The Shelving Store Blog

  1. Using Shower Caddies Around The House

    When you hear the term “shower caddy,” you rightly assume it needs to go in the bathroom somewhere, right? I mean, it’s got “shower” right there in the name.

    And you would be right! Shower caddies are an awesome way to keep your shower supplies organized and close at hand, but they’re good for a lot more than that. If you have a shower caddy in your house you’re not currently using and want a better use for it than just “taking up space in the cabinet below the sink,” here’s a few of the more clever ideas we’ve seen to repurpose shower caddies for extra storage around the house:

     

    Produce hanger: Any shower caddy with baskets can become an easy and convenient way to store produce in the kitchen to make sure it doesn’t touch anything else and stays safely at room temperature. Keep your favorite fruits and vegetables away from prying eyes (and paws) while keeping them safe from bruising or collisions with the floor by hanging a shower caddy on some free wall space in your kitchen and stacking your fresh produce inside.

     

    Cabinet organizer: Similarly, any hanging shower caddy can become an easy substitute for over the door storage if you have the space. Take your unused shower caddies (cutting down the arms as needed, since you probably don’t need as much space in your cabinet as you would in a shower) and use them to hang onto extra canned goods, sugar, flour, or anything else that takes up space.

     

    Hat & glove storage: By taking a few hanging shower caddies and hanging them up in a space everyone will see them, like right by the front door, you can give everyone their own personalized storage space for hats and gloves. It’ll cut down on the amount of stray gloves around the house and might just get you out the door faster in the morning!

     

    Mail organizers: While we’re hanging shower caddies up in the front room, why not set an extra one aside for excess junk mail? Keep one near the door for bills, coupons, mailers, and everything else you know you don’t need but don’t want to sift through right then, and empty it out as often as needed.

     

    Hanging gardens: It might sound laughable at first, but most hanging shower caddies provide a great, open place to hang small plants and potted herbs. They let sunlight in, promote drainage of excess water, and keep them safely contained without fear of getting knocked over (not like you’ve ever accidentally tipped over a potted plant, right?) You’ll just have to make sure the cats don’t chew on this the same way you did your last herb garden.

     

    Laundry organization: Shower caddies are already the perfect place to keep soaps, so why not use them in other rooms where soap is kept? Most shower caddies are a good size to keep detergent, bleach, fabric softener, and other needed laundry supplies close at hand—and you can hang it right on your drying rack to make sure it’s always at arm’s reach!

     

    Got any other fun suggestions for using shower caddies? Leave a comment below, and keep checking The Shelving Store for more home organization tips!

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  2. Teaching Your Kids Responsibility Through Household Chores

    As your kids start getting older and they’re more able to take care of themselves, you might start wondering how to teach them a little responsibility around the house.

    Nothing huge, of course, but even getting your kids to take care of their own toys or clean up around the house is a great way to start teaching them responsibility early on in life and help instill a sense of pride in their surroundings. Of course, as you’re probably well aware, getting your kids to do anything new can be something of a challenge, let alone something as lackluster as picking up their toys. We’ve found a few ways to help get your kids more interested in picking up after themselves while helping reduce your overall workload, even by a little bit, and we think they’ll help your kids stay focused on the job ahead:

     

    Start small

    Most kids don’t handle change well, especially when it’s time for them to do something they’re not particularly excited about doing—like cleaning up after themselves. To avoid overwhelming them, bring them into the world of household chores slowly, and with easy stuff at first so they get used to it. One day, ask them to pick up their room when they’re done playing. Once doing that for a few weeks, see if they want to help tidy the living room too. Introduce these tasks slowly over time so they don’t get overwhelmed and will be more interested helping in the long run.

     

    Let them choose what they do

    In a lot of cases, kids will feel more productive and be more willing to help if they think they have some say in what they’re doing. Does your kid hate getting their hands wet? Stick with having them pick up their toys and helping take out the trash. Is your child sensitive to a lot of sensory input, like bright lights or loud noises? Avoid teaching them how to vacuum and instead have them learn how to help sort and fold laundry. It might be a lot of trial-and-error at first, but learning what chores work best for your little ones will help everyone stay happier and more productive.

     

    Provide their own tools for cleaning

    Particularly in kids’ bedrooms, giving them supplies of their own, particularly kid-friendly versions, will help them feel like they have their own little ways to get organized. For toys, give them some small plastic storage bins to help them sort out their favorites—action figures in one, plush animals in another, etc. Depending on the age of the child, you may be able to give them their own bedroom dresser for holding clothes or even their own bedroom furniture to help them decorate their own bedroom. This may instill a bit more pride in keeping their books, clothes, and video games organized and put away. Even something like their own personal laundry hamper or a tiny trash can will give them a sense of ownership, and for a lot of kids that’s exactly what it takes.

