Getting things back in order

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One of our members wrote in with a question. This is actually a problem that most of us have, at least from time to time, so I am answering it here –

I have still a neat clean and tidy house but my storage spaces are in disarray. If I take something out I am often in so much of a rush these days to put it back properly . Sometimes I am really exhausted and it is like climbing a mountain to do that regularly and I just don’t know how to find the time and energy to restore everything to order. Everyone always tells me that I look after the house and it is always presentable which is true but I need to get a grip on the storage spaces as this problem is becoming overwhelming.I find it difficult to stow things away and then I maybe can’t find them..I have had (chronic condition) which is a contributing factor. I need to get things back to normal, but it seems an impossible task. Closets and drawers for clothes are disastrous, and my pantry is in need of a de-junk. I would really appreciate any pointers for getting the disorder back into order, feeling a bit overwhelmed and takes me ages to find things!

Can you relate?

First, I want to get something out of the way.

Let’s face it, for most of us the excuse is “I don’t feel like it.” To which I would normally reply, “Too bad, do it anyway.” I tell myself that all the time.

However, in this case, this member works all day, comes home, makes dinner, cleans up, and has a chronic condition. She truly is a SuperWoman. Sometimes that one extra thing is just too much.

In that case, you have a couple of choices –

Do it as soon as you feel up to it, or

Ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help.

Here is the rest of my really long answer…

The first step towards getting things back in order is to just do a little at a time. One area. One cabinet. One drawer. A bunch of little steps will get your farther than no steps because you’re just too overwhelmed.

Purging should be a regular practice.

  • Go through the fridge weekly.
  • The pantry, every month or two.
  • Drawers and closets, every spring and fall when you are changing out your seasonal clothes.

Now keeping things organized is another thing…

Going forward, when faced with the “I don’t feel like it” bug, remind yourself what happens. The best example for most homes is the cabinet with the plastic containers. That space seems to get the most disorganized the fastest.

Organizing your plastic containers

Yes, it seems like a pain to take the stack out, put the container in its right place… But weigh that couple of seconds against what it looks like in a few days when you just throw things in there. Do you really want to have to go thru having to totally reorganize the cabinet again?

Pots and pans seems to be another hot spot. I am in the habit of stacking my pots and pans, (I put a paper towel in between to keep them from getting scratched up.) but there are stackers if you just can’t seem to get yourself to do it.

Pantries are another hotbed.

You go to the store, come home, and you’re tired.

You just shove stuff in the pantry.

Now you can’t find anything.

Your first step is to purge any thing you are not going to use, or is expired even though you had good intentions…

I like to use stackers for the canned goods. It makes it so much easier to see what you have, and get to it.

Keep like things together, like baking supplies. Since we don’t bake everyday, those things can go on an upper lower shelf, not at eye level where you would keep the things you use most often.

To make it even easier, you can keep those items in a bin so you can easily pull it out and get to whatever you need. It can be as simple as wire bins like these,

Or it can be as fancy as you like using canvas bins.

And lazy susans are a great solution too.


Pegs are a great solution for coats, backpacks, umbrellas, mops, brooms…

The whole key to successful organizing is to make it easy to maintain.

When you’re looking at an area that seems to fall into disarray more often, ask yourself how you can make it easier to put things away correctly.

When my daughter was young, I had bookshelves along every available wall space, and bins on all the shelves. She had a bin for her little toy dogs, one for cars, one for …. well you get the idea.

We always had a house full of kids. Only one was mine, but our house was the hang out spot.

We had Nintendo and movies in the front room

There was art supplies in the dining room.

Toys and games that rarely got played with in Emma’s room.

In the back office was the computer and of course, computer games.

There were kids from one end of the house to the other.

You would think the house would be a mess. It wasn’t.

It was a rule that if they wanted to hang out there, they had to put things away.

And I had to make it easy for them to do that.

In the dining room I had a big Rubbermaid bin stashed in a corner. Inside that in were plastic shoe boxes for crayons, colored pencils, glue, scissors, and such. There was also plenty of paper and coloring books.

The TV, VCR, stereo, movies and CDs were housed in the armoire. See the wicker basket? That is where the Nintendo system was hidden. (As you can see, I’m not a fan of minimalism…)

I used these inexpensive shelving systems all through the house. In Emma’s rooms, in the play areas, and even in the kitchen. I have a friend who is installing them all around his garage. He’s using the wire shelves. Those are great in a laundry room because you can hang hangers on them.

I even used these shelves to make a plant wall.

And you might have noticed the decorative wood shelves. I like using those because you can change out the stuff on them. Especially handy during the holidays!

To sum it up –

Staying organized is a combination of –

  • The right mindset – put it away now
  • Make it easy to put things away
  • Purge often

And when things do get out of control, tackle it a little at a time.

I hope this helps!

(Disclosure – The links above are affiliate links. I will receive a few cents on purchases made thru those links.)

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1 thought on “Getting things back in order

  1. Scotsgal

    Hi Carole,
    Thank you very much fort his very useful post. I really do like the way that you offer simple tips. This will help me get a head start on preparation for this busy time of year-pandemic permitting!


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