“Let all things be done decently and in order.” ~ I Corinthians 14:40
The week of my one-year wedding anniversary was the week I buried my mother. At just twenty-three-years old, I felt completely lost and alone. I sank into severe, debilitating depression. I managed to go to my job and pretend that everything was ok, but beyond that, I let go of my normal life.
I had never been a very good house wife, but at my lowest point, I completely gave up. You couldn’t walk through my house. I feared people coming over. I went inside my head (not a pretty place to be!), and I shut the people I love most out of my life. I plunged into despair and knew I’d never be “normal” again. The guilt I felt about our house made matters worse, yet the worse things became, the more paralyzed I became. This period lasted over five years. The truth is ugly, but that’s just it. It’s the truth. No gloss and no cover-up.
Eventually, when I learned to turn things over to God, I rose from the pit. Little by little, I broke out of my self-imposed barricade and reclaimed my life. I am not the perfect homemaker. I struggle EVERY single day. But as the name of my site suggests, I am a new creation. I embrace the role that God has given me and find joy in serving my husband.
I don’t like to spend too much time looking through the rear view, yet I see so many women in the world today trapped as I was. Situations differ, but the despair and loneliness remain the same. Depression’s grip has left them feeling overwhelmed and lethargic. They don’t know where to begin. If you are one of these ladies, I compiled this list for YOU. My prayer is that with small changes, you can dig out of the pit that you are in and reclaim your home and the life God intended for you!
A—Aesthetically Pleasing Containers: If you are short closet space, store your item in aesthetically pleasing containers that can be left out on display. I store products to make my personal hygiene items in a beautiful old bread tin, which sits out in the open on the top of a piece of furniture. Bread sits out in the kitchen in a lovely old bread box.
B—Baskets: Baskets are great for storing like items together. In our house, a collection of baskets sit atop the fridge storing our pet supplies.
C—Candy Jars: Vintage candy jars make great storage options in bathrooms. Cotton balls, Q-tips, and clothes pins all look adorable in jars, but more importantly, they are easily accessed.They also serve the laundry area well by housing laundry detergent, baking soda, etc.
D—Drawers: A great tip is to put casters on the bottom of an old drawer and slide it under the bed. With the drawer handle, it pulls out easily and is a great storage solution for purses, bags, shoes, jeans.
E—Envelopes: Taping a large envelope to the back cover of your recipe book can be a great place to stash recipes you intend to try in the near future. (I don’t file a recipe in our family recipe book until I know it’s something I like and will make.)
F—Furniture: This sounds like a given, but when you are buying your furniture, strategically choose items that have great storage potential. In our house, we have some unusual storage items. An antique pie safe houses our toy collection for little ones. A map chest for architect’s blue prints houses our gift wrapping station (wrapping paper, ribbons, tissue paper, scissors, tape, gift bags). An apothecary serves as a utility closet holding light bulbs, extension chords, and flash lights.
G—Gear: My dad’s old fishing gear has been the perfect solution for jewelry storage. One small tackle box holds all my earrings (divided by pair of course) while another tackle box houses my bracelets.
H—Hooks: Everyone knows hooks can be used to hang traditional items like keys, measuring spoons, towels, and housecoats, but hooks can also be a very creative storage solution. I hang our broom, Swiffer and stick vacuum on the wall going down the steps to the basement.
I—Ice Trays: Ice trays are the perfect storage solution for small collections. Craft or sewing supplies can store easily in an ice tray inside of a drawer or cabinet and can be easily brought out when working on a project.
J—Jars: Office supplies can be stored easily in a variety of jars. In my office hutch, I have jars for colored pencils, highlighters, and bookmarks.
K—Kleenex Boxes: An empty Kleenex box is a great way to store plastic bags. The bags are easy to get out and the box takes up little to no space.
L—Lingerie Bags: Instead of using lingerie bags solely for washing personal items, you can use them as toy storage organizers. They can separate Lego’s, plastic blocks, plastic kitchen/dishes. An added benefit is that when you want to wash the collection of toys, you can throw the entire bag—contents and all—directly into the washing machine or the dishwasher.
