My Pantry and a $500 Give Away

This post is sponsored by the makers of Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes, the quick and easy way to clean and disinfect your home!

My pantry serves as our laundry room, storage room, cleaning closet, china hutch and tool shed. It can get a little crazy up in here. There's lots going on. 


We have two huge bookshelves (twice the width you see here) for holding everything, as well as the big filing cabinet, which holds all of our bigger tools.



A while back we installed two pegboard panels above the tool cabinet. I usually say that everything should be put away for a clean, uncluttered look. But sometimes, especially in a small space, things can get buried quickly. Making this pegboard has made my life so much more efficient.


Since the pantry door is usually open I wanted the pegboard wall to be as clean and simple-looking as possible. I thought about painting the pegboard a cool color at first, but I didn't want it to stick out more than it already does, so I left the white. But I did spray paint all the organizational hardware the same rose gold color.


It's subtle, but I like the little bit of shine.


I also use about a dozen clear tupperware bins. I bought them at Home Depot for a dollar each. 


I have them labeled with these cute chalkboard labels from Martha Stewart's label line for Avery. 


Each bin holds something small and specific, like upholstery staples or tape or wall anchors.


Another thing that helps keep this room running smoothly is my little whiteboard. I jot down things on this board that we're running out. They're usually things I wouldn't remember while making a shopping list (like laundry detergent or light bulbs). 


Other things that make the room special to me- the persian rug I bought in Belgium for just a few euros (I think it was only three!) and the pair of porcelain animal hooks I got in Delaware at the Amish flea market. We usually hang aprons from these and the girls adore them.



The pantry is sort of like the command center of our home. It's been surprisingly good to us these past two years (not that I won't be excited for a little more space when we move!). I think this room was a great learning experience for me and reminded me how well a space can function when it is well-organized.


So, I'd love to hear about your best organizing tip. What do you do to keep your challenge spaces tidy and running smoothly? Share your tip in the comments section for a chance to win a whopping $500 in gift cards! $250 to Target AND $250 to the Container Store! 

Contest ends June 24. Rules can be read in full here. Good luck!

865 comments:

  1. My only tried & true tip is to do a certain amount of cleaning each day. I spend about 15 minutes doing general tidying, and then I have my basic daily/weekly tasks. Then, I don't have to dedicate hours of one day or an entire day to cleaning. It just never works out!

    foodforthebees(AT)gmail

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  2. Hi Jenny, I use old wine crates to store my supplies for my art room, and any other tools, fabric. the crates are pretty and functional. Thank you, shawnia

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  3. My tip is i have dumping/drop spots around my house for certain items. For example, as soon as you walk in the door i have a shoe rack to store my shoes and my purse and a key rack for my keys. On an end table i have a little crate that holds my earrings and necklace. Everything has a place which makes it easier to find when i'm rushing out the house.

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  4. I use a whiteboard in my pantry too but it is a running grocery list. It works well for my teens to let me know when they need shampoo or something that I am not aware of. Also the magnetic feature allows my frige to stay neat by keeping all of those bits of paper tucked away but handy.

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  5. Using labels so that I'm not the only one in the family who can find things, or put things away.

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  6. I have a peg board in our garage that I painted white nearly 17 years ago. It is a wonderful spot for all our gardening tools and hangs above our recycling bins and garbage cans.
    One tip I use is to "clean as I go" rather than saving it all for later. I think cleaning as one goes just feels right.
    pve

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  7. Plastic bins are the only way to stay organized in our small house (with very little storage). Bins in the attic with outgrown clothes, bins under the beds with out of season clothes, baskets around the house for blankets, toys, shoes, etc. As long as I can remember which bin/basket I put something in, I am good...
    And cleaning as I go during cooking/crafting helps keep me sane.

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  8. Lots and lots of bins. More than I care to admit.

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  9. In NYC, I stack things high! I've gotten really great at using space and typically it's high or low (unfortunately below the bed at times). But it works and keeps the living space clutter free.

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  10. I try to take advantage of vertical space whenever possible. High shelves in closets can be great places for things I don't need often, like Christmas decorations.

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  11. I took out the wire shelving in my closets and replaced with DIY wood shelving, drawers and laundry bins. It made a huge difference and gave me much more storage.

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  12. I have to have plastic bins. Non-negotiable. Also, I am a color coder. Helps me immensely in order to find things!

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  13. I have clear shoe pockets hanging behind lots of doors in my house, in the pantry it holds snacks for the kids (they can get their own), in the bathroom it holds hair accessories, in the playroom it holds the million of barbie pieces we have... LOL!

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  14. Purge. As soon as I notice that a particular storage area is holding more things that see infrequent use than the items I actually need to access, I go through and get rid of things. At first this was difficult for me, but soon I found that having fully functioning space was well worth a bit of psychic pain.

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  15. I love those plastic bins as well! And I've been looking into those chalkboard labels, but at the moment have been gluing labels to clothespins and that's been working great!

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  16. I try to keep "like" items in bins, labeled of course!

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  17. So that I always have the design elements of my apartment handy (fabric swatches, paint colors, hardware, etc), I keep a little baggie of them in my purse. This way if I find some great art work, etc while out shopping I can check it out with all the elements in the room, right in the store. It's stopped me from buying bad ideas a number of times:)

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  18. I love my microfiber cloths!

