We could all use a little help getting organized. Start small, and get a little help by reusing plastic bags. Once a plastic storage bag has done its job, just wash it out, air-dry it (I like to turn mine inside out and drape them over a bottle), and try one of these ideas for getting your life in order.
- Consolidating and containing food items: Use larger zip-top bags to corral and organize kitchen items. A bag can hold all those little jars of cake-decorating sprinkles, for instance, or keep various types of rice together in one spot. You can use plastic bags as reinforcement around bags of sticky or messy ingredients like powdered sugar to prevent dripping. In the fridge, a plastic bag can help keep herbs fresh: wrap the stems in a damp paper towel and put the whole thing in the bag, leaving it partially unzipped.
- Saving receipts: It only takes one frantic search for a missing receipt to vow that you’ll find a better way to keep track of them. Keep them neat and orderly by using sandwich-sized bags to hold receipts. Organize them in a way that makes sense to you: by store, by month, by type of purchase, and use a pen to label the bag. You can even keep a bag in your purse to immediately add receipts before they clutter up your wallet.
- Organizing small toy parts: If you have kids, you’re likely to have the universal parenting challenge of Toys With Very Tiny Parts. They could be Barbie doll shoes or Lego parts, and you’ll be doing yourself a favor by keeping them organized so that your kids won’t be frustrated by missing parts when they’re ready to play. Bag up puzzle pieces, board game pieces, components of craft projects or model kits, and arrange the bags into stacking bins or baskets on shelves.
- Storing cords and chargers: Just about every home has, somewhere, a tangle of electronics chargers, cords, and cables. First, sort through your stash, disposing of the chargers and cords for items you no longer own (be sure to find an electronics recycler that will accept them). Then bundle long cords together and hold them in a tidy roll with a twist tie or rubber band. Sort them into plastic bags, labeled for digital cameras, smartphones, audio-visual equipment, and other categories.
- Toiletries: If trial-size bottles, rarely used cosmetics, various sunscreens, and first aid gear is cluttering up your cabinets, use plastic bags to sort them (be sure to discard expired items). Label the bags, close them, and store them in your linen closet or under the sink.