After so many people demanded to know more about the way we organize everything from our bills to our receipts, we realized that our recent post about seven simple things that make our lives easier just scratched the surface. So we’re back to share more peeks into the systems and habits that we rely on to keep everything in its place (so we can find things at a moment’s notice, and keep our house tidy pretty much on auto-pilot). So without further ado, here’s how we store, stash and stockpile just about everything in our house.
We’ve mentioned our little DIY mudroom in the corner of our den (a padded storage bench and coat rack from Target instantly create a convenient spot to hang jackets, bags, and leashes so they don’t pile up elsewhere). But we haven’t revealed what we store inside the bench. Why our paperwork of course! From medical records to tax info and even momentos from our childhood (old drawings and report cards), it’s all filed away in different folders labeled for easy identification (we use two of those tiered upright folder stands so everything is easy to see and nothing can slip out and get lost). No one would ever guess that seemingly spare corner of the room is really a huge paper hub. We also have a safety deposit box at our local bank where we securely store all of our important paperwork and info (a small safe can just be carried off in a break in). Can’t be too careful these days!
And once we learned about the virtues of storage ottomans, we couldn’t help but introduce a padded bench to our dining area too. In there we store all of the paper statements and bills that we’ve paid (in folders labeled with each company’s name- again corralled in tiered upright folder holders) so we can easily find whatever we need for taxes or to prove that we paid something (we pay bills online, but we write our confirmation number and the date that we paid ’em on all of our paper invoices for easy reference).
As for receipts, I’ve worked for a while to come up with a system that really works for me. I used to try to store them by category in an expandable plastic accordion folder, but they seemed to multiply and I felt like I was devoting ten hours a week to putting them in their designated spots (plus certain categories were bulging while others were virtually empty). Then I picked up two white boxes from Ikea for my desk (they were so affordable and I knew I could use them for something). I decided I would just try slipping receipts into one of them. No more sorting by about ten categories, and no more pile of receipts hanging over me. I just empty my purse when I get home each night and toss them into the box. Easy as pie. And finding an old receipt isn’t too hard since they’re pretty much stacked chronologically, so I spend way less time sorting them up front, and can still find something in in a few minutes when I need to on the back end. Update: check out how we use the other box and hide all the wires in our office right here.
Meanwhile, the white metal tins (also from Ikea) are where we store Burger’s food and his t-r-e-a-t-s (can’t say the word or he goes crazy). They’re cheap little airtight containers, but they still look clean and neat on my white desk. We even have a mini measuring cup in the larger bin which stores the food for easy scoopage. Oh and many people think it’s funny that we store our pooch stuff in the den, but it’s actually where his food and water bowls are (we trained him in the den back when the floor was linoleum and he’s been eating and drinking in there ever since) so it really works well for us.
Oh and as for mail, we sort/pay/file everything right away so there’s not “spot” devoted to storing the mail (for fear that it will pile up and create a super huge job down the line). We highly recommend the do it now approach to mail as it seems to really keep the clutter to a minimum.
As for the garbage/recycling/compost situation, we took the opportunity to majorly organize everything after the kitchen reno and we’re so happy that our sink cabinet is almost exclusively devoted to those three functions (recyclables in a plastic bin on the left, compost in an air-tight container that we empty out back into our compost bins every few days, and garbage in a small pail on the right). It’s so simple and efficient that even our little niece and nephew know where to put their banana peels!
But if there aren’t many cleaning products under the sink (just some Ecover dishwasher tablets, a bottle of Veggie-Wash, and a few old Swiffer dusters), where do we keep the cleaning goods you ask? Why in our rolling caddy in our DIY laundry nook of course! Our wonderful wheely friend from Target (for $17!) ensures that there’s plenty of room for dishtowels (folded neatly in a basket) and a few green cleaning products (many of them multitask which means we no longer need to store a million bottles of glass cleaner, granite spray, stainless steel scrub, etc). Hooray for extra storage space instead of a slew of rarely-used products and potions!
We walk the line between adoring open storage (our linen closet is doorless, we have a glass cabinet in the kitchen, we have open shelving in the dining area) and coveting concealed storage (ottomans, bins and baskets abound!) but when it comes to toilet paper we’re all about showing our guests where to find it (TP anxiety shouldn’t carry over from public restrooms to our house). For our half bathroom we actually took a roll of toilet paper into Target to find a tall glass cylinder vase to store a few rolls out in the open…
… and in the bathroom we have a little TP pyramid in plain sight thanks to the fact that we removed the door to the linen closet for more of that crisp open storage that we crave.
