Duh! Why didn't I think of this sooner!?

des_arc_ya_yaMay 19, 2010

Our backdoor and deck are right off our bedroom. For months this winter I kept a large sack of birdseed right by the backdoor. It looked really attractive setting there, but it WAS handy! LOL Plus, I'd occasionally drop birdseed in the carpet and then have to clean it up.

Finally went the other day and found exactly the right sized plastic container with locking lid and set it on the back deck with the metal dipper inside it. It's heavy enough that nothing knocks it over and even if it falls, the lid stays locked. (I tried it out!LOL)

What simple thing have you finally discovered or done that has made life easier and more organized for you? Whatever you name just might be the thing that someone else needs to help them.

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I know exactly what you mean. Off the top of my head, I can't think of anything specific, but I have figured out that storage near the site of the task is very important. And as men are fond of saying, the right tool is everything.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 4:05PM
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I've discovered containers. If you group related items in one spot, they magically stay together and aren't all spread out when you need them. I have containers for all the different baggie sizes, one for the sack snacks, one for all of those bag type pasta mixes that don't stack, and several for the various medicine cabinet type stuff like medicines and toothpaste .

Also, I still love the over the door shoe organizer for storing kids supplies like pencils, crayons, and scissors.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 1:28PM
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I have another locking-lid container discovery.

The cat litter box is in the basement. I would clean the box & put the litter in a store bag, secure it & then in a garbage can. Brought upstairs & took out once a week with garbage collection. The litter bags created a lot of volume and got smelly just like a diaper pail.

I got a snap-lid container & lined it with a store bag. Every day I empty the litter into the same bag and the snap-lid keeps the odors inside.

Less store bags.

No smell (except the waft when I open the lid & it's fairly tame as long as I time my breathing with opening).

One bag (full, mind you) of litter waste to the curb each week instead of a whole bunch of bags crunched up with litter mingled in there.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 3:47PM
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Gayle, that's a great idea. What sized container do you use?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 7:35PM
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I use a bobbin box for earrings. This box is about the size of two decks of cards placed side by side. The individual compartments are just right for a single average-size earrings and one compartment can hold a pair of tiny studs. I keep it open on its inverted lid in my bathroom drawer, handy to where I get dressed. I can keep a few necklaces in the inverted lid. It's so much more compact than a jewelry box.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 2:09AM
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For our paperwork, we use three-ring binders. I have one for home improvements with all contracts, work invoices business cards and numbers, and receipts for trees, perennials, and such in the yard, one each for our medical info with test reports, etc., one for utilities that I purge regularly to keep only the last year's bills in it, and financial stuff in another (we each have our own of these, too). It makes it so much easier to keep things organized for us. No more drowning in loose papers and piles.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 6:30PM
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adellabedella wrote: "Also, I still love the over the door shoe organizer for storing kids supplies like pencils, crayons, and scissors."

I cut one up, and staple-gunned it to the side of the wooden bookcase inside my DD's oversize-closet-cum-dressing-room to hold stuff like the lint roller, Static Guard, hair brush, etc.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 7:51PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I keep 25 lbs. of birdseed in a heavy duty plastic container outside until something started gnawing on it each night.
Eventually it made a hole big enough for a mouse to get in so now the sunflower seeds are in a metal garbage can. Still looks retro decent though.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 8:43PM
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Oh, me, Bumblebeez, hope my can lasts for a while! LOL

I use a three-ring binder for all of our warranties and instruction manuals on appliances, lawnmowers, etc. My granddaughters helped me put it together and they LOVE to try and get me more organized! LOL

It IS nice to pull that one binder off the shelf and find what you need.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 10:02PM
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Bumblebeez, Same problem here! I got a gallon jug of apple cider specifically to use for birdseed when I was finished with the cider. It's the old fashion glass jug with the finger loop a the top. Now I keep bird seed in that; so far the squirrels can't get in it.

Similar to Cross Stitch's bobbin box, I use a screws and nuts box for my daily supplements. That way I don't have to open all the bottles. I used the P-Touch to put labels on the lid. It's easy to throw in the suitcase for trips too.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 9:26PM
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We used to store our birdseed in a big tote on the patio. One day we came home and there was a squirrel party in our backyard. There were about 15 squirrels having a big time. They were taking turns chewing on the tote, but unlucky for them, they started on the edge where they would have to chew through two layers. Otherwise, they would have already made it inside by the time we got home. You should have seen them scattering in all directions when we walked out the door.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 9:27PM
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LOL Right after Bumblebeezs posted that my DH went outside, came back in and said, "Did you know that your squirrels have attacked the seed container!?" They had started at the top (thank goodness it wasn't full) and had chewed part of the side of the lid off! LOL

The plastic container is now setting BACK in our bedroom floor by the backdoor! LOL

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 1:00PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

That's so funny! They are determined!

