chronic illness

Saving Spoons: Home Organization Tips!

PhotobucketSo glad to be presenting another post in our Saving Spoons series and to introduce you to our guest blogger, Ashley from A Young Wife’s Tale! She is a spoonie wife and an awesome blogger so be sure to swing by her blog and say hello!

Now onto the awesome tips she has to share with us!

Hello! I’m Ashley. I’m not perfectly organized, but organization is important to me. Being able to locate everything is vital in our house because my husband, David, has Psoriatic Arthritis. If you’re living with a chronic illness, I’m sure you understand. You never know when the insurance company or the doctor is going to need you to look up some old invoice or effective date. Plus, when you don’t feel well, you don’t have time to get on your hands and knees and search through closets for your gloves.

This is a picture of one of the drawer’s in our TV stand. It looks kind of messy, but it’s organized enough for our house. I know exactly what is in this drawer: my husband’s XBox 360 controllers and headset, his games, the remotes, my label maker and my piano music. That probably sounds like a lot of random stuff in one drawer, but the piano is close to the TV stand, and for some reason, my labeling always happens while I’m in the living room. This works for my house, but it probably wouldn’t be what anyone else chose to put in a single drawer in their home.

There is no perfect home organization solution. Your mother-in-law’s color coded system may be perfect for her needs, but completely wrong for you. Your closet may never look like the ones in The Container Store ads, and that is just fine. The goal isn’t to be perfect, because no one is. The goal to make life better for you and your family.

And, unfortunately, your perfect storage solution may not be so perfect if you move.

In March of 2010, my husband and I moved from a four bedroom house in Dallas, Texas to a two bedroom apartment in Southern New Jersey. I quickly discovered that the over the door shoe racks I’d been using to organize all of my husband’s computer cables wouldn’t work in our apartment, because the closets in our apartment have folding doors. We lost a lot of drawer space moving to the apartment, but I doubled my pantry space, so my silverware is currently stored in the pantry. My best advice for organizing your home: be flexible! Your system may need to change if you move, get a new pet or have children.

My main objective for home organization is to keep table and dresser tops and the floor as clutter free as possible. I want everything to have a place, and to get my husband to agree with me about keeping everything in it’s place. Labeling is one way I to keep David and I on the same page. I have a bin in our computer room labeled “Hardware” for his spare keyboards and mice, and another labeled “CDs & Batteries” so that when he’s looking for a blank CD he knows exactly where I put them. I even put labels on the shelves in the pantry. Should David, or any house guests, ever unload groceries, they can easily see where “Canned Goods” go.

Another one of my priorities in home organization is to organize inexpensively.

After my sister-in-law and my mother each had horrible incidents with pantry moths that forced them to throw out everything in their pantry, they completely reorganized their food storage. Now every food item is in an airtight container. Their pantries would make Monk proud. Inspired by them, and terrified of getting pantry moths myself, I decided I needed everything in airtight containers, too. I have several OXO POP Canisters that I love and label, but I didn’t have the money to go out and buy a lot more. Instead, I’ve started saving glass jars. A pickle jar now holds dried beans. A salsa jar now holds slivered almonds. Think of all the containers your household recycles or throws away. Can you use them to organize craft supplies? Do you purchase any products that come in buckets? Buckets stack! You could have a bucket for your yarn if you’re a knitter, or use buckets to store seasonal decorations. Think of the Lego organization possibilities.

One of my favorite organization techniques is utilizing vertical space. I love the pantry and cabinet shelf risers that allow you to have rows on top of rows of food or stacks of plates on top of stacks of bowls. They’re also great for under sinks.You can maximize your vertical space in many ways. If you need something pretty because it won’t be behind closed doors, you can find baskets with a flat side, like a bicycle basket, that will allow you to hang the baskets on the wall. I have a friend who is lining the inside of her pantry doors with bicycle baskets to hold seasoning mixes, coffee and tea.

If you need help getting started, there are many wonderful resources online. Check out 31 Days to a Less Messy Nest from The Nester. The Happy Housewife has has some great organization tips, too. You might also consider asking a friend what works for her. Does the lady who hosts book club have perfectly organized open shelving in her kitchen? Ask her how she does it. Know a mom who never loses a permission slip? She’d probably love to explain her system to you.

Thanks for reading. What’s your favorite home organization technique?

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3 comments on “Saving Spoons: Home Organization Tips!

  1. Bekah says:

    I save jars and stuff too, mostly for craft items. Not only are they free, but I can see what’s in them. When I see my stuff, I use it, so I buy less duplicates! Right now I’m searching for a good method to organize kids’ artwork, school reminders, permission slips, etc. All the flotsam that comes home from school.

  2. Friday Fragments « A Young Wife’s Tale says:

    […] Fragments Check out my guest post on home organization at New Kind of Normal! Friday Fragments is hosted by Half Past Kissin’ […]

  3. Darlene says:

    I’m always working on being more organized. It doesn’t come natural for me. Ashley has such great ideas! Thanks for sharing!


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