How We Store It

posted by Andrea | 04/11/2014

how we store it

I’ve gotten so many random questions about how we store various items in and around our house… so today, I’m sharing a post about how we store “IT”. Obviously, what works for me, for my family, and for our home won’t necessarily work perfectly for you — but maybe it will spark a few ideas for how you might be able to better store and organize your stuff.

One thing I should mention before I get too far into this post is that I try REALLY REALLY hard to limit the amount of stuff we actually need to store.

Last week, I posted a question on Facebook asking if there was any other specific storage questions people had — and it really hit me how much LESS stuff we have than many people when the questions started coming in. People asked about so many items that we honestly don’t have any storage issues with because we just don’t hang onto stuff.

For example, some people asked about sheets and towels — but since we only keep one set of sheets for each bed and very few towels, we don’t have to store the extra. Also, a few people asked about toddler dishes and snack cups — but since Nora usually just uses our regular dishes and we only have 2 snack cups that we rotate, we don’t need to store anything extra.

I’m constantly purging anything we don’t need, use, want, or love. More importantly, I think long and hard before bringing new items into our home. This in itself is a huge help when it comes to staying organized and keeping everything in its place.

And one more thing to think about — even the most organized spaces and the best storage solutions can only hold so much. There comes a point when there is simply no way you can better organize your space to fit more stuff in it — you just need to start purging!

So without further adieu, here’s a VERY random list (in no particular order) of some of the items I’m frequently questioned on.

Stuffed Animals:

We have a bin in the play room for stuffed animals and then Nora keeps a few of her favorites in her bedroom (usually in her bed).

toy storage

Puzzles:

We have less than 10 puzzles right now so we just keep them in a large basket in the play room (see photo above). The basket fits perfectly under our toy cabinet so this works well for now. I’m guessing that as kids get older and we amass more puzzles, I’ll need a better solution (like a puzzle rack??) but for now, this works really well.

Books:

We have one shelf in the living room with all our kids books on it and then one large shelf in the office with all the other books. I color-coded the adult books so they look decorative while also still being easily accessible.

Also, I should mention that we frequently get books from the library so we don’t store lots of books at our house (although our collection does continue to grow as Nora is gifted more and more books!)

books

adult books

CDs and DVD’s:

We honestly don’t have any CD’s! Well, we don’t have any adult CD’s. I rarely ever listen to music and when I do, I just choose to listen to the radio or to Pandora. Dave has all his songs on his MP3 player.

We do have about 5 kids CD’s right now and we keep those up in the play room by Nora’s “boombox”.

As for DVD’s we don’t have many, but what we have are stored in a cute basket that sits on our TV cabinet. (yes, that picture below is from Christmas time!)

dvds

Extra Cords:

We have an over-the-door shoe organizer in our office closet that we use for office supplies and some of our charging cords. We also have another over-the-door shoe organizer in an upstairs storage closet. We use that organizer for all our extra cords that we don’t use regularly but still want to keep handy. It works SO well and keeps things nicely organized while still allowing us easy access to any cord we need.

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Winter Gear:

We live in Michigan — a.k.a. the land of the never-ending winter! We actually still have a few piles of snow on the ground in our back yard — and yes, it’s April 11! So needless-to-say, we have LOTS of winter gear!

We keep the gear that Nora wears all the time on a few hooks by the back door — everything else (mostly Dave and my gear) is in an armoire by the front door. It’s not a perfect solution, but since we don’t have any closets by any of our entry doors, it’s the best we can do for our house and it’s honestly working find for us right now.

We realize that as our kids get older, we’ll need more room — so we do have plans for a mudroom off our back door (yes, I’m just a little excited about that!) I’m hoping to implement those plans sooner rather than later… but until then, we’ll continue to use our make-shift mudroom!

our mudroom

Batteries:

We use mostly rechargeable batteries so we don’t have a ton of extras sitting around. But the batteries we do store are in a decorative shoe box on our office shelf. We keep all the batteries and the charger right in that box. We put the batteries waiting to be charged in a zip-top bag. This system is not fancy at all, but it works well for our needs and keeps batteries very easily accessible without being an eye-sore.

batteries

Cleaning Supplies:

I have one bathroom cleaning bucket that I keep in the laundry room cabinet and then a few kitchen cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink. I also keep rags, dust cloths, and laundry soap in the laundry room cabinets — but that’s about it.

