Keeping the tension rod theme going for one more week, if you place 2-3 vertically in a cupboard, in a row front to back, it will create the perfect storage area for cookie sheets, pans, serving trays, cutting boards, basically anything narrow and long. Easy to grab and easy to put away.
So how’s the cupboard that contains your cleaning products? A little messy? Hard to maneuver? Are you tired of pulling out random sprays trying to find the exact one you’re looking for in order to treat that stain you just noticed on your carpet before it sets in for the rest of the carpet’s life? Or the sprays you need to clean the bathroom in the 5 minutes you have while the kids are distracted? Or, for the super healthy people out there, the all natural spray you need to use before you devour the organic fruits and veggies you just bought at the local farmers market? If you have said, “YES!” to any of these examples, here’s the tip: put a tension rod across the cupboard and hang some of those spray bottles on it. Not only can you place like with like (#1 tip always) but it will also free up ground space for other items that are kept in that cupboard.
Or, if you’d rather completely free up a cupboard for another need you may have, hang a shoe organizer on the back of a door and put your cleaning supplies in there. OR, if you don’t have a door where this makes sense and need to use a cupboard, simply cut the shoe organizer to the appropriate length and attach it to the inside of the cupboard door (command hooks or something of the like will work to hold it on the door).
Whichever is your style, any of these will be an improvement over having the bottom of your cupboard completely covered with spray bottles that all look exactly the same.
When you organize a space, it’s so tempting to fill every available space possible and make it all look neat and tidy, and that’s great, but what happens when new things come in and need a home? Uh oh. Sure, your pantry looks great now that you’ve finished organizing it, but what happens when you go grocery shopping next week and new boxes, jars and food items need a space on the shelf? Yes your closet is neat and organized and every space is full and it looks so pretty and wonderful, but what happens when you buy a new sweater or a new pair of pants?
Here’s the tip – you have to leave a “buffer” zone when you organize. Don’t try to fill every nook and cranny. Leave some room. Spread things out so the space looks full but always allow enough space so you can push things together, or down, or back, or aside, to create more space when (and it’s definitely “when”) you need it. Or better yet, if it’s possible have an entire shelf, drawer or some other surface space to place new items until you can swap out the older items they’re replacing.
The goal is to always keep the space organized (yes yes yes!) but it’s not going to stay the exact same way forever. If you’ve hired a professional organizer in the past you know this already. Items come and items go; new books get bought, old out-of-date clothes make way for new trendier items, new make up gets experimented with, shoes change with the seasons. So, in anticipation of this ever-changing life we live, always try to leave that buffer zone when you can. In doing this your newly organized space will have a better chance of beating the odds and actually staying organized.
Here’s another tip for parents (or future parents, or grandparents, guardians, foster parents… if you have kids in your home or plan on it happening in the future, read this blog). Kids love them some independence (as a nanny I see this on a daily basis). One of the ways you can help them establish this is to put their cups, plates, bowls, even their cereal boxes, in a lower cupboard so they can reach them. That way, as they begin to enter the “I can do it!” phase they really will be able to do it! And, as an added bonus, you don’t have to worry about them climbing up on the counter and knocking things off or over or falling off themselves.
Short and sweet, just like the kiddos in your life…. hopefully.