10 Ways I Keep Organized

There are tons of tips out there on keeping organized….here are 10 that work for me!

1. Organizing your house doesn’t mean you have to devote entire days to it. I do a TON of multitasking….especially when watching movies or catching up on my reality TV. Every once in a while I’ll just pull out a drawer and put it on the coffee table or the bed and let Boo help me organized it……then I’ll put the drawer back once the movie is over. It doesn’t even feel like I did any work!

 

2. I could spend ALL day EVERY day just returning items to their RIGHT places…..especially since our home is spread out.  I keep a dedicated basket in a high traffic area to throw everything that needs to go back (clothes, toys, brushes, shoes etc). Once or twice a week I spend 30 minutes carrying the basket around returning everything to it’s place:

 

(more after the jump)

3. I try to clear out problem areas on a regular basis before they can get too out of hand.  The places that get the most cluttered for me are under the sinks and the pantry……plus any location where items expire like the medicine cabinet and the refrigerator:

 

 

Before installing shelving do your research! Maybe you need a wall of shelves and a wall of hooks….or maybe drawers….it will all depend on what you are going to store on them:

 

Sometimes I have a hard time getting rid of some items because I know Goodwill or a thrift store would just throw them out….and then I picture them in a landfill somewhere so I just end up keeping them. For example, old towels and blankets…..I can only use so many. I saw a sign one day at the veterinarian that said they were in need of old towels so now I have a place that actually “wants” my old towels!

 

Invest in acid-free archival boxes for your most treasures photos, letters and keepsakes! They stack really well and keep everything protected.

 

 

I use pretty trays to keep countertop clutter in one place! It makes dusting and cleaning easier too….all I have to do is lift and move the tray instead of moving a gazillion items.

 

Create easy labeling systems. Here’s how I keep our sheets in the right place:

 

I try to display as many of my most treasured keepsakes in plain sight as I can without adding clutter. Life is too short not to enjoy them! For example, I put all my grandmother’s jewelry in a shadow box and hung it next to my vanity:

 

 

Sometimes you just have to do what works for you, even if it doesn’t look pretty. I call it “survival.” I’ve tried bulletin boards, notes on my phone and detailed grocery lists…..but the only thing that keeps me on track for making dinner is handwriting a “meal plan” as soon as I get home from the grocery store (based on what I ended up buying) and taping it on the refrigerator. It’s front and center and keeps me from wasting food….and once the meals are eaten I toss it:

 

P.S. Have you noticed that my ENTIRE house is a light beige color? I need to do something about that.

 

 

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Comments

  1. 1

    For the archival website that you posted, do you recomend the 4×6 “photo kit” that they have? Is that what you have found works best for massive amounts of 4×6 photo storage? What else do you store in the archival boxes?

    • 2

      Hi Megan. I get the large ones so I can put trinkets, newspapers, baby clothing etc. in them. Photos I put in acid free envelopes (from the same site) and stack them in the larger boxes. Hope this helps!

      • 3

        Thanks Ashley! that does help. Out of curiousity, if you don’t mind, do you remember what size of boxes you have? They have a ton of options on their website, and it looks like yours are a great size.

  2. 5

    Oh I have one, I have one! Go to THE DOLLAR TREE or whatever store you have where everything is $1.00 and get baskets and organizing systems there! They are super cheap, usually the perfect size (almost regular size laundry baskets sometimes) and there are over 20 options of baskets and stackables.
    I just went and spent 20.00 bucks last week and am using the stackables for office supplies in my “open” office so that it at least is organized.
    It might not be the prettiest (there were prettier) but I want to be able to see in them so I am doing the “Martha wouldn’t approve” option there.
    I honestly feel like even unpretty organization is better than clutter sitting there (which is 90% of my house!)
    PS, what is Capuse salad??? HUH?

    • 6

      I think it’s Caprese salad. It’s fresh basil, tomato and mozzarella. Drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste. Yum!

  3. 7

    LOVE all of these! Thank you!!!

  4. 8

    Love your whole organizational series! Very inspired to get to work! Thanks for the great ideas and tips!

