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#1 of 32 Old 12-12-2005, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd love to get more organized, our place is seriously messy, but we've got a problem: there's no place to put things. Bookshelves, dressers, closets... we just don't have a lot of those things. It's not that we have too much stuff, we really don't have all that much, but we don't have places to put the things that we have. So how do you organize if you don't have places to put things?

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#2 of 32 Old 12-12-2005, 11:54 PM
 
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If you have the space for bookshelves, try freecycle and see if you can get some. If not, how about wall shelving? We got shelves from Home Depot and dh put them up. They're white pressboard or something (not exactly my area of expertise ) and held up by white brackets. They're not fancy, but the walls are white so they fit well enough. A lot of toys just go on the floor but they are in bins at least. I like these snap lid ones I get from Walmart (sterilite? pearlite? something-ite). They're see through and have lids that even the 3 year old can handle. And they stack really nicely
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#3 of 32 Old 12-15-2005, 07:45 PM
 
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Do you have space above your kitchen cabinets? I bought some square baskets on sale and keep the kids art & craft supplies as well as some favorite kitchen toys in them. Has made a big difference in my kitchen.

HTH and that I get some additional ideas...I always get sort of freaked out about extra "stuff" at this point in the year...

BJ
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#4 of 32 Old 12-15-2005, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Our kitchen cabinets are up against the cieling; I can't reach the top shelves at all, and can only reach the middle ones while climbing on the counters or the stove, which doesn't happen to much now that I'm well into the second trimester of pregnancy.

I'd love to get some wall shelves, but that would require something that we don't have... money, a level, and a stud finder. We'd also need zillions of them... Even regular shelves are so expensive, though, and the "cheap" way to do (wooden planks and cement blocks) it is more expensive than it seems, and dangerous if you've got small kids running around.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#5 of 32 Old 12-16-2005, 01:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
I'd love to get more organized, our place is seriously messy, but we've got a problem: there's no place to put things. Bookshelves, dressers, closets... we just don't have a lot of those things. It's not that we have too much stuff, we really don't have all that much, but we don't have places to put the things that we have. So how do you organize if you don't have places to put things?
Oh my, I could have written this! We have the exact same problem - pretty much one closet in the whole house. No linen closet, no hall closet for coats, no bookshelves -- it's pretty bad and we need some serious help too. Thanks for posting this question. I can't wait to hear what the mamas suggest! I love the basket idea for art supplies in the kitchen.
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#6 of 32 Old 12-16-2005, 02:06 PM
 
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How about under bed storage? But then you'd have to buy something for that. Either plastic bins or cardboard bins that fit under beds.

I can't think of any way to organize things without having *something* to do it in. Do you have anything you could use? Cardboard boxes even? Shoeboxes? If you have a shoestore in your area, try their dumpster. We've gotten nice boxes from our local shoe store dumpster

Do you have an active freecycle in your area?
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#7 of 32 Old 12-16-2005, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We sleep on two twin mattresses on the floor, there is no under-bed area. We've still got things in cardboard boxes, but they get yucky very quickly when you've got two little kids around... And the few plastic storage boxes we have are already quite full.

I will try freecycle... just as soon as I have a computer upon which I can check my email. : Those things (read: stuff that's really useful) tend to go very quickly, and people want them picked up the same day, so it's absolutely impossible when the only way that you can check your email is 2 hours away at your IL's house. *sigh* The crappy computer issue strikes again!

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#8 of 32 Old 12-16-2005, 03:48 PM
 
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Unfortunately, my skills lie more with reorganizing existing storage rather than dealing with non-existant storage. I've avoided buying new furniture like 5 times in the past year by rearranging how I thought things needed to be.

I will say that shelves and containers or just stacked containers work far better than dressers for ease of use. So if you're debating between a bookcase and a dresser (or given the relative costs, 2 bookcases and a dresser) definitely go with the cases.

