Category: Home organization (Page 1 of 6)

The Fast Track To An Organized Home

storage drawers

Since there seems to be a fast track to a lot of activities, I wanted to devise a fast track to getting your home organized using the same principles.

Fast tracking is primarily a way to shorten your project time as quickly as possible. It involves an established technique to cut down the time it would normally take on a project.

With any project, there are steps. To fast track those steps a method would need to be formulated to streamline the activity and establish a less comprehensive sequence for the scope of a project, yet still get the same result.

That said, we need to first know and understand what it takes to organize an area of your home, since that is the project we’re talking about here.

Organizing is a process. It has steps to getting organized. The key elements of those steps involve:

  • Collecting up all the clutter and things that don’t belong in the space
  • Sorting through stuff
  • Deciding what to keep and what to get rid of
  • Establishing a place for everything
  • Obtaining organizing solutions (products) that improve the space – optional, as needed
  • Putting everything in its place

Pretty simple, right? It is, except when a person gets bogged down on a step, like establishing a place for everything. That’s when it can get a bit tricky and take longer to finish the project if we don’t know where to put something.

sorting clutter

In making sure stuff has a place, sometimes we need to buy something to keep stuff in – like storage containers and the like. And sometimes we just need to create a place from spaces we already have, or organizing products we have around but not utilized yet.

So, to fast track this step, let’s add a step before the step of “putting everything in its place.” Let’s add this:

  • For items that you’re unable to find a place for, put it in a bin until you have a place to put it permanently.

Although that’s an extra step to the organizing process, it provides a faster track to organizing your space as a whole. It also buys you time to go out and find and get an organizing solution for those items – giving these a permanent “home”.

Some things already have a place but need better organizing solutions to make it a better space. A kitchen, for example, might be better off if the cabinets had space-saving stacking shelves for dishes, or bins to hold packaged like-items, things like that.

In this case, after the sorting of what you want to keep, put everything back and get what you need to make the space better later.

Same with a clothes closet – after sorting through the clothes and accessories and removing what you are getting rid of, you can get organizing products afterward to improve the functionality of your closet. Before you do, however, tidy up the closet by grouping like clothing together (shirts, blouses, slacks, etc.).

So, the fast track would be like this:

  • Collecting up all the clutter and things that don’t belong in the space
  • Sorting through stuff
  • Deciding what to keep and what to get rid of
  • Establishing a place for everything. For items that you’re unable to find a place for, put it in a bin until you have a place to put it permanently.
  • Putting everything in its place
  • Obtaining organizing products that improve the space – optional, as needed

Those added steps allows you to fast track your way to an organized space. It removes the obstacles that stop us along the way to finishing the project. Hence, a fast track to organization.

I didn’t want to complicate this process and, instead give you an outline and progression of getting organized. It is a process – a sequence of steps – that will get you from Point A to Point B.

Try not to get overwhelmed during this process. Take one step at a time if you have to, and ultimately you’ll end up better organized!

The Shady Crevices In Our Home

hidden clutter

There are shadowy places in our home that just lie in wait for us to venture back in. These exist in deserted drawers, within corners of closets, inside ignored cabinets, and of course crouched in the notorious storage areas of the garage.

hidden clutter

The places remain dark in our minds, always trying to remain buried or hidden from our conscious levels of attention. I refer to them as the black holes in our home spaces that carry a warning sign in front, “Stay away!”.

Since it’s often unknown what exists in these dark places, we can only guess it contains stuff we once put there just to deposit it someplace and hopefully never need again.

When we stumble upon these shadowed areas again every now and then, all we might visibly see are boxes holding gawd-knows-what, or a mish-mosh of indistinct items piled among each other, or a hodgepodge of nameless and endless paper.

It’s rare that we remember what lurks in these obscure areas within our home. Time gone by makes it easy for us to forget them and file away in our mind as unimportant, at which time we are able to block out their existence.

As we forget about its presence, they keep getting bigger and bigger until they consume everything.

There have been those times when we’re forced to view what’s inside. This happens when it’s time to move out of the house, but sometimes it’s voluntary, like when we’re organizing or spring cleaning.

As for me, I like to know what lurks in every inch of my home. I want to know what’s there, why it’s there, and if it needs to be there now, at this present time.

That means, my home is free of dark holes and shady areas. And man, does that feel refreshing. It gives my home a sense of harmonious peace, as well as tranquility in my mind.

Confronting the black holes around the house head on might have its challenges. Yet the only potential danger in those areas is forgetting about them. It’s not from being inside these areas. And once you do get inside to deal with it, the black hole will disappear into oblivion.

My challenge for you is to find all the dark, shady black holes in your home. Write down where they exist. Then put on your invisible space suit and venture inside. Then blast that area to extinction!

