Functional organization strategies and solutions for busy families that work
Functional organization is the standard of real-life organizing systems for busy families that crave a less chaotic life but live in a presentable livable home, as I like to call it. The fact of the matter is when you have kids, you are using your home and thinking that you need Pinterest Perfect organization is not real life.
In fact, beautiful images or colored coded stuff and “domestic harmony” can make some of us feel inadequate. This is why instead of focusing on your energy recreating that pin your found, create a functional, organized version that works for your family.
I will be the first to admit that I have fallen into the trap of trying to recreate the perfectly staged photos I’ve come across. But ya know what I found out.
- It doesn’t stay that way
- It will drive you mad trying to maintain it
- It’s not functional for your everyday needs
- I have to create what works best for our family
Functional organization is tailored to your unique lifestyle
The functional organization in your home is bound to the layout of your rooms and how they are used. For example, the living room is typically used for relaxing and entertaining, while the kitchen is used for cooking and preparing meals. Bedrooms are usually for sleeping, and bathrooms are for bathing and toilet use.
However, there is no set rule for how your home should be organized, and you can use your rooms however you see fit.
Like in my case:
- My kids have a few toys in their room
- I do my Bible studying in my bedroom, so my nightstand has all the tools I need
- Our basement is a half playroom and entertainment area (man cave section)
- Our basement also has exercise stuff and pantry over-stock items
Maybe in your house, rooms have a dual purpose and so organizing them in this manner is a better way
Take an example of the perfectly organized pantry with all those containers. They look gorgeous in the catalogs and store displays.
But here is something I also asked myself. So what happens when you choose different food items? Where does all the extra go that doesn’t fit the nice container?
I discovered the answer to that. It’s called having a bin with all the extra food that didn’t fit inside the plastic containers and then you have to restock those containers.
I couldn’t wrap my head around this. I wanted all the food to fit not have a display container and then have to put the rest inside a separate bin, especially for things like sugar, cereal, etc.
It only made sense to me at least to have an overflow of prepackaged things that I buy at Costco.
Like the skinny popcorn bags. I put a few inside the regular pantry and then in the basement I have an overflow of extra food.
So while the perfectly lined containers look amazing if the fluid ozs don’t match the container’s fluid oz you will have the leftover for storage elsewhere.
Which is a modification I choose to make for my family. I use some of those containers but not a ton.
How do you apply functional organization in the simplest way, especially in your home?
Creating functional organization in your home is easy when you follow these few basic rules.
- Look at how you use your home daily – where do you naturally drop things off?
- Everything must have a home – create homes for everything so that tidying up afterwords is faster and easier.
- Use easy-to-organize storage solutions that everyone in your home can follow
- Reset your expectations – you don’t have to have a sock organizer in a drawer to be organized. You can ball them up or fold them neatly. The goal is not to have them mixed with other items.
- Find unique ways to use a storage container that fits your style and ease of use (just because something is labeled as a “bookcase” doesn’t mean we only use it for books right?
Functional organization and storage ideas I use in my home
These aren’t in any order, really, but I wanted to share as many ideas as you can use. And most if not all of these items are affordable and linked either in my Amazon shop or Rewards Style page. So you can steal my ideas and recreate YOUR VERSION in your home.
Mail and paper holder
I hate messy paper piles I have an entire system for organizing my papers each day and a weekly process. But I never set the mail down, just on the counter.
I use a study magazine file organizer box on my counter to keep it contained.
Clear organizing bins in the pantry
I redid my pantry twice now, much like the second version, better than my first version. One of my must-haves in the pantry is clear bins. I got mine from Target, but they have been a true game changer.
I can keep the food better organized and see exactly what I have. And I get questioned less by my family and kids about what is there to eat. I especially
Clear pullout drawers
I wasn’t sure that I was going to like the pullout drawers at first. But I am in love! I have a few around my home. I have a small one in my pantry in the picture above and a larger one underneath my bathroom cabinet that holds bandaids and medical supplies.
Again it’s so easy to see what you have yet to be functional with your organization. It’s grab-and-go, and no, it doesn’t have to be in like line order because just being separated by the drawers is amazing.
Target storage trays (Brightroom)
I love these mini storage trays, especially because they are cheaper than the dollar store ones when they go on sale. They come in multiple sizes inside a pack of 3 and are perfect for creating your customized look. Including down to the colors.
