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Home Organization: Ready for a revamp?

Quick and easy tips that take you from frazzled to fabulous in no time. Tackle your kitchen, family room and more with these smart ideas.

By Trish Magwood

Home Organization: Ready for a revamp?

Home Organization: Ready for a revamp?

Streamline

We're all looking for short-cuts so we can spend more time with our families — and maybe even a moment or two for ourselves.

Frazzled in the kitchen? Can't face the laundry room? We've got easy tips to streamline your home life and make your days more manageable. The best part? These are easy fixes — no renos required!

A version of this article appeared in our April 2013 issue with the headline "Room to grow: Keep the kids, lose the clutter," pp.92-93.

Home Organization: Ready for a revamp?Photo: hjalmeida/iStockphoto

Kitchen Essential

Keep a running shopping list with columns organized by grocery aisles — produce in one, dairy in one, pantry in one.

Give the kids the opportunity to either shop with you or help you by adding to the list, in the correct column. If they have a say, they’ll be more likely to eat what you bring home (and you can remind them that they helped, if they complain!).

Must have: Our printable grocery list.

Home Organization: Ready for a revamp?Photo: Patricia Cavazzini

Breakfast of Champions

The importance of a good morning meal is no secret.

Keep a few tried-and-tested high-fuel options on hand to send them off with full bellies and alert minds. Try smoothies (banana, yogurt, flax, milk, frozen fruit), energy muffins (more flax, banana, raisins or chocolate chips), hot cereal and granola (get the recipe at trishmagwood.ca).

Home Organization: Ready for a revamp?Photo: GMVozd/iStockphoto

In your closet

Most of our kids are far better dressed than we are. Our mini fashionistas are rocking out the latest looks while we are stuck in the wrong decade. It’s your pay cheque, sister. The kids are fine in hand-me-downs once in a while, and you need a few killer staples yourself.

Remember: Know thyself and embrace the uniform. Whatever your look — if it’s jeans and good boots, or a blazer and a tee – invest in the base uniform and have fun with the cheap and cheerful finishes.

Home Organization: Ready for a revamp?Photo: Roslyn Costanzo

Kids' clothes

When they are babies, the space under cribs provides the perfect way to store extra supplies, bedding or the next stage of clothes. Consider using a dresser with a hardback change pad instead of a change table: The top drawer can house diapering items and other necessities, and the other drawers can store clothes or toys.

As they grow, under-the-bed baskets and decorative bins mean little ones can help tidy up, too!

Home Organization: Ready for a revamp?Photo: piccerella/iStockphoto

The Kid Office

Kindergarteners leave a constant messy trail. Behind the couch is valuable real estate for a four-year-old. You probably don't want to create a full-on fort (at least not permanently) but why not dedicate this area to your kids?

With a few fabric baskets and even a mini table and chair, behind the couch turns a forbidden zone of tossed doll clothing to their office — a place they clean and organize and call theirs.

Home Organization: Ready for a revamp?Photo: Art Bar Blog

The Resident Artist

Savour your Baby Picasso’s art by framing it and hanging it. It adds character and a (low budget) personal stamp to your child's bedroom or the playroom.

A lidded box for each child’s cherished memorabilia will make for a touching keepsake later; pick your favourite pieces and pitch the rest. If it’s hard to part with every piece, take a photo and store them with the Artkive app.

Home Organization: Ready for a revamp?Photo: marcopasqualini/iStockphoto

Homework Station

Have a quiet and uncluttered place for kids to do homework. Mimic the school desktop with sharpened pencils and rulers at the ready.

Curled up on a couch is not good practice for future work habits.

Home Organization: Ready for a revamp?Photo: FrankyDeMeyer/iStockphoto

Laundry Room

You need a place for detergent, bleach, fabric softener, dryer sheets and stain removers.

If nothing else, paint and/or decorate a plastic bucket to hold all of your laundry supplies. Install a foldable drying rack securely on one wall or the inside of a door. It can double as an ironing board by placing a thick towel over the rungs. Get the kids involved by giving them stickers. Put signs on the wall that say “Lights,” “Darks” and “Colours” (the kids can help decorate them), and place a basket under each. Teach your kids how to sort, and make it one of their weekly chores.

Home Organization: Ready for a revamp?Photo: FrankyDeMeyer/iStockphoto

More organization tips

Home Organization: Ready for a revamp?Photo: fotosipsak/iStockphoto

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