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  19. My general rule isn't anything earth shattering. It's to put things away when you're finished with them (which can be strangely hard to make myself do sometimes) and to spend 10-15 min a day tidying and cleaning. That plus doing my regular cleaning each week makes for a house that is mostly clean and tidy all the time so if anyone pops over I'm ready for company! :)

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  20. I love baskets and bins to organize my home (although our entry coat closet could use a little help..) :)

    And before we go to bed at night we have a pick up and tidy time. That's all.

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  21. I don't have any earth shattering ideas either, but over time I have swit he'd all my storage containers to clear plastic so I can see what's inside and stack them high. In the pantry, same thing. Clear containers that are stackable and loaded. Your laundry room is impressive!

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  22. I am not as organized as I would like, and am always on the lookout for tips! I do haave a "no cardboard in storage areas" rule. Bugs can live in paper and cardboard, or mice can eat it. If it goes in the basement or attic, it must be in plastic to avoid those nasty surprises.

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  23. I love my clear glass Pyrex food storage containers (an alternative to plastic). Storing leftovers, salads etc. is much easier and they helps to keep the fridge organized. Also, they are so much easier to clean than plastic because they don't stain.

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  24. I've enjoyed the blog, but this is my first comment (nothing like an amazing prize to coax me out of the shadows!)

    We live in a VERY small house, so I find that I have to constantly purge. I keep a box in our bedroom, and if something seems unworn/unused, I throw it in there. Then, about once a month, I take it to Goodwill. That gives me plenty of time to consider each item, and if I regret giving it away, rescue it!

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  25. Your pantry is organized perfectly! I see now why I struggle sometimes with the DIY projects; I don't have enough supplies! That said, my approach to staying organized in a small house is to get rid of things immediately. Clothes and toys get donated the moment they're outgrown, I call and remove myself from all junk mail and catalogs, and generally try to limit the amount of stuff coming in and increase the amount going out. Not an organizational tip, maybe, but it keeps our space relatively uncluttered!

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  27. I use hanging shoe holders in my 12 month old's closet to hold onsies, pants, little hats, etc. They are the perfect size for her small clothes and such a space saver.

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  28. A place for everything, and everything in its place! It is easier to clean if the clutter is already taken care of.

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  29. My tip is sequestration: The frequency with which we use household items define where they're located. So things the family uses every day are out in the open at easy reach for even the little ones, but things we only use once a month or more rarely are packed away. And I am very quick to purge (usually donate) anything that becomes obsolete for us.

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  30. I purge like crazy too and everything I have to keep but don't want in my small house goes to the attic. A cluttery attic leaves my living space clean and clear.

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  31. I have a drawer by my front door that I use to corral all of the little odds and ends that collect each week that I don't really have a home for. If I'm ever looking for something random, I know right where to look! Once it starts to fill up, I'll go through it and find a new home for everything in there, but it's made my life a whole lot easier!

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  32. I think the containers, labelled, is the best way for me to keep my closets/pantries organized. I try to hit the Dollar Tree and buy a couple more than I need for future matching. But I just started using it in my kitchen, and it is a big space saver--for example, in the cabinet with all the baking goods I have a wire basket with all my sprinkles, cupcake toppers, etc. They were taking up too much real estate!

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  33. Labels!! On crates, on lidded boxes, on tupperwares holding leftovers, on foil packages in the freezer. My teenage son has picked up the label habit, but still working on my husband!

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  34. Everything must have a dedicated "spot" whether it is a basket or plastic container... Otherwise it ends up in limbo on my kitchen counter. I purge often and try to put things away as soon as I'm done. Not procrastinating clean up might seem obvious but it has taken me several years to accept that it is a necessity! I love all these ideas! Thanks!

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  35. I keep at least half of our toys in the attic and switch them out every 3 months or so. I also label bins and try and QUICKLY give away things we have "outgrown" or haven't used in several months. We just don't have the space to keep it!

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  36. My freezer is finally organized since I started using bins labelled "ready to eat", "meat" and "bulk". so much easier to quickly take inventory and things don't get lost in the freezer for months!

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  37. My best organizing tip, go through the house with a ginat trash bag once a month! You will be amazed the things in drawers, baskets and elsewhere that you can throw away!

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  38. My best organizing efforts are probably put into storing my kid's clothes once they grow out of them. I realized early on that as they {very quickly} grew out of clothes, if i didn't organize them by gender and size ASAP, I would be completely overwhelmed by them all and I'd never know where to find things. I'm thankful my efforts have paid off and I can quickly find things when I need them for younger siblings or to lend to friends!

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  39. Before I begin any organizational project I spend some time thinking about who will be using the space, how often users will utilize the space and begin from that perspective. Items that will have to be accessed less often are placed higher in the space and, frequently used things are right at one's fingertips. Also, those containers may have organizational helpers within them, such as dividers or smaller boxes to keep them super organized.

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  40. I just think everything has to HAVE a place, even if everything is not in its place all the time. That helps me to clean up, as I can just throw them in their places, rather than leaving them out wondering what to do with them. I have some cheap fabric boxes from Ikea in the play room, labeled with general groups like "Dolls" "Blocks" "Kitchen/Tea Set." It makes me feel like things won't get lost in the bottom of a junk bin if they are with similar toys.

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  41. I buy the same brand of bins repeatedly so that they properly stack on top of each other. I do the same for laundry baskets, and all storage containers. Works really well!

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  42. I LOVE blanket storage bags from the Container Store. Instantly, our crazy closet of linens looks neat and organized...plus our blankets stay dust-free.

