"Simple Storage Solutions on a Shoestring"- now say that 10
times quickly. Not so difficult, right? Well neither is
organizing your home. It may involve a little bit of your
time, but it is well worth it and you will reap the benefits
Boruch Hashem, we're blessed with many more belongings than
are possible to keep track of. I'm always trying to think of
creative ways to store my possessions. My family and friends
have also shared their storage ideas and encouraged me over
To begin with, we all know that we ought to de-clutter.
That's right, get rid of whatever's possible. But there are
still plenty of items that we use regularly, so let's store
them conveniently. My mother always says: "A place for
everything and everything in its place." If we have a
workable location for our belongings, we, and others, will be
able to find them quickly when needed and be able to return
them easily and neatly.
Before we start, let me just discuss COLOR CODING. Each child
is assigned his own color, (Green for Gitty, Yellow for
Yitzy) which will be used to identify his belongings, such as
his cup, clothing, toothbrush, hook, individual laundry
If possible, the item itself should be that color. If this is
not possible, permanent marker, strong tape, stickers, or
contact paper of that color can be adhered to the item. (If
you run out of colors, try silver, gold, or combinations, for
example: Turquoise [green + blue] for Tuvia?!) Designate one
or two nights to finish the color-coding project. This is
very well invested time, which you'll see throughout this
article. Let older children color code their own
Here are some practical storage ideas, which I have found
very useful. I hope you do, too!
They come in all sizes and may be discreetly hidden or hung
in full view. Of course items used rarely can be mounted
higher up and out of the way. Consider the option of adding
loops to objects to make them more "hook"able. Try these
ideas for easy organizing and storage:
Having children's clothing prepared for the following day is
a minimal pre-morning measure. Hang on color coded hooks. Use
a pair of hooks per child. Hooks can be mounted behind the
door or on the side of a closet.
We all hang sweaters on hooks, but here are some extra tips:
Color-code sweaters and hooks. Sew on color-coded loops if
necessary. (Shoelaces make very strong loops). If you are
blessed with lots of sweaters — keep Shabbos ones in a
large basket. On Erev Shabbos, you switch the every-day
sweaters with the Shabbos ones. On Motzai Shabbos, you switch
back. What a great way to keep your four-year-old busy and
participating in the Shabbos preparations! (You can also
write a significant symbol to indicate if it's a Shabbos or
To keep your bath mat clean and dry, instead of dripping and
a sight for sore eyes, sew on two white medium width elastic
loops to the narrow end of the bath mat. Mount hooks over the
bathtub at the same distance as the loops.
The baby bath can be easily accessible by hanging it on a
large hook over the bathtub. If needed, you can drill a hole
in the center outer rim of the narrow end with a red-hot
screwdriver. (Hold the tip of a long large screwdriver over
an open flame until it is glowing. Immediately insert the hot
point into the plastic of the tub and hold for a few seconds
until the "glow goes". Repeat as necessary until a hole
appears. Rotate until the hole is the proper size.)
A great place to hang belts is on a hook placed on the narrow
strip of wall, behind the door near the frame (if your door
is in the corner). A few can be placed on the same hook.
Hang extra backpacks on hooks high up in the utility room or
basement. They can hold clothing and accessories not in
current use (e.g. sunhats, bottle holders, work-clothes,
bathing suits and clothing in waitingå to be — mended /
tested for shatnez, or have stains removed).
Bein-Hazmanim will be coming up when all the
bochurim and their hats are home and you need as many
places to put them (the hats) as possible. Of course you
lined up the whole hallway with hooks for sweaters, coats,
and hats (for your husband and just-bar mitzva-ed son).
Hopefully, some of your menfolk are a bit tall and you can
hang some hat hooks over the bedroom doorway (inside or out)
or on the outside of a closet.
Then there are, of course, all those miscellaneous items that
are born with holes in them (that's right, for hanging them
onåhooks!). Such as basins with handles, fishnets, shoehorns,
brushes, and of course, ponytail holders!
These are great for organizing shelves. (Open square or
rectangular containers can also be used). Of course they're
wonderful for toys, but here are some other practical
Have your leftovers ever turned into mold terrariums because
they got lost in the fridge or were forgotten? Store that
last piece of meat or kugel in a special leftover basket in
your fridge for easy locating. It's also very recommended to
place cheese products and condiments in their respective
The pantry is deep and it's very difficult to find anything.
Why not line cans, bottles and boxes along the sides and back
of the shelf. Use a basket or two in the middle to store bags
of dry goods such as pastas. The basket can easily be removed
to reveal other items that are along the sides and back which
have now become very visible. (See diagram A)
Diagram A - pantry shelf (view from above)
If you haven't done this until now, your life will change if
you keep all baking supplies in a basket or two. The same
applies to vitamins and medicines, spices or drink mixes. Use
your imagination; your kitchen cabinets will be just a
Here's a laundry lifesaver:
After the laundry is dried, it is transferred to a large
laundry basket on a small table or other surface conveniently
located near open shelves with color-coded baskets —
one per child. Presto! The laundry is sorted in no time by
putting each child's clothing into his basket. If you can
arrange the laundry corner in a room in which you are in
frequently, you can sort it piecemeal by putting away a few
articles of clothing every time you pass that area. (If the
clothing is color-coded, even young children can do this
job). Unless quite creasable, laundry need not be folded.
Each child old enough to periodically empty and fold his own
clothing, and put them onto his shelf which consists of four
appropriately sized baskets:
1. Pants/skirts 2. Shirts 3. Undergarments 4. Socks/tights
Shabbos foldables such as pants and vests are stored behind
one of the baskets. If the individual laundry baskets are not
unloaded, the children can take clothing directly from them.
This system keeps laundry flowing smoothly and was a
tremendous help for me.
No more leaky milks all over the fridge. Use a large square
or rectangle basin to hold bags of milk. Remember— new
milks should always be put on bottom of the basin and old
ones on top to avoid milk spoilage.
Narrow, not too short baskets or containers are great for
mounting inside closets or cabinet doors. I use them in the
bedroom for storing each child's Shabbos tzitzis and
kipa, and in the kitchen for handy plastic silverware.
Mount with sticky hooks, tape, double sided tape or sticky
Velcro (— if you would also like easy removal).
[To be continued]