Housekeeping realization: put your toiletries in baskets to keep your bathroom organized #Cleaning#hacks#housekeeping Updated Nov 23 2019 (Posted Oct 17 2011) Cat Rocketship Adorable pastel rainbow basket by LoveIndiLou Have you ever noticed how some people just seem to have things figured out? Or maybe you ARE one of those people and sometimes the rest of us make you go, "What is WRONG with you? This is so EASY." I ask because my housemate Darby and I — we're very similar — seem to be constantly figuring out really simple things, like what people use baskets for. Sometimes we feel like our brains just don't work, especially when it comes to putting things away. Because of this, we admire our friend Dani's organization. Darby once told me she sometimes stands in Dani's bathroom, marveling at how tidy it all is. A place for everything, and everything in its place. She was searching for the difference between her own bathroom's disaster state and Dani's crazy neatness when Dani told her, "Darby. You can do that, too. Just buy some baskets." Darby's mind exploded. BASKETS!! Why didn't I think of that! And my confession is: I'd had the same conversation with Dani. So now this is household shorthand. When Darby and I have a stupid-simple lifehack ("Use CONTAINERS to CONTAIN things!" "If you PICK UP SHIT then things WON'T BE MESSY!") we say it's a Baskets Moment. As in, "….Oh, baskets!" It's made my life lots easier to be able to share Baskets Moment with her — but think how much more I could learn with the whole Internet telling me what I should already know! I know there are people out there who understood what I meant when I said I was long confused by how my shove-everything-in-the-cupboards style didn't compare to Dani's Container Store showroom — so this is the place to write up the dirt-simple realizations you've had about keeping house. We'll be so much smarter after this! What are YOUR Basket Moment realizations? Cat Rocketship I was the Managing Editor of Offbeat Home for a year and a half. I have a rich Internet life and also a pretty good real life. Hobbies include D&D, Twitter, and working on making our household more self-reliant. I also draw things. PREVIOUS Tricks and treats: Make Star Wars Ouija boards and apple cinnamon vodka NEXT Yep, I'm THAT mom: my story of extended breastfeeding one kid while pregnant with another Show/Hide comments [ 141 ] I learned one of my favorite tips from a big family I lived with. When the dishes overran into two loads, my friend would simply rinse the leftover dishes and neatly stack and organize them in the sink and counter. It blows my mind every time how taking five seconds to stack and organize a mess still leaves you some lazy wiggle room while your kitchen doesn't feel like a disaster zone that just suffered Dishnobyl. YES YES YES! This is so me. One of those moments was indeed a basket on the bathroom shelf to keep things organised. This is why I love Offbeat Home! ha! wonderful description! we figured out about baskets in the bathroom cabinet a while ago…but it was a total failure. my ocd sorted everything by looks (so: pills in bottles, pills in blisterpacks, creams, liquids, etc.). well, then you had to dig through *everything* to find the damn aspirin, which turned it into a disaster-mess again. solution: sort by *use* (like: pain meds, allergy meds, fever meds, topical stuff). it seems to be working well, because duh. or you could just have less shit, but my honey has more of a boy scout mentality… Ok, so you know how often you only have a limited amount of cabinet space, meaning you have to store your bowls on top of your plates in one shelf, or little plates on top of large plates, and then whenever you want a large plate you have to either lift everything on top of them up first, or risk breaking it all? Well apparently there are these amazing little devices that basically add and extra shelf for just this purpose – so you can have big plates on the bottom and your bowls on this little extra shelf. It really is brilliant and after years of being annoyed by the stupid lack of shelfspace, it was definitely a baskets moment for me to find one of these. (I found them at Bed Bath and Beyond, but I bet they're actually everywhere.) WHAT. Looking into these, for sure! Our cabinets are so tiny. Yes! I've been using these things for years! The magical helper shelf! They really do make such a difference! http://www.target.com/p/Chrome-Helper-Shelf/-/A-13713693?reco=Rec_pdp_13713693_ClickCP_Adjacency Also- don't under estimate the power of a lazy susan! I put spices on them, cooking utensils, I've even had then in refrigerators and bathroom cabinets for easy access and organization!! I have one of those! I thought they were just for freezers. Durrrr. Baskets! Oh my gosh you can use those for freezers! Baskets! I'm totally going to use one of those shelf things to make more shelf space in the freezer! OMG BASKETS! A lazy susan in the fridge??? Amazeballs. The top shelf of my fridge is all little bottles of sauce, jam etc and I can never find anything. Just genius. BASKETS! You really have to watch the size of your dishes for these shelves though. We have vintage Fiesta and they're so big and beautiful they don't all the shelf to fit in with enough space to store stuff on top. I've never been able to use those shelves anywhere I've lived. Now coffee cup hooks in the bottom of the shelf above it is another story… very late, and you probaby thaught of it, but how about placing the large plates on to and the small ones underneath? Ikea. They're like a dollar. Oh yeah, I use those too! They are the best. They are everywhere — Walmart, Target, Lowe's, Home Depot, Ross, TJ Maxx, etc. I think the first one I got was actually a "locker shelf" but I used it in the freezer (the above-the-fridge kind) when I had roommates in college. So much more space! OMG this is ANOTHER derp baskets moment for me now… why didn't I think of putting it in our tiny freezer!? Thanks!!! What?! Amazing. I do that exact thing, little plates on big plates. Must.buy.these.now. THANK YOU. have you seen these? http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stemware-Rack-Stainless-Steel-610mm/dp/B002VWFO4C/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1318872501&sr=8-2 You screw them to the underside of a cupboard/shelf and your wine glasses just slide on upside down, freeing up space. I <3 these! …We have Corell, so I just slide the big dishes out from underneath. Is that bad? Not if *you* don't find it annoying. Oh, my gosh. It took us years to realize these existed…then we got one to house the PS2 on top of the Xbox-without having them touch one another and add to the Xbox's substantial heat output. Here's a neat tip: most of those have these little rubber feet that can be removed so that you can use a hack-saw to get a custom size! Just