Over the Christmas holidays we stayed in an Airbnb with my parents, sisters, our spouses and kids. We rented a house where all 10 of us could stay together. It turned out to be the most organized house I’ve ever stayed in.
As far as I know, the Airbnb is the permanent home of a family of four. It was a semi-detatched, new, modern, 3 bed and bath home with a finished basement (that’s where the 3rd bed and bath were). I’ve heard about families renting out their homes to help finance vacations, but I’d never stayed in an Airbnb where a family with young kids lived. I was in awe of the incredible organization it must take to pull this off especially around Christmas. There was space made in the closets for us to hang our clothes, the bathroom counters and shower shelves were cleared off, the kids’ room was impeccably neat, and they only had food on one shelf in the refrigerator, leaving the rest for us.
Not only was the place organized nicely for us guests, but you could tell that this family runs a highly organized household normally. The kitchen, in particular, was a great school in organizing and I studied it to see how it could help me improve my own space.
Here are a few random tips on organizing that I picked up while staying at this house:
1. Buy Things that Nest
Though the kitchen was small – by North American standards – there was everything we needed and not every drawer or shelf was packed to maximum capacity (like they are in my home). The homeowners had one enormous utensil drawer and everything fit nicely like a puzzle. A small thing struck me because it drives me nuts in our own utensils drawer: measuring cups and measuring spoons that nest perfectly together. In my home our measuring cups nest, obviously they are all different sizes so fit into one another, but at this home, the handles fit together perfectly so they don’t rattle and move around as I open and close the drawer. Ditto with the measuring spoons. I think the blue ones below are the exact kind these homeowners had, but I linked a couple other options I liked too:
(I like how the above set has a sieve, colander and mixing bowl that nest, though the set is short on meausring spoon sizes.)
They also owned all the same brand of reusable food containers so they nested nicely into one another in a drawer. Our container drawer is chaotic – we actually have all the same brand, but they don’t nest! Here are some that do:
2. Hang it on a Hook!
I’ve written before about how we use a hook in our shower to hang our baby bathtub, but this Airbnb gave us lots of other good examples of how hooks can keep you organized at home.
There were hooks at kid-height in the bathroom and bedroom, we’re guessing for towels and pajamas. I thought it was a great idea for helping kids to get used to putting away their things and easily accessing their own towel. Why not start your kids off on the path towards becoming well-organized adults instead of growing up like barbarians like Laura and I leaving our pajamas in the middle of the floor (I still do this).
This is the suction hook you can get at Ikea for your bathroom, the suction is really long lasting, our bathtub has been hanging on it for 8 months. And these are the hooks for kids that the Airbnb homeowners used.
Also, never forget that the inside of a door is a great opportunity for a hook. I used to hang my hairbrush on the door of our vanity since it was an unused space and kept it up and away from other things. I also used larger ones on the door of our pantry for hanging our broom and mop. I really like the Command brand because they are sturdy but removable and come in lots of different sizes:
And, since this is titled ‘Random Organizing Tips’ here’s one of my own:
3. Organize with what you have
Lest you think this post is trying to encourage you to buy a bunch of new things… It’s really not.
One of my favourite tips from Marie Kondo’s book was to use shoe boxes for organizing. It’s been a while since I read the book so I hope I’m not butchering her advice – but, what I took away from it was to stop buying things to help me organize and to work with what I already have at home. I’ve bought a lot of differnet things over the years to organize papers on my desk. All of which have gone unused and just leave me with less desk space. When I buy something special and specific for organizing it’s really hard to let it go. I want to make it work because I spent money on it, but when I use things that cost me nothing or that I already own, it’s easier to switch up the system and keep adjusting it until I find a one that works.
Shoe boxes are great for separating socks, bras and underwear in a drawer, or itty bitty baby clothes. If you get a lot of deliveries sometimes the small random sized boxes they send are even better for drawer organization because the boxes are a bit higher and fit well in deeper drawers. I have a drawer in my bathroom where I keep my makeup and toiletries and I use plastic baskets from berries and empty jars to hold bottles and tall things like mascara and brushes. I use the plastic lids from some ice cream containers to hold flat things like blush and powder compacts, plus the lids help fill up the bottom of the drawer so things don’t slide around. Plastic containers are great for bathroom stuff since they’re washable.
So there you have it, a random collection of organizing tips inspired by the most-organized Airbnb ever. Any other organizing tips spring to mind?