Organizing Little Things

Updated on March 18, 2012
P.O. asks from Antioch, TN
12 answers

I like to organize things, it reduces clutter and helps keep me straight. The problem is, I am not quite sure the best way to go about organizing the following things. I need your help with specifics that I can say "hey why didn't I think of that" then run to Walmart/Target and go buy it (smile)

Pens/Pencils/Crayons (please don't just tell me a pencil holder, tell me the specific one that works the best)
Brushes/Combs/Curling Iron/Hair Clips/Hair Pins
Toiletries, Lotions, face wash, face creams, soaps, etc
Papers, Receipts, Paid Bills, Magazines that I want to keep an article but not the whole magazine, notes from speakers, etc
Books, children's books, children art work, flyers, brochures to remember stuff, school work
Pantry items (yes, I know I organize my pantry) but like oatmeal packets, popcorn, anything in a packet for a quick grab and to get rid of the bulky box it comes in
Batteries, Mini camcorder tapes, etc
Plastic cups, tupperware, etc.

I want ideas on how you store these things and which method works best for you. I appreciate your assistance.

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answers from St. Louis on

I have tons of ideas, and I will get back to you, but I saw this lady on extreme couponing and she had a shoe organizer hanging on the door in her pantry for oatmeal and spice packets. Thought it was a pretty good idea.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Omaha on

Crayons -- I repurpose the box from the Scotts/Charmin flushable wipes, small enough to store, easy enough for little hands to open, and portable for restaurants.

Hair Accessories -- tackle box (bead box)

Pantry Items -- the small Sterilite baskets from Walmart; I probably have 10 of them and do exactly what you describe

Batteries -- Again, I repurpose the box from the Scotts/Charmin flushable wipes. They stack in my cabinets and I just use a single box per battery type.

Kids books -- I buy the RE baskets in funky colors from Target

Magazines -- I keep a basket next to the couch with current magazines. Once a month I recycle the ones we are no longer reading. If I clip articles I keep those in a plastic portable file box.

Receipts -- We use a cute photo box in the bottom drawer of our desk.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I bought the box file storage things from Walmart for my household bills/statements. It is a hanging file folder box, and you have to buy the files/hangers separately, but they are all right there together in the Walmart aisle. It fits on my bookshelf.

As for receipts, like from the grocery store: I put them in my wallet (in the cash slot, behind the cash, until I can enter them in my checkbook register. Then I add them to a pile in the guest closet that will be shredded or burned in bulk later.
For receipts for major purchases (like the new garage freezer, or a lawn mower, coffee pot, washer, stove, dishwasher, TV, game console, or anything pretty much over $100-150 bucks): I have a deep drawer in my kitchen, that I keep the manuals in. I staple the receipt inside the first page of the manual. Then, if I ever have a problem with the item I have all the purchase information for warranty service together with the manual that will have the 1-800-number on it plus the "troubleshooting" guide.

The best thing for the toiletries (face stuff) is usually to get a small tall sided basket and just put everything in it, then put the basket under the bathroom sink. Take it out, use the products, put the basket back. That is what I do for my kids--they each have their own basket stored under their bathroom sink. No mess on the counter- just soap.

For batteries, I repurposed the old "toddler bag" which was what I was using when my kids weren't babies anymore. It was an insulated rectangular shoulder strapped bag that I carried sippy cups of milk with a cold pack, and various snacks and handiwipes. It now has nothing in it but packs of batteries. The kids know where it is stored (in the laundry room cabinet) and get batteries as needed. When a toy dies, and the battery is still good, the batteries just get dropped loose into the bottom. If a battery ever leaks, the bag is insulated, so no big deal.

I have those school pencil boxes for the pens/pencils/crayons/markers. They are stacked in a kitchen drawer. Then I have a standard pencil cup (the metal kind) sitting in the same drawer (it is a deep drawer) to hold pencils/pens for when I want to jot something on the calendar or make a note without doing a major project requiring me to take out the boxes. One box has the thin line markers, one box has the fat markers, one has the crayons, one has pencils/pens. Yes, a lot of boxes... but when the nieces/nephews come over, I pull out the crayon box and plop it on the table and they are good. No worries that they will get into the markers without me knowing. :)

I have heard the shoe pouch over the door idea many times, but have never gotten around to trying it myself. What I do for pouches of oatmeal, instant breakfast, etc, is use gallon ziplock bags and those $1 plastic bins. I fill a ziplock with one type of item, and then use the bins to keep the bags organized. That way you can see everything. I HATE having a pantry full of almost empty cardboard boxes! UGH!!
I use a bigger clear box on the bottom pantry shelf to keep lunch box/snack items. I just empty everything into the box. Then the kids know they can grab something from there when they get home, and I have a "go to" spot when I am packing my daughter's school lunch.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Magazines- I keep them in a basket on the floor of living room or in a magazine holder (purch at Target or Wal-Mart) next to the toilet. They stand up. Then I clip articles I want to save, put in those protective sheets, put in 3-ring binder.