We also decided to make use of the weird old towel bar in the bathtub with a little construction project. So we snagged a shower caddy that’s meant to be slipped over the shower head and two metal closet hooks from Target and used them to hook the caddy over the bar. Presto, a place for all of our shower stuff (and our razors no longer get all rusty like they did when they hung right under the shower nozzle).
Spare change is like poison ivy. Before you know it, it’s everywhere. In the couch, on the counter, in the junk drawer, in the laundry basket. That’s why we have one single solitary place for pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and the occasional Sacajawea dollar coin. Right in this cute little metallic bird piggy bank that we picked up from West Elm a while back. It’s located out in the open in our living room so it’s easy to drop things in when we’re coming or going. And whenever we notice that it’s getting full we roll those babies, slide through the bank, and go out to dinner and a movie (with moolah to spare). Gotta love free date night! It’s the ultimate reward for keeping our change in check.
A while back I shared my little jewelry sorting secret: a ceramic egg crate that I snagged at the container store about five years ago (it can even be seen in my old NYC apartment video). It’s the perfect way to keep everything visible yet organized behind our curtain closet doors, which is key for a grab and go girl like me.
And we can’t talk about our boxes and bins without mentioning the other storage systems that we have going on in our kitchen. There’s a lot more than meets the eye (which is also the case in our den, and even our guest bedroom). Like this metal filing cabinet that I picked up for $5 at a thrift store. In the kitchen it became a great place to stash spoons and spices (check out the details here), and we love the moody color and the vintage appeal that it adds to the room.
Of course we also have our cheap-o glass jars for cereal storage, which totally come in handy for for easy access and extra room in the cabinets (they free up some major space where two boxes of cereal would otherwise live). Plus they’re great visual reminders to restock when we’re running low on corn flakes or granola.
We also use our kitchen for more than just food-related storage. After the renovation we added tons of space that came in handy for a little cabinet devoted to all of my decorative accessories (which we dubbed The Decor Store- read more about it here). Nothing beats shopping your own house to freshen up a bookcase or dining table (and keeping every candlestick, vase, and other accessory on hand in the same spot is super convenient).
Oh yeah and we also keep all of our tools in the kitchen. Betcha didn’t see that one coming. Even our installer thought we were crazy when I told him the cabinet base to the left of the stove would be solely devoted to screwdrivers, paint rollers, nails, anchors, sandpaper and other home improvement essentials. But it really works for us and everything is super organized thanks to four whole drawers of deliciously organized gadgets and gizmos. Yummy.
And even with our tools in the kitch, we still have some empty space (which we’ve heard is a good thing in Feng Shui- something about allowing room for great things to come into your life). Whatever it may mean, we really appreciate the fact that we still have room to grow, and we don’t feel like we’re bursting at the seams like we did before our kitchen reno. Here’s our corner lazy susan with absolutely nothing on the bottom. And the top shelf is where we store a bowl that’s too big for our cabinets and a basket full of light bulbs (removing the packaging and stashing them in a basket or bowl is so much more space efficient- and they still say the wattage on the bulb or the base so they’re easy to sift through).
I like to trade out the things in the center of our dining table from time to time, but lately I’ve been digging a tray full of stuff that we actually use to set the table. We keep the plates in the kitchen since they get loaded up with food in there, but having a few utensils, cups, bowls, and even some nice fabric napkins out on the table reminds us to take our time and have a nice meal whenever we sit down (even if it’s just frozen pizza night).
And where do we keep the remotes? In this white shell box ($8 at TJ Maxx) right in front of the tube. It’s roomy enough to accomodate all three remotes and it makes finding them a snap (and cleaning up for company no longer means stuffing them into the couch cushions or under the sofa). We also slipped two woven baskets into the bottom shelves of our media stand for Netflix movies, lotion, pads pens, and other things that are nice to have on hand in the TV room. Just by adding those two baskets we have a lot more storage space that makes cleaning up and finding things super easy (which is always a plus when you’re trying to watch 24).
