Organization – My More Practical Way

In my recent blog post, How to Keep a Relatively Tidy Home, I talked about everything having a “place” and that sometimes you have to create that place. There’s several ways you can do this. And if you happen to follow The Home Edit or just stroll through The Container Store, you’ll realize how incredibly expensive it can get to have a beautifully organized home.

Believe me, if I could do what The Home Edit does to my own house, I would, but I’d rather not spend a ridiculous amount of money on clear plastic containers. And to be honest, I think all of the color coding and excessive labeling is a little unnecessary.

So, I’m here to let you know how I organize and declutter in a more practical way.

First of all, let me tell you the main places to find some inexpensive organization tools…

  • Target – I had to say it. Yes, I’m a typical millennial mom who loves Target. They have some really great looking totes, baskets, etc., but they can be a bit more pricey than other places. My tip – try to wait for the sales. Sometimes they will run a 10% or more sale. And if you don’t already… get a Target Red Card – 5% off everything always.
  • Walmart – Good ol’ Wally World! Obviously, they have great prices. And the quality of their items isn’t bad. I’ve actually found some pretty cute cubes there. It’s also a good place to find kitchen containers and such.
  • Menards – This is definitely not the place to buy the decorative stuff, because the few nice looking things they have seem over-priced. But it’s a great place to get things like hooks and shelves.
  • Dollar Tree – I love getting my drawer dividers and cheap plastic baskets here! Everything is $1, so if it breaks, who cares!
  • T.J.Maxx/Homegoods – This is one of those where you don’t know what you’re going to get, but I always like to pop in and check what they have. It’s hit and miss, but I have found some good stuff for a good price.
  • Amazon – Of course, there’s always Amazon where you can find everything! Just be careful, because it’s not always the best deal.
  • The Container Store – It’s usually over-priced, but I have gotten some coupons that help, and sometimes they just have things you can’t find anywhere else.

So, those are the places you can shop to find your equipment to get your home more organized and give each item a “place.” Now, my home is far from perfect and I am no organization expert, but here are some ways that I have organized my own space. And please remember, that this all came with time, and I am constantly adding or redoing.

1 – Cubbies

I love me some cubby shelves. They are so versatile. The shelf in my picture came from Target. It’s one of their less expensive options, but they have lots to choose from. I bought this for our old living room several years ago. I used to keep a couple storage cubes with random stuff in them and the rest of it was photo albums and decor.

Now, it’s in Lily’s room with toys in the cubes. The cubes came from Walmart, they were on clearance after back-to-school season. They’re actually fuzzy, which is perfect for Lily since she loves all things fuzzy! Walmart has lots of other styles of storage cubes at a good price!

2 – Drawer Dividers

Image result for dollar tree small baskets

Nothing is worse than a drawer with a bunch of stuff floating around that you have to dig through. The very obvious place to use a drawer divider is your silverware drawer. Start by getting a silverware tray like this one…

madesmart Classic Large Silverware Tray - White | CLASSIC COLLECTION | 6-Compartments |  Soft-grip Lining and Non-slip Feet |BPA-Free

They are pretty inexpensive almost everywhere. This one from Amazon is only $8.00. Then, if you have more room on the sides of your drawer… get some of these longer baskets to keep extra utensils in.

Image result for Long Slotted Multi-Purpose Plastic Baskets dollar tree

I put extra knives, serving utensils, and baby silverware in these. If you get them from Dollar Tree, they come in a pack of 3 for $1. They’re not the best quality, but they work perfectly for just sitting in a drawer.

I also use these same baskets, plus the rectangular ones they sell in places like bathroom drawers, nursery drawers, and junk drawers. The long ones work great for tooth brushes and pens!

I have also found some better quality drawer organizers at T.J. Maxx and Walmart.

3 – Decorative Containers

Aseana Small Tapered Bin Natural 4.75"x8" Khaki - Threshold™ - image 1 of 1

Sometimes, there just isn’t enough room in your drawers and cabinets for all of your stuff. You can create places for your things in ways that fit in with your home decor. You might have to pay a bit more for pretty baskets, but you can usually find some good deals at places like Target, Walmart, and T.J.Maxx/Homegoods.