saw and replace the feet. That one took us a while, too. "we got one to house the PS2 on top of the Xbox-without having them touch one another and add to the Xbox's substantial heat output" BRILLIANT. Thank you! I just realized the value of small baskets around the house. I bought a couple of three-pack small narrow baskets for $1.99 from Walmart for a project that didn't work out, but instead of letting them go to waste, I started using them around the apartment. A couple are being used in the kitchen holding measuring spoons, small gadgets, small bottles (vanilla, food coloring, etc) and receipts. And the rest went into the bathroom for hair ties, nail clippers, and makeup. I love them! Containers are great. My house is covered in containers. But the number one thing that will make your home neat and organized is to purge it of stuff! Do you really need those old college papers? Should you keep the bulk package of paper towels taking up precious storage space or will a few rags that you can rinse and reuse do the trick? Everyone's needs are different but I guarantee nearly all of us have stuff (and a lot of it) in our homes that we don't need and is only contributing to clutter. If you get rid of that stuff first, which you will need to do periodically as it somehow keeps coming back, it will be soooo much easier to organize the rest of the stuff without feeling overwhelmed. Under the bed storage containers! i couldnt figure out how a friend of mine was living so organized in one bedroom, and then one day she pulled like four containers from under her bed for our scrap booking party. Genius. I use those to hold wrapping items (gift bags, tissue paper, gift boxes, ribbons, etc.)! I did that too. Then I moved across the country and had to re-think a lot of things and why I was keeping stuff with me. Now I just buy gift wrapping when I need it, and just enough to get through what I'm doing. Yes!!! All of my shoes under my bed, but adult style instead of just kicking them under. another great use!! i've been needing to figure out a new solution for my shoes… I have bookcases in the spareroom wardrobe (idea stolen from a friend) for my shoes BASKETS! I would die without these. DIE. I have a ton of plastic baskets/containers for inside drawers. They make it so much easier to organize the drawers instead of just having it all thrown in there! Example! They're awesome for the bathroom, too. I also use one on the kitchen counter to hold a line of frequently-used bottles (oil, soy sauce, etc.). In the pantry I do the same only with cardboard boxes. Also, I don't know if these would qualify, but when we moved to this house (a few months ago) I realized there isn't enough room in the laundry room to set up the folding drying rack I use. So instead, I put it in the master bathroom tub, since we never use that! Perfect. And I was having trouble organizing my closet until I had an epiphany about putting in a small bookcase sideways to make more storage space. I just moved across the country and did a MASSIVE purge of stuff that I didn't need or want…and then when I got to where I am living now, I filled two big storage containers of stuff I (have been told by my mother) can't get rid of and stored it off site. But I still find I have stuff EVERYWHERE. I love the IDEA of organization, but it's not my strong suit. I love the idea of under-the-bed storage and cute boxes of stuff. Keep the comments coming! I apparently need help too! I need to do the bathroom baskets dealie BAD. My helpful hack was getting simple IKEA boxes (like these, but with stripes for fun and visual excitement) and putting old letters and nostalgic items in them. Now, instead of six or seven miscellaneous boxes of crap lying around my house, random things like that have a home. Sorting them into the boxes also helped me throw a healthy amount out. Boxes. Just do it. Due to the configuration of my bedroom, my dresser fits either on top of the heating vent or right in front of the window we put the air conditioner in when it gets hot out. This means moving the dresser twice a year. At first I was frustrated, especially because my dresser drawers don't come out (thanks a lot, IKEA) so I have to take ALL MY CLOTHES out every single time. But now I see that as an excellent time to get all my seasonal stuff switched over, and–wait for it–there is ACTUALLY ROOM for all my clothes now! Holy crap! And while I'm talking about my dresser and clothes storage. Where it lives in the summer, there isn't room for a laundry basket next to it, and I just have some sort of mental block when it comes to leaning over three feet to use my boyfriend's. Now that it's cold, I have room for my laundry bucket to be *right* where I get dressed, and there is no pile of dirty clothes taking over our floor anymore. Win! (Eventually I'll have a big walk-in closet to take care of this.) I am now trying to figure out where I could use baskets in my home. Maybe on my desk. seriously, walking to the laundry basket seems to be an insurmountable hurdle. in that vein i keep a mini laundry hamper in the bathroom where so much of the undressing happens. it takes up a bit of room in our teensy bathroom, but it is awesome to not have mountains of clothing on the bathroom floor. When we bought our house I was jazzed we'd have a closet where BOTH of our clothes would fit with room for all my shoes and a laundry hamper *swoon*. I bought the laundry hamper and was happy. It was exciting to get undressed in the closet where all our clothes are and throw the dirties in the laundry hamper. Then there are the nights when you just want to strip and get in bed. The days when you take off your clothes in the bedroom on the way to the shower. By laundry day, both sides of our bed have clothes islands because we're too lazy to walk a little further to the closet hamper. Oh well, I tried. 