Pretty much everyone has a drawer, cupboard or random stash of batteries, torches, lightbulbs, medicines…and they are those things that you don’t necessarily access everyday but when you do need them, you really need them! Many a household knows the painful call of ‘Muuuuuuuuuuum, where are the AA batteries for the Xbox’ or the panic of trying to find a torch or candle when the power goes out (as you feel your way along the wall trying not bump into anything). So, let’s get this area sorted and working for you.
The images shown here are of how I organise our utility cupboard (utility isn’t quite the right word, but you know what I mean). We have ridiculous amounts of storage in our home (almost too much!) so we have lots of room to store everything but you truly don’t need this much space. We can work with whatever you have. It’s applying the key principles that matter. The most important thing is to remember the old adage:
OK, let’s get started:
Pull everything out of your utility area – everything
Throw out anything that’s broken or expired or relocate it if it should be stored somewhere else.
What do you have left? In ours I store our medicines, first aid, cold & flu, batteries, torches, candles, toilet paper, spare toiletries, spare cleaning products, pet supplies, lightbulbs, mosquito sprays and coils, heat packs and sports strapping.
What storage space are you working with? Is it a cupboard, drawer/s, shelf…? Is that the best place to have it? If not, find the best spot.
If you’re working with a small drawer or shelf area, then we need to make the most of the space. You can get some awesome, cheap drawer inserts from IKEA, Kmart or discount stores which look like cutlery drawer trays. They are great for organising small areas. Place batteries in one section, small candles in another and so on. The key is making sure that everything has a place, a home. Ziplock bags are also really handy if you’re short on space as they can be squeezed into small spots but you can clearly see the contents (can be used for rubber bands, small batteries, tea lights, loose items etc
If you have a larger area to work with, then I really recommend a combination of baskets and plastic drawers for storage. Cheap, easy and you can always see what you have. Again, IKEA and discount stores have heaps of cool, inexpensive options.
OK, now you know what you are storing, where and how. Now it’s time to be a label ninja! If you are working with storage trays etc, then I suggest either using a label maker (I use the Dymo LetraTag and I think it was less than $30. I use it ALL the time!) or snip some small strips of paper, write the items in your neatest writing and then stick it to the relevant section of the tray with sticky or clear packing tape. If you have more room to work with and are using baskets or plastic storage baskets then I recommend brown or white label tags (the one with the pre-punched holes – see pic.. You can get them at Kraft stores and newsagents), labelled with a label maker or gorgeous handwriting and tied on with brown twine. This looks super cute and makes it really easy to see what is in each storage container. If you don’t have a label maker and have terrible writing like me (!) you can also make gorgeous labels online for free and print them off. There are some cool ones over at Tip Junkie (tipjunkie.com/free-printable-labels/). Do whatever works for you. The most important thing is that you like the way it looks and that it does the job .
When placing the items into the storage you might consider removing packaging to save space. Obviously keep the packaging for things with expiry dates or instructions like medications, but consider discarding it for things like batteries. You can also use ziplock bags for loose items to keep them sorted and visible.
When placing the items in their ‘home’ (drawer, cupboard…) aim to have the things that you use the most at eye level for easy access, but also keep in mind factors like young children and pets and keep any dangerous items (medicines, cleaning products etc) higher and out of their way.
Voila! You’re done! Now gather the family around and show them your magic work and show them what’s where so they can find what they need when they need it without bugging you!
That’s it guys! You’ve got this! Send through any questions, before or after pics, anything… This is a pretty small job to tackle but you won’t believe how much time and stress it will save you. 🙂 xo
PS – You might have noticed some cushions at the bottom of our utility cupboard in the main pic! They are there to keep them away from our new puppy ‘Moose’ who keeps eating them!