But there’s even more hidden storage in the den. The two square leather ottomans that we use in lieu of a coffee table also serve as a place to stash board games and paint decks. You might wonder why an entire cube is devoted to color swatches. Well, lets just say I can’t get enough, and it certainly comes in handy when our clients say that their adjoining kitchen is Pistachio by Benjamin Moore or White Feather by Behr (since we have almost every paint deck known to man, it’s easy to track down almost any color). And look how pretty they are!
In the third bedroom we also have another storage ottoman secretly housing all the extra linens for the daybed in that room (plus a nice cozy blanket). Keeping the bedding that correlates to that bed right in the room really makes things easy (and it frees up more space in the linen closet to boot).
When it comes to our cards and gift wrap, I actually created a little wrapping paper/card writing station in our third bedroom a while back. John thought it was sort of a silly thing that I’d never use but I’m in there all the time! It’s so nice to know that I have a plethora of pretty cards to choose from, and they’re all organized by occasion in one big box so I’m never caught empty handed at the last minute.
Keeping all of our wrapping paper, tissue paper, gift bags and ribbons at the ready not only makes gift giving easy, it actually makes it fun (and it saves us money since it encourages us to use what we have instead of constantly losing and replacing things). Sticking some gift wrap in a personalized planter is an easy way to keep it handy (and it’s easy on the eyes too).
But although we love to stash things in benches, baskets, ottomans, boxes, glass canisters, metal tins, planters and even egg crates… we still think some things look lovely naked. Like this pretty stack of magazines that we keep on the hearth with a metal bull on top for a bit of a fun. Sometimes embracing what you have (and grouping like objects) is a great way to visually integrate and organize things that you just don’t have a place to hide.
So there you have it. Our house in a nutshell… or a bin/box/basket. How do you guys organize you receipts? Your jewelry? Your spices? Your bills? Your toilet paper? Do tell!
Note: For anyone wondering why we’re revealing all this info about our house, not only do we have an alarm, we also have a safety deposit box at the bank with all of our important info, so we’re super sure that our house is super secure! Can’t be too careful these days!
WOW! Simply amazing that you stash ALL that stuff and nobody would ever know! Absolutely bookmarking this post for my next trip to Target!
Nicole Greene says
MY FAVORITE POST TO DATE ~ WHERE do I begin to talk about what and how I organize things? I think that I will share how I organize all my jewelry. I have a 4 drawer dresser in our 3rd bedroom which is also my Craft Room. There are 2 small drawers and 2 big drawers. Each drawer is filled with clear plastic bins with no lids. 1 small drawer (the small drawers can hold 2 bins) has bracelets, so 2 bins full and the other one has necklaces, 2 bins fulls. The large drawer can hold 5 bins. 1 big drawer has belts and scarves and the other has headbands, pins and other accessories. Not to worry, my earrings are in a mini dresser with 20 drawers all by themselves. I AM A BIG JEWELRY LOVER and having it all right in 1 place is a dream for me and it is all color and material organzied also.
dave navarro says
Ive been reading your blog for quite a while. You have a very nice blog. Please post more often. Keep it up.
LOVELY!!! I genuinely love all your ideas around your home. Just want to say WOW, you two amaze me :) Please please please, enlighten us with closet space, I need help with that :D I sure will use your tips!
Got it! Closet organization is now on our list of upcoming post ideas. Stay tuned…
Great post! Quick question for you. I see lots of the rattan baskets around your house (under TV, in lazy susan, in bathroom closet)… where have you found the best prices on these?
When it comes to our baskets, we usually snag them at any number of places on a dime. Michael’s has a surprisingly wide selection (and offers 50% off coupons from time to time) and Target, Ikea, and Bed Bath & Beyond are other foolproof places to grab baskets on the cheap. Hope it helps!
Isn’t it personal to share all this information on the internet? esp. giving details on where you store your medical, tax, billing et al….I don’t think the storage ottamon has a secure lock. Do you have a secure system inside that?
Good point! Not only do we have an alarm, we also have a safety deposit box at the bank with all of our important info, so we’re super sure that our house is super secure! Can’t be too careful these days!
I’ve always wondered where people keep “stuff.” Papers, CDs/DVDs, extra blankets or sheets, jewelry, that sort of stuff. This helps a lot! Now I’m plotting how to get rid of our ugly file cabinet and replace it with a nice ottoman of some sort!
