Organize + Energize: Declutter & Organize Your Dog in 8 Easy Steps
Tuesday, February 06, 2018
Kristin MacRae, GoLocalProv Organizing Expert
If you have a dog, you know that the dog can take over the home like they own it. In our case, our Shih Tzu, Gigi, thinks she runs the household. Ok, she does run the house. Functioning in an organized house, we have structure and routines and we’ve found out that Gigi is picking up on our organized traits. If something is out of place or if we bring something new into the home, she’ll stare at it and know that it wasn’t there yesterday.
Your pets are part of your family, so they should have their own organized spaces too. Designate a space for them. This space could be a cabinet or a closet. Choose a space that is large enough to hold all of their belongings. When choosing an area for your pet, first take inventory of all of their belongings, measure the space and then choose an organizing solution that will best suit the space. The worst mistake you could make is purchasing products before you take inventory.
Here are 8 categories you can create for your dog:
Food. Keep all of their food and treats categorized together. You’ll no longer waste money purchasing too much food or too many treats. When everything is organized and contained in one area, you can make a shopping list from this area and you’ll never waste money again. It’s a preference, but you could store treats and food in clear, seal tight containers.
Medications. Just like us, pets have their medications too. They may have flea and tick medication and other medications you’ve accumulated over the years. Take inventory of the medication and declutter. You can categorize between items you use most often and items you only use when your pet is sick. Be sure to check for expiration dates.
Grooming. This category includes brushes, combs, sprays and wipes for all areas of the body. They have grooming products just like we do so we must organize and contain them. Categorize the products so when you need something, you can grab it immediately without having to move 5 items out of the way.
Clothes. The first thing you have to do is declutter their clothes. How many articles of their clothing are too small and no longer fit? If you would like to keep a couple for the memories, place them in a memorabilia box and store them with all of your memorabilia. They don’t need to be stored with the clothes your pet is wearing now. Looking to donate items? Check with your local pet shelter to see what types of donations they’re accepting.
Important dates. Keep track of flea and tick applications and vet appointments on the calendar. You’ll never miss another important date again.
Medical Records. Keep all important vet and store receipts filed and labeled. You can file their paper in the area of the home where you keep your paperwork. Create a system according to how you’d like to function. Categorize and label the folders. If you don’t have too much information, you can purchase an accordion file and label.
Leashes and outerwear. If you have a big inventory of leashes and outerwear, keep them contained and organized. Keep their daily leashes and outerwear near the door for easy access.
Toys. Let’s not forget one of the most important categories. Depending how many you have, they could take over the home just like children’s toys. Purchase a decorative container to hold the toys. Purchase one for each floor of your home if you must.
Try not to keep their items all over the home. Have a family meeting and discuss the systems you’ve just created. Talk about the benefits of keeping this space organized.
Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. She has also given over 70 presentations throughout the state. Watch Kristin LIVE every Thursday at 3pm here on GoLocal LIVE with Molly O’Brien.
Paper in any form
This was the most challenging space! 91% of people surveyed stated paper was their biggest headache. Just because we are in this digital age, people think paper is going to disappear. As long as we have mail, and paper at work, kid’s school papers, etc., paper is going to be around for a very long time. We need to develop systems to organize and maintain our paper clutter.
To stay on top of an organized closet, you should be emptying your closet twice a year. Switch your closets in the spring and fall. This will force you to take inventory of the contents of the closet. You’ll never know what’s hiding in the back corners of your closet unless you take everything out.
When was the last time you emptied your entire food closet down to bare shelves? I asked this question at my last presentation and not one person could remember. Some said the last time their food pantry was empty was when they first moved in and others stated it had been years. Have garbage bags on hand. In every kitchen I organize, we throw out at least three garbage bags of expired food.
This is the black hole of the house. If an item doesn’t have a home, it usually gets thrown in the basement on a shelf. You’ll walk into the basement one day and wonder how did it get so bad? The first thing you need to do in the basement is declutter, then categorize items and then decide how you want to function going forward. Measure your space and choose shelving units that will fit what you need to hold. Block off 3 hours and don’t leave the basement during that time. Staying in the room will keep you focused.
The garage is an area similar to the basement. The garage tends to be a drop spot for outdoor items and usually there isn’t any organization. Most tend to regret not organizing the garage when they find they can’t park their cars in the garage in the winter months when it’s snowing. Put this project on your to-do list this fall.
Office at work
Most will say they don’t have time to tackle this area, but think about the time you are wasting by not being organized. The office can be challenging for some because you have paper, closet space, desk space and bookshelves. Most get overwhelmed and stressed just thinking about tackling this space. They think it’s easier to function this way than to actually tackle the project.
If your kids are over the age of 6, incorporate them in this process. If you don’t have the skill set to help them get organized, call in a professional to work one-on-one with them. If your kids are craving structure, it’s time for them to get organized.
Another one of those black holes like the basement. You rarely venture into the attic and you continue to toss items in there that don’t have a home. The garage, basement and attic are really challenging areas because you don’t spend much time in them. Think about how you want to function in these spaces. Streamline and maximize this space. This room should have a purpose.
When items are just thrown into this closet without being contained, chaos will ensue. Empty the entire closet, categorize, itemize and then measure the space. Purchase containers to match the space and what you have to hold. It’s all about maximizing space in this closet and being able to put your hand on something without moving five other items out of the way.
This is a tough project even for people who are organized. Memorabilia items and photos are a challenge because as you go through them, you tend to reminisce. Save this for the last project on your list of areas to organize. Once you begin, just focus on tossing and keeping and then reminisce when the decluttering process is completed.