Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

21 Adar I 5765 - March 2, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

by Miri Stizower

Part I

"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 manifold.

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 the years.

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.

Color Coding

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 basket etc.

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 possessions.

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 everyday sweater.)

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 applications.

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 baskets.

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) Basket

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 pleasure.

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]


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