I do like how our spices are set up – we bought a bunch of these spice jars and used a labelmaker (that I got for $3 at a thrift store) to label each spice. Looks super pretty in our cabinet and is much nicer than the crappy plastic containers with different designs.
heather s. says
One of my ‘musts’ for my house was for it to have a finished or partially finished basement so I had room for my crafts and home improvement stuff. I have so many bins/boxes for things that my life would be a mess without!
I love the idea of storing paper in your ottomans – clever! Current receipts are stored in a small expandable file marked my month so I can balance my checking and credit cards. Any receipts I need to keep are stored in a larger expandable folder with categories such as home, sports equipment, electronics, clothing, etc. All other ones are shredded as soon as I balance my checking.
I love this post! My hubby and I just bought our first house in Feb. and we’re still getting organized. You have so many great ideas. Thanks for sharing!
These are some great ideas guys! On my “to-do” list this morning, I need to give the house a huge overhaul, and I was just realizing that I need to create some sort of system for a lot of things. It’s hard to put everything back in its place when it doesn’t HAVE a place!
Erin J says
Thanks so much for sharing! I’m wondering though why you feel it’s necessary to save your receipts at all. Once I am sure I’m not going to return something, I immediately throw it away. Same goes for all of my receipts. Once I cross-check (for example) a restaurant receipt with the charge online, I toss the receipt. Did I miss a life lesson while growing up about receipts?
Hey Erin J,
So sorry I wasn’t more thorough in my receipt explanation! Of course we toss any receipts that we know we won’t be needing (lunch receipts, grocery store receipts, etc), but thanks to lots of home improvement and craft materials that we purchase with a specific project in mind, it always helps to save the receipt for those items just to be sure that when we take on the project in a few weeks, we didn’t accidentally purchase the wrong thing that we now can’t return (or too many of something which we now are forced to store instead of getting our money back).
With clothing and accessory purchases I also like to live with things for a bit to ensure that I like ’em. This way if I ever purchase a shirt, kitchen gadget or pillow that I live with for a week or two and realize that I can totally do without, back it goes to the store (of course the shirt would not have been worn and the kitchen gadgets would not have been used- it’s just for those times when something sits around with the tags on for weeks and you realize you didn’t really need it in the first place). Voila- no more buyer’s remorse!
We’ve also found that for some big purchases like TVs, digital cameras (and even high quality clothing) saving the receipt helps you get them repaired or replaced free of charge if they come with a warranty (a receipt is often required to prove date of purchase). Some companies and products even offer a lifetime guarantee with a receipt, so for those objects we’re sure to keep them on hand as well. Then about once a year I sit down with my two big boxes and go through everything, tossing about 90% of the now-useless receipts and saving only the ones that we’ll need on hand for our taxes and for our biggest purchases that may offer a warranty. Hope it helps!
I was wondering how you managed to keep your home looking so clutter free all the time! Great solutions!
Gives me ideas and something to strive for in our new home as a fellow organization-nut.
You make my little organizing heart pitter patter. Seriously a good job!
Great ideas Sherry! Love the filing in the ottoman idea. I have a great system as well for sorting my necklaces and earrings. I use a hanger that’s meant for ties, with about 4-5 bars on it (small) and place the necklaces and earrings on each rung. It’s the most organized and easy way to display my jewelry and organize it so it doesn’t get tangled. I hang it up in my closet and have a higher probability of wearing things because I see them more often!
Erin J says
Thanks so much for sharing! I’m wondering though why you feel it’s necessary to save your receipts at all. Once I am sure I’m not going to return something, I immediately throw it away. Same goes for all of my receipts. Once I cross-check (for example) a restaurant receipt with the charge online, I toss the receipt. Did I miss a life lesson while growing up about receipts?
Ooops, should have added good post! Waiting on the next one!
Stephanie A? says
This might seem silly but don’t you have music? I noticed there WAS a little alarm clock in your bedroom that might have had a cd player in it but I haven’t seen it in a while. And you’re using your CD shelf to hold Q-tips in the bathroom so… at some point you owned a cd. Have you switched to ipods? Do you keep Cd’s in your car? Do you listen to music at all? Is there some super oraganized hiding place that they are stashed?