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  43. The best cleaning/organizing tip I have to share is to put everything away in it's place right when you're done with it. My coat hangs up in the closet when I get home from work instead of being draped over a chair; phone chargers go back in a drawer instead of staying in the outlet. I heard this tip years ago, and it's the best and easiest to follow cleaning tip I know!

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  44. I try to make sure everything has its own place, and that each thing actually gets put back in that place. When we commit to it, it works.

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  45. Regular purging and keeping things in clear bins is the only way I've found to keep things in order. Even as we focus on buying less, it seems like there's always plenty we just don't need.

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  46. I find that sold wood wall shelves (installed on those metal brackets you find in the closet system section) work best for me. Everything is visible and has lots of room, small things don't fall through like they would with wire shelves, and it's not as visually obtrusive as a bookshelf with sides and a top. I have an entire wall of these shelves in my home office, and it's the most useful part of my whole house.

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  47. I can't take credit for this, but it has changed my linen closet. When I fold sheets, I always pack them into the pillowcase so the entire set is ready when it's time to switch. and a bonus? My linen closet is organized!

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  48. I'm a fan of plastic bins in closets (I have some great ones from container store that are like drawers) and baskets for under console tables or benches. Also, tidying everyday, ven if its a few minutes, makes a HUGE difference.

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  49. We spend loads on bins and organizing gear. Everything is labeled and has its space and we rethink our storage and organization regularly. It keeps me sane in a smallish house.

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  50. A place for everything and everything in its place! Plus labels. Loooots of labels. :)

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  51. The key to keeping things organized in my house is to not be afraid to throw things away!

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  52. Right now, I keep the ingredients I use the most, most accessible. I have pastas and dog treats and wheat flour all on the countertop. I use some pretty glass jars which distracts from the mess that is inside the kitchen cabinets.

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  53. Baskets and bins! and I always try to buy straight sided ones so that they can be lined up on a shelf with no waste of space between them. I hate the little gaps left by slanted side baskets. In tight spaces every inch counts!

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  54. Don't be afraid to throw away stuff! Little things add up to big clutter- and who has room for that??

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  55. We recently splurged on a couple of closet systems from the Container Store and they have changed my life! Yes, they were pricey but when storage is minimal it is so essential to be organized. The real secret though is that I continually edit what we have, taking the time to keep the closets neat and getting rid of extra junk!

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  56. The biggest surprise I had when I got married in January is how much laundry my husband has! The only way I can stay on top of it is to have 3 laundry baskets in our closet: one for whites, one for darks and one for nice clothes that need special attention or to go to the dry cleaners! Makes it easy to throw a load in and I finally don't feel like I'm spending all of my time sorting, washing, and folding laundry. (I can't imagine what it's like with kiddos!)

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  57. My city kitchen is small and for a amateur baker like myself I've learned the more I hang my tools from the bottom and insides of the cabinets, bowls on the walls, and pots from the ceiling the more functional it is and easier to have everything at a hands reach.

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  58. First rule of organization: a place for everything and everything in its place! We have to get creative about those spaces in our small home--CDs and DVDs stored in books under a skirted chair; a pop-up trundle under my son's twin bed creates and instant guest room for two (he sleeps on an air mattress in our room); shoe organizers on every closet door (for stuff other than shoes); a long, shallow built-in china cabinet my husband built that takes little floor space but holds everything from china to linens to craft supplies. I think finding practical storage in a small space is a creative challenge! And with small children, always a work in progress!

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  59. I use lots of individual containers to keep everything in it's place. I am about to head to Target to pick up some more of the fabric bins for my girls' playroom. The toys are out of control!

    angnehama at hot mail dot com

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  60. My tip...purge, purge, purge. (Then buy new stuff at target and the container store..:) ) maureen ssdmmf@yahoo.com

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  61. My tip...purge, purge, purge. (Then buy new stuff at target and the container store..:) ) maureen ssdmmf@yahoo.com

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  62. Since I'm a military wife my tip involves routinely paring down what you want and getting rid of what you don't! I love to use old shoeboxes as out-of-sight storage and plastic containers and baskets to keep things orderly.

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  63. I wish I had an organizing secret - I'm still learning and improving how to organize (and trying to get my husband to comply!). I totally agree with having a place for everything, I just have to actually go through the entire house and create those places!!

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  64. This is the simplest most basic unearth shattering tip ever but from someone who has been organizationally challenged her whole life, I finally learned that I must buy something to store/organize the item when I buy the item itself. That way when it gets unruly, I don't get stressed and my house doesn't get messy. It already has a home. It helps cut down on what needs organizing and what is already taken care of.

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  65. oh goodness after reading these comments i'm clearly completely unorganized and inefficient. my tip would be win a $500 give away to container store and target.

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  66. Recently I gutted our pantry and started over organizing all the loose ingredients in different sized canning jars. It's a small change but as an avid cook it helps to see how much of each ingredient we have on hand and allows us to fit more ingredients into our cupboard without the bulky packaging.

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  67. Chalk board labels are the way to go, I love pretty storage containers from Target too! We really have hardly any kitchen space, so they mean a world of difference!

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  68. If I didn't have clear shoebox size boxes for the screws/tape/flashlights and other ephemera of life, I'd go crazy!

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  69. Living in a dorm, I've found my best tip is to come up with a system early and keep up with it. Everything needs a true place, or else it ends up all over!

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  70. I live in a not so big apartment, and I have learned to utilize every available space. Under the bed provides ample storage, with containers from the Container Store. I store seasonal clothes there.

