February 1, 2002
Make Way for Storage
Even the tiniest laundry area has room for a small shelf above the washer for detergents, stain removers, and softener sheets, says Ronnie Eisenberg, coauther of Organize Yourself! Or store supplies in an organizer that slides between the washer and dryer.
Install a Retractable Clothesline
Keep a bin full of hangers nearby so you can hang tops and slacks as soon as they come out of the washer or dryer. Molded-plastic shape-savers let you hang lightweight sweaters, instead of drying them flat.
Be a Matchmaker
Collect mateless socks and homeless buttons in a plastic basket or shoebox. Regularly sort through your findings for sock that match and the button that goes on your favorite blouse.
Establish a Giveaway Bin
Toss clothes that no longer fit anyone in your family in a recycle bin, rather than leaving them to clutter up your laundry room or take up precious space in drawers or closets, suggests Christy Best, founder of www.clutterbug.net. Pack up the items and give them to someone who can use them.
Your Child’s Closet
Make It Easy
Place a large open laundry basket in the closet for dirty laundry, rather than a hamper with a lid or a drawstring bag. “It needs to be easy to see and easy to aim at,” says Shannon McDonald, a professional organizer in Alexandria, Virginia.
Hang It Up
Install a tension rod at your child’s eye level. Install hooks or pegs on the side walls inside closets for belts, bathrobes and tote bags. Hang a shoebag or jewelry organizer on the back of the door for small toys.
Sort and Stack
Use plastic bins or copier-paper boxes to hold blocks, train sets, doll clothes. Label with a black marker or affix pictures to the outside to show what’s inside, or assign colors according to function, i.e., blue for building toys, yellow for puzzles, red for dolls.
Enlist Their Help
When your child gets a new art set or game, ask him to help you determine where the item should be stored. The next time he takes it out to play, he’ll be more likely to put it back where it belongs. Hooray!
Contain and Conceal
Use slide-out bins to organize bath and cleaning products under the sink. Attach a skirt with self-adhesive fasteners to create a storage area beneath a pedestal sink. Keep first aid supplies in a plastic toolbox so you can take it to the scene of a cut or scrape.
Hang up Appliances
Attach books or a cup holder to the vanity for blow dryers and curling irons, suggests Deniece Schofield, author of Confessions of an Organized Homemaker. You might also hang a vegetable basket from the ceiling or attach hooks or a strip of pegs to the back of the door.
Get a Grip on Doodads
Place combs and brushes in a basket on top of the toilet tank. Slip ponytail elastics on a rod-style paper towel holder; clip barretts on a strip of ribbon. Keep cosmetics in a bag or organize them in a desk caddie. Schofield suggests making a “bouquet” of makeup brushes in a small vase.
Use Cleanup Caddies
Still short on bathroom storage? Give each child a handled plastic basket for storing personal supplies such as brushes and combs, favorite shampoos and other odds and ends. Kids can keep their caddies in their bedrooms and carry them to the bathroom when they need to wash up.
Help for Pack Rats
Having trouble parting with old clothes, books, videos, pots and pans?
- Seal items in a box, date it, and store in the basement or garage. If you haven’t unsealed the box and used the contents in one year, it’s probably safe to say goodbye.
- Remind yourself that you can always find books in the library, videos at the rental store and magazine articles on the Internet.
- Instead of forcing yourself to part with all of your children’s baby clothes, hold onto one adorable outfit or pair of booties as a keepsake.
- Give clutter to friends, relatives or charity. Knowing that someone needs that old skillet more than you do makes it easier to let go.