I am NOT an organization buff. If you look at my home, you will notice right away that organizing is not my thing. BUT, when I am forced to do it, I do it well (not as well as my mother, but she’s had way more experience than me).
One of the few things that I like to keep organized is the dog stuff.
I am roommates with my sister, Kristyn. She has 6 Golden Retrievers, give or take a couple (she takes in rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes them, and she occasionally has a litter of puppies). Needless to say, the house has often “gone to the dogs”. I never like it when that happens, because then my sister and I can NEVER find what we need.
Kristyn: “Where is the slicker brush?”
And the cat fight begins. Hey! I said we were sisters, not Nobel Peace Price enthusiasts... or winners. (Girls. Can’t live with ‘em. Can’t live without ‘em.)
To eliminate the unnecessary bickering, I try to keep the dog stuff under control. My sister also tries… Some of the time. I think the rest of the time she gives up trying.
Here is what I do to organize the dogs:
- Eliminate clutter
- Sort supplies into categories
- Make a containment system for each category
The first step is to gather all of your dog supplies into one area. Toys, collars, leashes, crates, treats, clothes, food, paperwork, etc. EVERYTHING.
Once you have it all in one area, sort it out and get rid of this stuff:
- old, broken, and nasty, dirty toys
- broken crates and nasty/ruined bedding
- old, worn, or wrong size collars, leashes and tags
- old, stained, torn, or wrong sized clothing
- disliked or out-of-date treats
- bent, broken, cracked, or just plain nasty grooming tools
- old or disliked shampoos and conditioners
- out-of-date medicines and vitamins
- items from doggies/pets you no longer own
- out-of-date papers, certificates, bills, licenses, etc.
As you do this, you may find it necessary to close your eyes and drop the stuff into the deep, dark blackness of the trash.
“But I could fix this.” or “This belonged to my first dog.” and “A friend/family member gave this to me.” or “But this little dress is so cute!” are NOT acceptable! If it’s broken, throw it away. If it’s old and worn, throw it away. If you don’t like it, throw it away. If it has dead dog’s name on it, throw it away. If it is too big/small for your pet to wear, give it to charity ASAP. You don’t need it cluttering up your life and cramping your psychological peace.
If you really have trouble with eliminating things, you must repeat this to yourself over and over again:
“I must set myself free of these materialistic things. They are cluttering up my life and destroying my peace of mind.”
If it helps, mentally say those words to yourself in Morgan Freeman’s voice. You will obey them without question.
Sort into Categories
Once you have decluttered, then you should start sorting everything that you are keeping into categories.
- Leashes, collars, and tags
- Toys (inside & outside) and clothes
- Grooming supplies
- Medicine and vitamins
- Food and treats
- Crates and bedding
- Paperwork & Medical info
When everything is sorted out, you should move each category to the area where you use it most. Leashes and collars go by the door. Food and treats stay where the dog is fed. Grooming stuff stays near the grooming station. I put the outside toys and Pilot's doggie backpack next to my shoes.
Once you have everything in the proper area, you then need to find a way to contain it all.
Now, most people like to take this moment as an excuse to go buy new baskets, boxes, or containers to put stuff in. Unless you are rich and able to constantly buy that stuff, or you just seriously don’t have any boxes to organize stuff into, then I say DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT fall into that trap. For a trap it is. It quickly turns into a bad habit and a money burner. The only container I suggest you purchase, if you don’t already have one, is a dog food storage container. I've been using a 24 gallon Bergan Stack-N-Stor for several years now and really like it.
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For everything else, though, I suggest that you use what you already have.
Find boxes or baskets that are already empty or can be emptied (another thing to go through, I know, but it’s more junk out of your way!). If you have shelves, clean them off and use them as well!
I like to store our toys in collapsible hampers, laundry baskets, milk crates, or plastic shelving units, all which are readily available in our home. Outside toys stay near the door, while inside toys stay near the beds, crates, or in the living room where the dogs can lay down and play. Bedding and unused crates go on shelves and in the closet. Doggie clothes are thrown into a plastic drawer or hang on hooks. Leashes and collars go in plastic drawers, on hooks, or on a shirt hanger. Medicine and vitamins stays on a shelf, up high, or in the refrigerator. Grooming supplies go into a portable basket. Treats are put into large yogurt/vitamin/cottage cheese containers. Food dishes are placed next to where the food is stored and distributed.
Now, for that pesky paperwork.
In my file box, I have folders dedicated solely for each of my pets… which, currently, consists only of Pilot (I’m going to add a ferret to the mix someday, though). In his folder I store his medical history, vaccination records, medication labels, and stuff like that. For emergency purposes, I have taken pictures of his vacc and med records and stored them on my phone. Kristyn, on the other hand, has folders in her planner for each dog, and she stores all their paper work there. When she takes the dogs somewhere, the planner follows.
Usually, this only takes a maximum of two hours for me to complete – half that, if everything is still in a semi organized state.
To keep it all neat and organized, I make sure things are put up where they belong, and I try to sort through each category once a month. But sometimes we get busy, things don’t get put up where they go, aaaaaaand…. yep. 2 hour organization bash, here we come!
Author of the fantasy series, Tales of the Wovlen, Kathryn spends a great deal of time in the world of her imagination, having tea with fire breathing dragons, writing books on flying space ships, and practicing her mad scientist laugh with gusto. However, on occasion,she returns to this world just to play with her dog and blog about her fun.
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