In my living room, I have some built-in shelves with a couple of tin buckets, a wooden box, a wicker basket, and some pottery pieces. Nobody would even know that I keep extension cords in one of the buckets, charging cords in another bucket, loose change in the pottery pieces, and various junk in the basket and box.

You can do this anywhere in your house and it doesn’t have to be just nice looking baskets. There’s a ton of ways to organize in a decorative way… you can always use some good ol’ Pinterest inspiration!

4 – Toy Storage

Speaking of decorative storage… you definitely do not have to get super cutesy kid-like toy boxes for places like your living room. I purchased this storage ottoman from Amazon when Lily’s toys started to venture further than her bedroom. It’s a great way to hide her toys!

We also have various nice looking totes/baskets for her toys that can be easily carried from room to room. It keeps her toys contained and makes it easier for cleanup. There’s lots of great ways to hide toys in a way that doesn’t scream, “We have kids!” when people come to visit.

5 – Hooks

Franklin Brass FBKEYT7-BSE-R Key Rail with 7 Hooks, 14" Rack, Black & Satin Nickel

Hooks are a super easy way to minimize clutter without breaking the budget. You can put hooks almost everywhere, and a single hook in a tight space can go a long way.

A key rail like this one by the door is a perfect place to keep keys so they can never get lost. We also have a rail of hooks in our garage for dog leashes and jackets. We have hooks on the backs of doors and in closets for hanging towels, bags, jackets, robes, etc. We even put a couple hooks in the laundry room for hanging clothes that can’t go in the dryer.

Then there’s hooks for various equipment. We have a garden tool holder like this one…

Berry Ave Broom Holder and Garden Tool Organizer Rake or Mop Handles Up to 1.25-Inches, Small, Black

It’s perfect for holding all of the outdoor tools in our garage. Then, we have hooks like these…

Everbilt 8-3/4 in Zinc-Plated Steel Wall Mount Utility Brackets (2-Pack) 20lbs

These are also great for the garage to hold hoses, strollers, and other yard equipment. Along with these, we use simple nails and screws to hold lighter items up off the ground. All of these, plus some shelves has kept our garage organized and clutter-free.

6 – Shelves

Plano® 34-1/4" W x 56-1/4" H x 14-1/4" D 4-Shelf Plastic Shelving Unit

Shelving is great for storage… everyone knows that. The obvious place for storage shelves like the ones above is a storage room or garage. These particular ones are great if you don’t want to spend too much, plus they simply snap together. Menards is always a good place for inexpensive storage solutions.

Along with a whole shelving unit, you can also get a simple shelf board like this…

Dakota™ 3/4" x 11-3/4" W x 4' L Ponderosa Prefinished Square Edge Shelf

Which come in all different sizes and colors at Menards. Then, pick some brackets like these…

John Sterling™ 8" Black Scroll Decorative Shelf Bracket

These shelves are great because they’re cheap, easy to install, customizable, and look pretty good! We’ve used them in the office, bedroom, and laundry room. Add a basket or something to store smaller items in. It’s such an easy way to get things up and decluttered.

7 – Plastic Drawers

Plastic drawers like these are great for all sorts of things and they can go anywhere. They don’t look the best, so I usually try to hide them within closets/cabinets, but it’s a fairly inexpensive way to organize things in a convenient way.

We use a smaller one to organize medicines and such. Then, I used a smaller one to keep all of my nursing/other baby equipment in when Lily was a newborn. I even have a really small one for some of my cosmetics.

We have some larger plastic drawers in our closet for seasonal clothing. We also have a couple medium sized ones for tools, etc. in our garage and storage room.


Some Other Organizing Tips…

  • Reuse the bags that sheets, blankets, etc. come in to store your bedding and keep everything fresh.
  • Then use bins/baskets (I use these from Target) to separate and organize items in your linen closet/cabinets.
  • Use wall mounted baskets like these from Target in smaller spaces like bathrooms, pantries, and laundry rooms to store small items that you don’t have room for.
  • Get an awesome spice rack like this one.. we love ours!
  • Fold clothing/other items smaller or roll them then put them in your drawers/shelves in a way that you can better see them all. (This is something I learned from Marie Kondo, although I don’t fold things exactly like her.)
  • Hangers can be used for more than just clothes… use them to hang up bags, scarves, belts, ties, etc. in your closets.
  • Use fishing tackle boxes like these to store smaller items. We use one for all the miscellaneous cords we have.

