Friday, June 15

Ideas--Thrifty Ways to Keep Your Stuff in Place

Ideas—Thrifty Ways to Keep Your Stuff in Place

In our last message we discussed the importance of decluttering prior to purchasing containers and other tools for storage. A wise lady, Marla Cilley, says, “You can’t organize clutter!”—and she’s so right.

After you’ve pared down the items in a particular area of your home, perhaps your kitchen or bathroom, you might have some ideas for arranging the things you use quite frequently. For example, I use my skin care products twice a day, and my make-up once daily. The tools I use for styling my hair are only brought out every other day. It doesn’t make sense to clump it all together, since the routine isn’t the same in the AM and PM, or from day to day. Stuffing the whole mess under the sink only makes retrieval more confusing, especially in the morning when I’m usually in a hurry.

One solution is to “zone” the items for each job. My hair dryer, flat iron, big mirror and styling brush go in a free bag (PINK!) I got from a favorite store. That remains perched on top of the toilet tank. The skin care products go in a cloth tote bag, kept under the sink. Since the tote bag has a small diameter I had to eliminate some items which were not frequently used; now I find that I don’t really use them at all, so they’re gone. If you’ve ever lived in a dorm or gone to camp this is probably very familiar to you; it’s a classier version of using a bucket to carry your shampoo, soap and other supplies to/from the communal bathroom.

Make-up is kept in a shallow, rectangular zippered bag. The shape of the bag and its light interior makes it easy to locate some of the smaller tubes and brushes. Several items were deleted from this kit over time, since I didn’t use them at all. This involved a bit of remorse, since my sister-in-law gives me oodles of samples from high-end cosmetic companies. I use the expensive face creams and potions on my hands and try to give the cosmetics away before I even break the seals, since my skin is a little choosy. Vitamins, in a Sunday-Saturday pill container, are kept in this, too. This small kit is kept under the sink, as well.

In the mornings I pull out the tote bag and make-up kit and take things out as I need them. If it’s a “hair day” the toilet topper comes over to the counter as well. Although it takes me forever to get ready in the morning, it only takes me 30 SECONDS to put everything back where it belongs (I’ve timed myself recently)! A huge reason that this system works for me is that every item is in a familiar place, each time it’s used. If you’ve ever cooked in someone else’s kitchen, you’ll recall how much longer it took you to prepare a familiar dish. When the supplies are not where you expect them to be, it takes longer. Add up all those little seconds of searching for what you need and the job drags on and on.

Select one area where you perform a routine, daily task. The kitchen and bathrooms are good targets. Think about what you use on a regular basis and pare down the items. Then, locate a bag or container that you already have around the house and use it to store the items between uses. Limit this to just one area and see how it works—once you become used to the system does it save you time and frustration? Refine your system if needed and use what you learn to tackle another spot in your home or office.

If you’re not able to find a suitable container around the house then take a half gallon size orange juice jug or milk jug and cut a large opening in it (see photo for example). Keep the handle attached so it’s easy to carry. You’ll find that this works well for keeping short or tall items and will help you determine whether or not the size is adequate for your needs. I keep clippers and attachments in one of these cheap storage containers and have no plans of “upgrading” it, since it’s stored under the bathroom sink and hardly ever sees the light of day.

If you want a shorter container, cut off the top of the plastic jug so that you’re left with a 3” high bowl. These make great containers for hair clips & kids’ crayons.

Write and let me know what area of your home you decide to streamline for speeding up daily tasks.