🙂 We end up with clothes on the bathroom floor despite everything. Ours was the hallway outside the bathroom. My partner is the worst for it, but I admit I d it too–he'd kick towels, underwear, etc. Into the hallway outside the bathroom door. No problem, right? That meant a mountain of laundry piling up outside our roommate's bedroom door. NOT COOL. I compromised: there is a hamper in that spot. At least if he's going to do it, it can be a contained mountain. (Shhh don't tell him, but now that he's learned to put it all in the hamper, I'm going to move the hamper around the corner. It's a little more of a reach, but I hope it will work.) Really, my partner is the one making a lot of Basket Moments since I moved in with him. We've definitely made a few together though, I just don't remember what they were! I love this! It reminds me of the process of training a cat to use a toilet. See this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTvJrlgOyeg and here I thought it was such a clever way to alter the behavior of an animal. Perhaps I could train myself similarly! I use the bottom drawer of my dresser for dirty clothes instead of a hamper. All my dirty underpants are out of sight and contained. I just transfer them to the laundry basket on laundry day. That. Is. A. Brilliant. Idea. o.O ….I think I love you. I now have the solution to where to put dirty laundry in my tiny student residence bedroom! And I can keep a fold-away laundry basket in the drawer with the washing, along with the laundry powder etc! I have somewhat limited counter and cabinet space in my kitchen. When we moved into this house (combining two households of stuff), I put a sturdy set of shelves in an empty area of my kitchen and I use it to store/display all my kitchen appliances (blender, dehydrator, food processor, vacuum-sealer, etc). On the eye-level shelf are two deep plastic containers my mom gave me which hold the handheld blender, mandolin, immersion blender, and other small stuff. Nice thing is this keeps the cabinet space open for other things, while also forcing me to use the appliances I paid so dearly for, as they're right there and visible. I also have one of the rolling kitchen carts/islands in my kitchen. These are great if you rent as you can take them with you when you move, and can be used up against the wall or in the center of the room. Mine holds extra cooking utensils in the drawers, and the trash can in the cabinet on one side. Oh, and one more! My house has tiny closets and I use rolling racks to help us have a place to hang everything. Personally, I don't like keeping my clothes in drawers (other than pjs, underthings, and work clothes), because I only ever end up wearing the top layer of clothes if I do so. Hanging is the way to go! An old roommate showed me to fold t-shirts so that they are stacked from the back of the drawer to the front of the drawer, rather than bottom to top. That way, you can see them all at once, they don't get as messy from digging through them, and more fit! Ooh! Submit a tutorial on this! I keep my PJs like this. Once you fold the t-shirt, fold it in half again so it's half the size of normal. I fold sleeves back, shirt in half hot dog style (by the length), in half hamburger style (by the width), then in half burger again, and stack. That way instead of stacking them vertically you can stack them horizontally and they take up less room in the drawer. This is amazing! I did this today for ALL of our shirts (though, from left to right instead of back to front). When I showed my husband, he was thrilled and told me how brilliant I was. Thanks, OBH friends! I'm planning to get a rolling cart to get some of our frequently used appliances off the bench, giving us more room for cooking, and meaning that we can have them all nice and close to the power point, rather than spread out across the kitchen to wear the power points are. I love the idea of rolling storage inside cabinets. We have little cupboard space (except in the kitchen where it's all cabinets with only one drawer!). I hate with deep cupboards how you can never get to things at the back, which halves the room you can use. Rolling/sliding storage to make use of all the space we have is definitely on the agenda. I totally had a basket moment the other day when I realized not only do baskets contain my bathroom clutter, but shallow baskets placed in my underwear drawer keep it from being a tangled mess. So THAT'S what those drawer organizer thingies are really for! For not pulling out a black pair of panties and a black sock and thinking they're both socks. Or for keeping "work panties" and "dress-up panties" separated from the "not even my boyfriend sees these panties." I just use shoe boxes though. I saved shallow boxes from Costco for a while and stuck those in my drawers to contain undies, socks, etc. My boy and I were blessed with a surprisingly large kitchen in our apt but have somewhat limited counter/cabinet space. We "splurged" on two cheap Target bookshelves (the 3-shelf size) and lined them up side-by-side against one wall. Now we have the top of them that acts as extra counter space; we turned one top into our "breakfast nook" where we keep cereal, dried fruit, bread, fruit, coffee and the other side has our blender, coffee maker, and coffee grinder. This freed up a bunch of my space and on the shelves we have a weird combo of potatoes/onions/Buffy S1-7 and graphic novels. I sure helped us organize the space better! That is a really cool idea! Sounds cozy too. 🙂 When I read the article I was thinking I really didn't get it. How would piling all the stuff in the bathroom into baskets make it more organised? Wouldn't it just take up more space? Couldn't you just line up the bottles? Then I read the comments and realised people keep a whole load of things in their bathrooms that have always been in other rooms in my house. Medicines are in the kitchen for example and nail clippers, hair ties etc. are in a draw in the bedroom. Suddenly it made a lot more sense because all those little bits and pieces would be easy to loose in a bathroom cupboard. And I definately second the idea for hair ties (I keep mine in a make-up bag I was given) because they can get everywhere. But it's also funny to realise how easy it is to assume somethings always done the way you do it (like keeping medicine in the kitchen the way my parents do) when in reality there's no real reason to do it that way and other people probably have very different ideas. I have such trouble with hair ties! About once a month I can't find any and they are always ALL in the cushions of our sofa because I like to take my hair down when I'm snuggled up. So now I keep a little box on our coffee table and immediatly put everything I take off in it–hair ties, earrings (normally only the one from my right ear) etc. I actually keep my hair ties on the front doorknob-easy to find and remember. A lot of them are also on the floor, but that's because they're my cat's favorite toy. My cat loves playing with my hair ties too. If I want one and don't feel like walking to the bathroom, I just look on the floor and invariably there's one I can pick up and use. (a year later, but oh well) – i use two of those 3M removeable hooks for my hair ties. One in my bedroom and one in the bathroom beside the mirror. That way, whichever place i want one, i have them. (also, i have all my necklaces hanging on these on the side of my wardrobe beside my dresser – so they are right there when i look in my mirror in the morning and debating which to wear.) I try to keep spare hair elastics and clips in the car – elastics on my shifter, clips on the rearview mirror (on the stand part, not where you look). It's helpful when I take my hair down on long drives, or when I'm running late and forget a clip. Unfortunately, that's about the only organizational tip I have. EDIT: Wait, I do have one more! I keep an old label-less prescription bottle in my purse with small amounts of various meds we might need – Advil, Tylenol, allergy meds, my anxiety meds, etc. I just have to remember to take it out if I ever need to cross the border. ZOMG I do that thing with the purse bottle too. I used to have terrible toothaches all the time and headaches to boot, and before I figured out the tiny purse bottle thing, I used to just stick Advil in my pockets loose (gross, I know.) My friends laughed at me, and then they'd come up to me later on, asking for 'pocket Advil'. Ah, how I laughed. 