Room-by-Room Organization: Laundry Room

Alas, we are to organizing the laundry room. A room where you likely spend more time that you wish. But having an Laundry Roomorganized laundry room (or space) and an organized process for doing laundry can greatly reduce your time investment in the process.

TIP: Don’t be afraid to get the kids involved. By age 9 all my  kids can do all the laundry!

For the basics, check out Organizing the Laundry Room. Once you have the room organized, create a laundry schedule that works for your family. Ours hasn’t changed much in 10 years. Why? It works!

When you have the room organized and the schedule established it is time to take on some other organization and money-saving laundry room projects. Consider line drying all your clothes. It will cost you a little time, but save you a lot of money. To make up for the time spent line drying clothes, check out the 7 Time-Saving Tips for Doing Laundry. For fun and whimsy (because every room needs a bit of whimsy) consider adding a ladder on which to hang clothes to dry.

Once you have the room looking and running the way you want, jump into the money-saving ideas of making your own laundry soap  and fabric softener. And check out these tips for getting stains out and making your own stain remover.

Room-by-Room Organization: Office

office-organization-ssThe office can be one of the hardest rooms to organize. That is because it is often not really a room! We make an office out of a desk in our bedroom, a trunk in our
family room, a desk in our kitchen, a laptop on our bed…and it can go on forever! This is the space where you pay your bills, where kids do homework, where you finish projects you had to bring home with you, make home school lesson plans, and deal with all the other family business.

So how do you organize a space that may not even be a room? And what about all the “stuff” that gets done in the office? Here are some tips:

Start by Organizing Your Bills. Once you get your bills in order a lot of the rest of the office (and life in general) will flow better. This includes balancing your checkbook, getting out of debt, and saving money. Check out 5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Financial Outlook for more help.

Once you bills and finances are in order, move on to organizing the “stuff” of the office. Consider re-using things like cans, ice cube trays, or even baby food jars to keep staples, binder clips, tacks, etc. organized. Add silverware trays to desk or cabinet drawers for storage of pens, pencils, scissors, etc. If your office has a door or closet use and over-the-door shoe organizer for supplies.

Remember the Habits of Highly Organized People! Don’t let your office desk or space become a collection area for papers. Sort the mail daily and put everything away where it belongs. Consider using the rule of threes  to separate and organized paper into folders or drawers for financial (receipts, bills, etc.), file (anything that needs to be filed), and frugal (coupons and other money-saving offers).

Once your desk and office stuff are organized, move on to the rest of your family papers. Organize your medical records and file them appropriately in your office space. Be prepared for emergencies with a Family Emergency Binder and Plan.

The project of organizing your office space can take an investment of time but it is well worth it!  If you spend 15 minutes a day plus 3 hours on the weekends you will have put 20 hours into this project in one month! With 20 hours you can definitely get your office space and papers well-organized.

Room-by-Room Organization: Bathroom


The first step to an organized bathroom is a clean bathroom. Start by emptying the room of everything. Then follow these simple bathroom cleaning tips. Before you start to put anything away, remember rule #7  of Habits of Organized People – keep flat surfaces clear.

Once your bathroom is clean, you can start organizing.

Consider using pencil boxes to hold things like make-up, brushes,  hair accessories, and other collections of items.

Reuse yeast or baby food jars to hold cotton balls, q-tips, and other small items. Use other glass jars as toothbrush holders and even glasses.

Put an over-the-door shoe organizer on the door to hold things like hair products, curling irons, extra soaps, even cleaning products. Consider cutting these organizers in half and using Command Adhesive or Velcro to hang the smaller organizer inside cabinet doors if you don’t want them out on the bathroom door.

Add dishwashing bins under sinks to hold towels or other toiletries. These can even be used to hold all items used on a daily basis. Then all your daily items are in one place but the bin can be put away under the sink as soon as you are done using it so the counters stay clear.

Room-by-Room Organization: Bedroom Closets

DSCN1325A key to an organized bedroom is an organized closet. And before you ask, no you don’t need to buy expensive closet organizing systems. A few simple tweaks and tips can get your closet in shape quickly.

