How to make your life easier

Even our lunches are organized!

Granted, I’ve only been married 6 years.  However, living in small student apartments with very little real storage has forced me to think creatively about how I organize my kitchen and pantry.  I was forced to reevaluate the way my mom did things and decide if they were really working for me and my family.  It’s amazing what you can repurpose if you put your mind to it.  To get your creative juices flowing, I thought I’d share a few of my solutions that have helped make my life easier and (slightly) more organized.

1.  Keep your Kool-Aid packets in a notecard organizer.

Who knew that those little boxes meant to hold 3×5 cards would be just the right size for Kool-Aid  and the odd cocoa packets.  I literally had this epiphany 2 hours ago.

2.  Use a shower organizer to hold garlic, and potatoes in your pantry.

We had a multi-tiered metal shower unit that wouldn’t fit in our current bathroom.  So, instead of sending it into storage, we tucked it into a corner of our pantry to hold the things that need to breathe to stay fresh.  I originally kept onions on it too, but it seems potatoes and onions have an antipathy towards each other.  I now keep my onions in a separate perforated tub with a handle.

3.  Keep your knives in a tupperware container.

Growing up, it seemed like the only solutions for storing knives were either in a block or in a drawer beneath the counter.  Having been poked by the knives in the drawer one too many times, and unwilling to use counter space for a block, I had a Brilliant Idea early on in our marriage.  I keep my knives-the nice pretty ones side by side with the Walmart specials-in a tupperware container just big enough to fit them.  It tucks neatly in the cabinet next to my plates. This keeps the kids safe and Momma happy.

4.  Use applesauce cups for measuring.

Did you know that individual serving size applesauce are each a 1/2 c.?  So, in theory, you can wash and reuse the leftover cups.  I find the half cup measure is the one I use most of all.  Instead of having to worry about whether my measuring cup is dirty, I simply grab a clean applesauce cup.  And, since they are meant to be disposable, I have no problem using them for holding paint or other goopy, messy things.  If a cup is too filthy, gets mangled, or can’t be cleaned off, you can throw it away without remorse.  It just means you have to buy another packet of individual applesauces.  I’m sure your kids won’t mind helping you empty them.  Aren’t they helpful?

5.  Get an ottoman or coffee table with storage space within.

Although I don’t have the room for my coffee table (it’s pining away in storage), we have discovered how useful a storage ottoman is.  It can be a footrest, a low table, and a seat for little people.  However, I would never have bought it if not for the internal storage space.  Now, when a neighbor or friend sits on the ottoman, they have no idea their rump is reposing right above my cloth diaper stash.  I keep my Gdiaper pants, the waterproof liners, and the cloth insert (along with wipes and cornstarch for rashes) all tucked away in my lovely ottoman.  It’s almost as cool as a secret passageway through a bookshelf.  Almost.

6.  Drink out of mason jars.

For those who preserve food by canning, one look in closets and pantries can reveal an overflow of empty jars.  I just plain don’t have the room to let empty jars languish on my shelves.  Any opened (and then emptied and cleaned)  jar is immediately pressed into service as a glass.  It’s not only economical.  I find that I enjoy the rustic charm they impart.

Or maybe they just remind me of my moon-shining, horse-thieving ancestors.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the many shortcuts and tricks I use in my home.  I just wanted to share what I have found useful in our home.  How have you creatively repurposed storage to accomodate your home, lifestyle, or current needs?  Please share, I could always use another tip to help me make (and keep) our home organized.

This was guest-posted at Quirky Momma, head on over and check out their tips for moms & kids!


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Lots of fabulous ideas for using what space you have well. It also reminds me of when we lived in student housing. It’s funny — we had an apartment that was probably around 500 square feet, and we were so happy.

    1. Wow, 500 sq. ft.? Did you have any kids at the time? If so, you’re officially amazing.

  2. Rachel says:

    What a great list of ideas! I’d be honored if you want to guest post it on Quirky Momma! You have a ton of great ideas!

    1. Email is on the way to you. I don’t think you could have given a prettier compliment. Thanks so much!

  3. Sariah says:

    My husband LOVES drinking out of mason jars. Or any glass jars, really. His favorite hot chocolate cup is a giant ex-marshmallow creme jar. That thing holds a LOT of hot chocolate.

    I realize my comment is very, very vaguely related to your actual post. This is why I should be in bed.

    1. Wow. Using a giant creme jar for hot cocoa is Genius! And your comment is very related. Hot cocoa is always related.

  4. Aack, I was logged in under my 6-year-old’s account. What a strange world. Please feel free to delete. Or rename. Or whatever. I’m really going to bed now.

    1. I love it. Go, get some sleep before you take out a loan in their name. 😀

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