😛 To this day, I'm the only one who carries around painkillers, antacids, AND allergy meds. So useful! I wrap all of mine on the handle of my hairbrush! And then all the brand new ones are kept wrapped around the piece of cardboard they came with in the bathroom drawer. Eventually, when I've lost/thrown out the old ones, I just fill up the handle again. 🙂 i use a cotton ball jar (or q-tip jar? one of those bathroom jars that are so fun, but i am never sure what to do with them) in the bathroom for my hair ties and bobby pins. it keeps them contained and hidden. then i have a little box in the living room where i inevitably decide my hair needs to either go up or come down and the bathroom is too far away. and then there is the pretty little dish on the dresser which collects hair ties, earrings, coins, etc. it seemed silly to me at first (why can't i just put the hair ties back in the bathroom??) but why fight it? just keep designated area in various rooms. Yep – I have a little dish in the hallway that's really for my keys and chapstick (that are always in my pocket when I'm outside the house), but it also serves as a kind of halfway house for things that belong in the bathroom. It's pretty central so if I'm too lazy to take, say, my earrings to the bathroom, but I'm afraid they'll accidentally fall on the floor and get vacuumed in the bedroom, I put them on the dish and the next time I'm going to the bathroom I take them with. My hair ties are on one of those carabiner hooks! Our bathroom has one small cabinet in it, so we don't keep anything in the bathroom unless it absolutely has to be there. I love not having to worry about a bunch of crap in the bathroom… don't bathrooms have enough crap to worry about? What rooms things belong in changes with every place I live. I don't always have a linen closet, but if I do then that's where the medicines live. Unless I live with "roommates" (i.e. not just a partner) in which case mine live in my room. A pantry might hold baking dishes or food, but only sometimes both, and of course only if I have one. A couple places, everything had to live in my bedroom–including the toilet paper. Weird. So I've had to learn some flexibility with the question, "where does this go?" Love the basket idea! I've been using baskets (with handles) for storing my cleaning supplies in. When it comes time to deep clean the apartment, carrying around all the supplies in a basket makes it very easy. Also, I like to tear off the label, wash out and re-use various jars (pickle jars, spaghetti sauce jars, etc) and use them for storing art supplies. It looks pretty to sit on a desk and works out great for keeping pens, paint brushes, colored pencils, etc separate. basket for cleaning supplies? GENIUS. i need to do this – all of our cleaning stuff is in a cupboard that's just a bit too high for me but if everything's in a basket it means that i can bring the whole lot down… derp. thank you! I actually keep all of my bathroom and kitchen cleaning supplies in a plastic bucket that I can use to mop/wash out the shower after scrubbing/various other buckety needs. It makes everything easy to carry AND it's useful! i have TWO buckets that sit inside each other under the sink. The top one is full of supplies, the bottom one is for using for cleaning. The top bucket is really just a 'basket' that doesn't take up any more room because it fits inside the cleaning one. And, if i really need a second bucket, i have one. Get one of those molded plastic tool boxes that have a handle in the middle for your cleaning supplies. They cost about $8. Just grab the handle and go! I read this in a how-to cleaning book; apparently that's how a lot of professional cleaners take things from job to job. Now I have a house and instead of that, I just have one of everything I clean with under the sink on each floor. I don't haul things around anymore (except the vacuum — too expensive to have three of those!). This way, the cleaners, sponges, etc. are always close by. You can use acrylic paint to coat the inside of glass jars and it comes out beautifully…functional and decorative 🙂 I used to have this problem with clutter. As in, "Everything in its place, but what about this pile of stuff that has no place?" I asked my super organized, always has a clean house friend, and she BLEW MY MIND. She said, "What doesn't have a place? Anything you use or like has a place. If it doesn't have a place, why do you have it?" I went home and looked at every homeless objects, and I considered carefully why I was keeping each, and as it turned out, I didn't actually need a single one of them. "What doesn't have a place?" So simple! see, I subscribe to your friend's theory. But I have a husband who is all "DON'T THROW THAT AWAY, it'll be useful if we never use it!" Arrrgh. I just recently started trying to live by the "everything in its place" motto after spending my whole life as a "piles of crap everywhere" type person, too. My trick for converting the apt into an "everything in its place" space without getting overwhelmed (and one of my cleaning tricks in general) is to just do one task or one area at a time. My whole apt needs cleaning right now, but thinking about that just makes me exhausted before I even begin – so every day off I just pick one small task or one area to clean and I do just that thing and nothing else. Last week I cleaned our bathroom counter. This week I cleaned and organized our entryway. Next week I'll probably do the kitchen. In each area I go to there are the inevitable piles of random stuff. My method with these has been to put the things that have a place to go where they should be, and to take the rest of the stuff that doesn't have a place to go and add it to the pile of random stuff in the next room. By the time I'm done with the whole apartment, I'll just have one huge random pile, all of stuff that doesn't have a place – and at that point I can sit down and think about what I want to MAKE a place for, and what just isn't worth keeping. Doing it this way has proved to be SO much less overwhelming than every other time I have tried and failed to get control of the crazy piles in our home. For the inevitable piles of homeless stuff I