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  71. Bins and baskets and bowls! And trying to train my kids (and myself) to put things away when we're done with it.

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  72. My tips are simple and familiar:
    1) purge regularly;
    2) have a place for everything;
    3) continually pick up during the day.

    It makes life so much simpler!

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  73. with kids, i think the challenge is organizing their stuff.... i have all of their toys in open style containers that make it easy for them to reach and put away. (not that it always happens, anyhow, but theoretically... )

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  74. I have no major tips...orginization is a learning process for me, I have I long ways to go to perfect any system in our house. A little daily cleaning and staying on top of laundry, keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.

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  75. Using dryer sheets for dusting! especially when just out of the dryer, its a great dust collector. I also use them in my shoes or drawers for a nicer scent. love it!

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  76. My tip is to organize once a week and don't let it get out of control. I have to designate a day each week to clean up and organize my stuff because if I don't my house gets hectic and then I feel stressed!

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  77. Bins and baskets for toys and shoes! We have little Red Wing crock in the kitchen for dirty dishtowels and I love to label food containers right before they go in the refrigerator with a sharpie (it scrubs right off!).

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  78. My husband and i live in a tiny apartment as well and we have learned that if we don't stay on top of things it can get out of control very quickly! I love to organize and find myself constantly organizing and reorganizing our spaces to make sure they we are utilizing every inch of our tiny apartment! My favorite tip: utilize bins/boxes. When everything has a place it makes it easier to keep it contained. Thanks for the opportunity to win such a create gift!

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  79. I purge toys, books and clothes twice a year - in the spring and fall when I'm switching out clothes for the season. It helps keep the closets, toy boxes and shelves clean and organized.

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  80. My husband and i live in a tiny apartment as well and we have learned that if we don't stay on top of things it can get out of control very quickly! I love to organize and find myself constantly organizing and reorganizing our spaces to make sure they we are utilizing every inch of our tiny apartment! My favorite tip: utilize bins/boxes. When everything has a place it makes it easier to keep it contained. Thanks for the opportunity to win such a create gift!

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  81. The only way I can keep the bathroom/shower tile clean and sparkling is to keep a bleach pen and a magic eraser in the shower. Every day after I shower I spend two minutes wiping down the tile and spot bleaching the grout.

    Doing a little bit each day is the only way I can keep it looking clean. I also try to use the same approach with tidying: just tidy as soon as I see something out of place instead of waiting to do it all on one day at the end of the week. rachel[dot]rasband[at]gmail.com

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  82. I think the only true key to staying organized is diligence. It does not matter what your system is, it only works if everything is put away properly every time.

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  83. I keep a clear plastic shoe holder with pockets on the back of my pantry door for those things that I can never find when I need them. Also, I use hanging sweater holders in my closet for storing shoes. Now I want a pegboard!

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  84. I try to do a twice yearly clean out of all my closets and drawers. Otherwise the organization is lost. It feels good to get rid of the old and get these organized.

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  85. My best tip is to follow this adage: A place and purpose for everything. First, purge, purge, purge. Once you have things down to just what you actually need and use...find a home for everything :)

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  86. We have a tiny apartment which doubles as a home daycare. I am always needing new supplies and new bins for them! The thing that helps me to keep that space organized is having the bins color coded and each type of toy/art supply/instrument, etc. has it's own bin. All the cars go in a blue bin, all of the instruments go in a yellow bin. This helps me and the kids keep the space tidy and accessible! And the kids learn their colors, ha!

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  87. The only places in my home in TRULY organized are my kitchen and my closet. Organizing the kitchen was just a matter of taking the time to do it when we moved in to our house and then insisting things be put away exactly as they were. As for my closet, I organize everything by type (tanks, short sleeve shirts, etc.) then within each type, by color. It not only helps me find the item I'm looking for quickly but it also speeds up the process of putting things away. Plus it looks cool!!

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  88. I use tons of plastic bins, all labeled and hidden under beds and at the top of our closets. I also use all the decorative boxes and trays around my small house to store things I use all the time. And I'm attempting to keep the house ready for guests at any time by pickIng up and doing one chore per day (but I'm not always successful :))

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  89. Still working on finding a system for our pantry/laundry room that sticks. Having pretty glass bottles for baking supplies/flours with printed labels so far has worked for us, but I need to buy more.

    Thanks!

    nhvombaur at gmail dot com

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  90. I woke up at 4 this morning and saw this post but I couldn't think of anything. I think my closets are the best organized spot with clothes organized by season, item and color. Although today I'm going to tackle my bookshelves.

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  91. If I don't use it within a year, it generally gets thrown out. It really helps conserve the little space we have!

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  92. I keep notebooks for most of our papers and I try to go through things often to keep down the clutter.

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  93. I have to have a specific space for everything or it just gets moved from surface to surface. Drives me crazy.

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  94. Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of storage space in our apartment, so I really have to maximize what we have. I make sure to use EVERY inch of our tall (but narrow) closets by adding extra shelves, pretty labeled stacking boxes, and hanging organizers on the backs of doors. It's kind of amazing what I can fit in there ;)

    justine.lorelle [at] gmail.com

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  95. I just installed wire shelving in my oldest son's closet and bought several plastic bins to corral all the toys. His room stays cleaner because we only get out one or two bins at a time.

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  96. Love your laundry room/utility room organization! You sure pack a lot of punch into a small space. One of my favorite organization projects would have to be under the kitchen sink. I have used a tension bar to run from one side of the cabinet to another. That is where I hang all of my cleaning bottles. It sure has helped give me some extra space below!

