I like organization. I like putting things where they belong. Its just part of my personality I guess. When I met my husband he had something like 4 “junk drawers” in his house, along with several junk cabinets. Now keep in mind that his house was immaculate, but that was because any little thing that didn’t have a “home” such as flashlights, batteries, etc., ended up in these junk drawers and cabinets. I don’t like junk drawers. They are a waste of space in a home. A junk drawer is the like the black hole where everything that doesn’t have a home falls into, most likely never to be found or used again in the near future. I don’t do junk drawers in my house. I figured out a simple solution that works for our household and I have helped organize a few friends and family members’ homes/closets using this method. It does not take a lot of time to do, and the effects of “the bin method” are awesome. Here are the benefits I have seen to using the bin method in our home.
#1- We save money. I don’t rebuy things we already own. For example, If I need 4 AAA batteries, I go to get the battery bin in the pantry. If there aren’t any AAA batteries there I know that we don’t have anymore. Why? Because batteries aren’t lying around in junk drawers. They have one bin, one place in the house where they belong. If I am running low, I know by one glance in the bin.
#2- We save time. We don’t spend time looking for things we need. If we need a flashlight, candle, lighter, extra silverware for a party, streamers, batteries, extra pens, etc. we know exactly where to find them, as they all have specific bins. Anytime my husband asks for something, 95% of the time I can tell him exactly where to find it, as we have bins in the bathrooms for toiletries and such, pantry, garage, toy room, etc. Wherever they are needed in our house and we have the upper shelf space you will find bins.
#3- We make good use of storage space. One of the most under-utilized storage spaces in any house is the top shelf in closets and pantries. If you have a step stool you can reach this high. It is a great place to store extra products and supplies in bins.
#4- We have eliminated clutter in the house. Our countertops and tables are clean because all those small things that typically get left on table tops and counters are all put away in their specific bins.
#5- Our kids have learned at an early age that everything has a “home” or bin. Even Brielle knows where to find tools, batteries, art supplies, and more. It has taught them to put things away at an early age. Kids learn by example. I am glad my kids are catching onto our putting away habits at an early age (it will make my life easier in the long-term to have teens who are not complete slobs).
#6- Our closets and pantries look nice and neat when you open the door. This isn’t important to everyone, but for me (and other type A personalities) it has a calming effect. Now keep in mind, I am NOT a perfectionist. You can open one of the bins and things are not perfectly stacked in each bin. What is important is that they are in there, not how they look inside the bin. Who has time to organize batteries inside a bin?
I just did a refresh on our pantry bins, as they were mismatched from combining households, moving, and changing locations of bins in rooms throughout the years. Target has a great sale right now on storage bins. The most utilized size in our home is the shoe box size. These are on sale at Target for 84 cents each! I replaced the ones in my pantry and will repurpose those bins in the upstairs bathrooms as the kids are starting to use their bathrooms now. Target also had medium sized bins and under bed bins on sale. I purchased some of those too. You can find these bins at other stores like Walmart and Big Lots as well.
Here is our pantry after the bin refresh I did last night. I got the chalk board tags at Michaels, along with chalk board markers. For the larger bins under the shelves I used simple tags. I like the look of the chalk board tags best though, and they are easier to rename if needed. For the bins that went on the upper shelves I used the shoe box size, as that seems to be the most useful.
The medium bins on the floor of the pantry (also an under-utilized space in the past):
I like cleaning out a room and putting things in bins because it gives the opportunity to decide which things are worth keeping and storing in a bin. Things that haven’t been used or I don’t plan to use in the future are given away, sold, or tossed. Even in the pantry refresh process I did last night I was able to throw out an entire garbage bag of worthless items. I have other items to sell and give away too. I like to keep things de-cluttered and organized for the sake of my own sanity and effective running of the household.