What Food Dinosaurs Lurk In Your Fridge?

I know there are people out there who, when they open their fridge, enter the Jurassic Fridge. The food dinosaurs are often hiding behind other food ready to attack your immune system if you grab them to use in a meal.

There are various species of food dinosaur breeds – The Bread Mold Dinosaur, the 2-week old Meat Dinosaur, the Left-over Soup Dinosaur, the Rotten Fresh Veg Dinosaur, the Spoiled Dairy Dinosaur, the Forgotten Condiment Dinosaur, and so on.

After a trip to the grocery store, we come home with certain foods that need to go in the fridge. When these sit in the cooling chamber for longer than its life-span, they will begin to morph into a dinosaur. It’s a given.

Another problem is not having room in the fridge for all the new groceries we just bought. The space is overly occupied with Leftover Dinosaurs.

The actual life-span of most refrigerated food isn’t as long as we’d like it to be. Some food however can last quite a long time, like certain condiments which can last up to a year. But even those will eventually take on a different life.

I found a great chart for the life span of refrigerated food:

Website: One Good Thing

As you’ll see from this chart, there are not a lot of foods that last over a week.

Check those expiration dates and, for leftovers, I recommend throwing a label on the container with the date. I use Post-it labeling tape.

There isn’t a lot more to say about this. Get rid of those food dinosaurs and keep your fridge happy.

A Humane Killing of The Clutter Beast

Cyndi Seidler showing art table

“It was beauty that killed the beast,” in the famous line from the movie King Kong. And that’s what will kill the clutter beast – beauty.

Increasing aesthetics in a space in place of clutter not only tames the horrid monstrosity of chaos, it calms the senses. It provides an atmosphere of “Ah” (delight and pleasure).

When you’ve just added a nice, beautiful piece of furniture to your room, do you think you’d be less inclined to clutter it up with junk? Usually not, although I’ve been wrong in some cases.

Let’s say you’ve just organized your clothes closet and it’s now in tip-top shape. The idea of tossing clothing on the floor would conflict with the closets newfound beauty, so we usually avoid falling back into the old ways that created a mess in the first place.

This is how organizing a space works well with those who are likely to want to keep it that way. They created beauty and it killed the beast.

If you’re organizing a storage area, that too can have beauty by using stacking bins all lined up neatly in rows. It has its own “beauty” in the way they now look, as opposed to unsightly, collapsed or bent-out-of-shape boxes.

I’ve talked about this before in other articles, and it’s a subject that I tend to elaborate on using different angles of emphasis because of its importance. I particularly liked the “beauty killed the beast” angle!

Go at it, and destroy the beast of clutter!

Using Taste and Functionality For Home Organization

Storage bench

Whether you’re doing a room makeover or home renovation, take into account for both style and functionality in your plans. Kitchen remodeling is especially one of those times to incorporate these elements into the design of your kitchen plans.

I’ve seen kitchens with lots of flair but had missed out on several components that would have given more advantages to organizing kitchenware and foods. Therefore it’s important to consider organization and storage while designing your areas.

In the photo gallery at end of this post are some storage ideas to browse through. Looking through Pinterest will give you lots more built-in storage ideas.

For a kitchen, there are built-in pull-out sliding drawers for deep cabinets, special racks to organize pots and pan lids, divider slots for cutting boards and bake-ware, and other cool organizing solutions inside those kitchen cabinets.

In a living room, den or family room, get some furniture that serves both style and storage. Ottomans with storage and accent or end tables with storage will stash those things that might end up collecting on furniture surfaces.

The bedroom is a place that requires plenty of ample storage for clothing and accessories, so this is definitely an area that needs good storage solutions. And a good closet system is key to organizing these.

Aside from generous space for clothing rods to hang clothing, an ideal closet would include enough space or shelving for shoes, a place for belts, ties, scarves, hats, purses to hang, If drawers can also be incorporated into the design of the closet, that’s great for folded clothes, undergarments, and certain accessories.

The home office, bathroom and any other areas of the house that are being remodeled also need to account for built-in or stand-alone storage functionality.

storage bench

With all this in mind, here is a collection of ideas that might help you in what to consider in your makeover plans,

Home Style and Storage ideas

Organize On A Dime

Cyndi Seidler at Dollar Store
Cyndi Seidler at a dollar store (wearing mask during Covid-19)

The HGTV show “Design On A Dime” is still running new episodes (since early 2000) and it’s no wonder why it’s such a popular program – it affordably transforms a room with a $2500 budget.

I want to take the concept of that show and shift it to organizing. The “organize on a dime” proposition is easily done using the same fundamentals and smart shopping, just like the decorating show does.

The main difference with organizing vs. decorating is that we don’t need the budget that decorating requires. We only need some basic organizing “tools” (products) that will help us store stuff more effectively.