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  97. My best tip is to purge down to only what you need. Then, it's so much easier to organize and find what you want without digging through all the extra.

    I also recommend having a place for things that you use every day and tend to just dump off. We have a little bowl for our keys and my husband's wallet. There's a file box for incoming mail and a tray for outgoing.

    Thanks for the chance!

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  98. I'm obsessed with kraft paper boxes from the art supply store and magazine files from The Container Store for keeping little bits neat and tidy. Extra bonus for keeping them in cabinets with glass doors.

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  99. One big thing for me is drawer organizers. I like to have little baskets in there so that you can just throw something in there but have a place to throw it so it doesn't become a jumbled mess! I also bought a coffee table from west elm that has a top that slides open where we store blankets and bedding for guests. And our 'mantle' that we got for a tv stand opens to store books, movies etc. Gotta love double duty!!

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  100. Well I have to admit I'm a bit lacking in the organizational department but thankfully my partner is the opposite. One thing I have trained myself to do however is have a dish by the door for my keys. I used to waste so much time looking for them. Now I always know they are waiting for me as I walk out the door.

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  101. I really like the chalkboard labels. i am really impressed with how well you used the space. I didn't notice laundry products or baskets in there. where do they live?

    I'm redoing an old room (very small) into a playroom for my grandsons. I could have a lot of fun with this prize!!

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  102. With 3 children, our biggest challenge is toys! I have cut down on them, donating or throwing a good amount. They are sorted in a few bins on an expedit bookshelf in the family room and allow one type of toy per room (except for children bedrooms where they keep their favorite or personal toys) stored out of sight (duplos in a deep ottoman by the fireplace for instance). Since the children like to follow us around the house, they usually have a toy in the room we are to play with if they want. That with an empty basket per room for misplaced objects( read again mostly toys) are our life savers.

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  103. I live in a 690 sq ft condo with my fiance and my dog. We have lots of tricks. First, we use two big wicker ottomans instead of a traditional coffee table. We hide so many things inside them. I also added a second bar to half of the tiny closet, which has really helped.

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  104. A big part of my job is teaching my kids to help keep the house clean. I can't do it all on my own. Making sure that I have tools and techniques so that they can participate is a big deal! They like microfiber clothes and squeeges for the windows, dusters, and a vacuum light enough that they can use.

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  105. I make sure there is a place for every little thing and the pantry is loaded with tons of the exact same container, and all labeled. It looks so much cleaner and it's so much easier to find things.

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  106. Baskets! With an extrememly active 18 month old, toys are everywhere at my house. So I have baskets in nearly every room with a few toys and books that I switch up periodically, so she can roam around and play all over the house while I clean and work.

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  107. The only way I keep things smooth is to always put things back after I use it. If I don't it will sit out for forever so it needs to go immediatley back where it came from. That goes for clothes as well.

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  109. My best tip is to train your children to pick up after themselves...it takes time, but it can be done and saves me from being their maid.
    What a generous giveaway!!!

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  110. Once a week, I pick a drawer or closet to organize somewhere in the house. That way I'm never doing too much but it seems like things don't have a chance to get as messy when I'm constantly cleaning them up! :)

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  111. When I purchase a new article of clothing that comes with spare buttons/thread/sequins, I staple the little platic baggie to a plain vanilla tag. I label the tag with the brand name, color and description of the article of clothing. Then, I tuck the tag into a baseball card protector pocket. I have all the pages of protectors in a 3-ring binder. If I lose a button, I simply pull the binder off the shelf, and look for the replacement. No more digging through a big basket or jar for random buttons!

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  112. Wow, I absolutely love your pantry. That was a great idea to spray paint the hardware. In our house, it's key to clean stuff out on a regular basis. Make room for the new, I guess!

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  113. I have an enormous chalkboard {5'x4 1/2'!} smack in the middle of my {open} kitchen/great room. It is our family calendar which keeps track of all our crazy lives. This way we all are aware of each others whereabouts.

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  114. I always just try to do something each day. It keeps things from getting overwhelming.

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  115. I like to use old, ugly furniture and home goods to organize. My shed was a great place to put some nasty pieces that I wouldn't use elsewhere: a cheap plywood, open back, 2-shelf stand laid on its side provides cubby space for my rakes, shovels, etc; a little wooden table provided an extra level for my potting soil and lawn sprays, while I store my tarps below; an ugly plastic planter holds my small garden hand tools; and the bottom halves of large plastic protein powder buckets are screwed to the back of the shed with the openings facing out for gardening glove storage.

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  116. Baskets. Lots and lots of baskets. We just throw things in baskets to hold them permanently or to put them away later. Keeps me sane!

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  117. I use clear plastic boxes(from container store)for my shoes and I take a polaroid of each pair and put it on the front of the box.

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  118. I'm really trying to work on this with the new house, but one thing I've discovered is that I'm super visual. If I can't see it, I don't know it's there, so I keep all of my projects in clear storage bins and I'm working on changing over our bathroom storage to baskets/glass bins.

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  119. I organize in baskets and plastic containers! It makes things so much easier. I do prefer the plastic because I can label them.
    Great giveaway, Jenny!
    Happy Monday.
    Teresa
    xoxo

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  120. A label maker is key. Along with making sure everything has a designated place to belong! Thanks!