I had to move our feeder recently because the shrubs underneath the pole had gotten too large and even when I greatly cut them back (Otto Luykens), they had a stubby end that the squirrels used as a launching pad to bypass the pole baffle and fly directly into the gazebo type feeder.

So now, we are back to where we used to be, pole, baffle and feeder and no shrubs underneath.

It is driving them crazy!! They had a month or so before I moved the pole to enjoy sitting in the feeder (took all day to expand the flower bed, move pole, etc, not a small job), and yes, I fed them, but now they can only constantly look up at it. They are rattling that baffle all the time!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 2:57PM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

Use plastic ice trays to store earrings. Use a baggie to store evelopes of mixes. And use a baggie to store twist ties and one to store rubber bands. Also use plastic containers under the sink to store items. Use plastic containers (shoe boxes) in bathrooms to store items: one for vitamins and minerals; one for over-the-counter medications; one for nail polishes and polish removers; one for lotions, hand creams, etc. You get the ideas. Makes life much simpler.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 11:59AM
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To make more space in the laundry room freeze, I bought 2 plastic freezer ice bins ($1.99 @ KMart). I keep them in the door shelf to store stuff like the kids' popsicle and miscellaneous small items that could fall through the space between the shelf and the bar. Boxes like the one popsicles come in take up too much room so I throw away the box and store the pops in the bin. Miscellaneous small items like sticks of butter, tomato paste, half a block of cheese, fit nicely in the second bin. The bins store end-to-end on the door shelf.

I can take the Miscellaneous Bin out of the freezer door shelf and look through it for what I need.

I looked as several bins before finding one that was narrow and without bulky ends. They fits nicely on the door shelf.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ice Bins

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 5:41PM
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I had lots of garden hand tools and no where to store them. We bought a pool deck box. It's a big strong plastic box about six feet by three by three. Plenty of room to chuck my tools in and the top is a seat with a cushion. . It lives on my back-yard patio so my tools are always in easy reach. They are totally protected from weather year-round. Why didn't I think of this sooner, indeed? The deck box was an anniversary present from my really DH.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 11:33AM
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When i was a kid, back in The Fifties, they didn't sell food storage plastic nags "Baggies" and such. But my Mom made her own. She'd buy carrots that came in a small plastic store bag, then took out the carrots. She then wet a washcloth with water, put it in the carrot bag and had the first known hand-wipes! This bag travelled everywhere with us. If any of us got dirty hands or faces or a skinned knee, Mom had a clean washcloth to clean us up!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 8:02AM
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I do the same thing Gayle does - the container I use is an old clumping litter container with an articulated lid.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 3:01PM
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Des, I now know what I'll use the large pet food storage container for. Our Maggie has been gone over two years now and I've yet to remove it from the pantry. It too has a locking lid so now all I have to do it get a big bag of bird feed to fill it with and a couple bird feeders. We have four indoor cats and I've been meaning to do this for their entertainment as well as keep the birds fed. Oh and we live in the country so no squirrels and this will be stored on a deck with no access from ground level a floor below.

My personal favorite, and I see I'm not the only one, is the over the door clear shoe pockets to store just about anything in.
In a coat closet to store each family members gloves, hats, mittens and gloves. Each having their own row.
In the bathroom towel closet each family member had their own row of pockets to store their beauty needs with the bottom pocket of each row for extra bars of soap and stuff everyone used.
In the hall linen closet I kept the first aid items and things one might need when someone is in the bathroom like cough medicine, aspirin and such.
In a pantry I love my wicker baskets for storing small like items together. Just grab a basket instead of trying for one item and it all falling down on you.

We have four cats and three very large, cement mixing tubs, as litter boxes. We used to get the litter in the plastic tubs so I keep a few of them handy along with old scented large kitchen trash bags I have from years ago, to put the scooped "stuff" in until it's full. Like Gayle, LOL, I too am careful about my breathing, though the cat litter I use it pretty good as disguising the worst of it, I'm not taking any chances. I also sit on one of the containers while scooping.

It seems every tiny little thing in our home winds up on my desk. In getting something from the back of the pantry last time I was cleaning off my desk I came upon a couple old ice cube trays from a previous pre-icemaker refrigerator. I now know why I kept them. One of the trays in now in my desk drawer to sort all that bitty stuff for easy access when I find I need it.

Bumblebeez, I think I'll use your retro galvanized trash can idea for potting soil storage. We use organic so it's very smelly and I hate going out there on hot days when not potting and still smelling that

. Literally.