Hey Stephanie A,
We’re huuuuge music lovers, and we simplified our lives a while ago by uploading all of our CDs to iTunes on our laptop (we have our collection backed up too, just in case). It instantly turns out laptop into a wireless portable stereo that we can bring into any room and even outside when we’re working (for example during our recent porch project our laptop played us some tunes out front).
We also both have iPods that are loaded with our favorite songs which makes going for a run/walking the dog/mowing the lawn infinitely more fun- and they’re so tiny they take up barely any room. Oh and we even have an iPod adapter for the car, so we’re never forced to forgo our music… whether we’re inside painting, outside landscaping, or even driving to Home Depot. Hope it helps!
I’m still in love with your file folders at your gift wrapping/card station and never had any luck at finding them in Target :)
Your organization skills are first rate- loved reading all about it!
“(we pay bills online, but we write our confirmation number and the date that we paid ‘em on all of our paper invoices for easy reference).”
i really suggest you stop requesting paper copies if you are paying online. we no longer receive paper copies of our statements and it saves tons of a. paper and b. storage space. why do you need a copy of the statement with the confirmation #? just confused why you save so much paper.
We were waiting for someone to jump in and say just that. The truth is that we wish we didn’t need to store a shred of paper or waste a single tree! We happily pay every bill that we can online (without a paper statement) but because certain records have to be filed for tax reasons (and many online records aren’t stored for years like they need to be when it comes to tax records) we’re forced to save paper statements for anything that qualifies as a business expense or write off (for example, our internet service is a write off since we blog for a living, so we have to keep backdated invoices for years just in case of an audit). Hope it helps to explain why we do what we do!
WOW, I really love this post. So many creative ideas. I simply walk around my house, staring at the mess wondering where am I suppose to put all this stuff. Now I have some great ideas. Off to target to buy that roll out thingy! I just recently moved to richmond and I was delighted to find a local blog. Keep up the good work, your house is amazing, I’ll be back soon to get some more great ideas.
I just started reading your blog last week and I must say… I’m obsessed. This weekend I was writing down all of your tips (since we’re renovating our home right now) and my husband would come in to our office and say “You’re still on there?!” ;) I love this post tho and I’m so excited to buy some ottomans since we do not have ANY linen closets or bathroom closets what-so-ever!! I’d never thought of using one for all of that. Thanks so much for all of the advice you guys give!! xo
Amy L. says
Thanks for this post. I love checking out design sites for home ideas but always wonder where people actually keep their STUFF! The media stuff (video games, DVDs) are the worst to hide. An ottoman is a great suggestion!
Great tips! Keep ’em coming.
I must ask – you have a small stack of magazines in your den…but how do you choose what to keep and what to toss?! I am a very organized person too, but I can’t seem to make myself let go of my shelter mags, and hate tearing out pages! I am being overrun by my magazines! Any tips?!
Last week we mentioned one way that we keep our house from overflowing with shelter mags (by using a binder and some clear sleeves to create the ultimate magazine):
But we totally understand your resistance to tearing out any pages! We also have a basket next to the armchair in the den full of glossy reads and another basket in the sunroom for even more delicious eye candy. Between those little mag spots and our under-the-iron-bull stack by the fireplace, we have everything that we’d ever want on hand, plus an entire binder full of inspiration at the ready. Hope it helps!
I love your roll-away storage in the laundry room, as well as the open linen closet in the master bath. If only I could teach the husband to stay neat enough for open shelving!
Great post guys! I cant get over the size of your recycle bin and trashcan under the kitchen sink! I think I would be emptying it all the time if mine was that small!
Question for ya: Where did you pick up the hanging shower organizer? I have the same towel bar in our shower and right now we lean shampoo bottles on top of it but a caddy like yours would be great. I’d love to get one, where can I find it!??
We actually used two items to create the hanging shower organizer (a regular over-the showerhead-hooking caddy & two closet hooks we picked up at Target). Hope it helps! A place like The Container Store or even Home Depot might also have everything that you need to make one of your own if you can’t find both items at Target for some reason. Hope it helps! Happy hunting…
heather s. says
Keeping receipts is also helpful when you make an inventory of what you have in your house for insurance purposes. If you are robbed it is easier to prove that you spent $xxx for your electronics and it makes it easier to recover your losses. A high school boyfriend had to go through this when their house caught fire – they stored their receipts for big ticket items in a safe deposit box at the bank.
