As crafters we always seem to have piles of stuff lying around. Half-done projects, material or directions are strewn from here to there. Add to that the typical mess that kids make and you have a recipe for a cluttered home. Take back your home and stay organized with some of these easy craft ideas:
- Hooks, Hooks Everywhere – I never knew how grateful I could be for a hook until my kids joined the swim team. I had wet towels everywhere! While a towel rack can only hold one or two a series of hooks can hold half a dozen in the same space. Cool hooks can be sleek and modern, old-fashioned and strong, or fun and playful. You can buy the basic hooks at the hardware store or get creative and cut plastic animals in half to make faux taxidermy hooks. For a rustic space antlers make great hooks too. Also great for winter coats, keys, backpacks and all the things that end up on the floor by your front door. Hang it up to get it out-of-the-way and it won’t look so messy and disorganized. Plus wet things can get dried and don’t have to be washed every time.
- Use That Door – The back of doors is pretty much wasted in most of our homes. I mean, we never see them so why not use them. I love those plastic shoe organizers that hang over doors. They can hold all sorts of things. From medicine to cosmetics to stuffed animals and yes, even shoes, these handy racks make the best of that space and keep your cabinets from overflowing. Make sure the low spaces are kid-safe and you are good to go.
- No Empty Spaces – In the same train of thought, what other empty spaces are in your home? Deep window wells, long hallways and entryways are often devoid of use even while the rest of your house is packed. Use long furnishings to make the most of the hallways and add a hidden shoe rack or drawers to your entryway. Create a seating area in deep windows and have storage underneath. There are many great ways to creatively use empty spaces.
- Divide and Conquer – Much of the clutter in our homes comes from not being able to find things. We dig through drawers and shelves in an effort to uncover something and end up making a bigger and more disorganized mess than ever. Instead of piling things up and tossing them haphazardly into a drawer or basket why not divide them into sections? A cutlery tray is great to slide in shallow drawers and separate makeup, jewelry or small toys. Use clear cups to store medications and thermometers, baskets with pictures for kids to properly put away their toys, and sorting baskets for the laundry. You won’t believe how much time you save just by putting something away right in the first place.
- The Nesting Doll Effect – Do you have a shelf that is overflowing with bags, boxes or other items? Use the nesting doll effect to make the most of your space. Put the bags inside each other to take up less room. Sort boxes by size and fold down flat or store inside each other. Even plastic ware and pots and pans can be stored and take up much less room with this method.
- Proper Folding – Do you know how to fold sheets and towels? You may think you do but you could be wasting valuable space. By folding towels into thirds instead of in half you make them much neater and more compact. Likewise sheets can be folded around pillowcases so the set stays together in one compact package. When you put clothing in drawers use this method: instead of stacking them in piles put them in sideways. That way you can see what is there and they take up much less room.
- Up and Over – We waste a lot of space in closets. Instead of one high bar and a single shelf make your closet space work for you. Especially in kids rooms you can split the closet into a lower bar and many upper shelves. You can even make shoe racks from boxes or small shelving units. By keeping things off the floor and using a layering technique you end up having much more room and being able to see everything without digging around.
- Free and Easy – Throughout our homes we have things like toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, boxes of cereal and so on still in the package. They may be almost empty but they still take up as much space as they would if they were full. Cut the clutter and be able to see what you have in one easy step. When you bring home something in a package just take it out and put it away. You can save room and get to your things more easily. Cereal is great stored in narrow plastic containers, as is pasta. Use baskets to keep small items like small bags of chips or granola bars in easy reach and see how much you have left in one glance.
- Create a Lost Item Box – I am always finding one sock or a small toy or a tool lying around on the floor. Instead of going on a hunt to ask everyone whose it is I now toss it in the lost and found. After a while if no one has claimed it I am free to toss it out or give it away. This is also a great way to weed out toys your kids no longer play with and encourage them to keep their rooms clean. I have a ‘toy jail’. If I have to pick up a toy it goes in jail until the child asks for it back. Then they have to do a chore before they can get it. If they don’t want it back badly enough to do a chore then it is given away. They learn quickly to pick up their toys!
- Attach Everything – There are some things in the home that should just go together. A pen and the grocery list, the toilet paper roll holder and its stand, and so on. If two things need to be together then make sure they stay that way. A ribbon is a great way to attach two items together but still give them the ability to move.
- Appliance Cabinet – Does your kitchen always look cluttered? Why not create an appliance cabinet! Hide your coffee maker, toaster and so on behind the doors and your kitchen looks pristine. All it takes is a big enough shelf to hold them at the proper level and you have an easy way to tuck away unsightly clutter.
- Create a Donation Center – If your kids are anything like mine then they grow out of clothes fast. That is why I have created a donation center in my laundry room. I have three boxes. One is marked ‘donate’, one is marked ‘hand me down’, and the last is marked ‘sell’. For like new items and name brands I save them to sell at my local consignment shop. For clothes that will fit a younger child at some point, I hold on to it. For well-worn or clothes too small for anyone in my household to use I donate to the Goodwill.
- Store in Plain Sight – Another great way to get more storage is to pick furniture with storage built-in. In my living room I have a hope chest that I use as a coffee table. It is full of stuff, but no one who visits is the wiser. Likewise the stool in the kitchen and the bench in the bedroom have storage hidden inside. By picking dual purpose furniture you can keep your stuff from overwhelming your house.
As you can see there are many ways you can keep your home organized without much difficulty. I love taking old things and making them new again, like my hope chest coffee table, or using things for create purposes, like toys for hooks. See what creative ways you can come up with to keep your home clutter free!
Sara is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor of http://www.nannypro.com/. Learn more about her .