Now, in taking the concept of “organize on a dime” I’m actually going to get a bit more realistic and call it “Organize On A Dollar.” That’s because we can get a real bang for our buck at a dollar store. And yes, I’m A Dollar Store Junkie!

Cyndi Seidler at dollar store

You can can also get really creative with some DIY (do-it-yourself) projects by repurposing items – see gallery below.

Essentially, organizing solutions don’t have to be boring. By taking some basic storage unit and devising a composition of it to blend with your home decor makes it look a lot nicer.

If the storage unit you’re using is inside a cabinet or closet, it doesn’t really matter what it looks like, as long as it’s functional and serves its purpose. However the storage you want that’s visible in a room should mingle with the other things in the room.

Cyndi Seidler at dollar store

So, without much ado, let’s browse through some ideas …

Repurposed & Dollar Store Organizing Solutions Gallery

What To Do With Doodads

Cyndi Seidler organizing drawer

First, I’ll define the word doodad for you, because it’s actually a real word and therefore has a real definition. It is simply referring to an unspecified gadget whose name is either unknown or forgotten.

As a gadget, it is then associated as a small part or thing that has little value and often used as a novelty, like a trinket or gizmo. Some even call these whatchamacallits or thingamajigs, like I do.

It would stand to reason that we all have doodads somewhere, someplace. I can usually find my doodads in a junk drawer or hardware case. Some people find them in their kitchen gadget drawers where they have bought something and don’t remember what it is or used for.

organizing gizmo stuff

Whenever I’ve sorted through belongings with clients, I’ve asked them to make decisions on what to keep and what to let go of. In doing so, they’ll end up picking something up only to find out they don’t even know what it is or what it is used for!

Not knowing what something is or what it is used for means it will never be utilized because you don’t know what it is used for.

Therefore, in knowing what to do with doodads, the first question is, “What is it?” If you actually know what it is, then you’ll know what it’s used for and can then determine whether or not to keep it.

If you don’t know what it is, then you can safely discard it. You won’t miss it, guaranteed.

This is not a subject matter I need to elaborate much on. Every piece of belonging you have should have a use, even if it’s decor because the use of decor is bringing aesthetics to a space.

I think the real problem with doodads is that they wind up squandering space somewhere and usually end up becoming clutter – gadget clutter, that is.

Where do you think your doodads might be located? Challenge yourself to find them. I’m sure they are lurking about here and there in your household too.

Spiff Up Your Clothes Closet

organize clothes closet

Don’t think about installing a closet design system just yet. There are things you can do to improve the functionality of your existing closet by doing only a few things to it.

Best clothes hangers to use in your closet

First of all, no more wire hangers, as Joan Crawford said to her daughter in the movie, Mommy Dearest. And, even though your dry cleaner still use them, they will get tangled together in your closet and your clothing will eventually droop and get out of shape on them, almost guaranteed.

Many people started replacing their wire hangers with the fat plastic hangers. Well, these don’t tangle up among each other, but they sure do take up valuable space in our clothes closet. Also, clothing typically slides off of them.

The invention and widespread use of velvet hangers has been the answer to our hanging clothes wish. Clothes don’t slide off them and they don’t tangle with each other. Best of all, they are thinner and don’t require as much clothes rod space! So I recommend these foremost as a “step one” in spiffing up your closet.

Refined Rooms

Then there’s the space-saving hangers to hang multiple skirts and slacks, and even blouses on one hanger.

Access your clothing accessories easily

We want our clothing accessories to be as convenient to reach as our clothes, and there are quite a few product solutions for these.

You’ll want to browse through the various options for each type of accessory you have and see which accessory holder / organizer best suits your needs. I’ll post some pictures of the ones I found and liked from Pinterest boards below.

Here are types of holder / organizers you’ll want to get to embellish your closet with (based on your accessory needs, of course):

  • Belt hook organizer
  • Tie hook organizer
  • Scarf hanging organizer
  • Purse organizer
  • Folded clothes dividers (for closet shelving)
  • Hat organizer

Shoe racks should accommodate a growing shoe collection

My favorite type of shoe rack is the adjustable metal ones that adjust in width and stackable for added rows. Here’s an expandable and stackable for adding more tiers that I use:

I also have a bench shoe rack typically used in an entryway in another spot of the closet.

There are many types to choose from and you’ll want to see which type works better for you, and which type you like better in the way they look.

Some closets have space for adjustable shelving and this is a great way to store shoes.

Adorn your closet with any of these closet accessory organizers:

Why I’m In Love With Lazy Susan Turntables

cyndi seidler lazy susan turntables

To me, there’s something truly special about lazy Susan turntables. Apart from their known practicality, I find them advantageous in so many ways as a suitable method to organize and display various types of things.