ask myself, "In what department of Walmart would shop for this? Home Office? Fabrics & Notions? Automotive?" This helps me figure out where to put a rubberband, or shoelace or the odd craft supply or any of a thousand other odds and ends that wind up strewn around the house. BASKET i have also found that replacing drawers with shelves or baskets/boxes is an immediate success in almost every situation. things lurk in drawers. Lurk and BREED. WORD. I have finally, in the last 3 months, been able to admit my deep, dark secret: I HATE DRESSERS. Hate them. I WANT to like them. I want to have a place where things can be hidden from prying eyes. But let's face it, it just makes a mess, and I hate prying through it and ruining T-shirts and socks and forgetting things existed. Problem is, I hate hanging things too. So I finally gave in for the 4th time and switched to using shelving for my clothes, and baskets for socks/underwear/etc. But this time, I'm being honest: I hate dressers, and I don't want one. Since my partner hangs up most everything, this works out nicely. What up, irrational-hatred-of-things buddy! I use a cedar chest for my clothes. I like! We have rails with Ikea Bygel wire baskets in our shower – dirt cheap, waterproof and you can put them at whatever height you need. I have a ton of those make-up bags from Clinique, because my sister always gets them and gives me what she doesn't want. They are so fabulous! One is full of hair ties and hair pins and hair screws. (All my pretty hair things are in a basket. I have hip-length hair, so lots of hair things.) Another make-up bag is for my Weight Watchers stuff – tracker, pocket guide, calculator, pen. It's nice to have it all ready to grab whenever. I inherited a lot of baskets from my grandmother, many of which are in a closet as we organize our new place. But a wide one with low sides would be perfect for my collection of teas, to be put on the counter next to the electric kettle. Thereby freeing up space in the cabinet for all the mugs and teacups and such! (I have lots of tea-making supplies, too.) My mother gave us a lovely bench with storage in the seat. It's the perfect size to go next to the door. I have hats and scarves inside, and four pairs of shoes fit underneath. (Three pairs of mine and one of my husband's, which seems fair as he only has three pairs of shoes and I have about fifteen.) It's convenient to be able to sit and put on shoes, as we always take them off when we come in, and I like that it has a second, storage purpose. I expect I'll be getting some under-the-bed storage bins for my yarn collection, too, once we have a bed. Yarn sitting three boxes in a closet, unorganized and inaccessible, makes me sad. (I also have a lot of yarn. And books. If I like it, I collect to excess.) Most valuable basket moment: Labeled banker boxes for papers that need to be saved. I can't tell you how many years we just had piles of paper, kid-art, notebooks, etc that we kept transferring from place to place. The problem with this and being a parent is people have to actually use the system. I create new organization every few months but no one ever puts anything where it goes and we are back to piles….. That's true. I almost ripped my husband's face off for putting unfolded socks into a drawer with folded socks, and he said, "Well, why not just keep them all in one place?" So I realized that just because a system makes sense to me and saves me time doesn't mean that the rest of the household will just intuit that random socks in the folded sock drawer will leave you needing a face replacement. Before, I would have thought that explaining the sock drawer to my partner would be so patronizing, but hey, if it is enough to piss me off that much, it shouldn't be silly to talk about why things go where. If you can, try doing it one thing at a time. One of my organization projects was putting a coat rack by the door. For some reason, my partner has no problem putting his coat there, and I have no problem putting my purse there, but the problem was his backpack and my hoodies–not "coats", just hoodies, and Seattle is hoodie weather 10 months a year. (Our roommate had a problem with following it but she's gone now so whatever.) It took about a month, but he finally started getting his backpack there with his coat, and my hoodies land there most of the time. At the very least, having a system means that if I move someone's object, they know where to look if it's not where they left it. Uh yeah, where I was going with that was to say: Now that we have the coat/backpack system down, I've started on the blankets that seem to get covered in cat hair all the time. I got a quilt rack* and put it in the living room right next to the couch, and every night before bed we check the blankets. Dishes has been a running commentary for oh, my whole life. But really, we're all starting to learn and appreciate that if everyone makes a point of checking the dishwasher before they put dishes in the sink, cleaning as they cook, blah blah blah–but doing dishes daily and regularly, we're all much happier. Mostly because I can eat breakfast/lunch/dinner right away if my blood sugar starts crashing, which results in a much less cranky roommate who might bite your head off. All the way around, that's a win. * Quilt rack: It's an old loft/bunk bed ladder! Leans on the wall, and the top two rungs are tall enough to keep the cats from rubbing as they walk by, and not comfy enough to cuddle up on (apparently). The third one is either a blanket I don't mind getting hairy, or pillows that get shoved in behind the blankets in a mad dash of cleaning. Yes – the battle of the hoodies. It seems like our coat hanger/hooks thingy will never be big enough for our seemingly endless collection of hoodies. 😀 I haven't lived in Seattle for years, but that just sticks with you… 😉 I fold my t-shirts an extra time, so that I can store them upright in my drawers. It makes it MUCH easier to see them, so I can make sure I'm wearing everything. Pictures on my blog, if that didn't make sense. Definitely an idea I am going to consider. Keeping thing put up and away is easily my biggest house keeping challenge. I tend to be a hoarder with magazines and the like. Not good when the basket by the couch starts to overfill… I hang most of my clothes. T-shirts, dressy tank tops, and pants included. I did this when I first lived on my own and didn't have a dresser, but a sizeable enough closet. I've stuck to it- clothes are almost never wrinkled, t shirts don't end up in a jumble in a drawer and my pants are easy to get to. I do keep pajamas, underwear and tank tops in drawers, and I hardly bother to fold them at all, just toss them in the right drawers. It took some time to get my husband to see that he didn't have to fold his t-shirts, and now he's converted- so much easier to