Laundry baskets also make nifty organization devices, especially for toys, craft projects, and off season clothes. (Except, they too work better with some shelving.)
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#9 of 32 Old 12-17-2005, 12:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
Those things (read: stuff that's really useful) tend to go very quickly, and people want them picked up the same day, so it's absolutely impossible when the only way that you can check your email is 2 hours away at your IL's house.
Try posting a "wanted" (Wanted: bookshelf or wanted : storage bins, etc). Then any replies will only go to you. I ask for things sometimes and am about 50/50 on getting them.

I keep wanting to put my bed on the floor. Get rid of the dustbunnies,
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#10 of 32 Old 12-17-2005, 09:17 PM
 
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My parents used long boards held up with cinder blocks as shelves when they had tons of books and no money for "real" shelves. Garage sales and thrift stores usually are where I get furniture items...

love and peace.

mama to two girls and due in November!
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#11 of 32 Old 12-22-2005, 01:36 AM
 
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The boards and cinder blocks idea.
How about milk crates? Or finding wood to recycle into shelving.
I have the same problem Re: space. I think if I had the time to reorganize and some good stackable storage containers I could make it work.
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#12 of 32 Old 12-22-2005, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Boards are not cheap... at least, I don't know where to find them if they are. Cinderblocks are definately cheap, but once again only if you can find them; in my old town, there was a lumber supply/storeyard literally two blocks from home, and always a guy who was willing to carry the blocks out to the car, but here I'm having a heck of a time finding them. I also haven't been able to find milk crates anywhere for free/cheap; they tend to cost as much as those plastic, small boxes in stores, and I don't have a hook-up with a Turkey Hill delivery guy.

Where do you find this stuff?

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#13 of 32 Old 12-26-2005, 01:35 AM
 
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What about those office storer boxes? You know cardboard kind that comes flat, about 10 or maybe 20? to a box and you fold them yourself. They also have lids to help keep things clean.
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#14 of 32 Old 12-26-2005, 05:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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10 or 20 to a box?! I've only ever seen sets of 3... where do they come from?

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#15 of 32 Old 12-26-2005, 05:48 AM
 
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we have found free wood at a cabinet maker shop. We have found super cheap wood at the Habitat for humanity store. My husband made the boys a super tall bed frame out of found wood and their futon frame, and now we can store laundry baskets under there. that takes care of a lot of it. We get laundry baskets from goodwill
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#16 of 32 Old 12-26-2005, 07:40 AM
 
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I asked dh and he said he bought the archive boxes from the newsagent, and that yes there was 10-15. I'm in Australia though, so maybe they just come in bigger lots here.
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#17 of 32 Old 12-28-2005, 05:08 AM
 
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About the wood -sometimes you can call around and find a recycled wood place or selvage yards..... a lot of towns have them and sometimes you can find neat stuff to get really creative. Also, alot of stores -home depot, osh and mom and pop joints will let you take the wood scraps for free, or at least very cheap. I've built a few wooden bookshelves this way -for under 10 bucks. You have to have the tools though, I suppose...
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#18 of 32 Old 12-28-2005, 02:17 PM
 
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Rynna, I'm pretty sure you've already covered this one, but what I would do is walk around the neighborhood on trash night and find storage units that people are throwing out.

Oye Yemaya oloto
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#19 of 32 Old 12-28-2005, 11:59 PM
 
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I've found a *fantastic* junk shop near me. Some old guy runs it and you'd never want to bring kids in there. He must have four or five football fields worth of junk out back but the inside is an absolute treasure trove for people willing to dig. Nothing is priced, he just looks at your pile and names a price. Anyhoo, I've found oodles of baskets - laundry and woven and lots of other containment vessels - crates, buckets, etc. This place is a tad bit off the beaten path and isn't pretty from the outside. Any chance there's a place like this lurking around? Good luck!