Once again, I’m definitely not the queen of organization and my house is nowhere near most of the super tidy homes you see on Pinterest and such. But, I like to keep everything relatively tidy and I hope this more practical approach can assist you in making your home slightly more organized without going crazy and buying every expensive container and color coding everything.


If you liked this blog post, press like below! And if you want to share it with others, click the social media links below. And I would love to hear back from you… feel free to leave a comment! 

Like any of the products I mentioned? Please purchase them via the links provided.

Want to be the first to know when I post a new blog post? Subscribe by entering your email at the bottom of the Home Page.

Your support is very appreciated!

How to Keep a Relatively Tidy Home

Now, I am definitely no Marie Kondo, and I’m not even close to the same level as The Home Edit. But, I do take inspiration from them, and I would consider myself to be a fairly tidy person. I believe everything has it’s place, I hate clutter, and I love organization.

Unfortunately, I can’t afford to buy plastic containers for every single ingredient, snack, hair product, and art supply. Believe me, if I could, I would. And if that’s the level of organization your looking for, this isn’t the blog post for you.

No, I consider my home to just be “relatively tidy.” (Remember… I’m the In-the-Middle Mom!) As in, there’s very little clutter, cupboards/drawers are fairly organized, and the house is usually pretty clean. So, if you need a little guidance on how to keep your home at my level of tidy… then please do read!

1 – Everything Needs a Place

This one probably seems pretty obvious, but I believe it is the single most important step to keeping your house tidy. If something doesn’t have a place… it becomes clutter. And you might think all of the items in your home do have a place. But, make sure you think about how specific that place is.

Saying a spatula goes in the kitchen doesn’t really work. Okay, so the spatula goes in a drawer. Which specific drawer? And is it with all of the other spatulas/utensils? Having a very specific place for each item in your home not only helps you find it every time, but keeps it from becoming clutter on the counters, floors, beds, etc.

**NOTE: Being organized and specific about where things go is important, but there’s also nothing wrong with a “junk drawer.” I have a few different junk spots throughout my house. It’s for those miscellaneous items that you need relatively often. Just make sure you keep the “junk” in the same “junk spot” each time you put them away.

2 – Creating More Specific Places for Items

Sometimes the spaces within your home aren’t really meant for storing your items well. This is when you do have to invest in some products to help you better organize and keep things uncluttered. I’ll write a more detailed blog about ways to organize without breaking the budget in the future.

Just for an idea… try to use totes, baskets, shelves, drawer dividers, hooks, cubes, and other containers around your home to create those places for your items. And there’s no need to spend hundreds at The Container Store. Most of my organization products come from Target, Wal-mart, and dollar stores.

3 – Have a Schedule

Nobody likes cleaning or doing house work, but you have to do it to maintain a tidy home. The best thing to do is create a schedule for everyday, every week, every month, every year. I’ll admit that this isn’t my strong point either. But I do try to stick to the same day-to-day chores and a weekly schedule.

I’ll work on another blog post with my particular cleaning schedule. However, everyones schedule is going to be different, so you have to cater it around your own life. As a stay-at-home-mom, I have the luxury of getting things done throughout the day. You may have to plan things for your mornings or nights or weekends. The key is to stick to it so you don’t get behind.

4 – Clean Up as You Go

I know, I know… this one is no fun. But, this is the key to keeping my house tidy. My goal is to leave a room the way I would want to reenter it. Nobody wants to walk into their bedroom and see an unmade bed and clothes on the floor. And I really hate seeing dirty dishes as I walk into the kitchen.

So, I try (and sometimes fail) to clean up immediately. It may not be perfect… I rarely actually make our bed with the sham pillows and all. Sometimes the dishwasher is full and I have to leave dishes in the sink (because I hate hand washing). And there’s times when I’m in a hurry and can’t get the laundry folded.

However, I do my best to clean up everything right after we eat. I flip up the covers right away in the morning. I put all of my makeup/hair products back in the cabinet when I’m done. And I set a good example by having Lily pick up her toys before her bath at night.

5 – Divide and Conquer

Since I’m home during the day, it’s easy for me to take care of most of the housework. But, there are a couple of “chores” I’ve assigned to my husband. And if you live in a household where everyone is busy, it’s definitely necessary to split responsibilities.