The origin of the term lazy Susan is an Americanism term dating back to 1915. According to lore, Thomas Jefferson invented the device, which was known as a “dumbwaiter” for his daughter Susan.

Nonetheless, it’s a round rotating tray so that whatever it holds can be seen and reached easily.

While their common use has been on tables to aid in distributing food and kitchen countertops for spices, they are also handy in pantry cabinets, the refrigerator and other places.

I’ve seen them used for things like cosmetics, nail polish, facial products, bathroom products, cleaning products, medicines, craft supplies, desktop supplies, and so on.

Pinterest has lots of ideas for these and they go beyond what they’re commonly used for. Especially the DIY ones made in 2-3 tiered layers to hold stuff.

It’s easy to make your own, too. You just need a swivel so the tray can revolve. When you want to make tiered layers, that’s where you can get really creative. I’ve made my own tiered lazy susans using candle holders from the dollar store, but there are lots of other things you can use.

I grabbed some photos from Pinterest of several lazy susan ideas and uses (as well as my own) to show you how versatile these are. Here’s what I found:

crate and barrel lazy susan turntable
Crate & Barrel
Etsy lazy susan turntable
lazy susan turntable
Container Store
lazy susan turntable
Container Store
lazy susan turntable
lazy susan turntable
lazy susan turntable
lazy susan turntable
Container Store
lazy susan turntable
Bed, Bath and Beyond
Bed, Bath and Beyond

Having A “Guest Ready” Home Makes Life A Lot Easier

cyndi seidler on staging home

I think a lot of us have experienced these scenarios: The doorbell rings and you find yourself in a scramble to tidy up the house when someone calls and tells you that they’re in the neighborhood and want to stop by. Or, the doorbell rings and you weren’t expecting anyone.

Keeping a home guest ready is a real time-saver and will be a lot less terrifying when those “drop by” or last minute visitors come.

Allow me to explain what a guest ready home is and what it looks like, as well as its gratifications for you.

Essentially, it’s when your home is always welcoming to visitors / guests. It’s tidy, it’s orderly, it’s pleasing to the eye. If it’s clean, even better. That would make it in tip-top shape for sure.

Get into the habit of staying tidy

As for me, I like to pretend a lot. And those of you who have read my other articles may have read the one about Benefits of Pretending To Move When You’re Not.

This one is similar – I like to pretend I’ll be having guests over. So I tidy up and make sure there’s not clutter lurking around, and then I just do my best to maintain it to keep it that way.

I do this on a daily basis, just to keep the routine going of being tidy at all times. Some people do it regularly, like once a week when it’s cleaning day or something. But if it gets messy, it becomes unwelcoming for guests.

And actually, I not only do this daily, I do it immediately after creating a mess instead of waiting until later. That means I clean up after myself (and others if I have to) before leaving the area.

If I eat in the living room while watching television, I remove my dishes after the show is over (and I wash up my dirty dishes). If I read a book in a common area of the house, I put it away when I’m done reading. If I do laundry, I make sure I also have the time to put the clothing away right away. If I’m doing paperwork, I clean off my desk when I’m done before leaving the room … and so forth and so on.

Those are good habits to get into – all of which means to clean up after yourself. And, when you have other members of the household, try to get this policy implemented as a house rule so you don’t end up being the only one cleaning up messes.

Set the stage in your home to be appealing

cyndi seidler on staging home

Beyond being tidy is to stage your home. Staging your home is a real estate term meaning to prepare your home for sale by making it appealing and thereby increase your chance of selling the property more swiftly.

A lot of decorating elements fall into place to stage a home. Often times, the place needs to be re-painted, the furniture is moved around to provide more space, floral arrangements are scattered around to make the place inviting and fresh, things like that.

When you walk into the guest (or spare) bathroom, it’s clear of personal stuff on the counter. Fresh towel linens embellish the room. A tray of decorative soap sits near the faucet. Maybe there’s even some shampoo and conditioner samples to provide a full hotel experience and give guests a special treatment.

In the kitchen, the counters are kept clear of non-essentials. Not storing food (except a bowl of fruit) on counter-tops is vital to having it be clutter-free .And too many small appliances clutter the counter, as well.

As for any other common areas in the house, they are kept clutter-free and pleasing to the eye with decorative touches.

Don’t wait for the holidays or seasonal occasions to get your home prepped

spring organizing

To wrap this up, let me just add that making your house guest ready for when planned guests are coming should be done presently, then kept that way.

As for the normal guest preps of having clean bed linens and blankets, I’m talking about going beyond the guest room savoir-faire and getting the whole house ready straightaway before they arrive.

I’m pretty much there myself except for constantly having to gather up dog toys all around! Good luck!

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