They are flexable so something to be noted.
I have these in my kitchen drawers, creating the perfect easy-to-grab baking supply drawer.
They can be used in your bathrooms which I highly recommend because they are so easy to clean. Especially with messy kiddos.
Simple Houseware Over Door/Wall Mount 6 Clear Window Pocket Organizer
This was one of my most popular posts on social media. I love vacuum accessories that seem to have no real go place to go. I wanted something easy to grab so that when I was cleaning, I could spend less time searching for my tools.
I love this over-the-door organizer because its deep pockets with clear view windows are ideal for seeing exactly what you have at a glance.
In my hall closet, where I store my vacuum, I decided the clear pocket organizer would fit nicely, and it did. I got the grey to match my decor, but they have other colors.
It increases your storage capacity by utilizing vertical space and otherwise unused space.
Some other ideas you can use this for are:
- kids stuffed animals
- hair accessories
- winter gear
- summer toys
Holikme Mop Broom Holder Wall Mount Metal Pantry Organization
Behind the door or my mudroom, I have a small space that can hide some of my cleaning tools like my broom and mop. And a few others, such as my lint cleaners and dusters.
I used small command hooks initially, but that did not last long. I eventually upgraded to this wall-mount mop and broom holder and found it perfect.
The hooks can hold the cleaning tools that have the loops, and the other part has this perfect gripper that grasps onto the stick of the mop and broom and locks it in place.
You can use this for a lot of different things here are some other ideas
- sports equipment
- lawn and garden tools
Ikea LENNART Drawer unit
I love these little drawers I think they are so adorable and at $20 a pop, they were perfect for my son’s lego and building collection.
These small units are not for super heavy materials but can hold those things that need a nice neat place that is small, lightweight, and easy to access.
It was snap to build and they are easy to clean around. To move them is simply because of the small wheels.
Plus they make it easy for him to pull out.
Dollar Tree Bins
Ok, there is no way you can go wrong with organizing your home with some basic needs from Dollar Tree. I mean I wish everything was still a dollar but… they have gotten some new stuff in and their organizing game I think is on point lately.
I grabbed three medium-sized bins to use above my washer and dryer area.
They are perfect for keeping all those extra cleaning supplies, clothes, iron accessories, and de-pilling tools.
But the reason why they are functional piece is that it doesn’t have to be perfectly organized inside but even just categorizing them makes it easy to keep neat. And from the outside, they fit the harmonious organization perfect look you see in those perfect magazine photos.
And they are easy-to-reach solutions.
Ikea KNIPSA Basket, seagrass
These are the perfect hiding bins. So we have six of these inside our living room. But the secret is that one is hiding our entire cable box and wires.
If you have ever hated the look of your cable box then this or any kind of smaller decorative box/bin can help you hide it away.
Because these bins have holes shaped as squares on them they are perfect for putting against the wall to hide wires.
Secret number two is what’s inside doesn’t have to look perfectly organized. But don’t overstuff them.
Photo Organization Bins
There are a few old photos that I still have around the home that I don’t put into a photo album. But these photo-style boxes work for a lot of things.
I have a few old cards that people have given me and small items that I want to keep.
They keep things neat and tidy and can store a lot.
Dollar Tree wire shelf organizers
Inside my kitchen, I use these Dollar Tree dish organizers that worked perfectly inside my kitchen cabinets. But they also work well inside other cabinets too.
And the cost of $1.25 each makes a worth a small investment to organize your home.
Does it matter how you organize?
Well yes! It matters how you organized according to your life, preferences, and productivity. But don’t get caught thinking the all-or-nothing phase.
Focus on what will make my mornings easier and faster. How can I get the family to put things away more often and more efficiently? If that means a huge bucket or toys so be it. But understand that we all function differently and organizational systems should work just the same.
For me, a big bucket of toys would not be my choice but I would choose several small plastic containers for large categories of toys. Like all blocks go in one bin. All cars go in a bin regardless of size or type.
When you look at the efficiency of the organization in your home that supports your lifestyle and goals you win always!
But always remember we don’t organize before we declutter. Clutter shifting your stuff into an organizing bin is not decluttering or organizing at all.
Remember what I always say “everything we own will require energy from us”.