So, it may not be easy, and it may cause an argument, but it’s so important to discuss who does what when it comes to taking care of your home. Once you have a plan set in place, it should make it all much easier for the whole family. And don’t be afraid to make to-do lists or chore charts. Involve everyone that is capable of helping.

6 – Involve your Kids at a Young Age

Since the day Lily was born, she’s been by my side as I do housework. And as she’s gotten older, I’ve tried to involve her as much as possible. I don’t remember the last time I’ve folded laundry without her. And I actually wait until she can help me unload the dishwasher because she loves to do it so much!

And ever since she’s been old enough, I’ve had her help me pick up her toys. We have several baskets, boxes, and bins for toys. I’m never picky about where certain toys actually go, just as long as she puts them into a container. The other day (at 17 months old) she surprised me and actually put her blocks away without me telling her. <Insert “mind blown” emoji here.>

It does take some patience, because believe me, laundry will get unfolded and dishes will be taken out one spoon at a time and distractions will happen as toys are picked up. But, I love that I’m teaching her the importance of being tidy, and I hope that it will stick with her.


I personally believe that if you try these 6 tips, you’ll have a less cluttered, more tidy home. Not to mention, you’ll set the bar for your family. I grew up in a tidy home and now I have a tidy home because my mom taught me the importance of it. I’ve already noticed how my husband has been influenced by my habits, and I definitely see how my daughter is beginning to follow in my footsteps.

And if any of these tips feel like a reach for you, just keep trying and eventually, hopefully, they’ll become habits for you too. I remember the days when my laundry sat for a week without getting folded and my dishes sat in the sink for 3 days. Trust me, you can change your ways and it’ll become second nature to you.


If you liked this blog post, press like below! And if you want to share it with others, click the social media links below. And I would love to hear back from you… feel free to leave a comment! 

Like any of the products I mentioned? Please purchase them via the links provided.

Want to be the first to know when I post a new blog post? Subscribe by entering your email at the bottom of the Home Page.

Your support is very appreciated!

Tiny Nursery Problems – Solved!

Before we move to our bigger home, I thought I’d write a blog about how I survived the first 15 months with a very small room for Lily’s nursery. When I was first pregnant, I thought there was no way we would be able to fit everything a baby needs into this tiny 8 ft x 9 ft room.

Arranging the Furniture

But, luckily, a baby doesn’t really need floor space in their room. We were able to shove the furniture into the corners to make enough room for everything. And we didn’t even have to sacrifice the good quality furniture.

We found Lily’s crib and dresser at Nebraska Furniture Mart. It’s the Evolur Santa Fe set, and I love it! It looks really nice, it’s super well-made, and the drawers are nice and smooth (which is always important to me). It can also convert to a toddler bed or full-size bed if you buy the converters.

Once, we had the dresser and crib picked out, we had a hard time deciding if we could fit a rocking chair or not. We did the measurements for the maximum dimensions the chair could be and that’s exactly what we ended up with.

We received the chair as a gift and it fit so perfectly. It came with a footrest and we just put that in the corner by the crib when it’s not being used. It’s not one of those big comfy gliders, but it got the job done when I was nursing. And we still use it to read to Lily before bed!

So, if you’re thinking about skipping a rocking chair in the nursery… I wouldn’t! Try to find room for it and make sure you take good measurements.

Dresser Organization

I absolutely love our Evolur dresser! You’ll notice that we didn’t bother with one of those expensive changing toppers. We simply bought a changing pad that had the straps that you just screw into the back of the dresser to prevent it from falling off.

Then, I put this basket off to the side with diapers, wipes, lotion, hand sanitizer, Aquaphor, and yes, air fresheners! One bad thing about a small nursery… the stink tends to linger. I have a couple of the Bath & Body Works Concentrated Room Sprays ready for those times when even taking the trash out doesn’t work. A tiny little spritz does the trick!

 Linen & Lavender Concentrated Room Spray - Bath And Body Works

One thing I love about Lily’s dresser is the different sizes of drawers. I love having a few smaller drawers to help with organization. Here’s how I currently have each drawer organized. But, I have changed it a few times as she’s grown since her clothes have gotten bigger.

First Aid Drawer

I bought the little organizers from Dollar Tree! We use them in the kitchen and bathroom as well. They’re $1 for a pack of 3. (And no, gripe water did not work for us.)