As you might expect, my favorites of the over-the-door shoe organizer and dishwashing tubs make appearances in closet organizing too. Most homes today com equipped with a bar or wire shelving for hanging long items. However, that is a fraction of most people’s actual clothing and is more than useless for small children.

Check out these simple tips for Closet and Clothes Organizing to get your closets into shape.

Room-by-Room Organization: Bedrooms

Yes, bedrooms are private space, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be organized. From little kids to adults, a few simple techniques D8F_MessyRoomand tips will keep bedrooms neat and tidy.

First, make sure you have ample storage. Kids (and husbands!) won’t put things away if there isn’t plenty of room to do so. Add a dresser or bookcase if needed. Don’t buy these items new! Peruse craigslist and local classified for good quality used items.

Keep the clutter down. As we discussed in The Habits of Highly Organized People, don’t allow a lot of things to pile up on the flat surfaces of dressers or desks. Add bins or baskets – my stand-by of dishwashing tubs or even decorative ones if they will sit exposed – for small or frequently used items.

Consider adding over-the-door shoe organizers to closet and bedroom doors for items like toys, hair accessories, socks & underwear – whatever your particular room needs.

Utilize under-bed storage effectively. Don’t put items that you need everyday under the bed. Make things accessible by purchasing bins on casters or that will roll easily all the way out from under the beds to gain access to things like extra sheets, seasonal decor, memory boxes, or other less-frequently used items. For children, consider keeping things used at bedtime – pajamas, Bible or storybook, favorite animal or blanket, etc. – in bins at the edge of the bed. This can be easily pulled out regularly for daily use but hidden away so it doesn’t matter if the 4-year-old folds his blanket neatly.

In dressers, sort clothes based on use. Add dividers (spring rods or bins) for each type of clothes – one for athletic socks and another for dress socks – that you store in the same drawer. Consider wardrobe style furniture with stackable bins for items you use daily.

For kid’s rooms remember to factor in storage for stuffed animals and toys that aren’t kept in the playroom.

Remember, open floorspace and clean dresser tops makes the room look tidy!

Room-by-Room Organization: Play Room

In our house the play room is the one room that seems to get messier faster than any other place. It is where all the kids gather during 76047-Royalty-Free-RF-Clipart-Illustration-Of-A-Brother-And-Sister-Playing-With-Toys-In-Their-Play-Roomour small group, where the kids go on Saturday mornings before Mom & Dad are up, and in general where chaos happens. But it is possible to keep this room organized. Simple systems that kids can easily use will work wonders. Here are some tips.

Too Many Toys: Keeping the Toys Under Control guide you through sorting toys down to a manageable amount.

We prefer using open bin storage because kids can see what goes where easily. Add a label with words or a picture of the kind of toy that goes into each bin. Of course, dishwashing tubs are my favorite inexpensive bin for this. We have them on sturdy bookshelves. The kids keep all the Legos in one, all the spy-gear in another. The cars get one and the ponies get another. You get the idea. When all the toys are out, everyone takes a bin and fills it and the room is picked up and organized in no time.

Add bins that seal for storage of messy items such as art supplies or play-doh. Plastic file bins work great for this and can often be picked up for less than $5 second-hand. The kids know that they can play with open bin items any time but that they must have permission to get into any bin with a lid.

Another great organizing item for the playroom is a 90s style entertainment center. These can be picked up for under $25 through garage sales and online listings and are great for keeping all the TV, DVD, and gaming stuff corralled and organized. Don’t be afraid to paint, cut, or otherwise customize a second-hand unit to fit your needs.

Don’t spend a lot of money buying storage and furniture for the playroom as the odds are it will be “well-loved”. Invest in sturdy second-hand pieces that can be adjusted to fit the needs of the room as the kids grow up.

Room-by-Room Organization: Family Room

While the formal living room is quickly becoming a thing of the past, the family room is becoming the main family gathering and entertaining space. Because of that, this room cries out for organization more than it used to. Here are some tips…

dresser storageConsider using a dresser or buffet for a TV stand/media center. This will provide a lot of storage for media components as well as things like toys, craft supplies, electronics cords and accessories, or even diapers and wipes for the times of life when you have little kids.