I've bought a number of Rubbermaid canister sets for storing so many things in. A large one in a drawer in the master bath vanity holds hair accessories and another holds nail polish. In the pantry an extra large one holds pastas and smaller ones hold a variety of nuts which are then tucked inside one of the baskets.
I also use one to store water flavor tubes in in the drink cabinet.

All drawers have those multi sized dividers or little plastic baskets to keep things organized.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 4:42PM
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An acquaintence from work told me that she used to put each of her children's outfits for the day in gallon-size zip top bags. Socks, underwear, barrettes, etc.

I've started doing this for my kids (and me)now. I keep the empty bags together and "stuff" them while I'm folding laundry. Works great, except when my son wants to be creative with his clothes for the day. Ha!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 9:51AM
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Hey that's a neat idea piggymama, especially when your children are young enough to know put things together well, but old enough they want to be more independent.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 6:20PM
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We have 2 large outside dogs. We have a Rubbermaid deck box (about 5 ft long) that we keep in the garage. It holds their 50lb bag of dog food, leashes, meds and grooming supplies.

This doesn't really have anything to do with organization but it's something SO simple I thought of (after 25 years!) and has made our lives more pleasant during the spring and summer.
For 25 years, Swallows have been building their nasty muddy nests under the corner eves of our front porch. NOTHING I could do deterred them. I finally gave up. Last summer we spent quite a bit of money remodeling our front porch and didn't want the mud stains on the wood and bird droppings on the new tile. When I saw the first Swallow stake out her spot this spring, the idea came to me. You know the rubbery mesh netting that comes in a roll that you put under rugs to make them non-skid? I hammered a tiny finishing nail on each side of the corner and hung a piece of that rubber backing on the nails. It just so happens to be the same color as the porch paint. NO nasty mess of mud, straw, bird poop and parasites! I'll leave the nails and remove the netting in Sept (could probably do it earlier).
Maybe someone can find this useful :)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 12:17AM
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My kids could never seem to bring their socks downstairs in pairs. And you know the dryer snacks on socks. ;) We are casual so everyone wears white socks almost all the time. Boys and dad are close in size, but not quite the same.

I buy each person one specific brand of socks, but each look different enough with a toe or heel design. One is FOL, one Hanes, one something else. We don't really worry about making pairs when we (son) sort the clean laundry. We just make 3 stacks. I do laundry just often enough that it doesn't matter if we have an even number or not. DH has a sock drawer. But each kid has a plastic bin in our front closet with their socks. No matter swinging singles getting lost mid-stairwell. And at quick glance, I can tell when they are running low.

If one sock gets too mucky or damaged, out it goes, one at a time. (I put it in the rag bag and alter it enough so it doesn't wind up back with wearable socks.)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 12:08PM
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I taped business cards from local businesses (lawn mowing, plumber,electrician,fast food menus,handyman, etc) inside the door of my front hall closet. That way, when my tub drain gets stopped up, I don't have to pull out the phone books to find my plumber.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 8:48AM
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When we installed the new pantry cabinet I hung a piece of peg board on the inside of the door. Then I found a trio of mesh baskets just for pegboard. One is the perfect size to hold packets of seasonings, another holds ketchup/salsa/soy sauce packets and the third holds my manual can opener...so when we get a can out, the opener is right there.

I also tacked small hooks to the inside of the cabinet doors to hold the scoops for the dog & cat food. The food is stored in plastic storage bins with snap on lids in that cabinet.

I have learned to take advantage of the inside of cabinet doors. It's unused storage. In my cleaning closet, I added hooks for things that have rings on the handles, so I can easily store my squeegee, feather duster and things like that.

And I added battery powered pop lights to the inside of all my closets, including the linen closet. Now I can always find stuff!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 1:16AM
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My boys only have two colours of socks - navy blue and white. We are doing the same for our socks, picking only two colours.

Pull out garbage containers with two units - one for garbage, other for recycling.

This one is seriously silly and I don't know why I didn't realize this until a couple of weeks ago. I tend to go crazy when there are sales happening and get all sorts of things that I need, especially evening dresses and wonderful heels. I don't wear these things unless there is a special occassion, leaving them hanging in my closet for years. Now, I only invest in a few items that I wear every week to work - like a nice pair of black simple boots.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 11:53PM
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Mustangs - I love the idea of the screw & nut holder, not for vitamins & supplements, but for my earrings and other jewelry!! Adjustable compartments too!! I want to go to the home improvement store for one tonight!! Maybe more than one - our workbench is a mess and I can't believe all the number of screws, nails and other types of fasteners and little pieces like that we've accumulated over the years. I hate to think we're buying stuff we already have but of course don't know we have.