get dressed in the morning I do this, too. I hang everything hangable, and even a few things unhangable. It's much easier to find things, I get away with fewer pieces of large furniture, and I deal with fewer shuffled drawers. Seriously- for bathing suits, lingerie, belts, scarves, gloves and other random things, I hung them up by hanging up canvas bags (the kinds you get from boring work conventions, or the thrift store) or resuable grocery bags, and throwing them in there. Another derp household helper: those suction cup things which hold a sponge to the side of your sink and let it dry, rather than let the sponge rot in the bottom of the sink or make a mess on the counter space. I knew the existed but for some reason didn't believe how much nicer one would make my daily dish-washing experience. This makes me really rethink my floor-robe system … I am just not an organised person at all. However, one of my favourite things I figured out at school was instead of jamming pins into all my finished drawings/paintings, I used a pin to hold up a bulldog clip and clip anything to those. That was mostly due to my love of wholly unnecessary stationery, however (I am *that* person with 264 pens in my bag, but can never find my keys…). Such a derp over here. Over the door shoe holders- I have two in my room hanging on the wall for shoes. My boys share one hanging on their door for shoes. I have one in the front closet hanging on the door for hats, gloves, umbrellas, scarves, etc. I have one hanging on the door in the bathroom that holds hair stuffs, jewelry cleaner, etc. Also, coat racks, I have one that holds all my purses and am getting another to hold all my scarves. Trays! Oh my gosh, trays. They're magical. I have one on my dresser, one on each coffee table and one on the small table by the door. It collects all those little knickknacks like leashes, spare keys, lighters, postage stamps, highlighters, sunglasses, hair ties, sunscreen, magazines, hand sanitizer, etc. Our house used to be overrun with all these little things that, though frequently used, didn't really have a "place". The new rule is, if it doesn't fit in the tray, put it away. Or, ya know, clean the tray out. I was basically raised to be a packrat and a a slob, but to be horribly ashamed about it. As an adult, I'm working on both sides of this issue. Trying to keep less stuff, organize, etc, and also trying to feel less shame about my not-perfect home. When my now-husband moved in with me years ago, my mantra was "we find a place for it, or we get rid of it". Unfortunately, we have a basement that we don't use for anything but laundry – so it became the place for all the things without a home. Old schoolwork, random old furniture and lamps, assorted car parts, broken stuff that Hubby says he'll fix one day, holiday ornaments which haven't been looked at in years… You name it. This winter, our project is to reclaim the basement. I am both excited and terrified. Sort of seconding the over the door shoe holders (which are utter crap at holding shoes, but really good for storing misc. wires, craft supplies, jewelry, hair things, notes etc). I lived in an apartment with very a small floor space but THREE closets with rods. I have the hanging shoe BOX (box is important here, the regular shoes one is not quite big enough) and I keep lidless shoe boxes that I decorated with paper to keep socks, underwear, tank tops, t-shirts, shorts etc. I just stopped using a dresser because it got to where the drawers were all to big and contained too much stuff. *edit* p.s. My dorm roommate and I went crazy with containers and we would say to each other, in very dramatic voices "Containers CONTAIN things!". We had this magic moment in the aisle at target after a month of searching through piles on the ground. I'm a little addicted. I have containers underneath AND on top of the coffee table. We have two filing cabinets in our office/sewing room. Before my husband got them, I argued that they were expensive and we wouldn't really use them. He proved me wrong on both accounts. He got them used at a college surplus store for around $20 a piece. We each have a drawer for paperwork like bills, pay stubs, receipts, bank statements, etc. Which in itself is much better than my old filing method – everything in a box. But then we started using other drawers for excess crap we had around the office. Cables and electrical cords – which take up about 3 drawers alone, fabric, candles – I used to work at a candle company so I have a LOT of candles, and more fabric because I buy fabric at the same rate my husband buys cables. I need containers for my containers. I have a problem. No, containers for containers is awesome. It's like a computer filing system, where you have 10 layers of files for organizing… (Am I just a computer organizing nerd? No file is ever out of place on my computer, but I can't find the couch right now.) I like containers on shelves (Especially on cubed shelves. I mean one of those square shelving units divided into further squares.) I had a "baskets" moment just this past Sunday: I make muffins every Sunday for breakfast, and consequently find myself huffing and puffing over my stand mixer Monday mornings trying to get all the dried batter off. Well, last Sunday, once I put the muffins in the oven I grabbed the rag in my hand and cleaned it right away, realizing that the 20 minutes I had to wait for baking could be used for something more productive than rolling a joint or setting up my Netflix queue, or facebooking, or whatever time waste I usually do while I wait for muffins to bake. I was so frigging proud of myself that I called out to my husband "Look Tom! I'm CLEANING as I GO!" Seriously took like, 3 minutes to make my kitchen look sparkly, unlike the flour massacre that Sunday usually is. I have TOTALLY HAD THAT MOMENT! Way to go. 🙂 Using gravy and jelly jars to store leftovers in Candle snuffer Mopping (in general) I've recently decided to start safety pinning lingerie sets together,especially the ones I don't wear out. I've collected a lot and this way I'm not stumbling through my drawers when the mood strikes and there's a big pile of lace and ribbons and all I can think about is 'I know I bought undies that match this bra!'