  5. 9

    love these tips ashley, especially the basket of random things to put back. I so need to do that in my house! and yeah, I love the consistency of color in your house, I think it’s pretty calm and soothing looking, but I know what you mean!

  6. 10

    I do all the above myself! Makes things much easier with four boys (er five including hubby!) and two dogs. My friends are always wondering how I do it…and I always tell them it is about keeping myself and them organized. Do they always use the “tools” I provide? No comment.

    LOVE the tip for the towels. I usually give some to hubby for his workshop, but there is only so many he needs! And I hate giving the ratty looking ones to goodwill, salvation army!!!

  7. 11
    Beverly Atkins says:

    Well, I was wondering as well what Capusi Salad is! Great ideas, espcially the put back basket. I’m going to use that one!

  8. 12

    (I’m pretty sure she means a Caprese salad…ha!)
    This is not available where I live now, but when I lived in MO, the city I lived in had textile recycling. Just a thought for those left over towels!

  9. 13
    Kristina Churchill says:

    Ashley,

    I paint a clipboard for each of our family members for all of their papers. (Kids notes from school, events we need to get to, lunch money dues, snacks we need to bring to their athletic events) and then just hang them on the wall with pretty ribbon in our mudroom. Works great and the kids like to decorate their own clipboards every year! I also have one for each day I hang up so we don’t forget what needs to be done!
    Love your series on getting organized. I have taken many of the ideas and have used them! Thank you again,

    Kristina

  10. 15
    Elizabeth says:

    I’m loving your organization posts! I have 4 year old triplets, two of whom have special needs. I am so busy with them I have ZERO time for anything else, so your tips are really helping me pull it all together. Thanks a million!

    P.S. I actually did notice your beige walls and liked it! I have a lot of color in my house and I’m over it!

  11. 16

    Great ideas! I love your tip about the basket! We have a lot of baskets in our house- but none that travel. My favorite are some that I got on clearance after Easter that my son uses to put away his toys: http://acraftyescape.blogspot.com/2010/04/tidy-storage-baskets.html They look good in his room and I’ll do anything to encourage my children to help me keep the house organized!

  12. 17

    Loved this.

  13. 18

    I have to say that since I’ve found you I’ve started about 3 projects and haven’t quite finished any…changing pads, bought $20 worth of table clothes; pantry, it looks so good but I can’t find any tin bins to hang, wrong time of year to find those; wallets, I have two cut out and just need to get them cut and put together. Had to tell myself “NO!” when I started figuring out a closet system.

    You are contagious. I need to stop looking at your ideas until I get these projects done.

    Thanks, however, I’d been praying for a fresh breath of air for my home. I love your links, they have expanded my horizons.

  14. 19

    I love the organization posts.

    I’m pretty sure you have the most organized house and closet that I’ve ever seen.

    I hadn’t thought about cleaning a drawer while watching TV… and the “put back” basket is a great idea. I hadn’t thought of that one. I like the jewelry shadowbox.. I have a few old charm bracelets and things that I don’t wear or see often, and hanging them on the wall is a great fix for that. Do you organize towels in baskets too? Any suggestions on where to find cheap wicker baskets? I’ve gone to craft stores and baskets like those sheet baskets seem to be pretty pricy… and plastic dollar store baskets just don’t do it for me.

    I would be really curious to see more ideas on how to store and organize momentos… childhood art or kid’s favorite old toys, family heirlooms, photos, scrapbooks, and things like that. That stuff always seems harder to organize than it should be.

    • 20

      Cheap wicker baskets – Goodwill/salvation army/thrift stores, etc. They always have plenty. HTH!

  15. 21

    Re daily menu: I have a white erasable board in my kitchen where I write ideas for the week’s menu, plus a list of produce I just bought so as to reduce waste (I don’t need to open the fridge to know what’s in there)

  16. 22

    Fantastic post, I now how some ideas to work on. (Just found your blog, love it.)

  17. 23

    common problems in boys room :P

  18. 24

    You’re so cool! I don’t believe I’ve read a single thing like this before. So nice to find somebody with genuine thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This web site is something that’s needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!

  19. 25

    I really like it when folks come together and share ideas. Great site, keep it up!

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