I have always felt the month of August offers a great opportunity for renewal. It must be the back-to-school mentality that I never grew out of–the one that to this day makes it difficult for me to walk down a school supplies aisle without wanting every marker, pen, and notebook. “You have 100 unused notebooks at home!!” I tell myself, as I reach for a new planner that will CERTAINLY get my life on track. Whatever the impulse may be, I know I am not alone in wanting to refresh, renew, and re-organize this time of year. In particular, I know those of you with families and kids actually going back to school can relate. As this month catapults us into a new phase of the year, we here at EHD got to thinking about the systems that make us feel more organized. What are the pain points and how do we alleviate them? We all brainstormed some simple ideas that can be implemented easily so without further ado, let’s get organized:
Organize Sandwich Bags For Easier Lunch Prep
Kitchen drawer organization feels (and looks) oh so good. We all want the peace of mind that comes with opening a drawer and seeing everything has a place. But drawers are often sneaky little monsters because you can have a designated utensil drawer but throwing lose utensils in a drawer isn’t going to feel organized at all. This is why we have utensil holders and drawer dividers. A drawer isn’t as useful or organized without a little help to keep all the little things in their rightful place.
Now if you feel like one drawer has been driving you a little mad, I think I might be able to guess which one. The dreaded sandwich bag drawer is one I battle with every day. The boxes don’t fit quite right, it’s a constant game of Tetris, and they make prying the drawer open an actual workout. If this is a situation you can relate to, it might be time to decant the bags and put them in one of these simple yet so effective organizers:
1. Silicone Ziplock Bag Organizer for Kitchen Drawer | 2. Acrylic Kitchen Drawer Zip Food Storage Bag Organizer | 3. Plastic Bag Organizer w/Sliding Cover and Engraved Labels | 4. Sandwich Bag Storage Organizer | 5. Bag Organizer Box Sets | 6. Bag Storage Organizer
I am already having fantasies about opening the drawer effortlessly and pulling out the exact size bag I am looking for with ease. I love #5 for its light wood shape and minimal labels, and a clear one like #2 is great so you can see when you are running low.
Disclaimer alert! I know most of us are trying to reduce single-use plastics, and these containers can absolutely work for reusable bags too. However, some of us on the team have tried both reusable and biodegradable options with no luck (so we don’t have any we can honestly recommend yet). Does anyone have any recommendations for reusable bags that don’t get disgusting or biodegradable plant-based ones that don’t make food taste funny? Let us know in the comments!
Use Clear Containers To Organize Your Pantry
Growing up with two brothers, I can’t count how many times I would go grab a granola bar or pour myself a bowl of cereal, and find the box empty. This was endlessly frustrating and would lead to screaming matches, putting everyone in a bad mood. I now realize why decanting food is not only pleasing to the eyes but is so practical. It signals when you are running low on something and a pantry is always going to be more organized if the dry foods have a specific place. I started decanting dry foods this year and my pantry is 100x more clean and organized.
For kids, Emily suggests keeping their snacks in low drawers so they can access them easily. In the mountain house pantry above, they love using clear lazy susans for easy-to-grab snacks because they make everything visible.
1. Slanted Front Kitchen Pantry Storage Organizer Basket – 2 Pack | 2. Bamboo Wood Organizer Storage Bin | 3. YouCopia Kitchen Cabinet Pantry ShelfBin Packet & Snack Bin Organizer | 4. mDesign Bamboo Slotted Bins (Set of 3) | 5. mDesign Plastic Divided Kitchen Organizer Bin Container Box | 6. Crazy Susan® Turntable with 6 Bins in White | 7. Set of 4 Clear Pantry Organizer Bins | 8. Snack Turntable with Gray Liner and Non-Slip Base | 9. The Home Edit By IDesign Sand Open-Front Bins
For bulkier items, #4 is a good option (and comes in a set of 3). Like I said before, lazy susans like #6 are perfect for snacks for kids, and #5 is another nice option for granola bars or other easy-to-grab and go snacks.
Hang Up Shared Calendars & Chore Charts
Earlier this year, my husband and I started using a physical calendar to keep track of our schedules and it is a complete game changer. Even though there are only two of us in our household, it helps us feel secure and more organized when we can see what the other has on their plate each day.
While we haven’t started using chore charts yet (everything is a friendly competition in my eyes and in this category, he would undoubtedly win), I can see how that would be incredibly useful for us adults too. For kids, Emily is a massive fan of having designated cleaning supplies in one place for her kids, so they feel like big kids and have more ownership over their cleaning tools. The chore charts can act as a reward system and using fun stickers or colorful markers to check off tasks is an inspiring visual way to keep kids engaged (at least this is what I have heard :)).
