1. Magazine Binder:
This idea is stolen from my old roommie, and I definitely made fun of her a little bit when she started this…but after a few years, and feeling overwhelmed by the accumulation of magazines at my house, I came around to the light and had to start my own. When I read magazines, I will fold the corner of pages I like or wish I’d remember, then I use a straight edge to cut out that page and slip it into a sheet protector (you can buy a box of these at an office supply store) and stick that page in a binder. I even have dividers in the binder for different categories, e.g., holidays, recipes, craft ideas, home décor, kid stuff, etc. My Honey started a binder when I did, to save pages from his Handyman magazine – he has used his saved tips, painting techniques, router uses, and (workbench) project plans, already!
2. Gift wrap supplies Expandable-file:
I felt like a genius when I started doing this after we moved into our house. The expandable file is so useful – I could probably come up with 10 uses just for this one piece of “equipment.” I’m not sure what the correct term for it is, but hopefully you know what I’m talking about from the photo. Anyway, I started using it to hold my gift wrap supplies, everything but actual rolls of wrapping paper. I put the larges gift bags in the bag pockets, separating out bags for specific occasions (e.g. baby, wedding, birthday) in their own file pockets, and the smallest bags toward the front. Then, in the very front few pockets I put the tissue paper, also separated by solids or patterns. If you have more hanging space, an expanda-file with handles could be hung on a rod or a large hook.
3. Stickers (scrapbooking/card-making supplies) organized in Expandable-file:
My other favorite use for an expanda-file is for my scrapbook supplies! I use one for my stickers and one for my scrapbook paper. This way, I can separate out stickers for holidays, letters, cutesy, ones for baby, quotes, floral, etc., in the various file pockets. Of course, the paper can be separated according to season, size of the scrap, color palette, and then coordinating envelopes get their own pocket, too!
4. Baskets Everywhere (for kid stuff)!
I have a basket in every room that gets played in, so that toys can be quickly put out of sight – before company, before dinner, before my Honey gets home, or whenever I just need some toy-free time, ha! I especially like to use baskets with lids for spaces like the dining room (next to her kid picnic table, where we have frequent tea parties) or my bedroom so that the room can be clutter-free sometimes without too much trouble. I also like using a basket for books that we want to have out since Pen Elaine likes to go pick out a book for bedtime reading in Mommy & Daddy’s room. I like the basket rather than just the shelf because it just seems to make things look neater and make me feel more peaceful in my own room. The basket also has been nice for corralling bulky items that we need to grab for mother’s day out or church nursery bag.
5. Hanging basket in bathroom:
I’ve seen people use hanging baskets for all kinds of cute stuff, especially the typical hanging fruit/vegetables in the kitchen. It seems like a great tool for rooms that are short on counter space…like my bathroom. So, I hung it near my sink to hold everyday kinds of items such as my hair bands/ties, pretty bobby pins, and our nose-sucker-thing for stuffy babies…it gets to hang dry…not cute anymore?
6. Drawer divider out of cardboard:
So this one’s not actually cute, but it has been a life-changer! I went to a talk by Wyse Changes about organizing, and she recommended using drawer dividers to make your drawers work harder for you. Instead of buying them, she recommended just finding some cardboard to cut to size. I had to cut two pieces of cardboard from what I could find around the house (e.g., cereal boxes, tissue, notepads, diaper boxes) to fit the entire length/height of a cross-section of his dresser, overlapping a bit, but it worked great! So, I put one in my Honey’s sock/pj/undies drawer, to separate the sock pile from everything else, and it actually gave me more space to work with! I highly recommend for any drawer with socks – keep them in a “fence!”
7. Garden supplies organized in Coke case:
This turned out so cute and so perfect. We had found an old coke bottle case at an estate sale, thinking we might hang it on a wall as a sort of shadow or curio box, maybe for spools of thread (my sister’s idea), but then we were organizing the garage, and I got inspired. Since the box was waiting on a garage shelf next to piles of unorganized gardening supplies (among other junk), it was perfect to fit all the various gardening tools, including sunglasses, bug spray, spades, gloves, seeds, toddler shovel, in a small amount of space where everything could still be easily seen. Voila!
8. Shower caddy for toys:
This may be the lazy way to gather bath toys, but they can be easily switched out for shampoos and shower gear when adult company comes to stay and use the bathroom. After taking this pic, I found a “reusable produce bag” (dollar section of target), that is just a mesh bag with a drawstring, to stick all the foam letters inside to then hang from a shower caddy hook, so the caddy “shelves” aren’t quite so piled up and overrun.
9. Junk drawer divider:
This is not so diy because I bought a drawer divider at the store, but if I only had a “before” shot, you would see how worth it that 5 dollar investment was! Now, I actually know what makes up the contents of this kitchen junk drawer!
10. Glass jars & chalkboard paint:
Here’s how I organize my flours and sugars. I painted with chalkboard paint after outlining the shape I wanted with a sharpie so that I could label the contents.
11. File Organizer shelf for Pans!
This changed my life, and I’m sure it has increased the life of my pans. I always thought my shelf was too small for this trick because all the pans couldn’t slide in on their side, but it turns out you don’t need a tall shelf for this wonder!
12. My Honey’s Workbench in garage:
He did such a good job building this workbench out of pallet boards and some leftover plywood; I had to include this picture! I’m so proud of his master skills 🙂 The large surface on top has room for all the mini-drawers of screws, nuts, bolts, etc., while leaving plenty of space for working. The pegboard on the wall lets his screwdrivers, hammers, duct tape, etc. be easily found and used. I love the lower shelf that can house bulky items, like the shop vac, off the floor, leaving more space for wagons, strollers, and a tricycle. The space underneath the lower shelf also worked perfect for more wood storage.
13. Earring Organizer 🙂