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#20 of 32 Old 12-29-2005, 09:17 PM
 
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This is a strange thought, but for now, maybe getting boxes from a copy store. The paper comes in these pretty sturdy boxes and I am sure they would be happy to get rid of some. If someone says no, ask another employee, or the manager. I would also put the work out to your in-laws. Can't hurt to ask!
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#21 of 32 Old 12-30-2005, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Cardboard boxes are okay temporarily, but my kids tend to dump them out and play in them. We still have quite a few around from our move, but I really want to get away from cardboard if it's at all possible, because things feel messier to me with cardboard boxes around.

Our trash nights are a little different than most communities-- we buy bags from the borough and put them out on the designated day for the neighborhood. Anything that can't fit into a borough bag will only be put out once a year for the annual city cleanup (which they didn't do last year for some odd reason ). At any rate, on *that* night (city cleanup night), that's a great time to go looking for shelving units and useful items. That's how I got the kids' table and chairs, and a small shelf for the bathroom, but like I said last year it didn't happen and the year before that something else was going on (I think I was hugely pregnant ).

I never thought to ask at Home Depot or a sawmill for extra bits... I'm very eager to do that!

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#22 of 32 Old 12-31-2005, 12:11 AM
 
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I would say if you have the space, get some of those "things". If you have no floor space, go to the walls, under the beds, etc. I saw an organizational expert speak and she said the first step to an organized home was to "corral the mess". Baskets, boxes, etc. If your space is less visually cluttered, even if that same mess is hidden, you might feel better.
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#23 of 32 Old 12-31-2005, 05:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
I would say if you have the space, get some of those "things".
Um, if I could just walk into a store and "get some of those 'things'" I wouldn't have posted the question...

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#24 of 32 Old 12-31-2005, 06:28 AM
 
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My first question is what things are the major problems? books? clothing? what is the serious cause of the clutter?

here is what I did/do when we are in the process of getting actual storage items but don't yet have them.

-hang every piece of clothing that is humanly possible to hang-generally hangers are super cheap/people are willing to give them to you etc. I hang all pants/t-shirts everything it gets a ton out of the way-If you can get kid size hangers that helps

-hang string or wire and use clothespins to hang artwork or other small/paper items, this can be done in more areas of the house than you may initially think, at one point I even used several strings etc to keep track of mail-this may cost some money but is usually under $8 (here is is about $2 for a ton of clothespins and about $4 for clothesline/string)

-if you can put hooks of any kind up do so immediately, then use any bags you have with handles to hang on the hooks(even grocery bags and ask family for the big shopping bags with handles etc) this can really help get you organized and you can lable the bags with what should go in them etc. I did this on one wall for a few months-the bags can also go on doorhandles for a temporary fix

-get as many shoeboxes/tangerine boxes as possible

-take books off of shelves and stack neatly in piles along walls, by couches etc. use boxes for other stuff and put those neatly on the shelves, if you can cut the boxes to similar sizes, take off lids etc and buy a can of mistake paint then you can make them look pretty ok while you are working on other stuff even if you have to keep this system for a while

-restaurants may be recycling large glass jars that you could use for eg. my local pizza place gets HUGE jars for olives in glass containers, they are great for canisters, etc the smaller ones are good for cotton balls, random hair items etc and really help organize any odd items they may also have large plastic containers for kids stuff for eg the pizza place also has a supply of ricotta cheese containers that are about 1/2 gallon with lids and work great for a variety of kid activities

-every time you can get a delivery type pizza box that is clean use it to store paper in-my husband drove for a pizza place and they often had clean boxes available-i had a whole filing system that could be labeled with a sharpie-also good for organizing kids "school" papers etc.

best wishes.
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#25 of 32 Old 12-31-2005, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lula
My first question is what things are the major problems? books? clothing? what is the serious cause of the clutter?
We do use lots of hangers now that we have some closets (we moved from a place with *no* closet space to a place with almost-reasonable closet space), but the big problem is books. I have a problem, I tend to pick up free books wherever I see them, and while I use the library for the majority of my new-book fixes, I have still managed to amass a sizeable collection over my lifetime. All of our out-of-season clothing fits more than comfortably into the plastic storage bins that we have, and I keep diapers in a plastic bin as well. I'm not quite sure how we'll keep the kids' clothing organized once #3 arrives and we have three different sizes floating around, we could probably use another dresser or set of bookshelves or something. I dunno, we'll see.

