10 Ways I Organized my House

Tuesday September 13, 2011

I’ve been on a cleaning and organizing binge lately — surely a 4th sign of the apocalypse (after the earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods).

Seriously, after 7 years of having babies and toddlers underfoot, it’s finally dawned on me that my life is not as exhausting as it used to be and I actually have the time and energy to devote to some organizational projects that I had been putting off for “some day”.

Here’s what I’ve been up to, presented in a Top 10ish list.

1.  Towel Racks in the Master Bath


This, I think, is the small change that started the wheels in motion.  We’ve always hung our towels on a hook next to our shower door (not pictured), but I never had anywhere for my hand towel and wash cloth.   After a trip to Home Depot and 15 minutes of handy hubby time, now I do.

2.  The Laundry Area

This was the big change I sought to make after drawing inspiration from my sister-in-law’s set-up.   I’ve already highlighted this change  its own post, but suffice to say, the laundry area is the biggest area of re-org.

Here’s the before and after:


You’ll notice the dog’s kennel had to be moved to make way for the washer.   It got moved to the ….

3. Master Closet

We have plenty of space in our closet, but weren’t using it well.  I realized, with minimal effort, we could do better.

Here’s the before and after:


I got rid of/donated about 20 pairs of shoes and stacked the shoe shelves on the side wall.   This meant the ironing board that previously rested on the floor needed to move up and get mounted on the wall.  And while I was feeling the organizational itch, I decided to hang pegboard on the other side of our drawer opening and have a dedicated space for the assorted bags and backpacks I seem to own.


Meanwhile, downstairs in the kitchen, I had some other trouble spots that I was hankering to fix.

4.  Kitchen Cabinet #1

This cabinet housed a variety of random stuff:  wine, dish towels, wash/wipe rags, cookie cutters, and BBQ utensils.   The only thing that was working was hanging the utensils on the door.  Everything else was a kludge.   It still is a bit of a mess, but I discovered if I removed the cookie cutters and used a deeper bin to corral the wash cloths, it makes it easier to get at the towels which are still stuffed in the back on an upper shelf.

Here’s the after:


The dish towels sit on an upper shelf that is only half depth — I still would like to find a better solution for them, some kind of pullout, ideally.   The wire rack is something I already had, and I bought the clear bin (Itso, at Target) to corral my dishrags.  Underneath is space for wine bottles, as well as couple of flour sack towels that don’t fit well above.

The thing that got removed was the cookie cutters.  They were in a bin with a lid, crammed in sideways and were a pain to get at.   They got moved to….

5.  Kitchen Cabinet #2 — The Lazy Susan

This cabinet has also been a hodgepodge for quite a while.  The upper cabinet is devoted to snacks, and the lower contains whatever I happen to shove in it, which meant stuff would frequently fall of the sides and make a bigger mess.

With a little attention, this cabinet is in much better shape:


The lower shelf needed the most work.   I have our Easy Lunchboxes stacked near the front for quick access.


The cookie cutters moved into an open top bin on the bottom shelf of this cabinet (same Itso bin, from Target).


While not the most elegant solution, it works for us because it is easy for the kids to grab what they want, and easy for me to drop them in after washing.  We mostly use our cutters for sandwiches right now, and the most popular picks sit on top.

Another problem area tackled was the abundance of water bottles that never got put away because I didn’t have a good place for them.   For now, I just throw them in this cardboard box.  Not fancy, but it works.


Meanwhile, across the kitchen …

6.  Kitchen Cabinet #3 — The Tupperware Drawer

We recently bought an electric griddle, which, as it turns out, takes up a lot of space.   I made room in my tupperware cabinet, and as a result, I organized the tupperware and found plenty of items to purge.  My new mantra is, “if it doesn’t fit, I don’t need it!”


7. The Freezer

I was inspired when I saw this on Pinterest (hat tip to LL) and truly, the blog iHeartOrganizing is well named.

With the help of a few handy bins (the upper ones are from The Container Store), I now know where everything should go.


I must confess that I do have full-sized freezer in the basement, which is a total mess, but at least I know where to find what upstairs.

8.  The Dining Room

I dream of someday owning a beautiful dining room with a lovely hutch and buffet.  For now, my sideboard is a plastic table covered with a Christmas tablecloth(!).  For the better part of the year, it was also covered with an unsightly pile of school papers and who knows what else.   Until I get that buffet with drawers to store stuff,  I bought these two bins.


The one on the left holds placemants and cloth napkins.   The one on the right is where that hodge podge of school work is going to live until I have time to sort and deal with it.  Also, my daughter loves to make placecards when folks join us for dinner, so I found an old index card box to store her place cards.

9. The Mudroom – Part A

Our mudroom is a small space that has many different functions.  In addition to storing all those backpacks, jackets, and shoes, it also serves as the feeding area for our dog, home to our broom & dustbin, etc. etc.

I decided to hang another Magic Holder in this area as well as 3 tiered wall pocket.  When the kids come home from school, their homework folders and anything that needs my attention gets put here — it’s helping me stay on top of what’s going on.   I also gave the dog a new mat that compliments our green color scheme better.


10.  The Mudroom – Part B

The other part of the mudroom that needed help was the small closet we have.  The bottom was overflowing with brown bags I insisted on keeping, along with other random stuff that fell out every time you opened the doors.  I realized we had a big milk crate taking up space in another part of the mudroom in plain sight.  When I moved it to the bottom of the pantry cabinet, I was forced to purge a bunch of paper bags (how many does a body need?)   And now it’s much easier to pull a bag out when I need it.


So there it is, my top 10 house re-org projects.  I’m linking up to Oh Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday.


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4 Responses to 10 Ways I Organized my House

  1. 1
    RAnn says:

    Great job! I have dreams of a dining room set one day, but for now I have my mother’s former kitchen table. Once it had a tablecloth on it, but since it became the computer table, the tablecloth has been banished.

  2. 2
    Kay says:

    Oh wow, what great ideas!! I love what you did with the washer/dryer!! Also, the freezer is brilliant!!

  3. 3
    Mel says:

    Wow, wow wow!!! you are on a rampage! great improvements.

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