Monday Author: Susanne Skinner
Two years ago, I wrote a post about Life Hacks and actually tried a few to see if they were worth the effort. I am all about a shortcut for getting organized, but it has to make sense to begin with.
Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts
Hacks, you will recall, are tips, tricks and shortcuts for getting organized that increase our productivity and efficiency and who doesn’t want more of that? I remain intrigued by these suggestions and the people that develop them.
We recently moved from an old New England farmhouse to a smaller open-plan home. In spite of the downsizing and planning that went into this move, I am looking for new ways to organize and maximize my smaller space.
I have less stuff, but I also have less square footage. Getting organized (and staying that way) is a priority. I didn’t want to spend a fortune on containers and, by default, acquire more stuff. So, I sat down for a little organizational hack research.
Kitchen and Bath Organization
Command products are my new best friend for getting organized. These are hooks and strips with removable adhesive that don’t harm the surface they are applied to. A trip to the dollar store provided a selection of small baskets to attach to the inside of cabinet doors and the hooks on their own serve as a place to hang potholders, measuring cups, dish towels and even pictures.
In the bathroom cabinets, these baskets became storage for bottles, brushes and tubes and in the bath and shower I used them to hang a variety of items. When you add a package of large binder clips you expand your options even more. A quick Google search offers many ways to use these wonderful inventions in your kitchen and laundry room—ideas I never would have thought of!
Two of the best features of our new home are the closets and pantries. Both offer a lot of storage, but I wanted to use it wisely. I did not ditch all my winter clothing; some had to be saved for trips back to the Northeast. I kept two pairs of boots that sagged into themselves on the closet floor until I read this ingenious solution. No purchase necessary—just a few sturdy hangers.
Which brings me to plastic shower curtain hooks. These open plastic rings fit around anything and I used them for tank tops, belts and scarves. I also purchased over-the-door storage pockets that were a great assist for sandals in one closet. By using one with larger pockets, I got an out-of-the-way solution for sweaters that will not be worn unless I am traveling.
Not every hack works, but for the most part these tips and tricks make a lot of sense for getting organized, especially when there is minimal cost investment. They require time to implement and what better time than when you are moving in? Drawers and closets are empty; with the added benefit of reviewing each item for usefulness before storing it.
I did a very good job of this on the outbound move; but found there is still more work to be done as we move in. I was warned by those who moved before me. You will not need everything you packed, they said. You won’t use half the stuff you take, they prophesied. A lot of what worked in New England will not work in Florida they advised knowingly. And, lo, their words were true.
A lesson learned the hard way. The good news is that each item will once again be evaluated for usefulness and set aside to be donated before it is brought into the house or put away. We are staging everything in the garage, unpacking and storing one box at a time. If an item falls into the “What did we bring this for?” category, it gets consigned to a location designated for donation.
Some spending is necessary for getting organized, but I found the items I did purchase were inexpensive and worth the results.
The Finds for Getting Organized
The Dollar Store is your friend for getting organized. So are flea markets, resale and thrift stores. I enjoy the hunt in these places and love the idea of reusing and repurposing. Many of these hacks are created from existing items or things you would throw away.
There is no end to the creativity you can find on sites like Pinterest, Llifehack, and DIY & Crafts. I spent a Sunday afternoon with a notepad and my laptop and had a list of solutions that took minimal effort to implement.
One expensive item I purchased (birthday present to myself) was a jewelry armoire. They come in many different styles and price ranges and I selected one that closely matched our bedroom furniture. Since I have a lot of jewelry and also make it, this was the perfect solution.
The other somewhat pricey item was a wire baker’s rack. I wanted a sturdy one with symmetrical shelves from top to bottom for my cookbooks. I had previously stored them in an antique bookcase, but the new house needed something open and light. Since I have a white kitchen this was a good functional compromise.
Hack It Up
Nowhere is the opportunity to incorporate hacks more prevalent than your home. There is a hack for just about anything, whether you’re busy, lazy, creative, or just plain curious.
The caution is to avoid something that will make more work, since life hacking has become its own buzzword and industry. There will always be those who waste more money and time than they save.
I’m not interested in a drawer full of toilet-roll organizers or bread tag labels hanging off my power cords. I am committed to being organized—not perfect—in my newly downsized life… and sometimes changing the way I do things.