Practical Home Storage

Nix the Scavenger Hunt: Your back and knees will thank you


Does it drive you batty when things take longer than they should?  Too often we find ourselves thinking “dang my time is too valuable” or “I could be doing something much more fun” than scrambling for misplaced objects.

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If you are like most homeowners, your storage areas are overflowing with an assortment of boxes and bins.  They might be neatly arranged on shelves and quite possibly sorted by categories.  But without an effective labeling system, what you envisioned as a quick search for an old scrapbook or kitchen gadget evolves into a Herculean effort of lifting, unloading and loading, uncovering and resealing until you find the right receptacle.   If you have “Adult ADD” like some of us, watch out for those “shiny thing” distractions as you come across age old treasures. There is also that periodic temptation to take a stab at organizing or reorganizing for the fifteenth time. Those two minutes erupted into an hour or more, ok so a half a day slipped by. Yikes!

A simple labeling system could save you time and heroic lifting efforts.  Nothing fancy required unless you like artsy labels. Choose a day that you can dedicate a few hours to finally getting a system in place.  You might wish to start before the weather gets too hot if you are working in the garage or unairconditioned spaces.  Start the project well-rested, hydrated, and sated with a solid protein meal.  Pump up some tunes.  Ask a friend or family member to assist.  Select someone who will keep you on task especially if you are easily distracted.  Set a timer to remind you to refresh every so often. And work until the timer sounds. Taking short water and stretch breaks will actually help you to finish faster and with greater clarity.

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If you don’t wish to create your own labels, click here to access pre-crafted labels to get you started.  I used Avery 22827 labels.  Feel free to modify them as needed or to contact me at sherri@thepracticalsort.com if you would like the Word version.

Your back, knees, and clock will thank you.


A Dozen Ice Cube Tray Uses to Make Life Easy

With every new refrigerator/freezer we purchase, our ice cube tray cache increases. What do you do with the excess trays?

Want to make your life easier? Start by thinking outside the appliances as well as inside. Below are a variety of traditional and non-traditional ice cube tray uses. They can be super organizing tools. And, the best part is repurposing saves you money. No need to buy fancy organizing storage bins for these little bits and bobs. Here are a few examples to get you started.

Kitchen

Release the cubes from the tray and store in stackable containers in your freezer. Take out only what you need for rapid thawing.

Release the cubes from the tray and store in stackable containers in your freezer. Take out only what you need for rapid thawing.

1. Flavored and plain ice cubes (well of course). Add extracts, herbs, coffee, chocolate, lemon, spices to flavor your drinks, soups, etc.

2. Freeze soups, home-made baby food, smoothies, and other liquids and semi-liquids for easy thawing. After the cubes have frozen, release them from the tray and place the cubes into stackable containers for efficient storage. For rapid thawing, take out just the amount of cubes you need.

3. Candy-making and frozen dessert treats. You can add wooden sticks to the batter as it freezes, then enjoy the snacks later.

4. Store resealable wine corks and other small doo-dads in the trays for easy locating in your kitchen drawers.




Bathroom

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5. Makeup and personal hygiene

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6. Hair accessories

7. Medicines and supplements


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Junk Drawers


8. Paper clips, elastic bands, picture hooks, S-hooks, screws, extra keys, safety pins, batteries, spare change, glue sticks



Bedroom

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9. Jewelry: earrings, bracelets, pins


Craft Room

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10. Beads, rubber stamps, buttons, safety pins, straight pins, needles, thread, hook and eyes, bobbins, tape measures, stitch rippers


Office

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11. Paper clips, binder clips, rubber bands, USB Drives, staples, mini stapler, Post-It tabs, small Post-It notes, postal stamps, file folder tabs, spare tape rolls









Garage Work Bench

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12. Hardware: screws, nuts, nails, bolts, fasteners, anchors, hardware weights, extra drawer pull

As you can see, the uses for ice cube trays are only limited to your imagination. For more practical tips and applications, follow ThePracticalSort.com.


The Bulk of Bulk Buying

Are you a Sam’s Club or Costco aficionado? Buying in bulk is economical for so many reasons. It saves trips to the store reducing your expenses and costs to the environment. The net price of bulk items tends to be cheaper, and you have backup supplies in a crunch. But what about when your home is too small to house giant packages of bulk products? Here are some facts to consider.

The bulk of bulk buying

The bulk of bulk buying

Bulk buying typically makes sense for non-perishable items unless you are hosting a crowd that will consume the food quickly. For tissues and toilet paper, a few extra boxes and rolls as a safety net are always advisable especially during cold, flu and allergy season. For shampoos, soaps, detergents, canned and boxed goods, cosmetics, and pantyhose keep at least one extra to avoid last minute, unplanned trips to the store. You will appreciate the time saved and hassle avoided.

Before your next trip to the store, take stock of what you have so that you limit selections to what you need and not over purchase when storage space is minimal. If bulk items have chewed up all storage and begin encroaching on your living spaces, it is time for a reassessment. If you like to geek out on math and statistics, consider the value of the square footage of your home. Over consumption of space by bulk goods may not be the most effective use of your precious living and work spaces.

If your home is small, watch for sales as an alternative. Discounted products at local stores or online will occasionally outweigh the savings of bulk buying.

If a bulk deal is too good to pass up and the quantity is non-negotiable, see if a friend or neighbor is willing to go in halfsies with you. Use this tactic for perishables if freezing is not an option. In fact, plan your bulk shopping trips as an excuse to spend some time with a friend. Again, this saves on financial and environmental transportation costs, and as you peruse the aisles you can contemplate which products to split. Bring a cooler with you, then afterwards, treat yourselves to lunch or a steamy beverage for a job well done. Multi-tasking at its most fun.

Saving money is important. Saving space in your home for YOU is vital for safety, sanity, and pleasure.


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Toilet Paper: Don't Be Caught Short


Have you ever had one of those awkward moments when you reach for the toilet paper and there is only a single shred left and the next nearest roll is in the linen closet down the hall?  Running down the hall with your pants at your ankles is no fun.  Even less so for a house guest.

Keep an extra roll or 2 of toilet paper in a decorative basket or box nearby so that you or a guest are never caught short-handed.


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Hanging Pocket Sorters

An inexpensive solution to storage needs are hanging pocket sorters.   There are so many uses for them to neatly sort shoes, socks, gloves, scarves, umbrellas, sports equipment, jewelry, cosmetics, hair ribbons, hair products and styling appliances, toys, tools, small books, purses, kitchen gadgets and small appliances, bulk food items, cleaning supplies, laundry supplies.  The list goes on and on.  And best of all, by hanging it on the back of a door, it barely consumes any space.   You can choose from a variety of styles, # of pockets, and kid accessibility.  Some can even be cut to fit into your car for extra travel storage.

A simple way to get organized and stay organized within easy reach for all family members.

 

Shoes

Piles of shoes by your front door? Keep a decorative basket or bench with storage near the door for those shoes.