M—Magazine holders: Cardboard or plastic magazine holders make great upright storage solutions for haircare items like curling items and straighteners. They store easily on shelves in bathroom or linen closets and take up only inches of space.
N—Napkin holders: Napkin holders can be used to create a cell-phone station on the kitchen counter, to store dryer sheets in the laundry area, or to serve as a mail sorter when mounted sideways on the wall.
O—Open containers: When storing everyday utensils in my kitchen, I store them in an attractive open container—a vintage pitcher. The attractiveness of the container allows me to leave them out on the counter and the open top of the container allows easy access while I’m in the throes of cooking.
P—Pillowcases: Storing a set of sheets inside one of the pillowcases is a smart way to ensure that the entire set of sheets stays together all in one place.
Q—Quality Square Canisters: Several years ago, we traded in our mismatched collection of canisters for a set of quality clear canisters. They are square which makes stacking around them easier. They’re also uniform in their base size. Some are taller. Some are shorter. But they are all the same width and stack nicely on top of each other.
R—Racks: Wire racks hung inside the kitchen cabinet make excellent storage for spice jars. Matching spice jars make the space uniform while alphabetical listings make spice locations easy to pinpoint.
S—Shoe Organizers: Shoe organizers make great organizers in every room of the house for everything but shoes! In the bedroom, they are great for socks, belts, ties, bras. In the bathroom, they are perfect for hair clips, bobby pins, lotions, deodorant. In the kitchen, they make optimum under the sink storage for scouring pads, magic erasers, dishwasher pods, Jet dry, etc. In a utility closet, they serve as the ideal organizer for flashlights, measuring tapes, batteries, cleaning supplies. In an entryway, the possibilities are endless. You could set each family up with their own row and their cubbies could be separated into hats, gloves, scarves, umbrellas, ponchos (wait until dry).
T—Tree: As we have no closet entryway, I use a coat stand/tree to store seasonal outdoor wear (coats, umbrellas, etc) and items that will leave the house with me (purse, briefcase, etc).
U—Under-the-Bed Storage Bags: Zippered under-the-bed storage bags serve as unique toy bins. They stack nicely and store easily. They could be stored under-the-bed (as they were intended) or stacked on shelves. In our house, they are stored on the shelf of a pie safe.
V—Vessel: Serving vessels can be used in more ways than in the kitchen. In my office, I have a hutch that holds my office supplies. Inside the hutch, I have an enamel casserole dish that holds all the normal desk items—tape, stapler, pens, pencils, etc. I have a serving bowl that houses my post-it notes.
W—Wire Baskets: In the upstairs guest bedroom, I have a wire basket holding guest washrags. In our bedroom, I have several wire baskets in the wardrobe that holds my clothes. The baskets hold a variety of purses and wallets. Also in the bathroom, a wire basket contains our extra toiletry items. In the kitchen, one wire basket sits on the counter storing our apples while another rests in the fridge corralling small dairy items (butter sticks, cream cheese, whipping cream).
X—Xtra Shelving: When you have hardly any closet space, you have to find ways to create attractive storage. In our house, I have done this by creating xtra (Ok, so extra 😉 but there are hardly any x words) shelving. In the bathroom, I built a shelving unit to go in front of one of the 2 doorways. In the kitchen, I built a shelving unit to hold the microwave and in the laundry area, there is an extra shelving unit for cleaning supplies.
Y—Youth Cookie Tin: I received a vintage youth cookie tin because of its imagery of Robin Hood and my love for classic literature. The tin sits out in the open on top of a shelf. The tin contains a collection of special birthday cards, funeral cards, and memorial bookmarks.
Z—Zippered Baggies: To avoid the black hole syndrome in your purse, buy a handful of zippered makeup bags in varying sizes. Use them to categorize the contents of your purse. One might be hair care, another makeup, a third for oral needs (mints, pills, dental floss).
What is your favorite new storage solution? What are you going to change? What tips can you give to the rest of us?