1. Acrylic Weekly Calendar and Wall Hanging Organizer Set of 4 | 2. 2023 Wall Calendar, 9.5 X 17.25, Wall Planner | 3. U Brands 8”x8” Chore Pad Bold | 4. Acrylic Wall Calendar with Translucent Background | 5. Leila Wall Calendar | 6. Personalized Acrylic Monthly Calendar with Weekly Planner | 7. Peel and Stick Whiteboard Chore Chart | 8. Dry Erase Calendar Decals | 9. Acrylic Wall Calendar with Translucent Background
Many of these are acrylic wall decals so you can use a dry erase marker and use them year after year. I am someone who prefers physical print copies so I am drawn to #2 and #3, but #4 is a really nice, minimal option.
Use Rolling Carts To Create Productivity Stations
I love this mantra that Emily says often: “without systems there’s chaos”. She mostly uses it in reference to her 7 and 9-year-old kids, but I feel it applies to my 28-year-old self too. Even though I am not the same routine everyday kind of gal, I still need systems in place so I set myself up to be productive and efficient throughout the day (not just at work but in life).
For little ones, creating “stations” can be a fun (and organized) way to encourage them to do the tasks they probably don’t want to do. You might remember this post from earlier this year, where Emily shared some clever kids’ organizational hacks, and in it, she shared the idea of creating chores, homework, and crafting carts (envisioned by Emily Bowser). The idea is to create zones for these tasks to help kids stay focused and more organized. You keep all supplies for that task in one drawer or cart, so everything they need is in one place thus making the task less chaotic and scary. I am a HUGE fan of this and think I might need a chore cart of my own to make my own chores more manageable and fun (I am 12 years old at best).
1. Pierro Bar Cart | 2. 3-Drawer Cart Storage Bin Organizer Rolling with Plastic Drawers | 3. Gold Wire Basket 3 Tier Antonia Rolling Cart | 4. 3 Tier Round Metal Utility Cart | 5. 3 Tier Metal Utility Cart | 6. Honey-Can-Do Slim Wire Cart
#2 is a playful option that would look really sweet in a playroom or kids room. #1 has a pretty, minimal wood tone that would be a nice accent in a neutral kitchen or laundry room (or really, any room). If you are looking for something small space friendly, #6 is a great narrow option.
Optimize Your Shoe Storage
A shoe rack, bin, or bench is a great way to start what we like to call a “command center”. It’s usually in the entryway (but doesn’t need to be) and is where all of your grab-and-go stuff should live. Shoes, bags, sunglasses, keys, backpacks, etc etc. This zone is super helpful to have on those rushed mornings. Here are some simple shoe storage options we love:
1. Temple Street Metal/Wooden Shoe Storage | 2. Seaton Large Round Woven Storage Basket with Lid | 3. 26″ Entryway/hallway Storage Bench With Shoe Rack | 4. Mid-Century Disk Entryway Collection | 5. Woven Hamper | 6. Aubrey Entry Shoe Rack | 7. Small Washed Red Metal Stacking Storage Bin | 8. 2 Tier Shoe Rack Metal Mesh | 9. The Sculpted Bin With Lid
#1 is a sleek and modern entryway option that would be great for a small space. If you like lidded baskets to eliminate visual clutter we love #2, #5, and #9. We used #7 in the brand new kid’s room reveal we did with Velux Skylights (if you haven’t checked it out yet, run don’t walk!).
Use Wall Hooks Near Your Entry For Backpacks & Coats
This isn’t a new idea but having an entryway hook system is so important for kids (and adults) on the go and is a great addition to the aforementioned “command center”. For kids going back to school, hooks create an easy drop zone for backpacks, coats, umbrellas, etc. If you don’t have a mudroom like the above one from the Portland project, Emily wrote a post on small entryway organization hacks here and it’s full of clever storage ideas.
1. Acrylic Row Of Hooks | 2. Peggy 9 coat rack | 3. Beaumont Grey Peg Rail | 4. Marble Wall Coat Rack | 5. Wood Peg Wall Hook | 6. Cayman Row Of Hooks | 7. Sadie Wall Hooks | 8. Utility Hook Rack | 9. Modern Home by Bellver Wooden Ball Wall Hooks – Set of 4
And that’s a wrap! I hope these simple hacks will help you and yours feel more organized for the rest of the year. Happy organizing! xx
Opener Image Credit: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | Styled by Emily Bowser | From: IT’S TIME TO ORGANIZE – Small Entry Organization Hacks For Those Of Us Who Are “Mudroom-Less”