     

    Make it feel like a partnership

    The one thing that will deter kids faster than most others is for them to feel like they’re all on their own. There’s a careful balance that needs to be struck here—you can’t do too much of it for them, but you also don’t want them to feel like they’re suddenly getting piled on. For bigger projects (like a whole room cleaning), make sure you’re always there helping them get things done and providing guidance where needed. For smaller projects, like the nightly toy pick-up, you don’t necessarily need to be in there helping out, but if they know you’re working on another cleaning project at the same time, it will keep them motivated and ready to finish their own chores. Don’t ever let them feel like they’re on their own, as it will easily discourage them and set your efforts back.

     

    Remember to reward thembut keep it subtle

    Too many parents fall into the trap of offering allowance money in exchange for chores, and while that works as your kids get older (and may get them ready to find a job in the long-term) if you try it too early on it may begin to affect your child’s motivation, and prevent them from doing anything unless they’re getting paid for it (which is a problem they’ll have plenty of time for later in life). Instead, try to find ways to reward them. Tell your kids that if they get X amount of room cleaning done by a certain time in the day, they can go out for bike rides later, or finally get to see that movie they’ve been clamoring for. You need to find limits to when and where you deploy this strategy, but you might find that over time your kids are willing to start helping without being asked due to the positive associations they’ve formed.

     

    Got any other tips for getting your kids to be more responsible around the house? Leave a comment below!

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  3. Can a Clean Bedroom Improve Your Kids' Grades?

    Some of you parents may have recently had A Talk with their kids about either their grades, their messy rooms, or both, and are probably experiencing a little anxiety at the very idea of combining them.

    But before you start reaching for that parenting handbook, hear us out! There’s actually a lot of evidence that links a nice, clean, decluttered space to better performance in school (and a better quality of life overall), and it may be just the thing your kids need to better focus on their studies.

    A recent study by Princeton University has shown that having too much visual stimulation (from clutter, a TV on in the background, etc) can cause all the different sources of stimulation to ‘compete’ for space in the brain, and make it much harder to concentrate on things. 

     

    Makes sense, right? How many times have you been trying to work at your desk or get something done at home and gotten distracted by some little knick knack on your desk, or noticed a pile of magazines on the table you’ve been meaning to throw out? It stands to reason that if you’re affected by this issue your kids may be too, and it can start to affect their ability to get studying done at home.

    Have you noticed your kids beginning to have difficulty getting their homework done, or getting a lot of wrong answers on the assignments they finish? A cluttered room could very well be a contributing factor. And luckily, the solution isn’t as difficult as you may think!

     

    The next time your kid sits down to do homework, take a look at the space they use. Are they at the kitchen table where they’re surrounded by distractions and clutter? Do they have a desk of their own, trapped behind the usual mess of child’s room? Take a look and see if there’s anything you can do to help clean up the mess and provide more focus.

    If they do their work at the kitchen table, get some kitchen organizers to reduce some of the clutter on the table and help them focus on the task at hand. Bedroom cleaning will probably be a bigger adventure, but it’s nothing you can’t handle with some extra shelves and some plastic bins for all the toys.

    Make sure to focus on the area they do their studying—if they do have their own desk, make sure they don’t keep any toys or any other potential distractions on it. Get some desk organizers so they always have things like paper and pencil right where they need it, and don’t let them keep the TV or the computer on while they’re working unless they absolutely have to—and even then, keep a close eye on what they’re doing so their eye doesn’t wander towards cartoons or Minecraft.

     

    A clean room and quiet study space should help your kids stay productive (and might even help them sleep better), building good study habits for the future. You might not be able to make sure they keep their rooms clean in college, but you can help them get there!

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  4. Five Tips for Faster Decluttering

    Everyone seems to be all about “decluttering” these days.

    There’s articles about how it can reduce stress, make your life easier, and so on and so forth. But what a lot of people don’t tell you is that decluttering can be a pretty big time investment! Depending on how much decluttering you feel like you need to do, it’s something you can find yourself sinking a ton of time into if you’re not careful.

    It doesn’t have to be like that, though! There’s ways to speed up any decluttering project, no matter how big or small, and once the process doesn’t seem so intimidating you just might do it more often:

     

    Set deadlines for yourself

    A good way to get motivated enough for smaller, more frequent decluttering projects is to set deadlines or timeframes for yourself. In order to avoid the usual trap of ‘spending four hours cleaning on your day off,’ set shorter, easier-to-attain goals. Do the kids get up at 7:30 for school? Set aside an hour in the morning before they get up, or an hour after you drop them off. Do you want to have one room decluttered every Thursday? Is it easier to drive donations to the thrift store on Saturdays? Look at your schedule, set a deadline, and stick to it—the work will get done faster than you expect.

     

    Start with the obvious stuff

    A common factor in bogged down decluttering projects is trying to take on too much at once, or losing focus on your work. A good way to start and see immediate results is to go room-by-room and get rid of really obvious clutter that you don’t need anymore. No hard decisions, nothing you have to think twice about, just anything that’s taking up space and can be tossed out without any real repercussion: phone chargers for devices you don’t own, outdated magazines, etc. You’ll notice immediate progress without a ton of invested time or effort, and it will streamline everything else you have to do.