Wow, what a great post! I’m feeling totally inspired to ditch my filing cabinets in favor of gorgeous woven ottomans.
Random aside – I scoured Target yesterday for your rolling laundry cart (I want it!!) but I couldn’t find it – any suggestions? Thanks so much!
We’ve heard quite recently that Home Depot or Lowe’s (can’t remember which one) has the identical rolling cart that we have in the laundry nook. It also bears noting that we found ours in the laundry aisle at Target (with the ironing boards and the hampers) and not in the cleaning or the home decor section. Hope it helps! Happy hunting…
Dear Young ‘Uns – thanks so much for this post! I’ve always wondered where all your ‘stuff’ goes — without a big office or file cabinet, etc.
Where did you guys get the lamp that’s hanging in the dining room? It’s beautiful and would be perfect for our bedroom!
The pendant is actually from CB2 (it’s sold as a plug-in light, but we converted it to a hardwired fixture by snipping the cord to expose the internal wires and connecting them to our ceiling fixture box- we called CB2 first to ensure it would convert that way). If you ever want to know where we snagged anything in our house, we actually have a whole-house source list right here (it can also be found in a link on the top of the House Tour page). Hope it helps!
Ah, genius! You’re totally right – here’s the laundry cart at Lowes – http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=283070-62860-2175HL-0&lpage=none. Thanks again!
Love the ottoman idea. We have an old Chest that we got at an antique store that we use for the same idea. We keep it at the end of the bed in our guest room. Guest can sit on it while putting oh shoes, or set their bags down there. All the while, it’s a hard working filing cabinet! We also have another chest in our bedroom that serves as our laundry hamper. Guess we like to put Chest to work other than just storing quilts!
Thanks for the great idea about the hanging organizer in the bathroom. I too have one of those in the shower stall towel bars. (who’s idea were those?…total FAIL)
Secondly, I think storing your bills or more personal information in a bench in the dining room rather than an obvious file cabinet is genius and if someone were to rob your house I doubt it would be someone from online who lives nowhere near your home and good luck to those robbers getting past Burger. (teehee)
Lastly, I save all receipts and keep the paper copy of my credit card statement. Guess what? Chase once double charged me but removed the evidence of two transactions from the online statement but the total amount equalled double charging still. I had the paper statements for the past several years and voila, was able to prove my case. Keep them and don’t go paperless on credit card bills, it is not safe. Yes they were stored online, but they weren’t right online.
Also, I would not recommend that anyone go paperless on their mortgage payments as I’ve heard of the same types of things happening. The paper statement doesn’t match the online or vice versa. Try asking your mortgage company for a copy of the original loan and see how many months it takes them to find it. A LONG LONG time and many can’t produce it at all.
Most identify theft occurs to people who have people come into their homes when they are not home (contractors etc) or discard their bills/receipts without shredding, etc. Not from storing them in a tidy unknown place like a bench, etc. Seeing as you work from home, when would someone sift through your paperwork while you weren’t aware? lol
Lastly I think the most clever storage you have is that simple white box with the remotes in it. I have 5 remotes for different things and I’m going to hide those suckers pronto. Thanks.
How do you like that Burt’s Bees shampoo and conditioner?
Kylee (Jamie’s girlfriend)
We really like it actually! It’s easy to get (available at Target) and it totally does the job (and smells yummy too). I’d definitely encourage you to give it a try!
and thanks to Liz. I’ve ordered that cart. My laundry room is more like a closet but I can fit that organizer in there and have a nice clean looking “under the kitchen sink” area now. I also wanted to say I adore a smaller trash bin in the house because it lessens the stink factor. I want to streamline my storage too. I shall start a list…thanks youngsters. :-)
Great post! I always visit on my lunch break as my little escape from the world of 3rd grade :)
I organize my jewelry with a corkboard. It sits on the floor of my walk in closet, and each necklace or bracelet is hanging on push pins so I can see them all, match them up to my outfit for the day and they don’t get tangled. Earrings and rings stay in my little traveling jewelry pouch, but each has its own little pocket so I can find things in no time.
Can’t wait for more ideas!
I have been in a cleaning/organizing/purging mood here lately and this was the perfect read to give me some more ideas.