Add a bookshelf for everyday items like Bibles, Kindle or Nook, and current books everyone in the family is reading. You can customize the bookcase by adding fabric backing, using pallet wood for a backing, or adding pops of accent colors through functional accessories. Add baskets for each person to allow everyone to keep small items – electronics, toys, etc. – keeping things out of sight, but still easily accessible.

A blanket chest or trunk can be used as a coffee table and double as an art or office center or be used more traditionally to hold cozy blankets.

With a few hidden storage areas, the family room can be an organized and comfortable room to spend time in together.

Room-by-Room Organization: Dining Room

Whether an eat-in kitchen or a formal dining room, the place where you eat must also be organized. One of the best ways to keep this room neat and organized is to simply pick it up every night after dinner. Assign someone the job of clearing the table and wiping it down. Small children can be assigned to push chairs in.

Consider keeping a set of regularly used items – napkins, salt – on the table. Consider using a Lazy Susan for this purpose.

Bookcase afterEliminate clutter by keeping the table somehow set. You don’t have to have all the dishes out, but keep placemats and a simple centerpiece to remind people this is a table, not a place for clutter to fall.

Consider adding a dresser or bookshelf to the room if you don’t have a hutch or buffet. These can be less expensive options and offer great storage space. You can refinish an old, ugly dresser or add fabric backing to a bookcase to make it match your decor. Use this piece of furniture to store table linens, serving ware, china or other formal dishes, etc.

Room-by-Room Organization: Pantry

A major part of kitchen organization is having an organized and fully stocked pantry. Whether you have a large walk- Pantryin pantry or a small cabinet, keeping your pantry well-stocked and organized will keep your kitchen, and in turn your home, running smoothly.

Pantry Essentials – A complete list of items to keep in your stocked pantry

Pantry Essentials – The Next Steps – How to organize all the stuff you now keep in your pantry

Dishwashing Tub Organization – Using these inexpensive tubs will help keep your pantry items organized. You can use one for paper products (plates, cups, napkins, plasticware, etc.) and another for items like potatoes, garlic, and other produce that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.

Over-the-Door Shoe Organizer – If you have a pantry with a door, consider using and over-the-door shoe organizer for things like plasticware, kids snacks, or even cleaning products.

Tip: If you don’t use it everyday, keep it high. If the kids need access to it, keep it low. Use eye-level shelves for items you need regularly.

Room-by-Room Organization: Kitchen

While the front hall isn’t usually directly connected to the kitchen, the kitchen is the next room people often see when they are in your home. It is true, the kitchen is the heart of the home. When people, family or friends, are in the house, they are more often than not in the kitchen. This room gets used everyday, by many people, and can be a challenge to keep organized if proper systems aren’t in place.

We will tackle the refrigerator and pantry separately, but here are some ideas for getting a kitchen of any size organized:

Family Calendar – this is most likely located in a kitchen area and can be the key to family organization. Use color-coding to make it even more organized and easy to read!

Sort by use – Put things away together based on how you use them.DSCN0641

Keep it handy – Put items you use everyday on counters or in cabinets closest to where you will use them.

Put a lid on it – Store lids in the same area as plasticware either directly in the container or keep all lids together in one container. We keep sippy cup lids and straws in a recycled ice cream tub in the same cabinet as the cups.

Vertical Storage – Try storing baking pans vertically in cabinets by adding spring rods or magazine organizers on their side to keep pans separate and lined up.

Most used recipes – Keep frequently used recipes taped to the inside of cabinet doors for quick and easy, but out of sight, access.

Dishwashing Tubs – Regular readers know I am a huge fan of these inexpensive tubs to keep all kinds of things organized. Try using them in the kitchen to keep smaller items together or in cabinets where you wish you had drawers instead.

Keep all flat surfaces – counters, tables, and chair seats – free of clutter. Resist the urge to set anything out. Check out #7 on the list of Habits of Highly Organized People.

Under Sink Storage – If you must store cleaning bottles etc. under the sink, consider hanging a tension rod and hanging spray bottles off it for easy access.

Next we will tackle the pantry!