View Full Version : Organizing Ideas. Share them ALL!
05-22-2007, 03:33 PM
We are moving from 3500 square feet to 1200! So needless to say I need to learn how to organize my home. Please share all your best organizing tricks for all parts of the home.
The warm CA weather comes with a heavy price tag! Small home, big price, and more shopping for organizing tools!
05-22-2007, 07:03 PM
We just went through a similar move.... from just over 3,000 sq ft plus a full (unfinished) basement and a three car garage to 1900 sq feet, no basement, small garage. We had 10 years worth of 'stuff' that we had accumulated since we got married, and we have twin two year old daughters. Needless to say, we had to get rid of A LOT of stuff!
I would highly recommend getting rid of things you know you won't have room for before you move. Our move came up very suddenly and we didn't have time to sort through our belongings before we moved. It has taken a long time to get settled into our current home because we have so much stuff, no where to put it, and have to spend time sorting through so many boxes.
We have had good luck finding many organizational items and ideas at IKEA. We found shoe racks, closet organizers, and shelving that were inexpensive and very helpful. We have tried to maximize vertical space (storing seasonal items on high shelves, etc.). We gave away a lot of furniture, books, clothing, kitchen items, and 'stuff'.
In many ways it was/is difficult moving from a large home to a small home, but we have found that it is refreshing to have less 'stuff' and there is so much less to clean, which equals more time to spend as a family doing fun things outside, etc.
I know I'll think of more tips later, so I'll check back and let you know.
We live in sunny SoCal and are constantly trying to figure out new forms of storage in our 1200 sq ft, 90year old spanish bungalow that only has TWO proper closets in the whole house. So I feel your pain.
All I can say is that we try to only gets things that can serve multiple purposes ie ottoman/storage, beds w/ either trundles or drawers underneath.
After the birth of our two kids our garage no longer houses either of our cars (which now live in the car port) but is instead our storage room for things that we supposedly can't live without:) I agree with the PP, I live for container store and ikea catlogs so that i can reorganize storage or try to come up with new stuff.
i have to say a plus is, that though I have a tendency to be a pack rat, its not really an option with our limited space.Things that we're not going to use, are broken, or only have sentimental value don't last long at our house. They're either repaired, donated or stored in my mom's attic:)
As my dh puts it, since our house is constantly "regurgitating" stuff it makes you think two or three times before you buy things (which is good for our wallet) plus you realize you really don't NEED alot.
05-23-2007, 09:09 AM
I *highly* recommend you read 'It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff' by Peter Walsh. There are countless tips for realizing what you really need and how to part with what you don't. And lots of fabulous tips on how to store what you keep. The description on the back mentions having a house full of clutter --but it is really more about making choices on what you really need whether you have clutter or just more things than will fit in your new home. I originally checked it out from the library but have since bought a copy but I can't seem to get it back from my friends!!! LOL
ETA- Here is the description from Amazon
Peter has helped clients from every walk of life. With his trademark humor and insight, Peter guides you step-by-step through the very charged process of decluttering your home, organizing your possessions, and reclaiming your life. Going way beyond color-coded boxes and storage bin solutions, It's All Too Much shows you how to reexamine your priorities and let go of the things that are weighing you down. Clearly and simply, Peter gives you the courage you need to go through your home, room by room -- even possession by possession -- and honestly assess what adds to your quality of life and what's keeping you from living the life of your dreams.
Filled with real-life examples and advice for homes of all sizes and personalities, It's All Too Much will set you free from the emotional baggage that goes along with clutter and help you lead a fuller, richer life with less stuff.
05-23-2007, 11:42 AM
Definitely declutter ruthlessly. Moving is one of the few times you'll touch almost all of your stuff at least once or twice (depending on if you pack yourself). Use that to your advantage.
Go vertical with storage. We have the Ikea Expedit shelves (two units side by side) in our living room. The Branas baskets fit well in there, although we need a bunch more.
www.organizedhome.com is great for inspiration. MDC has a forum for decluttering/simplifying that is really inspiring.
Dishpans work great to hold toys on bookshelves (if you don't have the $$ for expensive PBK baskets initially). You can get them for $1-2 each. We also use them to hold stacks of sweaters, tee shirts, etc. on the shelves of adult closets. I keep DS's tees in one, his underwear and socks in one, his jammies folded in one, etc. on the shelf of his closet. It prevents piles of stuff from toppling.
