First, I want to acknowledge the privilege and luck we have had this year. We have been extremely fortunate that our family has been safe and our jobs have been stable during this pandemic.
Since we've been at our house all the time since March, we've been trying to organize it to make it a bit more useful. I'd like to share a few of the organizational "patterns" I've used in case they're helpful to others.
We would look at one area (such as the pantry) and think about the specific challenges for that area. We would then experiment with different options. Once we found something that worked, such as the "sliding storage drawers," we could get the same thing over and over whenever we had the same kind of organizational challenge.
FYI: I'm linking to Amazon products below but these are not affiliate links.
At the beginning of this year, we still had cardboard boxes in our house from past moves. Our key tool for dealing with unpacking and repacking things has been the "Homz Plastic Storage, Modular Stackable Storage Bins with Blue Latching Handles, 31 Quart, Clear, 4-Pack." We standardized on these boxes because they are stable when stacked three boxes high and they easily fit 8.5"x11" material. They are also narrow enough for our house's built-in shelves. I think more than 95 percent of what we want to store can fit in these boxes.
Our pattern has been to have two conceptual types of boxes: themed boxes (e.g. "wedding photos") and triage boxes. Triage boxes are boxes we will look through later to put the items into themed boxes. This made the process of moving everything into these boxes much less challenging.
We also got a couple of the other-sized Homz storage boxes; they have large 112 quart boxes as well as some tiny 7.5 quart boxes. This way we have a place for the oversized items and smaller themed things.
We've also used "Underbed Storage Bags" and "Foldable Storage Bags" to store quilts, bedding, and off-season clothes. These are not the heaviest duty products and can rip. The clear sections are extremely helpful so you can tell what's inside.
Cabinet and drawer organization
We've used "Simple Trending Under Sink Cabinet Organizer with Sliding Storage Drawer" and "Expandable Cabinet Shelf" for under-sink cabinets and our pantry.
We used "Over The Door Hanger with Mesh Basket" for our pantry.
The pantry also has wire shelving. We added "Shelf Liner for 16" Wire Shelving" to some of the shelves to create a solid shelf. For other shelves we added "Closet Wire Shelf Divider"–this lets you create partitions within the shelf.
We also added an "OXO Good Grips Lazy Susan Turntable" to the pantry and to the refrigerator.
We also have limited cabinet space in the kitchen so we installed this "Pull Out Under Cabinet Sliding Shelf". It lets you add a pull out drawer to your cabinet.
There were a couple of small areas in our house that needed small end table type storage, such as this "20 Inch Square Side Table Night Stand Coffee Table." By measuring the spaces carefully we were able to find simple shelving to fit into those areas.
We also needed some cheap shelves so we used this "Folding Metal Bookcase."
For our outdoor spigot we got a "Hose Hanger."
For our clothes we got a "Laundry Hamper Sorter Cart." This has actually worked really well!
I guess this isn't really furniture but we used this "96L Extra Large Laundry Hamper" to store stuffed animals.
Our bedroom is also too small to have two side tables so we got this "mDesign Bedside Storage Organizer Caddy," which fits between the mattress and foundation.
Each of these small improvements have added up to the house being much more organized and useful, which in turn has made us feel better about being here 24x7 this year.