L.S. asks from South Elgin, IL on November 07, 2009
Small House Tips and Organization Issues
Hi there! I need help getting my house organized! I can't take it :) I have a small house, on the first floor is a small living room, family room and kitchen. The entryway through the garage has a washer/dryer and the furnace and things because we don't have a basement. Upstairs are three small bedrooms and one bathroom. I have two small kids, one is 3 and my daughter is 18 months. I'm trying to use all our space efficiently and keep it from getting too cluttered and messy. My biggest issues are toys, shoes, coats, etc. SO, I was wondering if any other moms out there have some organization or interior design tips that would help my small house seem more organized! Also, what kind of cleaning schedules do other moms have? I work full time, but we're home by 4, so I'm trying to figure that out too!
3 moms found this helpful
J.S. answers from Chicago on November 09, 2009
You've gotten some good tips. Here are mine:
We have a small entryway from the garage. I have two rows of hooks hanging there -- 1 at adult height and 1 at kid height. That's where we hang jackets. On the floor beneath those, I have a plastic welcome mat. That's where shoes go. The kids (4 y.o and 2 y.o) are getting very good at hanging their coats and putting their shoes away.
I find that the best way to get the kids to put their own stuff away is to make it really easy. So, I have medium sized bins designated for types of things. Toy food, dishes, etc go in the blue bin. Dolls and accessories go in the green bin. All types of vehicles go in the red bin. Any toy that is a "set" (like trainsets) have their own small bin. We have sling style bookshelves for kids books rather than regular bookshelves (I bought them from onestepahead.com). Every morning, we make beds, straighten up bedrooms and then get dressed. I help a little bit until they are able to do it themselves. I don't expect the beds to be perfect -- it's more about instilling the habit. If mornings are too crazy for you, you could have them straighten up their rooms before bed every night or before dinner.
T.K. answers from Chicago on November 08, 2009
Go to Container Store and have an Elfa consultant work with you to build a landing space for your entryway. They helped me solve my small office issue (I have a 36" wall and that's it for my office space).
You can also find lots of good tips on Unclutterer.com. They even lay out a cleaning schedule. You just need to search the archives for it. You can also search for small space suggestions.
1 mom found this helpful
M.M. answers from Chicago on November 08, 2009
Check out the cleaning calendar at justmommies.com. I had use their version for a couple months,then modified it slightly for our home and work schedules, and printed and laminated a one page guide which I keep by the refrigerator. I have used it for a few years.
I too would recommend joining flylady.net. I joined it a couple weeks ago. It is very inspiring and gives you (and your kids) little tasks each day to keep the household rolling.
1 mom found this helpful
S.O. answers from Champaign on November 08, 2009
The best organization/decluttering tips I've gotten is from signing up for flylady.net. It is a free service that sends email giving you zones of your home to focus on. There are quite a few emails daily, but they give you reminders to stop and spend 15 minutes finding stuff you can throw away or spend a few minutes "vacuuming the middles".
I'm a pretty organized person, but I've been signed up for 8 years.
I also like to get ideas from magazines-decorative baskets has been a great one for me, papers, shoes, toys...
L.H. answers from Chicago on November 08, 2009
L.--we moved from a very small to a very big house, and my organization skills are still dismal! Good luck with things, but some people just seem to see space better than others. I did these things to help us.
1) Under bed slim plastic storage containers for all dollies and accessories.
2) A shoe rack in our foyer closet.
3) A set of modular shelves with moveable hooks in the laundry room, where I try to store anything I need in the course of a year.
4) Goodwill--if it hasn't been worn in a year, it is gone.
I have been doing one organizing thing a day like the previous poster said--it does help.
K.K. answers from Philadelphia on November 07, 2009
My best advice is to draw up a little cleaning schedule for yourself that breaks out the jobs by each day. If you do 15 minutes every afternoon when you get home, you don't need to spend 2 hours of your weekend doing it :)
As far as organization, think upwards. I think I fit more in my tiny college dorm room than anywhere else I've lived. We bunked our beds and had giant plastic containers beneath them for out of season clothes, we stacked a microwave on top of the TV on top of the mini fridge, you catch my drift. Any time I cannot figure out where something should go, I look up :) Add shelving or get one of those stuffed animal nets to put in a corner of your child's bedroom.
S.K. answers from Chicago on November 08, 2009
I've found that a big basket with a lid at the door comes in handy to hide the shoes!!! I still have to go through it once in a while but it hides the shoes!!!!
M.C. answers from Chicago on November 08, 2009
The best advice I can give about getting organized and keeping it that way it to go through all your old stuff, get rid of old things and decide what's worth keeping. Get an organizing system in place and de-clutter every room, every closet, every drawer. This will take a little time but 1 weekend spent doing this will make such a difference. Once your old stuff is out of the way, you have to concentrate on picking up, throwing stuff out every single day. I actually clean the house (wash floors, dust, etc) one time/week but I never stop picking up, organizing, etc. This way, when I go to bed every night, my house is ready for the next day. No laundry laying around, all of the toys are put away in the rooms, the dishes are done and I've made a little list of what to get done the next day. It's just a matter of being on top of it every single day. With 2 kids and a husband, there are always things to get done. Get them involved and make this a plan for the whole family to be apart of.
K.K. answers from Chicago on November 08, 2009
I'm in the same boat. I am trying to take advantage of the garage as best as I can. Getting shelving that is up high to store the many bins we have is what I am working on now. We keep a lot of bins in the closets too. This helps keep the toys out of sight and also keeps the kids interested in playing with them because they are alway out.