May 23, 2013
by Susan Hunsberger

“Mom/dad, where are my stickers?”


My kids don’t put their things away. They always ask me where everything is.

Have your kids decide on homes for their things. After they have decided, have them give the homes labels. Here, a 5 year old has labeled her jewelry and stickers drawers. (So nice, eh?!)

Help create the habit of putting things in their homes. At the end of each day, set a timer and see how long it takes to get everything in its home.

November 16, 2012
by Susan Hunsberger

A Gift Wrapping Station

PROBLEM: I love to give gifts. Part of what I enjoy is the process of wrapping them. However, I often don’t even end up giving the gift because I can’t find my wrapping supplies.

SOLUTION: Find a way to consolidate your supplies. Bring them together either in a bin, on a cart, or in a drawer. And keep your supplies simple.

Owner, Lisa Roberts, shows us how they have done this at Rock Paper Scissors in Ann Arbor. They have a cart that holds four colors of ribbon, bags that are of one color, a few kinds of wrapping paper (including neutral brown), tape, and scissors. Lovely!

HINT: If you prefer to use re-usable cloth bags or re-use wrapping paper, the same idea applies. Bring the supplies together, keep the ones that make the process simple, and give them a home.

November 2, 2012
by Susan Hunsberger

One Less Reason to Dread Mornings

PROBLEM:  I can’t find anything in my closet.  I have one shoe here and another there, shirts mixed in with dresses, mixed in with pants, mixed in with skirts, and scarves on hooks, in drawers, and on hangers.  I really hate getting dressed in the morning.

SOLUTION:  Set up your closet in zones. Jamie Westcott, owner of the Resale Boutique in Saline, provides an excellent example of how this might look.  Notice how all the scarves are on the shelving unit, the shoes are on the hanging shelves, the belts are on a ring, and the jackets are hung up.  

NOTE: Not only do zones help you put things away quickly, they also allow you to find things easily, which makes mornings so much better. 

October 26, 2012
by Susan Hunsberger

A Home for Backpacks

PROBLEM: My kids come in the door after school and they drop their backpacks wherever. I trip over them, they can’t remember where they left them, and it makes the house look and feel chaotic.

SOLUTION: Assign a “home” to the backpack. The home needs to have clear boundaries. Some ways to do this are to put down a carpet square, outline a space with tape (or “X” marks the spot), or hang a hook. It might take a bit of practice and time to build the habit of putting the backpack in its home, but it will be worth the effort.

HINT: Having the home close to where they put their coats is generally a good idea because then everything is in one place. They don’t have to go out of their way, which makes them happy too.

October 19, 2012
by Susan Hunsberger

What about the Sides of Your Shelf?

PROBLEM: Space is at a premium in our tiny house with two adults and two kids. We need some more storage.

SOLUTION: Hang things from the external sides of your shelves. You can install hooks or hang wall file holders for papers. Owner Chrystal Metzger of Lexi’s Toy Box in Ann Arbor shows us a wonderful example of how she uses the sides of a shelf.

QUESTION: Do you have an example of this idea working for you?

October 12, 2012
by Susan Hunsberger

Break Up the Shelf

PROBLEM: Things get scattered around on my shelf, so I can’t find what I’m looking for.

SOLUTION: Anderson Paint in Ann Arbor has the perfect solution. Find a way to divide your shelf into smaller sections. You’ll notice that they have four different products on the shelf, but each is housed in a container. These containers make it easy for both the customers to find things and the staff to put things away. Thanks, Bob, for the example!

HINT: Notice how the container allows you to stand things up that might otherwise fall down.

October 5, 2012
by Susan Hunsberger

A Collection Out of the Box

PROBLEM: I have some lovely things but they are hidden away in a box in the basement. I’d really enjoy seeing my collection of x, y, or z but I don’t have any surface space. What do I do?

SOLUTION: Catherine Thursby of Red Shoes, located in Ann Arbor has a great idea. Find a nice branch, paint it (optional), then hang your collection from it. Voila! You can see your lovely things while at the same time taking advantage of the unused top one-third of your room.

HINT: For hanging the items, you can use a metal necklace chain, string, leather, or even dental floss.

September 28, 2012
by Susan Hunsberger

Floor to Ceiling Shelving

PROBLEM: We have a lot of stuff and I want all of us to see what we have. I also want everyone to be able to easily put things away without confusion.

SOLUTION: Lisa, owner of pot&box of Ann Arbor, brings us a solution. First, build a wall of sturdy shelves. Then put alike things together on the shelves. You’ll want to consider the frequency with which you use the item and its weight when deciding where to put it. Beautiful organization, Lisa!

HINT: Have a sturdy ladder that is easily accessible and either a person to take things from you, or a bag to put things in, as you climb down the ladder.

September 19, 2012
by Susan Hunsberger

You know the saying…”A place for everything and everything in its place.”

PROBLEM: I need a visual to help me remember the notion “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

SOLUTION: The Lunch Room food cart of Ann Arbor has the perfect visual — the sectioned cafeteria tray. With a cafeteria tray, there is a specific place for each object/food item, and the space matches the size and shape of the object. In this example, the long narrow space in the cafeteria tray is for silverware or carrots. By virtue of its shape, this long narrow space may even entice us to put our silverware (or carrots) in their place.

HINT: The bottom line is the cafeteria tray helps us visualize clarity and definition. This can be helpful when organizing.