Getting everything in order....

   A few years ago we bought ourselves a label maker.  This would have to be the tool that has really helped keep me and my family in line as far as organization goes.  The key to organization is putting things back where they belong. I have labeled practically everything that doesn't move with this little gal and it works like a charm! 
   I have labeled the shelves in my linen closet so that the double sheets won't get mixed up with the twin sheets.  How many times have you or someone in your family had to unfold a set of sheets to see if they are the right size?  Now they just go to the stack of sheets that match their size bed.  I have also labeled a space for quilts, blankets, and odd pillow cases...When I put the blankets away after washing them, I can be sure that all of the blankets are in one spot, quilts in another, etc.  It looks nicer than when they are all scattered.  It also encourages everyone to put things where they found them.  I even made it look more attractive by putting the labels on decorative scrap booking paper. 

I will go through room by room, describing how I have organized things:
Laundry room: I have a four drawer unit which fits nicely between my washer and the wall. 
The first drawer is for white odd socks, and the second drawer is for dark odd socks.  I match socks as I do the laundry, but if an odd one shows up it goes in the drawer.  Usually, when I put one in the drawer, I immediately look for the match, but if I am short on time I just throw it in.  If the kids are short on socks, they can match up their own pair by rooting through the drawer.  If I notice one sock has been living in the drawer too long, I just toss it out, or cut it up for a rag.  More on rags later....
The third drawer is for all of the cat and dog clothing the children have bought for out pets.  I got tired of them lying about, and although I do not dress the pets myself, I felt that if the clothing had a place at least I wouldn't have to find it laying around. This is also a good place for pet toys and miscellaneous pet supplies.  (I also keep spare clothes pins in the third drawer.)
The fourth drawer is deeper and holds all of my laundry supplies.  It is right by the washer, so I don't have to move on inch when getting a load of wash ready.  I leave my bucket of Oxyclean open in that drawer, with the scoop on top.  Because I am not moving the bucket around, I avoid spills.  I just open the drawer pull out my detergent and squirt it in the reservoir, and scoop the Oxyclean right into the machine.  I also have some stain remover in there, as well as my iron and spray bottle. 
Each of these drawers is labeled and I do not put anything in it that is not on the label. 

I am lucky to have cabinets in my laundry room.  I have labeled the bottom of each shelf with its contents: Sheets, rugs, and towels are on the top shelf.  I use the old sheets for everything from wrapping my boys in it when I cut their hair, to laying it out to do Lego's on, or other games with small pieces.  This way the pieces don't get lost in the rug, or stepped on, avoiding broken pieces and bruised feet.  The towels are for big spills, wet pets, or any other odd thing that comes up. I often use them to cushion a casserole that I am transporting to a friends.  I can nestle the casserole right in a laundry basket.  If anything spills, the towel will catch it, and it also keeps it warm.  I keep a small supply of throw rugs on hand, available at the dollar store.  I put extra rugs out during wet or snowy weather for all of the extra boots.  Inevitably there will be times when you could use an extra rug somewhere.  They are also great for moving furniture to prevent the floor from getting scratched.
On the bottom shelf I have a nice collection of small square containers, labeled, which hold one of the following: glue, microfiber rags and other specialty rags for dusting, etc., and used dryer sheets.  the dryer sheets are kept in a clear "to go" container with a hole cut in the top.  I stuff them in the container as they come out of the dryer and they are easy to get to when I need one.  More on the dryer sheets later.

  I have designated a spot for boots and garden shoes.  Everyone knows that no shoes may be added to what is already there.  There is a place for Dad's boots and Mom's boots.  There is a cubby which holds 3 pairs of waterproof, slip-on gardening type shoes.  Everyone uses these as needed when they need to do outside chores, such as feeding the chickens, walking the dog, dumping the compost, or taking out the trash or recycling.  This keeps the laundry room from becoming a dumping spot for the myriad of shoes that live at our house.  There is also a spot for Dad's shoes.  He is the only one who doesn't own more than 3 or 4 his two most used pairs are kept here...think of it as a reward for his simplistic way of life...good for Dad!  During the winter months, I usually have a rug out for the extra boots that are worn during this season, where they can drip dry until put away or worn again.
   Some of the other things that I store in the laundry room are baskets; laundry and other kinds.  The smaller baskets are hanging from hooks on the ceiling, with the smaller ones nested in the bigger ones, and then there are a few hanging on nails on the wall.  These are used for gathering produce and flowers from the garden, flower arrangements, bread baskets, etc.  The laundry baskets all nest together and are set out of the way as much as possible.  With 5 people in the house they are usually in use.  Each child has their own basket for dirty clothes.  When it is full it comes down and waits while the clothes are laundered and returned to the basket...and taken back to their owner's rooms.  The clean clothes are put away right away so that the basket can be used for dirty clothes again.  You can spray it with disinfectant after the clothes are put in the washer so the clean clothes are put in a clean basket.  There is one extra oval basket that hangs on the wall in the laundry room when not in use. 
   There are two tall closets in the laundry room.  One has four shelves. The very top, hardest to reach shelf has the least used items, all labeled, of course.  This holds shoe polish/supplies, metal polish, and leather/fabric protectant.  The next shelf down holds bug spray, carpet and upholstery cleaner, floor wax and polish, and cleaning wipes.  The third shelf, which is easiest to access, has the most used cleaners.  I prefer the nontoxic variety.  I buy cleaners in concentrate form so the front of the shelf has four squirt bottles ready to use:  glass, tile, all purpose, and disinfectant cleaners.  Behind these are the concentrated bottles.  Those are just about the only cleaners I use, but there are a few odd cleaners tucked in the back, such as Lestoil...which is the very best thing for getting out grease.  I don't use it often, but it is there when I need it.  Bleach and ammonia, which are seldom used as they are so caustic,  are also kept on this shelf.  The bottom of the cabinet has my buckets and scrub brushes.  I have a seperate area for brushes and scrubbers that are used on pet things, such as the litter box and cats fountain.  Yes, my cats have a fountain, as they love moving water....this keeps them from moving the water themselves, resulting in puddles everywhere...I also have a few plastic pan style, of different sizes.  They come in hand for soaking laundry.
   The other tall closet is split in two.  The top half is where the laundry shoot ends.  Under this is the vacuum cleaner hose (we have central vac so only the hose and attachments are kept here.  Behind this is a crock with an assortment of hard to hold items such as yard sticks, umbrellas, a plunger, and the long skinny brush I use to clean under the refrigerator,washer, and dryer.  An umbrella stand would work well for this in a closet, as well, if the closet is tall enough.  The crock is short, but it is heavy so it doesn't topple.  
   Under the laundry room sink is a bin that holds rags.  Any time a shirt, socks, or other piece of clothing or linen is worn out or stained, it gets cut up and put in here.  Socks can be very absorbent, and if it is a nasty spill, such as something the dog or cat left behind, or paint, the sock can be thrown out with it.  We make sure we cut up the old socks so they don't get mixed up with the good socks.  I keep these rags in a box that can be removed easily from the cabinet in case of big spills.  We have often dumped the whole box on a spilled bucket of water to keep it from running under furniture or onto rugs. 
In the corner of the laundry room I have a white bucket for soiled rags.  When I have enough, I do a load of wash so that I don't have to put them in with the regular laundry.  I usually use this opportunity to toss in a couple of throw rugs. 
   We also keep our keys in the laundry room on a row of hooks.  When cars need to be moved (4 drivers in our house!) it is easy to locate the right key.  If we are pet sitting for a neighbor, we keep their keys here, as well.  The dog leash is also kept here. 

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