I really pared down my cleaning supplies a couple years ago and basically use vinegar and baking soda to clean most of the things in and around our house.

bathroom cleaning bucket

Christmas Decorations:

We have 1 bin of Christmas decorations, 1 bin of ornaments/lights/tree trimmings, and 1 bin of greenery. These bins are stored on the shelves in our basement. We also have a few different trees and we just store them (fully assembled with lights on) in a back room of our basement.

I’ve often debated about getting rid of our artificial trees and purchasing a real tree each year. This would save us a bunch of storage space — but since we really don’t need or use that space for anything else, I figure we’re saving a bunch of time, energy, money, and mess by sticking with our artificial trees.

Off-Season Clothing:

We live in Michigan so you might think we have a lot of off-season clothing to store, but the truth is, we store ALL our clothing in our bedroom closet and dressers.

Neither Dave or I are big shoppers so we don’t have mass amounts of clothing — and we both wear lots of layers, so we often wear our “summer” clothing in the winter months with another lay or two on top.

Here’s a post with lots more information about how we deal with clothes clutter.

Kid’s Clothes:

I’ve already done a really long post detailing how exactly we store kids clothing. However, I should also mention that I‘m not really a huge advocate for “hoarding” mass amounts of out-grown kids clothing unless you currently have another child who you’re waiting to pass things down to.

In my experience, kids clothing is so easy to find for super cheap (or even free) that it really doesn’t pay to waste loads of storage space unless you know for sure you’ll be passing it down to a younger sibling.

That’s the list I have for now. 

If there’s something else you’re wondering how we store, ask in the comments. If it’s a quick answer, I’ll try to answer it or I’ll hopefully be able to direct you to a previous blog post :)

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Filed under: HomeOrganizingStorage

 
 

18 comments

  1. Melissa D.

    04/11/2014

    As I was organizing this morning, I thought of your FB post asking about what people would like to see organized and realized I forgot to ask! Glad I still have the chance! I am wondering about how you store (albeit temporarily) the weekly coupons and flyers that you plan to use that week? I know you’re not a big shopper, but even the coupons that can be used in the next month or so that are on the bigger side? Love your ideas above! Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Sara Reply:

    I’ll piggyback onto this and ask about mail clutter. I go through the mail daily but there are always some things I put aside to look at later. Currently that is a pile on the kitchen counter, not ideal!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — well you’re not going to like my answer. I’d say, don’t wait until later and just look through them now (or at least at the end of every day). Then you’ll never have that pile. I’m guessing it would only take a minute or two to quickly look through, trash, recycle, file, etc. every piece of mail each day.

    However, I’m really in a “do in now” mindset after yesterday’s post :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hey Melissa, We actually don’t get the paper anymore so I just look at the store ads online (no need to store them anywhere!) I also only go to one store so that helps too.

    As for the coupons, here’s my post about how I organize those: http://andreadekker.com/organized-coupons/

    [Reply]

  2. Evie

    04/11/2014

    Hi Andrea, thanks for this. Right now my biggest problem is where to store paint! Within the last year, I’ve painted the outside and about half the inside of my house. I’ve got partial gallons of two kinds of primer, partial gallons of outdoor and indoor paint, six or seven sample pots of paint, and the related paint tray, roller, brushes, stir sticks and what have you. I don’t have a garage, basement, or outbuildings, so it has to find a dedicated spot inside the house OTHER than the hall bathroom where it all is stashed “for now.” Should I put these things in bins to store in the bottom of a closet, line them up under the bathroom sink, clear a pantry shelf for them, or what? I can’t figure out what would make the most sense. Also, do you know if paint has to be stored in the can it came in, or if it could it be put into some kind of containers that would take less space? Thanks for your thoughts on this.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    We store all our paint in a small cabinet in the basement. You can see our basement storage in this post.

    And yes, I definitely think it’s OK to take it out of the original container — I do this all the time. Just make sure to save the paint code so if you ever need to match the color, you can!

    [Reply]

    Allie Reply:

    I like to store extra paint in old peanut butter jars. Easy to open for touch ups.

    [Reply]

    Evie Reply:

    Andrea and Allie, thanks for the tips! I can’t wait to “compress” all that paint and get it out of the bathroom to a place of its own at the bottom of my pantry!

