cleaned) jar is immediately pressed into service as a glass. It’s not only economical. I find that I enjoy the rustic charm they impart.

Or maybe they just remind me of my moon-shining, horse-thieving ancestors.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the many shortcuts and tricks I use in my home. I just wanted to share what I have found useful in our home. How have you creatively re-purposed storage to accommodate your home, lifestyle, or current needs? Please share, I could always use another tip to help me make (and keep) our home organized.

Want to read more about homeschooling, geeky and yet crunchy momma, Nicole?   Read her blog!   You won’ t be disappointed.

Much thanks to House of Sims and The Kitchen Designer for contributing photos!

7 Comments

  1. I’m glad you liked the tips, Laurie! I love your idea of washing clothes by person. Although, with the kids, I might do them every other day.
    I love the tag line on your website. It’s a great reminder to those of us with chronic diseases that we should also live in chronic joy. Thanks!
    Nicole
    http://restrainedchaos.wordpress.com
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..Fine Fashion for Tiny Tots =-.

  2. can u please take a picture of your potato storage. we are in need of storage for potatoes and apples
    .-= pam´s last blog .. =-.

  3. Rebecca @ Find Beauty Daily says:

    Thanks for sharing these excellent organizing tips! I, too, struggle with clutter so I’m looking forward to reading more about how to get this aspect of my life under control.
    .-= Rebecca @ Find Beauty Daily´s last blog ..The Beauty of Grace =-.

  4. @pam: I will try to get some pictures and leave a link for you, but I can’t promise when. It’s nothing fancy, just the shower organizer with potatoes on a couple of the shelves with the garlic in the top (smaller) shelf. As for apples, I have an old colander and a big bowl with a hole in the bottom that are the perfect size to nestle the former into the latter. When I have only apples, I just stick them in there and the colander allows for air circulation between the apples and the bowl. When I have other fruit, I separate the colander and bowl with apples in the colander and the fruit in the bowl. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out a better place than the counter to keep them. But, at least I can condense the two containers into one.

    @Rebecca: I hope Quirky Momma is able to help you out in your quest. 🙂
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..My Kingdom for a Garden! =-.

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