I've got another question-- I can remember seeing closet bars that hung from regular closet bars, so that you had double the amount of room for hanging things. They're not so great for adult-sized clothing, but they'd be perfect for the kids (with the added benefit that they could likely *reach* the lower bar, andbe able to hang some of their own things). Where do those things come from?! If you were going to make one, what would you use?

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#26 of 32 Old 12-31-2005, 09:06 PM
 
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eilonwy-I'm sorry. I did not intend to sound so dumb or ignorant to your post's questions. I guess I thought you meant that you didn't *like* those things like dressers, storage shelves, etc. We have friends, for example, who try to keep a very unclutttered home, and love a clean, modern feel to their space. They don't like those things-dressers, big hacking storage areas. They don't have lots of shelves, either. I can't just order from a catalog or walk into a store either and pick what I want for my home. I'm sorry if I sounded ignorant to a financial concern. I'll shut up now.
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#27 of 32 Old 01-02-2006, 11:11 PM
 
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They usually have this stuff in the 'laundry room' section of dept. stores. Where they sell the laundry baskets and irons etc...If it's for kids clothes (stuff that's not too heavy) you can make one of those lower closet rods out of a broom/mop handle (maybe you have an old/extra one around) and some clothesline. just make 2 loops of clothesline the length you need for the height of the 2nd closet rod and insert the rod into them. If the kids have access to this, maybe drill holes or install metal eyes for the closeline to go through on the bottom rod so that it doesn't fall out with movement. also, I store lots of stuff in laundry baskets--toys, clothes etc. then put them in closets on shelves above for seldomly used stuff or in closets the kids can't/don't get into. We can usually get laundry baskets for 3-7 dollars each. Also, do the books need to be on display?? Do the closets have top shelves? Are the books paperbacks or hard cover or both? Just some thoughts. HTH
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#28 of 32 Old 01-03-2006, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The second closet rod would definately be for the kids; I'm not sure if I could set it low enough for BooBah (that is, if I set it that low, I think that some of her brother's things would drag on the ground) but I know that BeanBean would be able to reach it (and really, that's part of the point).

The books don't need to be on display, but they do need to be up and out of the way, rather than spread out all over the floor. If they're in boxes all over the floor (which is the case now) the kids tend to find them and dump them out all over the place. I'd like for the *kid's* books to be on display, so that they can see them and put them away without making a huge mess, but most of my books can be out of sight. Ideally they won't be, but this is not an ideal world.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#29 of 32 Old 01-03-2006, 08:10 PM
 
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So what *I* would do is take all of your books and stack them on the tops shelves of your closets, like a previous poster said. You can use milk crates, boxes that are on their sides with the open parts facing out, or crates from a selvage yard for small bookshelves for the children's books. This works well because you can line up or stack as many as you want.

You could also wrap the boxes with wrapping paper, or let the kids draw on them to make them look prettier..
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#30 of 32 Old 01-05-2006, 01:16 AM
 
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I wanted to jump in and mention the idea of dishpans. I know that would be an expense, but you can buy them for 97 cents I believe at Walmart (we aren't big fans but in a pinch we do shop there as it is close to home).

I read organizedhome.com pretty regularly and got the idea from there. Attach a pic of the item to the front and it is great for toy storage, in place of drawers for things like socks, bras, undies, etc. You'd still need some sort of shelf system but this is the least expensive way I can think to store the items without using cardboard, unless you can find some free storage vessles on freecycle, etc.
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