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Household Organization Advice Needed – Please!

Household Organization Advice Needed – Please!

I was organized. I promise things have a place in my home and more likely than not they are in that place. It’s just my husband and I at home so keeping up with the chores is usually not a big deal. I’m not a meal planner but after years of marriage and cooking for a family of five I can create a meal out of what we have at home. I love the nightly exercise in creativity. When my kids were young they used to ask if we were having a recipe or an invention for dinner. Most nights, even with young children, we had invention.

Then it happened…a family emergency. My daughter, her husband and their three little girls needed to temporarily move in with us. There are plenty of bedrooms and beds in my house, but storage for extra clothes and toys is apparently lacking. My house sounds like a chorus of little girl laughter and I love that. But, my house looks like a freight train just ran through it. I’m not so sure I’m thrilled about that part, but the most important thing is to maintain the melody of little girl laughter.

The organization systems I’ve counted on aren’t working. Life is like that I guess. Just when you think you have it figured out, life throws you a curve ball – a new baby, a new job, or something that seems simple like the start of your child’s soccer season.

Two days ago we got a call from a realtor (did I mention that through all of this our house is for sale?) to ask if he could show our house in a couple of hours. My son-in-law and I whipped into action to pick things up. There are very creative hiding places when you need to ditch “stuff” in a hurry…the back of the downstairs closet, the clothes dryer, the laundry hamper and even the back of the car. The house looked great when the realtor got here and it looked great when we all came back home after the showing. And within minutes every “hidden object” was back in full sight. The girls needed their toys and their blankets from home, the baby needed a clean diaper, and it was time to get those sparkly counters messy with that night’s invention.

Toys organized in a bin

Are you generally an organized person? Which parts of your day are the most hectic? Where could you use some new strategies? Do you have organizational advice for others? Do you have any household organizational advice for me? Please!



  1. Heather February 4, 2014 at 9:18 am

    I love that you prioritize the “melody of little girl laughter” over an organized house. That is exactly how it should be. And, in my opinion, there is no better noise in the world than the giggles of young children!!
    My go-to organizing tip is baskets. I got a bunch of large baskets at either Home Goods or the craft store and put one in almost every room. Make sure you get large ones. It makes it easy to do a sweep of the room and just dump it all in one basket after my daughter goes to bed. Every week or so we go through them and return things to where they really belong. My house is still messy, but at least that helps to hide the mess. 🙂

  2. Ruth February 4, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Heather your big basket advice is perfect for our situation. I’m going to run out and get some this afternoon. Not only will the baskets help with day to day clutter they will also help when its time to show our house. Can you imagine how easy it will be to just pop those baskets in the car? Perfect! Bring on the baskets and the “melody of little girl laughter”.

  3. Stacy Erickson February 10, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Hi Ruth!

    My friend sent me this blog post!

    I am a Professional Organizer specializing in child and family environments.

    I have a lot of organizational advice, of course, but I’m wondering what the biggest areas of challenge are for you. Toys? Toy storage? Clothes?

    For toys, I usually find that putting half of the stuff that is out away in a storage area is helpful, because then children are able to focus better and clean stuff up more easily on their own. Yes, I know that putting away half of the toys sounds dramatic, but parents are always so impressed by the calm that they gain after they do this!

    I also tell people to keep things simplified enough so that it doesn’t drive you crazy. Instead of oversorting toys, keep all the dolls and animals together, play food and dishes together, etc–and make sure that the baskets you keep them in are only about half full.

    You can visit my blog for more information–there’s a lot on there!

    <3 Stacy

    • Ruth February 11, 2014 at 11:21 am

      Hi Stacy,
      Thank you so much for your advice. I love your advice about not oversorting toys. I think I sometimes try to go overboard with organization. You’ve given me a new way to approach the problem. I’m going to give it a try and I’m headed to your blog right now.

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