*Receipts are stapled to inside of manual to keep (ex. TV, radio etc).
For Xmas, I keep them in an envelope labled Xmas rcpts and for a few months in case someone wants to return a sweater then shred after 2 mos.

*Batteries stored in laundry room. Recycle used ones at Wal-Mart or grocery store.

*Children's books go in bookcase to store or in baskets in living room for quick read at night.

*Statements, bills go in a file box. Each hanging folder is labeled for the month (Jan, Feb etc). Keep them for a year then burn in fireplace.

*Mini camcorder tapes kept in clear shoebox bin in laundry room.

*Tupperware in one huge cabinet in kitchen. I go through often and re-purpose the ones w/o lids in garage. I just bought a new set of them.

*Plastic cups, plastic silverware in laundry room

*Oatmeal packets kept in box they come in w/lid ripped off in kitchen drawer for easy "put away" and easy access.

*Porcorn in laundry room cabinet in box it came in.

*Lotions, face wash etc in cute silver bin from Wal-Mart on back of toilet

*All combs brushes in bathroom drawer. Hair dryer and curling iron in bathroom cabinet.

*Children's artwork in plastic bin under their bed.

*Pencils in a pencil cup w/post it notes (sm unit that holds both bought at Target) next to phone, next to computer, on desk.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Kids art: I take digital pictures of it and set the file as your screen saver. Your kids will see their art and know that you appreciate it. Then send all the physical drawings and sculptures to grandparents or just throw away. You can make a Picasa file with these pictures to share with grandparents if they do not want the clutter either.

We have lots of drawers in the kitchen and one in the island is dedicated to tupperwear and plastic like items - loosely stacked and sorted. When we built the house the guy at the kitchen store asked if we were cabinet or drawer people and I had never thought about it but asked for lots of drawers and now I know I am a drawer person!

We have another drawer for cellphone chargers, cameras, back-up drivers, MP3 player charger cables, etc. all electronic related stuff.

Another kitchen desk drawer is filled with plastic shallow bins for pens, pencils, rubber bands, car keys, etc.

We have a window seat with space under it where I have 5 Sterilite containers with play doh, painting stuff, coloring books and pencils, beads and strings, pipecleaners and craft paper etc.,etc. This has been the best feature in the kitchen and I am glad I did not have my husband talk me out of the window seat.

We put toys in the basement in large bins with the content on an index card taped to the bin: Barbies, My Little Ponies, Bratz, Pokemon, Horses, Dogs & cats, etc. I allow a certain amount of toys upstairs, but if it gets too cluttered I tell them we need to put xyz away and what would they like next. The added benefit is that everything seems new when you haven't seen it in 3 or 6 or 9 months. Sometimes we go down to get a bin and they will say I forgot we had that!

School work they need stays in backpack in the "take home folder". Completed stuff goes into a file-box in hanging folders by subject. At the end of the year the kids decide if they want to keep any of it. From lower grades I saved a sampling for each kid in those super large ziplock bags with the name, school year, teacher name written on it.

We have lots of those large 3M hooks that stick on the wall (and can be removed easily) in our little laundry room downstairs. We hang coats and sweaters and hoodies there. The kids' rooms also have a row of about 8 hooks behind their doors for purse, nightgowns, necklaces, etc.

The kids' rooms have those "cubicals" from Target: white pressboard cabinet divided into 9 cubbies. Handy for seeing books and dolls and little toys but it keeps it looking ok. Even better, I bought them each 3 of the cloth 'drawer" type inserts so now stuff I do not want to see can go in those (the jumble of DS games and chargers and booklets).

I think a quick walk though a Home Depot or Target or Walmart bins section will give you all kind of ideas. I love the idea below of an over the door shoe hanger for small pantry items.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I have a shelf over my laundry area and we keep a plastic containers with latching lids for the following WITH LABELS:

*Tape & Glue (all kinds of both)
* Chargers (phone, camera, etc.)
* Batteries
* Light Bulbs
* Paper/plastic goods

Markers and Art supplies are kept in a flat plastic box with latching lids (from Target) that are labeled and stacked. THEY FIT CONSTRUCTION PAPER and Art pads!!! Wooo Hooo!

We have use clear shoe holders that go over the back of the door for LOTS of little things...... in the playroom for dress-up accessories, dolly bottles, etc.


In our pantry the little things like popcorn, oatmeal, seasoning packets, etc.. My MIL uses one for cleaning supplies, dog stuff, and household misc.

Use a three ring binder with protective sleeves and dividers for brochures, flyers, magazine articles, receipts, etc. You may want more than one binder to really organize it.

Under our sink in our bathroom we use the put together shelving unit thingies to make shelves and we use the cheap $1 open plastic tubs (usually used to rinse dishes in) to put our day to day stuff. My hubby has one and I have another. I have my hairbrush, makeup, lotion, deodorant, etc. in mine and he has his stuff in his. Our girls are too young to have their own yet.