     

    Focus more on donating, not selling

    A lot of people take decluttering as a good opportunity to try and make some cash off stuff they don’t use; surely someone will cough up money for those DVDs you haven’t watched in forever or that ancient iPod with your favorite songs from 2006 on it, right? But keeping these items around while you wait to sell them can add to the clutter and make you feel like you’re not getting things done as fast as you wanted to. In most cases, particularly if you’re the type that needs to see immediate progress, you may be better dropping off a few boxes at Goodwill instead of wasting your time on Craigslist.

     

    Keep extra storage around for overflow

    It’s the old adage of needing to make a mess to clean a mess, but when it’s time to declutter, the lack of storage can really slow the process down. Whenever you start your next big decluttering/organization product, try to keep enough extra storage around like wire shelves, basement shelves, or storage bins for overflow or anything you truly need to keep around. Having these items properly organized will prevent this problem from happening again, and might be how the issue got started in the first place.

     

    Learn to ask the hard questions

    We can tell you that a lot of hangups in the decluttering process stem from indecisions over what to do with the items you find while cleaning, and you might have to ask yourself some hard questions. If something is broken, out it goes. If you’re only holding onto something for sentimental reasons, consider if those reasons are worth this thing taking up room in your house. If you own something else that serves a similar purpose, you don’t need it. Get into this habit early on —and stick with it—and you’ll find the process going much faster once you can make the tough calls.

     

    Got any other tips to speed up the decluttering process? Drop a line below!

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  5. Losin' It: Five Ways to Stop Losing Your Stuff

    Losing something you need is one of the worst feelings in the world, isn’t it?

    Even if it’s not really gone, that brief sensation of panic in realizing your keys, wallet, or phone is missing is enough to ruin anyone’s day. Maybe you know someone that’s had to drive back to work because they thought they left their wallet in the office when it turned out to be right at home. (Not that, uh, that’s ever happened to any of us, of course.)

    So what can you do about your stuff going missing? Someone’s going to tell you to try some expensive brain vitamins, someone else will talk about some ‘crazy new app’ they found, but we think we’ve got a good solution that won’t take as much effort as you might think: better organization!

    By organizing your stuff in a specific way and giving everything a home, we think you can cut down on the risk of your important (or less-important) belongings going missing right when you need them most. Here’s five ways we’ve found to avoid losing some of the most commonly-lost things in the home:


    1. Make Sure Your Phone & Keys Always Have Somewhere To Go

    When you’re trying to get out the door in the morning, one of the things you’re going to misplace most often are your phone and keys. By giving them a home in the same place every day, you’re much more likely to remember where they are and avoid panicking over their loss. Start keeping them on the same nightstand every night, or set up an entryway organizer to keep them right by the door with your mail. The trick here isn’t so much where they go (although you don’t need them taking up space on your dining room table all the time) so much as it is making sure they’re consistently in the same spot, every time—consistency is key when not losing stuff.

    2. Sort Mail and Paperwork ASAP

    Some bills and important paperwork still come in the mail, and given how little attention we pay to the mail these days, this sort of thing can disappear almost immediately. Set up a mail organizer by the door to help hang onto everything you need to keep, don’t feel bad throwing out anything you don’t need, and get in the habit of sorting it every day when you get home. The accumulation of mail can lead you to lose the stuff you actually need to keep, and can bury other stuff in your home.

    3. Take Care of That Junk Drawer

    It’s sort of a cruel irony: the junk drawer that you set aside so you wouldn’t lose things like phone chargers and batteries probably leads to more lost phone chargers and batteries than anything else in your home. We’ve posted some tips for organizing junk drawers in the past, but the quick and dirty way to do it (when you have time, of course) is to empty it all out and sort it by priority. Sure, you might look back fondly on the time you had a Blackberry, but that was 2008 and you’re never going to find another phone that uses the same type of phone charger—go ahead and toss/donate it.

    4. Figure Out What You Lose The Most

    Above and beyond simply reorganizing your home, identifying the things you lose most will help you stay focused and come up with ways to keep track of those items specifically. Always losing your keys? Consider getting a keyholder to hang right by the door where you keep your jacket, and then forcing yourself to get in the habit of putting your keys there every night, even if you forget to take them out of your pocket for the first few days. Never sure where your glasses are? Get a glasses case and then never take it out of a certain room—you’ll keep them safer and easier to access. The list could go on and on, but the important thing is to think about the stuff you find yourself needing to look for the most often, and come up with a plan from there.

    5. Always Have a Backup Plan

    Finally, no matter how much planning you do, there’s always the risk of accidents, and the best way to recover from them is to have a plan B. Is your wallet well and truly gone? Make sure you know how to contact your banks to get your cards reissued, and try to never keep any sensitive personal information in your wallet just in case. If you lose your glasses, try to keep a second pair of a slightly older prescription around so you can at least see what you’re doing (even if everything seems a little...fuzzy). Same with phones—unless your old phone was totally on its last legs, you may want to keep your last Galaxy around to re-activate in case you think your phone can just up and vanish on its own one day. There’s a fine line to walk here; you don’t need to become a hoarder, but there’s something to be said for planning ahead if you’re the forgetful type.

    Got any other tips to remember where your stuff is? Drop a comment below!

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