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  121. Our reusable food storage was out of control. We were always searching for the lids which usually fall behind or underneath the stacks of containers. So I found a small basket that fits right inside the drawer and in which all lids can be kept. It is so much easier to get lunches ready and put leftovers away now that we're not tearing the kitchen apart looking for lids!

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  122. I love to stay organized with the perfect storage containers; usually its plastic bins but sometimes it could be a pretty teacup or a tall vase. Once I have the right container I am inclined to use it!

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  123. Plastic bins are great for organization!

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  124. I find that i have to a place for everything and everything in its place. One trick i borrowed from a friend- the small space under the sofa (if you have a skirt on the sofa) is the perfect size for storing your wrapping paper rolls! in a 800 sw foot home, it is all about being creative.

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  125. My closet was out of control. And living in a big city usually means not having a ton of storage space. Target has really amazing, small organization pieces that I picked up which help me a lot. A set of two small drawers holds all my of summer dresses during the winter, and stacks perfectly on top of my shoe organizer. For smaller shoes, like flip flops, I have fit several in one hole. So it's nice to be able to have all of my shoes out where I can see them. I fold and store my sweaters overhead, since I don't use them as much. And all of the scarves are folded neatly in a yaffa block so I can see the colors!

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  126. We're still working on organization. Thankfully our condo has some nice closets that we outfitted with bins and organization systems. I find it so much easier to use than a dresser!

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  127. We have an Ikea Expedit we use as a room divider... I finally got some decorative storage bins to put in things like small tools we use a lot, extension cords, extra candles, etc. It's really helped both in putting things away and in finding things when we need them, since we're not searching ten different places all over the house!

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  128. I am not good at staying on top of organizational systems, but had a professional organizer help me fit all of my clothes into the closet 10 years ago when we moved into our house. She organized clothes by color, and I have managed to keep up that system ever since. I have wooden hangers (cheap at Ikea!), so my closet always looks very organized, uniform, and calm, even when everything around it looks like chaos. It gives me hope that I can tackle other areas - which, bit by bit, I have. I've also added Container Store shelving inside old wardrobes to organize office supplies - love it.

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  129. My clothes and the kids clothes are hung by color. I find this more efficent when trying to pick out something and it looks pretty too! :0)

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  130. To throw things away! Nothing like living in 3 different places in 3 consecutive months for things to suddenly loose their sentimental value. When the decision is "pack it or pitch it" alot of stuff quickly gets pitched!

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  131. The only thing that works for me is to every now and then survey things. Over time areas buildup with junk, and so every month or so I make a point of leafing through papers, going through boxes, pawing through the closets, etc., etc. to see what can be tossed, donated, or put elsewhere.

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  132. I'm a big fan of to-do lists -- I'm always leaving scraps of paper everywhere with daily things written down. I've tried apps, but there's something about using a pen to cross off a project that just feels better. I have a major to-do list -- ideas of what to do in rooms, etc. -- to just simple ones -- 'shower, farmer's market, lunch'. sometimes the little ones make it a lot easier to mark off the big ones.

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  133. I keep a lazy susan on top of my stackable washer and dryer with all my laundry supplies on it.

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  134. I have a white board beside my pantry door and it may sound weird, but I have a couple of home binders. One is for all large & small appliance manuals, warranties, receipts, etc., so I know exactly where it is when I need it. The other one contains meal plans, home maintenance calendar, samples of cleaning schedules, etc., paint chips, punch list of short & long - term house goals, blah, blah, blah. These are probably a bit geeky, but they work in this crazy house!

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  135. I used clear plastic, hanging shoe organizers for craft supplies for my children. They can be hung on the inside of a closet or closet door. Since they are clear, everything can be seen in an instant. You can customize the size you need simply by cutting off the pockets you don't want. Also, for an elderly or sick person who isn't as mobile, I took a pretty shoe organizer and cut it in half, sewing each half to a piece of heavy, coordinating fabric that was cut to fit the top of a side table. This made a sort of saddle bag for the side table and allowed for storage and organization of the myriad of tv remotes, pen/paper, reading glasses, cell phone, etc. and they are off the table top but in easy reach. Pick me! Pick me!

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  136. My pantry is tiny and with my husband, my son and I we have a ton of different snacks. So I use the OXO sealed containers to keep things stacked on top of each other (which is space saving) and keeps everything fresh and it looks really nice when the door is open.

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  137. I have four girls and their craft items can get out of control. I bought a mid-century dresser and use it as a sofa table now. It's beautiful AND functional in that it corrals all their craft stuff. Win-win!

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  138. Because I use a wheelchair, it is key to keep things that I always use within reach, leaving upper cabinets for those things that I don't need as often. To keep my lower cabinets organized, I really work on staying organized so that everything has a place!

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  139. I have to purge. Everything. Monthly. I simply don't have the space to keep anything that we don't need.

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  140. We have a drawer in our kitchen just for tupperware lids. I've added years to my life now that I am no longer digging through cabinets looking for the right lid--they're now all in one place.
    - Jen S.

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  141. Baskets. For everything, but especially the kids' books and toys!

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  142. label-maker, purging, baskets and patience in the face of clutter!

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  143. I try to make sure there is a specific place for everything so I know where to look for it!

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  144. When you look at it and see it, pick it up. We often times say we'll get something cleaned up but we don't. Piles become huge but if we just pick it up when we think about it the house stays tidy and we eliminate big messes.

