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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

Creative Ways to Get Organized

May 27, 2016 02:56PM ● By Ronda Alvey

Outside the Box

June 2016
By Kimberly Bonéy

Summertime – the unofficial recess from the rat race of the school year. The time for leisurely trips to the lake, later-than-usual bedtimes, and getting all those tasks that slipped into the “to do later” pile done before the whole routine sets in again come fall. And why shouldn’t you be able to enlist the help of a few extra pairs of hands while you organize your household? Take the customary dread out of the process by finding creative ways to repurpose some items you have lying around the house. We like to call it organizing outside of the box.

Mason Jars- Having long been the safe keepers of your garden’s bounty and decadent homemade jams, mason jars are good for far more than just storing fruits and veggies. Use them in the pantry to house tea bags and cookies. It’ll cut down on the clutter of the original packaging and preserve freshness. Corral cotton balls, Q-tips, make-up brushes, bobby pins and razors in the bathroom. They are perfect for your craft room or workshop, neatly compartmentalizing everything from color pencils and paint brushes to nails, nuts and bolts. 

A Breadbox- Sure, they’re ideal for keeping your kitchen counter free from the endless bags of bread, hot dog and hamburger buns that are inevitable during the warm summer months. But don’t overlook an old breadbox as the perfect place to stow medicine bottles, toiletries or make-up on the bathroom counter. Just make sure they are out of reach of your littles. If you detest a tangle of electrical cords, drill a large hole in the back of a wooden breadbox, place a multi-plug power cord inside and it’s instantly transformed into a charging station for electronics on your nightstand or the side table in your living room.

The Glassless Frame- You know—the one your kiddo nailed with the Hot Wheel car a year ago that you can’t bring yourself to part with. Make sure it’s sturdy enough to take some pressure with a staple gun, pick up some chicken wire from the hardware store, cut a piece to fit the dimensions. Voilà! You now have your own handy dandy wall display for earrings. Use larger glassless frames with a few clothespins in your home office to display photos, notes or mail. If you don’t feel like your frame could withstand the stapling process, float it around other frames you have on the wall to add extra dimension, color and style to a room.   

 That Old Steamer Trunk- Yes—the one that’s hiding in the garage, holding all of those family heirlooms, pictures and paperwork you’ve kept over the years.  Pull it out, dust it off, redistribute the contents to shelves, photo albums, scrapbooks or a plastic bin and bring that beauty out to play in your living room as a coffee table. It’s ideal for storing blankets, throw pillows, board games and kids’ toys and it’s a cool conversation piece, too. Steamer trunks work perfectly at the foot of the bed to store any off-season clothing and accessories until the weather changes, freeing up valuable real estate in your closet. What better way to honor our loved ones than to use and love the stuff they treasured so much? 

A Chest of Drawers or File Cabinet- There is nothing more functional than a tall, slender chest of drawers or a file cabinet. Consider putting one in the bathroom for handy access to clean towels, toilet tissue or your collection of smell-good lotions and body mists. Give your kitchen added space for plastic storage containers, paper products, dishtowels, placemats, cutting boards and baking tins. Kids’ rooms, notorious for corners amassed with toys, get an instant upgrade—and more space—once toys are organized and stowed in drawers. Save your entryway from becoming a catch-all for everyone’s stuff by designating a drawer for each family member. Encourage everyone to check their cubby for anything that needs to be taken with them for the day or redistributed to their rooms at night. Sanity: restored. 

Your Old Magazine Rack- In this age of online media, we don’t often feel the need to keep paper versions of our favorite magazines. Give that lonely magazine rack a new lease on life. Use it in the kitchen to store baking sheets and cook books. Move it into the kids’ room to organize their favorite books. Repurpose it as a craft caddy to store yarn, fabric or scrapbooking supplies. It’s a good place to store your laptop for easy access in the den or living room so your couch or coffee table doesn’t become a perpetual stowing station. Relegate it to the bathroom for a unique way to hold towels and washcloths. Need a safe yet functional storage for your old record collection? Look no further than your old magazine rack. 

Getting organized can feel like a daunting task. But with an open mind, a few tools and a touch of creativity, you can set your family up for success, leaving more time, space and energy to enjoy life together.