Grouping like things in one container

mommabirdOctober 18, 2010

This might seem elementary to those who are further along the path than me, but I recently had an AH-HA moment. I'd grouped office supplies into one small plastic tub on a pantry shelf. Then I gathered all the flashlights into a tub on the same shelf. THEN I gathered extra soap, shampoo, etc into anothter tub on that shelf.

This seems so elementary, but I'd never done it before. I had flashlights in every room, thinking I'd "need it there" if the power went off. The problem is, every time the power does go off, I can never find a flashlight! Now they are ALL in the same place & it's a place I can find in the dark.

Same with the pencils, staples, soap, etc. They are all in one place, and it's a place I can both find and remember. I used to have them where I tought I'd use them, but could never find them when I needed them.

Elementary to most of you, but a real eye-opener to me! Sometimes the most basic things are the hardest to see.

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The trick with flashlights is to always have them in the same place, relative to the room.

Mine are always in the top drawer of whatever piece of furniture is closest to the door of any room, or in the bed table's drawer.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 9:35AM
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Yes, that particular strategy is elementary for me. BUT I also had an elementary revelation recently: Take inventory occasionally, duh! Case in point: I spent $20 on a garden sprayer; went to put it away and found THREE in the garage. Yes, all were together as in "like things together".

I am training myself to take periodic inventory particularly in the garden supplies and pantry areas. I do that same trick time and again which, of course, only adds to the clutter.

Good for you MB!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 12:26PM
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You don't need inventory if you use lists. We have 2 pads on our refrigerator each with it's own magnetic pen. One is for groceries and one is for things I have to buy when I go to town. Behind the town list--on the next page is toiletries. We tend to buy paper towels, tissues and T paper in bulk so it goes on the list when I'm down to a couple weeks supply. I take my lists down when the fliers come down and mark down the store and price next to each item.

We live 20 miles from the nearest city and maybe that has made us more organized. I buy only what is on the lists unless I remember something I missed. Doing without something for a week forces you to add it to the list.

That's my system for shopping. I do like to have like things together and I always use bins. It's so much easier to be organized with them. We always have a flashlight in our junk drawer and we have one that is plugged into our hall socket that goes on when the power goes out. Candles are kept in my kitchen hutch.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 6:57PM
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I have been doing that for years and it's worked out magically! It makes everything really easy to find. I don't know what I would do without it :)

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 5:11AM
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Oh yeah, I've been storing things in bins forever. Aren't they wonderful! My entertainment center is full of clear plastic shoeboxes (those containers you can get at dollar stores for a buck, about the size of a shoebox). I like clear containers so I can see what's in them. And they're stackable. I store tv cables/accessories in one, phone cables/accessories in one, computer cables/accessories in one, pet grooming tools in one, batteries of all sizes in one, etc. I have plastic shoeboxes in the bathroom, kitchen, and even in the storage building. They are wonderful for storing breakable Christmas ornaments, like balls, miniature tree ornaments, etc. I store sandpaper in one, mosaic tiles in one, tile cutting tools in one, etc. Of course you can get bins in all sizes. And even if you can't put a lid on them, you can use them as "drawers". For instance, to organize the lids to my pots and pans, I stuffed them in a shoebox. Then I can pull the shoebox out of the cabinet to get the lid I need. The lids are nice and neat and take up so much less space.

I also use little plastic baskets that are about 4" x 10". I have lots of little plastic containers with lids in my kitchen and I can stack them in these baskets and slide a basket out to get a container. My cabinets are much neater now.

I also have lots of clear plastic, stackable drawers to hold craft supplies, office supplies, seeds, plant markers, etc. The drawers are wonderful in a closet, storage shed, etc when you don't have enough storage space or drawers. They're invaluable.

Another tip is to make use of totes. We all know about totes for carrying all our cleaning products from room to room, but those same totes work well for garden tools and handyman tools. I started using totes when I began scrapbooking many years ago. I used special totes for scrapbooking supplies and tools and they were so convenient, so I adapted the idea to my painting supplies and eventually to other areas of my life as well.

I have two special totes with lots of pockets for various tools. I keep one inside the house, filled with a hammer, tape measure, screw drivers, drill bits, pencils, utility knife, allen wrenches, plyers, etc. And I have another one in the toolshed filled with the same kind of items. So when I'm working outside, I can grab that one; and inside I can grab this other one. I also keep my wallpaper tools in a plastic divided tote and my paint tools are in another tote, etc. I help my brother fix up his rental properties and it's so much easier to grab a tote and go. I don't have to worry about getting to the house and realizing I forgot a sand pad or a seam roller or something. Everything is always in the specified tote.

I don't keep an inventory. If you always put things back where they go, then you can go straight there and see if you have what you need. But the key is being able to get to it when you need it. A few years ago, I needed a palm sander and I knew I had one. But my toolshed was so full and disorganized that I couldn't get to the sander, altho I knew where it was. So in frustration, I went out and bought another one. (Have you ever done that??) Last year I cleaned out my toolshed and I found...not just the one old palm sander I knew I had, but actually 3 other NEW ones. Everytime I couldn't get to the one I knew I had, I went and bought another one. What a waste!!

The only list I keep is a shopping list on my refrigerator. When I see I'm running low on some item, I add it to my shopping list. So when I'm ready to go to Walmart, I don't have to sit down and waste time making a list, trying to remember everything I might need. It's all on the premade list so I can just grab it and go.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 7:23AM
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I have baskets throughout my house. Dog toys in one in my bedroom. One in the bathroom for toothpaste , floss,mouthwash, ,etc, large basket in living room for magazines. I keep a running shopping list on my refrigerator, it's a magnetic pad with pens nearby.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 8:52AM
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I put all the tools for a certain task into one of the cheap plastic toolboxes, even if it means having a few duplicate tools.

I can grab and go with the plumbing box and have the special wrenches, tape, sink putty, spare hose bib, and faucet washers as well as the right screwdriver for changing a washer ... same with wall repair, wall patching and some other tasks.

If I only had a tote big enough for the sledges and crowbars

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 10:16AM
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