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  145. This will sound silly, but I just make sure that everything has a place and that I always put it there when I tidy up. I use to just put things in their general area and they would never get back to their original home. Take the time to put the objects where they go! (:

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  146. My best tip is honestly get rid of stuff. So many times we just hold on to things and pack rat things away. Every few months I just try to go through stuff and get rid of anything I am not using or anything that isn't important. It helps get rid of clutter and allows you to see what you have

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  147. I find being diligent to toss things that are not in use to be a good organizational aid!

    thanks!

    linde

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  148. I love how effecient and organized it is! You've giben me some inspiration for our workspace in our basement. It's time it's gotten a makeover.

    I really use the space under our beds. We live in a "small" house (1500 sq feet...huge by the world's standards) and it gets a little tight with five of us. So, I store so much stuff under our beds and cribs.

    Thanks for a fun giveaway!

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  149. i just try and keep surfaces cleared. it instantly makes our home feel cleaner

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  150. Purging is the easiest way to stay organized. If I don't love it or absolutely need and use it often then it needs to go. I didn't learn this though until I had kids that exponentially added to the stuff count. So I do a little everyday and when you don't have so much stuff then it's easier for it to find its home in our home.

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  151. I just am sure to limit the amount of toys. We have three baskets and a toyu box for toys and if there is too many toys for them then we choose ones to give to GOodwill. casidyanne at hot mail dot com

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  152. I like having a basket to dump everything in that is out of place when we're expecting company on short notice or just need to tidy up. Then before going to bed I just return everything to its place.

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  153. I just try to declutter things as often as possible. I purge clothes, toys etc about one a month and donate them to goodwill. We also use giant plastic bins to store things we don't use as often in the attic.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  154. Like other readers, I do a little clean up each day - that and making sure everything has its own home/storage spot around my house (if not, then it has to go!) help keep things from getting out of hand...

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  155. Bins, bins and more bins! Oh, but my best organizational tip is to also use binders. I have a binder for almost everything - one for all my small and large appliance manuals, one for our important household info (insurance info, copy of birth certificate, copy of passports, contact info for doctors, maps to vet and regular hospitals, etc.) one for each type of recipe (breakfast/brunch, drinks/desserts, soups/salads/sides, and main entree), one for our garden. It sounds a little over the top, but it is such a time saver!

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  156. Organizing is my theme. Everything has a place, and STAYS in it. I've found especially for little guy's toys, it helps to have a specific bin (and they are all different shapes and sizes and colors for fun) for each kind of toy. In the master bedroom closet and the laundry room, we have elfa in both. LOVE LOVE.

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  157. So I JUST reorganized my laundry closet, with the help of a friend. That's my tip: get a friend or third party to help you out. It was great working with Ashlee, we got sitters for the kids, got things done and got to chat!

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  158. I keep all of my make-up and face cleansing stuff in a plastic tote that I store under my masterbath sink. I bring it up in the evening and use it...use it all again in the morning and then it is stowed away underneath again to leave the sink clutter free during the day.

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  159. I'm a wanna-be organized person so unfortunately no tips from me but plenty here to give me some help. And I love the chalkboard labels, super cute!

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  160. we're about to move into a new apartment, and i'm excited to use some of my lovely old tea cups, small bowls & salad plates (mis-matched but beautiful ones from antique stores) for corraling jewelry in my bedroom, keys and coins by the front door, and push pins & paper clips in my office--functional and asthetically pleasing!

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  161. My best organization tip is to have a known place for everything. Like you, I too have a peg bord. Mine expands across my garage wall and has shelves on it. I wouldn't trade it for anything else!

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  162. I picked up some really cute kid-size vintage suitcases and store craft supplies and kids games in them. I don't mind seeing them stacked nicely on the bookshelf since they have character.

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  163. I've learned not to fight "the mess" quite so much. Instead, if I always dump a magazine on the table, I put a tray there to organize them, or if I always dump my keys on the counter, I put up some hooks in the same place. That way the mess can stay where it is without actually seeming messy.

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  164. Every day, making sure every item gets to the floor of the house it needs to be. (In my case, each floor is just one room, so it's especially helpful!)

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  165. Your pantry is amazing! My only organizational tip is to come up with a plan of attack for anything that winds up piling up. I have a bin for paper recycling outside so I never bring junk mail in, and every time I buy a new magazine, the last issue has to go!

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  166. I try to do a little bit each day. It helps me to not get overwhelmed.

    jessicacarolschmidt (at) gmail.com

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  167. I love labels and bins and baskets for organizing everything.

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  168. I love labeled bins and baskets for organization

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  169. Well I will be the first to admit that I am not a great organizer... but my favorite tip is to have one basket/container that collects everything to go up or down the stairs.

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  170. I try to work with natural habits instead of changing them. For example ny boys will not walk upstairs to the closet to hang up their jackets and backpacks but they will leave them right when they walk in. So I put hooks right when you walk in the door so it still looks tidy and I am not forever harping on them to clean up their stuff!

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  171. Much like your system I label EVERYTHING!! Lots of Ikea boxes!

    Lauren
    undeclaredpanache.blogspot.com

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  172. I use plastic bins to keep items organized and tidy. This really helps to find things and keep clutter to a minimum!

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  173. I think my best tip is to pick rooms in your house where you're okay with more clutter and designate other places "clutter free zones." Knowing that my living room is going to stay clear of junk and that I'm okay keeping odds and ends in our office space which rarely gets used keeps me sane.

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  174. Containers, baskets, and bins - these help me keep things together!