. Kinda kills the mood a bit… Well, that's brilliant. Thanks!:) I'm addicted to those cubes from Target, the fabric ones that come in all colours. I litterly use them everywhere. In my kitchen, they all hold things based on use. IE- the purple one has my baking stuff, the blue has condiments, the green holds pasta, ect. It makes it easy when my man goes "Hon, where's the…." and I Can tell him which colour to look in. In the bathroom, I use three of them- one for face cloths, one for "special" bath stuff (bubble baths, fancy soaps, bath salts, things i dont want on the bathtub), and one sits on top of my toilet, sideways, holding mags and bath books, like a mini library. We use them in the bedroom on the top shelve of our closet to hold scarves, and ties, under our bed to hold our toys, and on top of our dresser to hold things that end up there that need to be taken out. We empty that one once a week. Also used to hold remotes, video games, tv guides (my mans old fashioned haha), mags, books and cat toys in the living room. And in the laundry room, we use two as our "Sock" cubes. Our cat will take any and every sock he finds and drag them around the house and play with them and bite holes and the like, so we never end up washing socks with their mates. When socks come out of the dryer, they go right into the red cube. After the load is done, someone takes a few minutes, and sorts through the left over socks, and matches them up. They get put in the other cube once matched. Sorry for my long comment, I just really love my cubes i love those cubes too! i use them everywhere for everything! did you know they make mini ones now too?? Ikea cutlery tray in your make-up draw. Divide and conquer; http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/00177225/ My partner and I just moved into a small house which is way larger than anything we have ever lived in, so it has been really weird to have almost TOO much space for our things. Our bathroom is four times the size of our old one (thanks, Brooklyn!) but has no linen closet. I used to keep our towels under the bed in an ikea zip top storage thing, but instead i moved an old, wide bedside table in there next to our toilet that has one drawer and a big open space under it. the drawer holds the little hand towels, wash cloths etc., and underneath is big towels. for my hair stuff, i bought three jars from ikea (in the kitchen section) with tops. two little, one big. in each of the little ones, bobby pins and hair ties. in the big one, fancy hair clips, feather clips, etc. next to the sink is drawer and shelf table from home goods. on top is a bamboo-esque square container meant for files/photos with my day to day stuff- baby oil, baby powder, hair products, contacts and solution, deodorant. in the drawer is brushes/combs, under the shelf is heat tools, then under that is nail polishes/ nail stuff in a clear travel bag, and various beauty sundries. i also love the ikea drawer organizers, so that i have a space for my rolled belts separate from my headbands. I LOVE ORGANIZATION. i have so much HABA and clothing i'd be lost without it. i also organize my closet my type of clothing, sleeve length, and color. It makes getting dressed SO MUCH EASIER. I wish I had room to hang all of my clothes. My mom actually helped me come up with a brilliant idea for storing those little round cotton pads that you use for toner and make up remover. We found these little glass jars with those easy to take off lids (just wire springs and held on with a hinge – similar to this http://images.bizrate.com/resize?sq=140&uid=2497629762) that were the exact size of the cotton pads so I just store them in there and it looks neat and tidy and I bought two more jars the same size to keep q-tips and bobby pins in. It has a nice vintage look to it and then a few months later I saw the same idea in a Restoration Hardware Catalogue! I also don't have a dresser yet but tons of closet space and we even have some shelves in the closet so for my socks and undies I just keep them neatly folded up in my Doc Martens boots box. It's big enough to hold quite a few pairs of socks and lots of underwear and it fits perfectly on the shelf. This way I don't have socks and underwear hanging out all over the place and when I need some I can just reach into the box – it's got a hinged lid too so it's very handy. Some day I'll get a proper dresser I'm sure but I'm more than happy with this for now, it works! So I am constantly taking my jewelry off, at my desk, in the kitchen, before I go to bed, and in teh bathroom. I've always been like this, I don't know why. This means I'm always losing one earring, or hunting for my wedding ring in one of the 5-6 places I "always" leave it. So now, I have a dish for jewelry in the kitchen, and one on my bedside table, and antique brass paper tack ( the kind you impale papers on) for my rings on my desk. This has improved my life immensely. I've almost completely stopped losing jewelry, and my husband is no longer mad at me for constantly misplacing my wedding ring. i have little antique breadpans that i use in my kitchen cabinets. they're perfect for the oddball spices that won't fit in a spicerack and i have one for packets. They were my Mom's and I'm so happy to have a purpose for them, they're too old to use for cooking. My Simplest "Basket Moments" for problem areas in our home: * Keys and sunglasses on a hook by the door * Dog leashes and dog clothes in a designated spot at all times * Dog toy bins on the floor in several rooms (low enough for both dogs to access) * Storage ottomans in all public spaces in the home – great for Instantly Organizing clutter, and they double as Lost and Founds for when I or my husband leaves our stuff out. This is a great solution for people who are just Cluttery By Nature. * Paper shredder under a tiny table by the mail slot in the wall; junk mail can go directly from the mailbox straight to the shredder. *Buying 3 laundry baskets in addition to our hamper in the bedroom:1 for carrying (laundry, or clutter throughout the house that needs to be put away), 1 for clean clothes that need to be put away, 1 for buildup when it really gets away from us! Ok so heres one my mom figured out. You know those over the door plastic shoe racks? She put all of her makeup and toiletries that would usually be on her bathroom counter into this shoe rack! It blew my mind. If only my shoe rack didn't have shoes in it! Those shoe organizers are rad. Here's how I use mine: http://offbeathome.com/2011/01/organize-cords Baskets totally transformed our bathroom closet recently! http://newlittleoldhouse.tumblr.com/post/13094200495/10-73-well-spent Also, one of our other cheap-but-loved organizational systems is this key box: http://www.harborfreight.com/48-hook-key-box-3271.html We have a ridiculous quantity of keys and they were alllways getting lost and disorganized. This cabinet (mounted out of sight) makes all the difference. It's amazing how quickly we establish good habits when we have the tools that actually work for us. I love those little shoebox size plastic boxes from Target (and other places, I'm sure). I use them to store underwear, socks, bras, (We don't have a dresser, just boxes under the bed, due to lack of space for a dresser. It works well). I also use them for thread, quilt scraps, tissue paper (the wrapping kind), office supplies, art supplies, etc. Corralling things by type of thing (ie. thread) is