I keep all hair accessories in another plastic container with latching lid and label on top of the refrigerator because that is where I do my daughter's hair (at the island in the kitchen).

I have a magnetic bill holder that goes on the side of my fridge. It holds my address labels, stamps, and my bills as they come in. (I open all mail and get rid of all excess paper and recycle it immediately.) I keep a box where I throw all mail that needs shredded (credit card apps). I also throw in all the statements of the bills I've paid into this box. I keep the box until they have free shredding at tax time. If I need to reference a statement that is where I will find it. No need to file that stuff and keep it. I also throw in my old check book copies (after I've torn out the pages of things I keep track of for taxes....babysitting, tags for the car, etc. and put those in envelopes for tax time.)

Have fun!



answers from Dallas on

in the plastic organizer section of walmart and the dollar store they have boxes in various widths and heights that are all about the length of shoe boxes. They have a grid design so you can see what is inside them. I have those bins in every room. In my hall closet 3 of them side by side takes up 1 shelf. I have 1st aid stuff in one, hair hooties in one, and extra shampoos, conditioners, etc in one. I have them in the bathroom cabinet full of lotions, razors, extra bathroom doodads. I have one in pantry full of koolaid packets, anything in a pouch. One by the door for mail. The liitle ones in my junk drawer to organize doodads, pencils, whatever. One in laundry room for stain sticks, dryer sheets, and stuff i pull out of pockets. I have them all lined up along shelves in my kids rooms to keep crayons and markers seperate from matchbox cars, barbie clothes, polly pockets. In most rooms, you dont see them. They're in cabinets. The only place you see the bins is in my kids rooms. I also use a lot of ziploc bags to keep little stuff organized.



answers from Colorado Springs on

My tendency is to use tops and bottoms of small, shallow boxes to organize things in desks; it's like having a couple of little trays. I use small baskets (often from thrift stores or yard sales, but they need to be the right size) to keep toiletries organized in my closet. I keep plastic cups and other such items in a larger box inside a lower pantry cupboard; this is THE cupboard my children - and now my grandchildren - could play in when they were little, because there is never anything hazardous or breakable kept there. For pantry items like popcorn, I use big ziplock bags! These storage methods aren't showy, but they do the job!

Sorry, I can't help you with paperwork - I still have trouble with that myself!


answers from Visalia on

lol, ima clusts. but if i was to organize the stuff you mention, definitely want to see what i have like, see thru storage containers, zip locks, or rubber bands for those pencils.



answers from Philadelphia on

I'll share with you a couple of ways I keep things organized but ultimately, you have to find what works for you. In addition, the key is decluttering! For instance, I have very little skin/hair products so they fit neatly in the bathroom cabinet. I will say that in our bathroom we have a bookshelf that that some square baskets from IKEA. In them, we keep extra soap, tp, deodorant and hand towels. It's keeps everything organized and is there when you need it. For my daughter's barretts, pony tails and things, I organize them in a craft bin. The bin has several compartments and the items are sorted out into them. My dd is 8 and has kept them neat and sorted for over 2 years. For school work, I use big binders. I puch holes on what I can. For large projects, I take a picture and I add it to the binder - Again, you have to pick and choose what you keep because it can get overwhelming. I use see-through canisters in my pantry. Hope these ideas help. Take care.


answers from Redding on

I keep my underware in a drawer, and my silverware in a drawer, and try to not get them mixed up. I am soooo tempted to stop right there, but I wont. (o:
we have lots of clear plastic bins for toys. I keep a lot of them up high so they dont all get out at once. But if grand daughter wants something she can see it thru the bin and ask. That way when she starts asking for "that little thing with the stuff and you know that handle and other things",, I dont have to guess and go trhru 17 cardboard boxes. I have a couple of the plastic rolling drawer things with sets of stuff in them. We have the little pink princess shelf unit with 9 bins and that sits in her play area and its easy for her to grab a bin of Barbies and play, and put away, and get out the bin of My Little Ponys next. One thing I did that has paid off was, when my own kids brought home those clay pinch pots and their first attempts at throwing pottery, glazed cups and bowls, I use them! I had a decent desk set of nice pencil holder, note pad holder, paper clip bowl and such and I tossed that stuff and started using the things my kids made in art class and who cares if they dont match. It makes me happy to see what they made and they get a kick out of the fact I actually put their things to work.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I have used one of those organizers for the tool workbench (the ones with the 20 or so pull out drawers. Preferrably one that will fit in your cabinet. I have tried using actual "words" to label the contents, but had better luck using actual photographs of the contents. Instead of putting in washers, drill bits, ....I put in things like rubber bands, bread ties, needles, straight pins, safety pins, paper clips, buttons, thread, loose coin........I do a google search for images of these things. I copy then paste to Microsoft work processor or other blank page. When I click on image, I can shrink photograph down to fit the front of the drawer! Tape it down. TA DA. Excellent organizer!!!

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