    [Reply]

  3. Roxanne

    04/11/2014

    I would love to know how you store food storage materials- do you use reusable containers or throw-away plastic bags/tinfoil, etc. We currently have a cupboard devoted to our tupperware/plastic containers that is relatively well-organized, but depending on what I’m trying to store sometimes the shapes and sizes can be awkward to work with and I find myself saying, “I sure could use a gallon-size bag/some seran wrap/a flatter container right about now…” Do you ever wash out plastic bags to re-use to store soup or broth? What other innovative solutions do you have for all your make-ahead needs? Thanks in advance :-)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    You’ll find all that information in this post: http://andreadekker.com/i-heart-organized-drawers/

    And yes, we SOMETIMES save the large yogurt tubs to send leftovers home with friends or family members — but only a few and then I recycle or trash the rest. And no, I don’t wash plastic bags. My mom always did that (she still does) and for some reason, it always grossed me out so I said I would never do that :)

    [Reply]

  4. Sandra

    04/11/2014

    We have snow still too so don’t feel too bad!

    Sandra

    [Reply]

  5. Sandra

    04/11/2014

    Also,

    I’ve been inspired!

    I discovered an awesome method to clean tubs – probably showers as well -

    Mix about .5 cup vinegar with 1 cup mostly boiling water. Add 1 TB spoon brown sugar. Mix.
    Then I added about 2 TB spoons Dr. Bronners (peppermint) soap. Mix. Works like a charm

    [Reply]

  6. Hannah

    04/11/2014

    Hi Andrea,

    I am a long-time reader and a first-time commenter – love your blog! I don’t have any issues with organization (quite the opposite – anyone who has seen my apartment knows I am a “neat freak”! ), but lately I have been struggling with food storage containers. I used to get the Ziploc or Glad containers, but thy drive me NUTS because the water settles into those little lips (where the lid clips on) in the dishwasher or dish draining rack and I waste so much time trying to completely dry them. I switched to a brand that has clip-on lids, which I was liking more, but the little rubber strips inside the edge of the lid have started falling out and they are not very durable. I am tired of spending money on new containers. I know you do a lot of freezing and storing, so my question for you is: What brand of food storage containers do you recommend?

    Hannah

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Hannah! I totally know what you mean about the storage containers. Honestly, I don’t have a specific brand or storage containers I use exclusively. I do have a lot of older Tupperware brand products that I like (most of them are from garage sales). But I will admit that I also have a good amount of the cheapy “Ziploc” and “Glad” containers. They do need to be dried off, but I guess it doesn’t bother me that much :)

    [Reply]

  7. Ellen

    04/15/2014

    If you store batteries in the fridge they will last longer. :) In room temperature they will always lose some charge even if your not using them! It doesn’t matter as much with rechargeable but it still makes a difference, no matter how stupid it might sound.
    My father has always kept an empty ice cream box (2 litre) in the back of the fridge filled with batteries. :) (In my apartment it’s a box the size of a small cup… i don’t really need that many batteries.)

    [Reply]

  8. Joy

    04/16/2014

    Hi, Andrea.

    I love to organize and it just frustrates me if there are stuff I’m not able to put in their proper places. :) I would like to ask, where do you put your Nora’s undies? My 2-year old was given lots (and I mean lots) of undies on her 1st birthday. Most of them are big for her age, although she can use some now. I’m keeping them in one of her drawers but I’m not satisfied with the way it looks, still cluttered. :(

    Thank you so much for taking the time. Following you, by the way. :)

    Joy

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Nora still isn’t potty trained so we don’t have this issue…. but again, I think it all comes back to the fact that we really don’t need that much stuff. Do you really NEED all that underwear? If not, I’d suggest getting rid of what you don’t need and chances are, you might not have a storage problem anymore.

    We were planning to potty train Nora a while ago, but she’s very stubborn and not at all interested so she just purposely pees in her pants every time :) That said, we only have about 7 pairs of underwear right now. I figure that since I do laundry every couple of days, we really don’t need much more than that. Even for myself, I only have a few pairs and just wash and wear again :)

    On final thought, I’m always an advocate for function over form — so if your system is working well and just doesn’t LOOK nice, that would be totally OK in my book. However, if the system isn’t working for you, then it might be time to evaluate if you really need everything — and if you do, then look into other storage options (like drawer organizers).

    Hope this helps.

    [Reply]

    Joy Reply:

    Thank you so much for this. Yes, it does! :)

    [Reply]

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