Now here's my little hint - Recipes printed off the internet or torn from magazines go in a 3-ring binder once they've been tried and determined to be "keepers".

When a recipe is going to be used, it's removed from the binder. With a small piece of blue painters tape, it gets hung on the front of the cabinet door directly in front of/above the kitchen work surface where I'm working. It's in a handy spot for reference, but doesn't take up counter space or get spills on it. The tape is easily removed from the recipe and the cabinet door without damage. The little bits of painters tape are stored inside the cabinet door.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 6:11PM
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This is not really organization, but a time saver none the less. I use brown sugar in several recipes and it occurred to me that they all use 1/2 cup quantities. It is sort of a mess when I measure it (I always end up with it on my counter.) So I measured 1/2 cup into each of four lidded storage containers. These stack nicely and now whenever I need it, I can just toss in in, no more mess and taking no more time than it takes to remove the lid.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 2:53AM
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I participate in a site called Paperback Swap where people order and send books to each other. Have started storing all of my smaller books in a shoe organizer that hangs over the spare bedroom door. Nobody sees them but us and it frees a bookshelf for the hardback, heavier books.

Was surprised to see this post still showing up. I've gotten some good ideas from this one. Anybody else?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 3:46AM
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I bought a clear plastic fishing tackle box (with lid) to hold my earrings.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 9:57AM
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My daughter and i just finished a window washing marathon and I am appreciating how lovely the windows look without screens (okay, also the clean part!). It just occurred to me that we could store the screens for 3 seasons (in their corresponding rooms... behind a dresser or in a closet); which would let in much more light. Since it just stopped raining and it's 56 degrees here at the moment, I think the window opening time may be about done for the year here in the Pacific Northwest!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 3:21PM
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Duh! Why didn't I think of this sooner!? I just finished this project:

The two small cabinets above my oven hood have contained bottles of stuff that I haven't used in years because I forget that they are there. The space isn't real accessible but certainly with tippy toes it's doable.

So, I took out the years old (like 10-12 years old) bottles of beverage flavorings, added a shelf in one cabinet and a vertical divider in the other, then put FoodSaver containers and lids in the cabinets. It's worth the effort since I use these containers often and won't forget where they are.

I now have reclaimed this as usable space and freed up the jumbled mess of containers from the previous prime space.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 5:39PM
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Yay, Mustangs! I need to get my tail off this computer and go do something constructive, myself.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 4:38PM
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I always take off my jewelry every night before bed, even my wedding band. I like to apply hand cream, and I just don't like sleeping in it.

I used to just put it on my nightstand table, but after a few scary 'can't find my engagement ring' situations, I realized I needed a better solution. (Apparently my 5 year old DD already has a taste for bling. She was wearing it very proudly! lol)

I found this little clamshell bowl at a local store for $3.
I like that it is more like a bowl than a dish, so little eyes can't see shiny and sparkly things easily.

And now I always know where my rings and watch are.

Oh, and also visible in the photo. I use granite samples I've picked up during my kitchen remodel process as coasters.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 8:51PM
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I haven't actually implemented this yet, but I'm working on it.

My kids like to take their lunch to school, but I never know where to put the lunchboxes when they aren't in use. I don't like to use my cabinets to store them and they don't look nice on the floor or counter either. It finally occurred to me that I have empty wall space behind the door in my pantry. I'm going to install a wall coat hooks bar in that area so the lunchboxes can have a place and be out of sight when not in use.

I actually went out and bought one today, but it didn't fit. I'll go get the next smaller size tomorrow. I'm also installing one of these in my laundry room,

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 12:51AM
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I use a desktop hanging file holder to wrangle my plastic lids.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 6:10PM
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My Mom had a boy and three girls. at laundry time, she had no trouble sorting the girls underwear. When she bought us new underpants, undershorts or socks, she'd put in a few stitches of colored embroidery floss . Mine was red, my two sisters had blue and green. She then had no trouble with matching up socks and knowing whose panties were whose.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 7:17PM
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When my two boys got nearly to the size of my husband, I had to mark the underwear and socks. I used two different colors (red & blue) of nail polish and put small dots on the labels of the tightie whities and soles of the socks for the boys, left my husband's blank.

I found that if I put a small amount of clear nail polish on the backs of the stitching that holds buttons on, they never came off. I tried to remember to do that when I bought new shirts.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 4:14AM
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3 boys here...i found buying different brands worked...one son wears only nike socks, another ua, etc-don't have to mark them....
same can be done for underwear, tho i've always had an easier time sorting that because they all seem to like different styles...

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 8:37AM
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