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Simple Storage Solutions

by - Thursday, September 06, 2012

With all the basement cabinetry in place, I've been gettin' my organization on. Its not only the basement too. With new pantry space in the basement, I've been able to free up room in the kitchen. And with the  cooler weather coming, I've started the seasonal switch with our clothes and packing up Chloe's small clothes for her cousins or goodwill. Let's just say the whole house is in chaos as I move things around but it feels more orderly too, if that makes sense.

Do you like seeing inside people's cupboards? Since I admitted to being a closet hoarder, I won't show you everything - just the cupboards that are now neat and pretty ;)

We've gained lots of storage space in the laundry room and I'm using one of the cupboards as a pantry. Finally, I can stock up on pasta sauce or cereal when it comes on sale! I still need to figure out a system, but I've got shelves for dry goods, extra spices and the bottom shelf is for baking supplies.

As you can see, my love affair with mason jars continues. I bought some 250 ml and 500 ml ones - at around $10 for a dozen (Canadian Tire!), you can't go wrong. Plus, I can now easily tell when there are drastically low levels of chocolate chips in the house ;)

Will all this stuff moved downstairs, the upstairs kitchen cabinets gained some breathing room. I used to have the spices sitting on a revolving rack on the counter. But I always hated that rack - it used up valuable counter space and the spices were sitting in the sun from the side windows all day. I went through the spices, tossed the ones I never ever used (like cumin. never used. not once) and bought one of those tiered height expandable thingamajiggys so I could see all the remaining spices at once. And just like the junk drawer overhaul, I suddenly felt like I got some control back. Like I could breathe. Like my cooking got just a little bit better. Crazy.

All the fun organizing is happening in the toy zone though. I went around the house like a mad woman, gathering up Chloe's wayward toys. Puzzles, lego, Play-doh, trains, cars, instruments... everything went  down to the new Toy Zone. 

I'm hoping that if I give Chloe a place to put things, she'll keep it neat and organized. Wishful thinking??

The clear bins are all from Ikea. I specifically chose clear bins for a few reasons:
  • Chloe can see all her belongings now which hopefully will entice her to want to use them more often. It helps her to remember what she has available too and she can create with different mediums.
  • She can see just how much she has. I want her to learn that she is fortunate to have so many things, and also to learn that she doesn't need more.
  • The bins are lightweight and she can get them out and put them away (most of them, anyway) herself. Yay for being independent! Plus, she's more free to create when the mood strikes her. No waiting for mom to dish out the crayons anymore :)
  • Finally, I want to encourage Chloe to be uber organized. Pretty storage containers make you want to be organized, right? Does that really work with 3 year olds??

I want Chloe to have her own space and own things in the basement. Its going to be a place we spend a lot of time as a family so it should function and meet all of our needs. That's the plan anyway. Why do I get the feeling I'll still be the one to clean up the markers and toy trains at the end of the night?

How do you stay organized? Any tips or tricks you want to pass on? I still have dozens of messy cupboards yet to tackle!

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  1. dpirraglia12:53 PM

    Just wondering where you picked up those clear spice jars with the silver lids! Thanks.

  2. Ericka Muldowney12:53 PM

    I agree with you on this idea - that using those bottle containers can do the trick when it comes to saving up storage space. I love the idea because it makes looking for things much easier while using less storage space. Although it is just a small-scale storage arrangement, I'm sure your readers will learn from this! 

    Ericka Muldowney

  3. barbara @hodge:podge12:59 PM

    You have been busy! I too LOVE clear bins for organizing and am starting to dig out my mason jars as well. You know what I discovered? Martha Stewart labels at Staples....gosh everything is getting a label. I even bought chalkboard labels. I had painted on squares of chalkboard on my bins but this is WAAAAY easier.
    When my kids were little I used clear bins for their toys and I had a picture of what belonged inside taped to the front with the word below. That way they knew what went inside when it was time to clean up and they learned a few words while they were at it!
    I am in the midst of two room switcheroo, with my son being a typical boy who collects "stuff" That is where baskets come in handy, so you corral the "stuff" without having to look at it through bins!

  4. ramblingrenovators12:59 PM

    Yes, I'll have to get labels on Chloe's bins. She's starting to read so good way to get some word/object association in there. I love the Martha labels too!

  5. ha ha, it must be a Leaside bug because I've been doing the same thing in our house! I just bought a bunch of Mason jars, Martha Stewart labels (love her Staples line!!), and put in all the bulk spices I have in there. On that note, I use cumin a lot when making tex mex stuff (like guacamole) or indian food. I'm in the process of going through our clothes and ready to donate stuff we haven't worn in years (I found my old highschool prom dress in our downstairs closet! crazy!!), and putting James' clothes that he outgrew in clear boxes too. I LOVE clear jars/boxes! where did you get those clear containers for Chloe's crayons and pens? I think those are great, but haven't seen them at IKEA.
    On a slightly different organization note, I have 9 adults and 2 kids flying in and staying at our next week for James' christening (yikes!!), so I've been baking/cooking like crazy and freezing things to make my life easier. Things like blueberry bars, breakfast burritos (just pop in the microwave for a minute or two for a healthy and filling breakfast when you're in a rush), cornbread muffins, etc. It makes me breathe so much easier knowing I don't have to run around next weekend cooking, decorating, cleaning, etc.!

  6. ramblingrenovators12:59 PM

    Don't throw out the prom dress! Its vintage! :) The small clear boxes are actually for holding tea bags, I think. I found them in the kitchen organization section.

    You're good. I never ever seem to get ahead of the curve and have freezer meals on the ready.

  7. OurWiredLives12:59 PM

    Currently, I don't feel very organized because I keep trying to reuse baskets that I've had forever. Nothing matches or fits the space it's in. One thing I've done that I like is to cut cardboard to fit my dresser drawers to organize the rows of socks. When I'm ambitious, I even cover them with colorful electrical tape.

  8. ramblingrenovators12:59 PM

    I know what you mean! It seemed a shame but I had to toss out some of my mismatched baskets/containers too. They were weird sizes that didn't really fit what they were supposed to fit and just ended up making things look more messy.

    Cardboard dividers - brilliant idea!

  9. Looks great! I totally understand how exciting that can be as I am an organize freak. We use cumin all the time over here. A little bit is great when we make homemade burgers or in the marinade for BBQ chicken or steak. Even on fish.

  10. ramblingrenovators12:59 PM

    Organized freaks unite! :) Darn, I shouldn't have thrown out that cumin!

  11. ramblingrenovators1:02 PM

    The thing about mason jars... there's always some left over to use for other projects :)

  12. cassie {hi sugarplum}1:02 PM

    I love your use of mason jars!! I need to get on that! I overhauled my pantry (finally) -- and I'm crazy in love with it. Organizing does that to me :)

  13. Mel Gallant1:03 PM

    just saw your response below - thanks!

  14. Mel Gallant1:03 PM

    where do you get those spice racks? IKEA or ...?


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