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  175. Wow, what a great giveaway!
    I think my best tip is to only own things you truly love. And that goes for clothes, books, furniture, knick knacks, etc. The hope/plan is that there's less junk that needs organizing 'just in case' or while we're waiting to save up money for the good stuff. And strangely, we seem to take better care of the things we really love - vs the placeholder item.

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  176. Photo storage boxes, plastic bins, wicker & metal baskets .... I love to organize!! I am a school librarian so I love to have everything in order and organized. Now I want to put pegboard somewhere .....

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  177. I love using bins for toy storage. There quick and the kids can cleanup themselves.

    amandajochapman(AT)gmail

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  178. toys and clutter everywhere drive me crazy! we use different baskets for different toys: puzzles, stuffed animals and books all have their place. and i also edit toy selection pretty often. i only put out her favorites and not all five hundred :) thanks for the giveaway! i could always be more organized...

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  179. toys and clutter everywhere drive me crazy! we use different baskets for different toys: puzzles, stuffed animals and books all have their place. and i also edit toy selection pretty often. i only put out her favorites and not all five hundred :) thanks for the giveaway! i could always be more organized...

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  180. I think your organization puts me to shame. Although I believe, at least for me,that the more room I have the more lax I am with organization.

    My only really good organizing tip is for diaper bags. Use gallon ziplock bags to store extra clothes, toys, wipes, etc. write what each bag should have in it (I.e. 2 onesies, 1 pair of socks) and its easy to see at a glance what you need to restock.

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  181. Since we have live in a small apartment, everythign must do double duty. My side tables are beautiful wooden trunks that hold our files, our dining table bench has storage and our hall closet is organized so it holds all of our linens, cleaning supplies and my wedding china.

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  182. My tip is to use baskets! I keep a small basket in each room that corresponds with the room the items belong in. For example, in my bedroom, my sons books and toys inevitably make it into our room. I thro all his stuff into the basket and then I can take everything and put it back where it belongs at the end of the day.

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  183. I've tried to start using a tip I read about where you do a different room each day and make that a routine so that by the end of the week your entire house is clean but you've done it in small amounts of time.

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  184. I am all about labels...the more labels the better, and it's much easier to keep things organized when you know EXACTLY what is inside.


    laviejaime (at) gmail.com

    Awesome giveaway!

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  185. Plenty of bins with labels is what works in my house. Thanks!

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  186. Organize according to frequency of use! Put the stuff you use daily up front, in easily accessible places, and then work towards the back of the pantry with items you use sparingly.

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  187. I love your pantry! Ah! Come organize my life!!

    I have three little kids underfoot and things get crazy quickly, so my best tip is to use unexpected free moments to stay on top of things. If the kids are happily playing or sleep in a little bit, I sort through my diaper bag or go through a drawer. It's amazing what can be organized in 3 minutes.

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  188. I like using bins to corral like-things together-spray paints, brushes etc. I wish my spaces looked as pretty as yours! I could use the organizational supplies!
    Thanks!

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  189. Every couple of weeks/months, whether it is my closet, pantry, garage, I purge items that I no longer wear or may not use anymore!

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  190. Hi Jenny, my tip is to include organization in your daily/weekly cleaning routine. Just as I vacuum several times a week, if not daily, I am constantly rearranging closets to keep them efficient to growing children. Thanks for sharing such a generous giveaway.

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  191. I live in a tiny guest house with very little storage spaces so I have to create my own. I collected boxes and baskets over the years that I label for things that correspond with the room. Even my china is in a basket above my kitchen cabinets! It's a nice way to store things and create a streamlined look rather than having clutter displayed for all to see.

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  192. Labeled clear plastic bins for sure! I like to have in writing the contents of the bin, but be able to see it as well. I've also recently fallen in love with the little wire shelves you can get. It makes storing small items vertically so much easier!

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  193. My best organizing tips are to really think about where you use things and store them there or as close as possible and then to put like items with like items.

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  194. Hi Jenny, my tip is to include organization in your daily/weekly cleaning routine. Just as I vacuum several times a week, if not daily, I am constantly rearranging closets to keep them efficient to growing children. Thanks for sharing such a generous giveaway.

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  195. Daily tidying and bins/baskets, help me stay organized ... most of the time.

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  196. My tip is to make a place for everything, and then always put it away the first time. I've found my home to be most organized when I designate a place for everything, and then put it away when I think of it. This is hard sometimes because I am not always in the mood, but doing so removes piles of "to be put away" and keeps for a tidy, organized home.

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  197. Baskets! for storing healthy snacks on the go, nuts in packages, etc. Love your chalkboard labeling idea and reminder board. I really need to organize my frig -- it's driving me insane with all its randomness! thank you, Jenny.

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  198. As a mom of three boys and a dad and a parrot, things can get a little crazy for me the girl. I tidy the house every single day by using lots of storage bins for toys and books and even blankets. So at the end of the day everything has a place to sleep in for the night so that it's not all over the living room floors.
    Thank you
    Racquel

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  199. In our teeny tiny apartment we have to get creative with our storage, as we have very small closets and no extra rooms. Having a plan for each and every room has really helped us along the way. We're in the middle of building a "captains" bed for our master, so we will have lots of usefull storage underneath. I'm also planning on skirting the bed, since the style in errrrm, not really my fave look. We also follow the " one in, one out" rule. Whenever we bring in something new, something older has to disappear! We're also planning on adding some closet systems at some point in hopefully the near future so we can make the most out of the little space we have!

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I so appreciate hearing from you. Nice comments make my day! Thanks for keeping things light here, friends! :)