so helpful. I can stack them on the shelves, they are see-through so I know which one is which, and they have lids, which helps control the clutter. Two tricks: I hate how rolls of quarters just fall apart once they're opened, but when you need metered parking you just need lots of quarters on hand. I keep them in an old pill bottle now–they are the perfect size to hold quarters and they have a lid. So easy. Also, those storage ottomans are the bomb for holding blankets, yoga gear, etc! Some come with reversible tops so you can either rest your feet on the comfy side or rest your plate of food on the sturdy side. SO convenient. Also airborne containers. Exact size-just cut the stupid plastic spring thing off the inside of the cap. anyone know how to keep the tupperware cupboard from being an enormous mess? I only have nicely stackable tupperware (everything has a lid, no warped ones etc), and I keep the lids in a separate basket/bin (on the same shelf). I also just moved all my tupperware from a tiny long/narrow hard-to-reach cupboard onto a bigger, square, open-on-two-sides shelf. Easier to reach, and more on-display (though still below a counter – it's not like it's a focal point), so we are more likely to nicely stack, rather than the ol' toss-and-slam. In my house, we organize by shape. So Square tupperware is all stacked, and round tupperware is all stacked and rectangle tupperware is all stacked. Then we have labeled boxes for the lids. They're actually boxes we used to get microwave popcorn in. We've also got a couple boxes for small tupperware – doesn't matter what shape, just small as the small stuff is pretty annoying to stack. But the biggest thing is to get rid of tupperware that doesn't have a lid/bottom or that is warped beyond use. I am in awe of everyone's organizational skills. Our house is a constant disaster because I feel like there's no room for anything we have. My fiance collects video games of all kinds and our entire living room is just covered in shelves with games from Nintendo, Neo-Geo, Playstation, and more. One of our walk-in closets is literally filled with just the boxes for video games (yes, he collects those too), and our garage is filled with totes of systems. He also repairs and builds them, so there are wires and conductors and other random electrical equipment everywhere. Because of that, there's no room for all the things that cause clutter in normal people's houses, leaving piles of stuff everywhere. (Seriously there was a tube tv sitting next to our front door for almost a year because "it's so good for playing older games on!") I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to bookmark this for when we have a bigger place and I can contain his video game kingdom to one centralized place, haha. My husband and I and the kiddo have seperate hampers plus one in the laundry room (first floor) for kitchen towels and napkins and assorted clothes we don't want to carry upstairs to put in the hamper. This makes laundry take us less time over all because I don't have to sort out whose who. I had a very public and embarrassing basket moment at work last year when I realised that I could MAKE A WHOLE BIG POT OF SOUP and then FREEZE IT IN INDIVIDUAL PORTIONS. Eep. Yeh, duh. I have this in my room: http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/holland-park/bedroom/freedom-clothes-rack/1001803801# and I use milk crates as drawers in the shelf-y areas and on the top for drawers. Labels. Specific labels. I realized I could not only write "laundry detergent" on the side of the container (I make my own) but could also write the recipe on it, so I don't have to look it up next time I make a batch. I marked the end of the 3-hole punch that you're supposed to line the paper up with so I don't punch things upside down any more. Pretty much anything I find myself looking up/figuring out on a regular basis, I try to see if there's a way to put the information on the item. Saves so much time and frustration! PS – you can write on glass with sharpie and it comes off with a minimal amount of water and scrubbing, but stays on in normal circumstances. We don't have any counter space in our bathroom, but we've got a lot of wall space (it's kind of weird). So I bought one of those skinny over-the-showerhead shelf things (similar to this: http://www.fixtureuniverse.com/shower-caddies-shelves/hardware-house-llc-58-39-shower-caddy_g1067749.html?isku=8208901&linkloc=cataLogProductItemsImage)and used two cup hooks to hang it up next to the sink. Now all my body sprays, rubbing alcohol, leave in conditioner, facewash, whatever is off the counter–all that stays on the counter is my makeup bag and contact case. Plus I got a shelf thing with hangy hooks on the bottom, so it doubles as a hand towel holder. I use empty Tazo tea tins to store pens, pencils, scissors, random things etc… My husband painted old drawers we were getting rid of and attached them to walls for extra storage. Use one to hold cookbooks, the other is a liquor cabinet! I'm living overseas right now and because I know it's temporary and because I didn't select my furniture, I had to come up with a solution for organizing all of my junk. One of the things I did almost right away was buy something to collect the underwear, socks, and then misc. things (bandanas, pantyhose, fabric headbands). The containers designed for such use were a good 7 Euros each and though pretty I didn't want to spend 21 Euros out of my meager wages and then leave it here in a year! So I bought 1 Euro each plastic planters. They work perfectly. I thought trash cans didn't work because I was still having trash pile up all around me. Then my friend pointed out that actually the trash can was full, so it worked until it got full. So now I know about emptying it when it gets full. I know this post is about the Basket Moment rather than specifically about using baskets, but I wanted to recommend baskets (plastic, not fancy ones) in the fridge. I use them to corral our cooking sauces–no more tipped-over skinny bottles. My mom keeps all her sandwich supplies in one so when she's packing lunch, she can just pull the basket out and everything is right there. My discovery was that the bathroom was much more likely to get cleaned if I kept some cleaning supplies in its under-sink cabinet instead of keeping them all centralized under the kitchen sink. Fed up of constant arguements about how my partner could never find clean socks and how I could never find his to wash I bought lots of socks. When that didn't work see above I bought 4 laundry delicates bags. On which I wrote our names. One for pants and one for socks for each of us. They live beside the bed till they are full or laundry day. When they are clean and dry we empty them into the sock box and undies box. Then the cycle begins again. Comments are closed.