Household Organization and Storage

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Household organization is something I grew into after our marriage. Ever since we had kids, I have been saying, “I’ve got to get organized.” Sometimes the empty rooms in the house still hear me say that. Some folks think I’m organized, and other folks know I’m not.

In the days we had six kids at home, I had a system for household organization. It worked for us. What you need to do is figure out the areas that leave you frustrated and then find a solution. If you have a lot of attic space or none at all, there is a way to stay organized.

No matter how good your memory is, there is so much you can retain. What you put away for later can be lost for months if you  don’t remember where you put it. I know this, because I had to buy another birthday gift for a neighbor when I couldn’t find the unique hat I purchased months before his birthday. Oh, I put it away. I thought I’d remember where I put it, but when the time came to wrap the gift, it wasn’t where I thought I put it.

The following spring, I went through a container and found that missing hat. This time, I put it someplace and labeled what was in that container. When his birthday rolled around that year, I knew where to find the gift.

Containers for storage

Purchase containers – clear ones are best – that fit in the areas you need to store things. If you have attic space, you can get deeper containers. If the only storage space you have is under your bed, then purchase containers (preferably with wheels) that slide under the beds.  Watch for yard sales and estate sales; I’ve purchased many of the right size and color containers that were second-hand.

If you’re into color-coordinated, I suggest you purchase red containers for Christmas memorabilia, green for spring or St. Patrick’s day, Purple for Easter, and Orange for fall.  If you store winter items, choose a color for winter gloves and mittens and another color for spring/summer items. This way you know which containers you need for different occasions.

You can use boxes with lids, but using a plastic container secures your items better. I did have a mouse or rat eat through the lid of one Rubbermaid tub I had in storage, but I know had it been cardboard, the mess would be even greater. I’ve used barrels and other containers with a tight lid also. Anything that guaranteed a tight seal was useable, in my book.

Labeling

When I was storing off-size jeans for our boys, it was a hassle to label each container [Toddler jeans; 5-6 jeans; 8-10 jeans] and then change the labels every six months.

I used a LETTER system. Each tub has a letter. One year the A-tub might container sweatshirts for boys size 2-4. The next year it might be girls dresses size 4-6. All I had to do was fill out a new master list. When I needed a larger size jeans for a kid who grew out of his, I consulted the Master List and asked Dave to get Tub D from the attic. He didn’t have to read labels on each tub to find the one with the next size jeans. All he had to find was Tub D.

Another method I used was to label Tubs with a NUMBER. Anything with 25 was Christmas. If I wanted the decorations for the kitchen, I found tub 25-K. Income Tax info (if you must keep a lot of papers) goes into Container 15.  Valentine decorations? #14. You figure out what works for you, and come up with your own system.

Why this method of household organization works

This system works because it is custom-made for you. You decide where you will store items, how you will store them, what size and shape containers you need, and how to label the containers. Make a Master List and keep it up-to-date.

Forget about trying to remember where you put something. As soon as you’re sure you’ll remember, you will forget. Then you’ll need to purchase a different item or gift like I had to do for our neighbor that year.

This system for household organization saves time and frustration. When you need a particular item, you know which container it is in and where that container is located. You’re not trying to read labels under a bed or in an attic. All you need to do is reach for the container marked with the label from your label system.

Keep it up to date, and keep doing the system. Keep writing things down. It will save you time, frustration, and money.

My Chagrin

I know this, because just this year I misplaced a Christmas gift.

I opened it up when it arrived in February to make sure it was right since it was a special order. Then I put it on top of the fireplace mantle in our guest room. Until, that is, guests were coming. I re-taped the box, labeled it, and squirreled it away for Christmas 2022.  Guess what I failed to do?! Yep, I failed to write down where I put it, and every place it could possibly be failed to turn up the missing gift.

In August, I realized I didn’t know where I put that gift! I spent all of August and three weeks in September trying to locate this gift. I found it on September 24. Had I written this down as I’ve instructed everyone else to do, I would have saved myself hours of looking.

In the meantime, every single closet and storage section in the house was sorted through and cleaned out. Thanks to the lost gift, my household organization list is complete and redone. And the baby born at the end of 2021 will get his Christmas gift this year, right on time because now I know where I’ve placed his gift!

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