Don't buy organizational gadgets/containers until you know *what exactly* you need to store, what type of dimensions are involved, etc. It sounds like common sense but sorting things into piles/categories and then figuring out what size/type of container would work best to contain it works better IMO than buying the container and then trying to figure out what to put in it.
eta: in a few places in our house, we have those plastic see through over the door shoe holders. They can be cut down to various sizes (so you can cut one down so only 4 pockets or so are left and hang it on the inside of a cabinet door or inside a bathroom vanity cabinet. I use them in my pantries for spices and random stuff. Some people use them to hold kid's toys (small stuff) or small items like kid underwear or socks on the inside of a closet door or the back of the regular room door.
I should also say I'm not organized at all now with two kids, but when we just had DS, these tips really helped LOL.
05-23-2007, 01:57 PM
A few tricks I have learned:
1) If you purchase a new item, especially clothing, books or toys, for example, put one old item in the donation pile at the same time, so you are not accumulating without getting rid of stuff.
2) Open your mail every day, and immediately recycle what you will never look at (catalogs that do not interest you, etc.), make a priority pile for bills, etc., and find a place for everything else that you go through at least once every two weeks.
3) When reorganizing closets, drawers, etc., leave at least 10-20% of the place empty to make room for other stuff. If you pack everything in just so it fits, it will drive you crazy trying to keep it that way, and soon everything will be falling out all over the place.
4) Don't marry a pack rat! (Just kidding, but I learned this the hard way!!)
05-23-2007, 04:55 PM
I saw him on Oprah a few months back, he was GREAT!
05-23-2007, 09:56 PM
Wow, Beth, we must read the same books and websites.
I was also going to advise to use vertical space to the ultimate advantage. Also, wait to buy any gadgets until you know EXACTLY what you need. This made so much sense when I read it. You sort and organize your stuff first and then know exactly what size/shape container you will need.
I would suggest doing a huge purge of your things and start immediately. IMO there is no need to keep anything that you don't absolutely love and need. When you pack and unpack it should be like a treasure hunt. This is from someone who moved from a 2 bedroom apartment to 2 bedrooms in a parents home for a few months. It was actually really cool once we moved back into an apartment again. Unpacking was so fun because I like everything and everything fit perfectly. Decluttering can be lots of fun.
Do you have a floorplan of the place that you are moving to? It sounds weird but this is one way you can really optimize your space. Underneath windows you will obviously not be able to go vertical but by planning wisely the use of your rooms you can squeeze a lot of useful, attractive storage space into a small area.
Organizing is fun. And congrats on moving to California! I live here (with soon to be two kids in much less than 1200 square feet) and love it for so many reasons.
05-24-2007, 08:08 AM
As a SoCal resident with a house that's only 1100 sq ft, I know what you are talking about!
I agree - go vertical. We have an older house with open beam ceilings (i.e. - no attic!) so we have had to be creative. We have a huge loft storage area in the garage, and high shelves in all the closets.
Buy things that fit the space and are multi-functional. We actually can fit one car in our 2 car garage, but we are about the only people on our street to do so.
05-26-2007, 12:40 AM
ITA with organizedhome.com I've gotten a lot of great advice from there. We live in SoCal and when we bought our home, we lost 2 bedrooms. DH is a packrat. 2 years of complaining/nagging, and I am just starting to get things they way I want it. Mentally it is much more peaceful to live without clutter, and as I'm home all the time I NEED things to be organized.
Be ruthless, if you don't LOVE it, and haven't used it in a year, GET RID OF IT. My parents are visiting and they're helping me clean out the garage, my Dad is having a fit over things that I'm either donating, or posting on freecycle/craigslist. He has a shed the size of my house, and doesn't get it that I can't keep things just in case I may want it in 5 years.
Once you move into the home, you can see how things will work and then get the organizational supplies. Also get used to not parking in your garage. I don't know a single person who does that.
05-26-2007, 09:48 AM
I totally agree about going through your belongings before you move!!
I am the polar opposite of a pack rat! But I went through every closet and
drawer before we moved from Texas to Rhode Island. And I still ended
up donating several boxes of stuff to Goodwill once we got up here.
I have a rule that if I haven't used it or worn it in 6 months, then it is gone.
I have a hard time convincing my husband to get rid of stuff! He likes to hang
out to everything. So, I do alot of my cleaning/sorting/getting rid of while he
is at work. Otherwise, he would be ticked off to see what is leaving.
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