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Make it easy to put stuff away

If you’re a naturally messy person like me, creating organization for items you use every day can be tricky. I enjoy the visual peace created by putting everything away, but when I know I’m just going to get it out again soon, that can feel like wasted effort. Over the years, I’ve developed some ways to make this easier on myself.

The trick is to make it really easy to put things away (and get them out again). Here are some tips for how to store everyday items:

  • Store things near where you use them. For example, I store my dishwasher detergent tablets in an open bin in a drawer right next to the dishwasher. It’s much easier to get to them  than it was when they were stored in the pantry.
  • Avoid lids on bins, when possible. You remove one step of the process of getting things out or putting them away if you ditch the lids. Plus you can’t succumb to the temptation of lying items on top of the lid, rather than removing the lid and putting the item away properly.
  • Buy duplicates of common items. If you use scissors or tape, for example, in multiple rooms of the house, keep one in a designated place in each room.
  • Store overflow in a remote place. If you buy in bulk, or if you primarily use a single item in a collection of things (like a favorite pair of gloves), keep one of the items you use every day in the area in which you use it but store the rest in a less accessible place. This will make it easier for you to put away (and find) the stuff you use most frequently.
  • Create the habit of putting stuff away. If you tend to leave stuff out, see if you can link the action of putting items away with the action of using them. It can take some conscious effort at first, but if you keep at it, it can become automatic. Some tools that I’ve found have helped me create habits include Don’t Break the Chain and habitforge.com.
  • Declutter to make it easy to put stuff away. If your storage areas are full of unused or unloved items, it’s hard to put away the stuff you do use. If you spend 15 or 30 minutes decluttering a drawer, for example, you create space so you can easily put something away. A couple of years ago, I blogged on Rubbermaid’s blog about decluttering my kitchen gadget drawer, which has made it so easy to put away and find the gadgets I use regularly.

In keeping with my philosophy of letting things be easy, I try to make it as easy on myself as possibly to keep an orderly home. These tips have been a big help for me. I hope they can help you too!


Janine Adams is a messy professional organizer who loves helping others create order. The co-founder of Declutter Happy Hour, she believes in having as much fun as possible in the organizing process. Check out her web site at Peace of Mind Organizing!

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2 Responses to Make it easy to put stuff away

  1. Lorayne Gothard April 20, 2012 at 12:47 am #

    Thank you for all the tips. You can always learn more and I did.

  2. Theresa March 21, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    Always love posts by Janine! Great tips. Love the one about removing lids on bins. This is also very true for getting dirty clothes in the hamper rather than the bedroom floor! Thanks.

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