Mike T says
Wow! Do you have a bin to put that colossal post in?! I thought it was long at first and then I realized I wasn’t even near the end!!! Great ideas guys!
Kate in CA says
Love this organizing post! We’ve already discovered the magic of storage ottomans (one holds DVDs, the other our dogs toys, extra poop bags and sweaters) but I never thought of using them for file storage too! I can’t wait to get rid of our ugly file cabinets for some more ottomans!
Also, how much do you love the Jason Tee Tree soap?? We also have the shampoo and conditioner and LOVE it! Plus its biodegrable – score one for the environment!
Hey Kate in CA,
We do love our Jason body wash- and John also uses Jason deodorant and loves that as well. It’s so easy to be green these days!
Hey Sherry and John! I must say that I’ve been addicted to your website ever since I got my copy of The Nest magazine by surprise and saw you two on the cover. I love all of your organizing tips! Now if I could just get my husband on board with me, but that’s another story… :-)
I have one question: I saw that you store Burger’s food and t-r-e-a-t-s (I can’t say the word either… my cats go crazy)on your desk in the pretty white containers. Are these big enough for all of Burger’s food? What about if you buy it in bulk or several pound bags? Or do you just not do this? My husband and I have 2 cats and I would LOVE to know what to do with the 40lb bag of food we buy (I buy bigger bags which = lower cost over time and less trips to the store).
Thanks so much!
Good question! We actually feed Burger organic dog food from Natural Balance (which conveniently comes in smaller bags that can actually be transferred directly into the larger white tin) but we understand your bigger bag dilemma. Is there a deep cabinet that you can devote to storing the bulk of the cat food while you keep a smaller container out for convenience? How about a closet or even a storage ottoman for the overflow (keeping the food in the original bag of course, and maybe securing it with some clippy things up top to keep it fresh)? Hope it helps!
Hi Laura! We have two dogs so we also buy large bags of food. Because we live in a row home, (connected to a row of other homes) mice are always a concern. We purchased a small metal trash can with lid from Ikea. It holds over 35 pounds of dog food and comes in different colors. We keep ours right in the kitchen and it works great!
If this question was already asked, please ignore. :)
Do you have an organization system in your garage? Thank to my husband, our garage is a black hole where things are lost forever. Our home is organized, but the garage is a totally different story. Any tips you might be able to produce will be well recieved by us!
Here’s a post all about how we organized our insanely cluttered garage. Enjoy!
So glad to see that you guys have embraced enviro-friendly cleaning and bath products! I converted about a year ago and have never looked back. I did notice that you’re currently using some non-eco laundry stuff and I just wanted to toss you a couple of recommendations (if you’re ever interested in making the switch). I use seventh generation stuff and love it – my boyfriend is an electrician and gets his workclothes VERY dirty. This stuff takes it right out and doesn’t fade our clothes. I like using the liquid detergent and then dumping a 1/4 C vinegar in with it (let it mix with the water for a bit before adding your clothes). The vinegar works as a scent nuetralizer and also a fabric softener. For the dryer, I pour a couple of teaspoons of seventh gen fabric softener on to an old washcloth as use that as my dryer sheet. I works so great!
Thanks for doing your blog. I’m a newly devoted fan.
We actually only use eco detergent (7th Generation actually!) and no fabric softener (yeah we’re hard core) what you’re seeing on our laundry caddy is actually something that a crew left behind from a recent photoshoot (yeah they bring their own props even down to the laundry detergeant) so while we don’t use that bottle of Cheer we couldn’t very well throw it away either. We’re thinking about passing it along to a friend or family member. Waste not want not and all that! Hope it helps:)
2- wooden frames
Fabric (similar to what a potato sack is made out of- sorry don’t know the name)
I recently bought two large wood frames for $3 a piece at a thrift store and some fabric (under $3 a yard) to store my earrings up on. After painting the frames to a desired color, I simply stretched the fabric over the back of the frames and then stapled it. The reason I chose the fabric is because it naturally has a loose woven effect that creates open spaces that allows me to hang my earrings without creating holes in the fabric. I hung the frames up in my small walk in closet and to my surprise they added quite a bit of character to the small space!
Great post. I am always curious as to how people manage the daily clutter.
