Thursday, May 5, 2011

Organizing Your Home: Developing Systems {Part 1 ~ Kitchens & Bathrooms}

Organizational systems, phone systems, computer systems, alarm systems, the world just doesn't work with out systems! They are everywhere, they are not a trend or hobby, they are a part of life. So why is our house any different? It's NOT!!! Systems in our home are just as important as any other system that is used out there, systems include not only where we store our stuff but also how we store it and how it helps us access it in the best manner. It can be as simple as a recipe box or as complex as a new storage plan for your kitchen cabinets and drawers. I have implemented systems all over my home to help us keep our clutter and schedules organized.
First off, start by reading yesterdays post about clearing your clutter. After you have done that then you are ready to begin developing systems through out your home. It is important to remember that whatever system you create in your home needs to be flexible! Any time you create a system it should be on a trial and error basis. Feel free to change your system 10 times if that is what it takes to make it work for you. Just because one house has a family command center complete with bill storage, calender and chalkboard all in one spot does not mean that will work for you!

For example: In our laundry room/mudroom I have this family command center,
we enter in this way so it makes sense to keep the kids stuff right where they see it first! For our bills and family info we keep it in our kitchen. If I put our bills in the mudroom I would never look at them. We have our "office" in our master bedroom so I keep it as aesthetically pleasing as possible, so again if I kept the bills there out of sight they would probably NEVER get paid! We don't have a big giant family calender because we are SO busy ALL the time that there is no calender that can properly hold all our stuff and still look pretty, so I keep a day planner and look at that several times a day. Our families are different, our seasons are different and so are our systems.

What I want to do is give you some ideas and tips to implement that I have used/do use. Hopefully this will get you started!
Tip #1
What you store in each room should reflect what goes on in that room! You don't store your dishes in the bathroom right?? things as close as possible to where you will use them. I keep the sheets for the kids beds in their bathroom linen closet because it is closest to their rooms. I keep the sheets to our bed in our bathroom linen closet.

Tip #2
Look for ways to keep like items together! If you are an avid tupperware user get a big basket and put all your tupperware in there!
I keep all my flip flops in a basket and all my scarves in a basket. It keeps them rounded up and easy to access!
Tip #3
Label, Label, Label! Read this post for more labeling tips and ideas!

System #1 The Kitchen and Bathroom
Lets start in the has taken me years to perfect my kitchen cabinet functionality. If you built your house and designed your kitchen it is probably not a big problem, but for those of you who did not here are some solutions and ideas!
1. Keep your cups and mugs by the sink and all in one place, even little kid cups! I know when our kids are little it is so tempting to give them a cabinet of their own, but I think if its a cup big or small put them all in the same place. It will ultimately open up your cabinet space for other items.
2. Store your everyday cookware in one spot closest to the stove. The cabinets by my stove are dedicated to the daily cookware, pots, pans, bowls, baking dishes, cooking utensils and spices. That way everything is in arms reach
3. Store items you don't use daily on the top shelves or in the cabinets above your fridge. Most of us have to break out the stools to get to those shelves so it makes sense to use that space to store the stuff you don't use often. I keep our blender, bread maker, china, and stuff like that up there.
3. If your kids do their homework in the kitchen set aside a cabinet for their school supplies! Make sure this is a cabinet out of your way. Nothing worse than the kids under your feet trying to get pencils out when your cooking.
4. Invest in utensil dividers and sorters! Disorganized drawers are annoying and inefficient! Store your cooking utensils near the stove and your eating utensils near your plates and bowls. If you need to have a junk drawer just make sure you organize it too! I have a desk organizer in mine (walmart $4) and it keeps it very tidy!
5. Use baskets for under the sink area. They can store your cleaning supplies, dish supplies, trash bags, dog treats, whatever you keep under there. The baskets keep all your stuff nice and tidy and make getting in to and out of very easy.
6. Keep your pantry organized! Read here for tips on your pantry organization!
7. Keep your fridge organized. I keep my fridge super organized and clean. With two boys who are always in it I want them to see what is in there and what they can eat. If you stock same items, sort them by expiration date. Example: Sour cream...I usually keep 2 to 3 sour creams at a time, they are in a stack with the oldest on top and newest on bottom that way I am always using them by the expiration date. Put the stuff your kids can eat in their reach! If you keep your leftovers, put them in clear containers and  keep a list of when it was made so that you know when it needs to be dumped. Nothing worse than 6 month old leftovers at eye level. YUCK!

Now that your head is spinning, lets move on to the bathrooms!
1. Assign each person their OWN space! My husband and I each have our own 3 drawers. Same for my kids, they each have a drawer and towel hanger just for them!
2. If you buy your toilet paper in bulk, store some in each bathroom so that you are not running from room to room or doing the famous "HONEY, CAN YOU BRING ME SOME TOILET PAPER!" yell from across the house when your grandparents just so happen to be in town.
3. Just like you keep your toilet paper by the toilet, keep your extra towels by the tub! Or as close as possible at least!
4. If you have a pedestal sink baskets will be your best friend! Use large open basket and place your rolled towels in it buy the tub, get baskets with lids to put all your other stuff in.
5. Pipes! We all hate them, (not smoking pipes, but water pipes....) They are always a challenge to work around but we all have them. Use an adjustable shelf unit, or baskets that are long and thin.
6. For families with many kids, its always fun to color code your kids towels! My friend did this because she couldn't figure out which kid was using all the towels each week. My kids have hooks with their initials on it so that they use only their towel and they each have a wash cloth, my oldest uses the solids my youngest uses the stripes.
7. If you have the wall space and need more storage space install a multifunctional rack! We put one in our master. It keeps the hand towels, and decorative jars for our qtips and cotton balls. I also use the decorative jars in the kids bathroom for the same things. It adds a decorative punch and frees up space!
8. Just because your bathtub is hidden by a curtain does not mean it's OK to leave it a hot mess all the time. Install ledges, shower head storage, or tub racks. Which ever works for you, but I firmly believe there needs to be some sort of storage system in the tub! If you keep all your stuff on the tub ledges than not only is it a place for fungus to grow but it makes cleaning your tub harder because your having to move ALL the stuff.

So there you go, now get to organizing your kitchen and bathroom, implement some systems and get control! And PLEASE let me know how it works for you, or what you do!!! Is there something that works in your space that I didn't mention?



Storage geek said...

I used your tip#2 photo with full credit and link back in a scarf organizer round up at Storage Geek .

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