Diapers

In the center top drawer I just keep extra diapers that are ready to go. I used to be able to fit a lot more in here when she was smaller.

Socks & Swim Suits

I keep her socks in the other small drawer, with her swimsuits and swim diapers behind them.

Clothes

Like I said, this has changed a few times as her clothes have grown, but right now I keep all of her pants, shorts, and skirts on one side. Then, her onesies and some pajamas that are too big are behind that.

Towels, Changing Pads, Pajamas

This is usually more full… it’s laundry day.

Sheets and Muslin Blankets

Definitely the messiest drawer since Lily enjoys pulling everything out of here on a daily basis. But, this is her extra crib sheets and her muslin blankets.

Blankets

And then, we have one whole drawer stuffed with blankets. And there’s more in her closet. Oh, and she usually has 2 of them in her crib. Blankets are definitely the hardest thing to store in a small nursery.

The Closet

Lily’s closet is stacked to the brim, but I’m just grateful she has a decent sized closet at all.

On the top shelves are things she no longer uses, for example the Boppy is no longer needed. In the gray basket is all of the breastfeeding paraphernalia. In the pink crates are just random things, mostly things from her newborn days that I’ve just kept.

I have Shout at the ready for emergency stains since our laundry room is downstairs, and sometimes it’s just not convenient to run a poop-stained onesie all the way down the stairs.

Along side that is trash bags… which I actually started to use grocery sacks for since we take her trash out every time there’s a dirty diaper. Feel free to judge me for not getting a Diaper Genie but guess how much a plastic target sack costs?? BOOM!

And then, I have to just stuff the extra diapers wherever I have room. We buy the boxes of diapers at Costco as much as we can to keep them in stock.

I had Alex install another shelf at the bottom of her closet since her clothes won’t go down to the floor. On that shelf is extra wipes, which again we buy the big boxes at Costco.

In the blue basket is where I put clothes that she’s outgrown. And then I cheat… when the basket is full, I take it to my Mom’s and store them in Ziploc Space Bags in my childhood closet.

And in the white basket, (which came in a set with the other white basket on the dresser from Hobby Lobby for like $8) I keep more blankets.

Finally, there’s her laundry basket which is very convenient especially when I had to wash her laundry separately.

I also had Alex install a few hooks on the side of her closet to hang her bags and her coats.

And if you care about how I organize her hung clothes, it goes outwear, tanks/rompers, t-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, dresses, then clothes she’ll grow into in size order. And here’s a tip… keep the tags on the clothes they haven’t worn yet, because most places (like Carter’s) will take items back without a receipt.

Extra Storage

I added a few more items to her nursery to give me some extra storage for the smaller things.

On the closet door, I put an old shoe organizer I had, kind of like this one from Amazon. In here, I store her headbands and bows, hats, gloves, shoes, and other miscellaneous small items. I also shove the receipts from clothing purchases in one of the pockets just in case we don’t end up wearing them.

We hung these cute little baskets from Target above her dresser. It has changed a few times since she was born, but right now we have burp cloths in one (which we rarely use now), wash cloths and Boogie Wipes in the middle, and bandana bibs (which I bought way too many of since the drool stage only lasts a few months) in the last one.

Also, the adorable sign was made by one of the artists at The Makery for only like $20!

And lastly, the all-popular outward facing book shelves. I was so in love this this idea when I kept seeing it all over Pinterest. It is super cute and nice to have her books right in her room for bedtime.

However, we went the cheapest route and found the best deal on Amazon. I don’t recommend doing this. They were an absolute pain to install. You can see where we messed up on the middle shelf. And don’t get me started on the bottom shelf. I hid how awful it is in this picture. Lily kept pulling on this shelf and the whole thing, mollies and all, came down. We have temporarily fixed it, but I really just recommend getting better quality shelves.

And there you have it! A somewhat organized small nursery. For what I had to work with, I’d say I succeeded… but I really can’t wait for bigger bedrooms in a month!


If you liked this blog post, press like below! And if you want to share it with others, click the social media links below. And I would love to hear back from you… feel free to leave a comment!

Like any of the products I mentioned? Please purchase them via the links provided.

Want to be the first to know when I post a new blog post? Subscribe by entering your email at the bottom of the Home Page.

Your support is very appreciated!