Going off topic a little. I love your home, it’s nice and it’s clean. However, I do notice that you guys do not like colors, and everything is just neutral, mostly white actually. Is this personal preference? I think it would be great to see more colors, specifically coordinating colors?
Color, or the lack thereof, is certainly subjective but we have learned that we like a soft neutral palette these days, which is why it seems like our house is full of white, cream and soft tan tones. We also offset everything with dark mocha flooring for a dose of cohesive drama in each room and we always try to bring dashes of black or dark brown into each space (usually in the wood furnishings and a few leather objects) for some pop. We’ve also learned that texture can be just as interesting as bright colors, so we love introducing woven baskets, wooly sheepskin throws, feathery ferns, white breezy curtains, chrome accents, painted furnishings, etc. Layering materials and soft tonal colors really makes for an interesting space that’s serene and invigorating at the same time.
But our house is hardly devoid of color! We love love love cheerful yellow (as seen in our punchy living room rug), soft greens (like our guest bedroom’s lime headboard, a collection of glass bottles in the sunroom, fresh green plants throughout the house) and pale blue (it’s the wall color in the bedroom and the kitchen).
It might not be a super bright color palette (tan, white, cream, yellow, brown and soft blues and greens), but it really feels light and airy and we love that we can create a totally new look in any of our rooms by switching out the pillows and the art thanks to maintaining such a neutral backdrop (maybe one day we’ll want bright red or royal blue accents… you never know!). Hope it helps to explain why we do what we do! Happy decorating…
Sam & Jacci says
OK, guys. This is *not* good for me ;) Here I am with an “in the middle of a remodel just months after moving with 4 small children” house – trying to be comfortable with temporary (I hope!) chaos. Organization? HA! Now, here I sit, drooling over your cute little gift wrapping station and glaring at my kitchen table covered with cans of primer and paint :)
Seriously, though, you all have done an awesome job at the organization game!!! By the way, we’re planning on (another) yard sale in a couple of weeks to get our garage situation under control. During the move, everything that wouldn’t fit went out there. Yikes, is it crazy. LOL – I’ll have to post a picture on my blog before we move things out. Now, I’m off to read your garage organization post!!! Love the links :)
Have a great rest of the day!
Hey S&J! So, we have a half bath downstairs and I really wanted to steal your cylander vase idea for toilet paper! I went to Target and saw that it was $30.99 though! I thought to myself- Sherry & John wouldn’t pay that much for a toilet paper holder… then I looked back at the original post and saw you only paid $19 for it. SO, not about to pay $31 bucks for a plain glass vase, I went to hobby lobby armed with a 40% off coupon (printed from their website) and bought an identical tall glass cylander vase for $14! I actually get compliments on it, surprisingly. I love your tips, thanks guys!
You can also look at Ross for these cylinder vases. They are usually cheaper than even Wal-Mart.
Hmm…something gives me the distinct impression that you had fun writing this post!
I love getting the insiders look. And as a die-hard “function is king” kind of girl I’m so pleased to see that you have many items that look like pretty decorations but are actually functional storage containers! (Like the shell box for remotes and the bird figure for your change.) There is hope for me yet!
PS – I can’t live without my storage automans either! – 2 leather ones as a coffee table and a wicker one as a side table. They are the perfect place to hide the plethora of pillows and blankets that turn our hard futon into a cozy movie watching spot. Love that you guys fill them with some unconvential things…gets me thinking…
Thanks for the great post!
Sherry – Great post! One more organization question, if you don’t mind. I was wondering where you hang your bath towels to dry (assusming you reuse them)? We live in a 2/1 bungalow so obviously guests use the same bathroom we use daily. There are hooks on the back of the bathroom door, but it seems a bit cluttered so for now I have then hanging on the back of our bedroom door. How do you guys handle this?
We actually have two cute Anthropologie hooks on the back of the bathroom door with our initials on ’em. No more wondering whose towel is where. We also installed a cute little towel hook on the back of the guest bedroom door so our guests know where to leave their towels without even having to ask. Hope it helps!
A little off topic, but we love the Natural Balance food for our cats. It didn’t work so well for our dog(he has skin allergy problems) but our cats fur is so shiny with that food. We keep ours in a medium size rubbermaid type storage container that fits in the bottom of our pantry. It has to be hidden away or one of our cats would figure out how to get to it and open it.