Wanna know what happens when people take on too much? Let’s say these people have a 4-year-old child plus 2-year-old twins and full-time jobs and are barely keeping up with life already and then decide to move to an old fixer upper house?
What happens is the people’s new home becomes a disaster zone of cardboard boxes, piles of randoms, and generalized chaos. It’ll take an hour to get everyone dressed in the morning because a treasure map is required to locate everyone’s clothes. It’ll take two hours to cook dinner because recipes are shoved in a plastic bin in the basement and the utensils are buried under the paper plates from last year’s birthday party. To accomplish even the simplest tasks becomes an exercise in who can come up with the juiciest curse words.
Until the people say enough is enough and decide to get organized even if they can’t do it all at once and it’ll take a long time.
So “these people” are my husband and me and a while back we decided to tackle one or two disorganized areas in our house per month and to do it well. And I don’t know why I’m so surprised about this, but I have been surprised to notice that every single area we have organized so far has STAYED organized.
I’ve been into organizing all my life. I was color coding my Mom’s socks by age five and ordering books from tallest to shortest by age six. But no area I would ever organize would stay that way for very long. Eventually chaos would reign again.
So what is different now?
My trusty little brain cells have been pondering this recently and come to the conclusion that the ONE difference, the ONE secret that has made a difference is … drum rolls please … CONTAINERS WITHIN CONTAINERS. And sometimes it’s even containers within containers within containers.
Your cabinets, your shelves, your drawers are all containers designed to keep your stuff organized. But it’s not enough to designate a shelf or drawer for a particular purpose. If you just say “this shelf is for dry goods” and “this drawer is for socks and underwear,” it might work for a while (a week tops if you are anything like us). But if you want your organizing efforts to last for all eternity, you need to go further than that.
Your shelves need baskets on them. Your drawers need dividers in them.
Your cabinet should not be an emergency shelter where your things intermingle. Your cabinet should be an apartment building with luxury condominiums. Your things want privacy. Your things need their own apartments.
Here are 13 examples of how to apply this principle in practice.
1. Use baskets in the pantry
2. Use dividers in kitchen drawers
3. Use baskets or shelves in the kitchen sink cabinet
4. Use baskets in the refrigerator
5. Use baskets on closet shelves
6. Use cubbies on closet floors
7. Use dividers in dresser drawers
8. Use containers under the bed
9. Use baskets in the bathroom closet
10. Use dividers in vanity drawers
11. Use baskets or shelves in the bathroom sink cabinet
12. Use shelves or baskets in the shower or tub
13. Use containers within containers within containers
Sometimes the baskets themselves have the potential to get messy, so you gotta put little containers within the bigger containers:
Ok, so maybe this is not rocket science, but I’m so encouraged by our progress that I just had to share. 🙂 What’s on your organizing to-do list? Let me know in the comments below.
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