3 Simple Organizing Tip to use TODAY (Even with Toddlers!)

I just put some napkins and a tablecloth I ironed away and it actually made my morning!  I promise I am not that kind of woman.  The aforementioned items were  with the rest of the "needs ironing because was left in dryer or laundry basket for a week" pile.   I'm pretty much grinning because I knew where to put it instead of just cramming it in.  I had organized the china cabinet linen area about a month ago and today it paid off.  Neatly folded stacks:  I knew where it went and felt GOOD looking at the tidy cabinets.  WOW.  

I listened to a great video during the MOM Conference yesterday, and the Organization session by Jenny Layton of The Happy Gal Blog was AWESOME.  I realized I had already learned and applied several of these tips....find her and learn from her organizing tips.

In the meantime, here are three tips I have already put into practice, all of which she also mentioned.

Like a preschool has the 'art zone', the 'dress up zone', the 'blocks bin', so do we!  
If your linens are in the dining room, it makes sense.  If the napkins and table cloth are together and tidy it is MUCH easier to get them out and use them when you need them. (Plus they aren't all rumpled and wrinkled then either.) 

Linen Zone:  I have small and medium table cloths together, and they are separate from the 'all table leaves in' family holiday dinner huge tablecloth!  Simple.  All table runners and placemats are neatly stacked andI don't have to remember where I should stick them, it is labeled for me. (Left hand cabinet, top shelf.)

Dish Zone: Our dishes go in the kitchen cabinet directly above the dishwasher.  Portia unloads them and stacks 'em on the counter, I put them away in the cabinet.  

Baking Zone: All of the Kitchen Aid attachments are in the same cabinets (above my gorgeous Kitchen Aid Mixer on the counter) with mixing bowls, right next to measuring cups etc. I blogged about organizing the spice cabinet a bit ago.

Craft Zone:  All the kids easy access craft stuff is in matching open bins on a bookshelf where they can reach everything themselves.  AWESOME.  I hide stuff they cannot use without me.

You should purge stuff you do not use, love or need first.  Release it to bless someone else. You cannot organize clutter.  Then when you know how you want your space, or zone to work, look for containers.  Try to reuse what you already have.  
DVDS:  We used shoeboxes and plastic shoe box bins for DVDs in the entertainment center. The kids do not knock over piles now, they just pullout their tote and leave the rest alone.
LINENS:  I had ten white dollar store dishtubs from my Mary Kay pedicure party days.  Now they hold our linens and look AWESOME.  I had a linen closet stuffed with sheets, but really I was the only one who knew what was where.  I put white dollar store dish tubs in there, put each person's sheets in a separate tub (two sets per bin) and Labeled them.  Now YOU could go into that closet and change everyone's sheets without a word from me.  Will You?  (PLEASE???)

BATHROOM: I found cool maroon baskets in the Target Dollar aisle, they decorate and organize my bathroom.  
CRAFTS:  I bought five small green bins for the kids crafts stuff at the Dollar store...small enough my three year old can get her crayons out...and PUT THEM AWAY easy peasy independently.   
TOYS:  I labeled cloth bins from Target with Martha Stewart Chalkboard labels, so my 3 year old and 5 year old know where "Doll Clothes" , "Small Toys" and "Dress Up " things go.  They can clean up by themselves this way.  I also labeled their multi bin unit in the toy room, but we still have to go over that together.  Kids can help you clean when you give everything a place.  it is nice to have some MISC  Bins so they can just dump stuff in, it still looks better  tumbled together in a tidy bin than on the floor.

There is no way this won't sound nerdy: Lables are so awesome I asked for a laminator for Christmas.  And had to buy refills yesterday for our label maker my hubby bought.  I have TERRIBLE HANDWRITING and printing off a tidy lettered label means someone other than me can read whatever it says.  You may find that useful.  One of Jenny Layton's tips for labeling is label the bin or tote and also label the shelf where the bin or tote is supposed to go!  That way, if you have a "puzzles' bin and Grandma is baby sitting, she can see it goes on the second shelf of the game closet.  Brilliant.  Warming up the labeler now. After this post I want to label the craft bins and replace my impromptu sticky note labels with pretty printed ones.  

And yes, I do get out much, why do you ask?

There are so many colorful and fun organizing ideas on Pinterest and the Interweb...go find what works for you and start with one trouble spot at  a time.  You may enjoy this post on the Bedroom and organizing it for passionate purposes.  You can also get your paperwork and mind organized with the awesome Mind Organization for Moms I wrote about before.  I'd love to hear your solutions or troubles and offer suggestions...and I'll print labels for you too...you can pay me in booze or cookies, ok?

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