Organized Chaos

   I had a reader email me, and ask me how I keep my house so tidy.  She looked through all our photos and couldn’t see a mess in sight. 


After I laughed and told her we definitely have our messes, I explained that the tidiness we DO manage to achieve, comes from being a totally compulsive Pillow-Fluffier, House Picker-Upper.  I can’t help myself, I tidy and fluff decorative pillows each and every time I walk past the couch.  And, as I walk from one end of the house to another, I gather handfuls of things that are out of place, because I can’t STAND a mess!  I have my kids clean up before lunch & naps, again before daddy comes home for supper, then again before bed.  They play better when the house isn’t trashed, they really do!

  I am a big believer in a place for everything and everything in its place.  The kids play closet is full of baskets, each housing a different collection of toys.  Baskets are such a great tool for tidiness.


    I use canvas baskets inside our coat closet to house miscellaneous things like hats, coats, scarves, sunglasses, sunblock, & Dale’s ball caps.




Thanks to a generous friend, the kids each have a locker for their school stuff.


There is one basket on top for “treasures” and another basket on the bottom for gloves and hats…….which we seem to have bazillions of!


  I use the side of the lockers for important school notes and updates.


  This is how I control the grown up “treasures” that can totally make my kitchen counters look cluttered:


  I have this basket on the kitchen counter right when you first enter the kitchen.  This houses box tops to send to school, DVD’s to be returned, things to mail, broken necklaces waiting for repair etc.

  Dale has a basket to prevent “Dale Trails”. He’s had his basket 8 years now.  It was an old one given to me by my mom, and was the original “Organized Chaos” basket in our home.  It lives on the dryer, which is RIGHT inside the back door.


What is a Dale trail you ask? 

  When we were first married, I’d come in from work and LITERALLY could follow the path Dale had taken as he walked in the door.  Thus was dubbed the term: “Dale Trail”. 

 Picture with me this…..

Keys on the dryer, change on the kitchen counter, wallet on the buffet, cell phone on the living room mantel, receipts on the desk, desk chair pulled out with shoes and socks next to it, a belt on the chair in our bedroom etc. etc.…..

AHHHH!  This was NOT OK!  My tidy world was being destroyed!!!!  The basket has helped a ton, no more Dale trails, but we are working on making it IN the basket, not AROUND the basket.  🙂  Sorta like the toilet. Oh wait, that’s the “little Dale” in my life named Tylan…..never mind.

  Yes, I am a little basket-happy, but it totally has worked for us!  I even like to use baskets in my pantry, one to house onions and garlic, another for snacks and the big one for a bazillion bags of opened chips and pretzels.  (Can someone PLEASE teach my family the “finish one bag before you open another” rule?)


  Hope this helps!  I got my baskets ages ago at Wal-Mart, some for $3 a piece up to $8 a piece.  Not a bad investment if you ask me, but that could just be the Pillow-Fluffier in me talkin’! 



17 thoughts on “Organized Chaos

  1. WOW! I love all your organizational skills! I may have to share this post at my blog as I’m sharing household ‘tips’…and this is post is loaded with them. Good for you! Being hubby was military, we tried to stay organized too and the kids always had their part to work on it that way. I LOOOOVE the lockers! What a terrific organizing tool that is in itself. You make me smile – have a wonderfully blessed day Dearie. XO

  2. Tonya, can I tell you how much I loved this post?
    Okay–I really loved this post. =)
    Seriously. I am also a pillow-fluffer, and I’ve always thought “I wonder if one day when I have kids my house will be in chaos and I will want to run away?”
    This shows me that it CAN BE DONE! And that makes me so, so happy.

    • Oh my yes, we pillow fluffers are TOTALLY allowed to pass our tidy ways to the next generation. 🙂 It’s work to train them to be good cleaner-uppers in the beginning, but it is time WELL as you reap what you sow in the later years.

  3. Oh, how I wish I were more organized. Every time I get things in order, I think…..I’ll keep it this way, it is so much easier, but before long….well, you know. And now, I have some health problems, so I don’t even get it in order as often as I used to. My mom gave me a wall hanging long ago when my children were little that says…..”in order, there is liberty” That is so true. Still learning after all these years….and I don’t even have little ones bringing home school papers anymore. I admire you. I think I’ll go clean our a drawer or something.

      • The drawer cleaning didn’t go well. I took a nap….it was a nice nap though. I did make a lovely dinner, however so guess that’s something. Tomorrow is another day and His mercies are new and so are my husbands…..he’s a military guy, I’m sure I drive him crazy, but he takes such good care of me since I’ve had my physical ills. I’m sure I would not be nearly as good a nurse as he has been. God knows.

      • Oh I feel ya! Sometimes a nap is just the ticket….. 🙂 Yes, God knows best, I couldn’t agree more. Sorry about your physical difficulties, something you’ll live with the rest of your life? I enjoy your sweet comments, whatever it is, you don’t seem to let it get you down. Hugs, T

      • I had a fall at work and hit my head…..have headaches, severe ones ever since then, can’t seem to find a remedy. I had to go on disability and retire finally. I have a small speaking ministry and was unable to do that for a time, but I’m slowly getiing back in to that and I’m so thankful for that because that is my love and passion. And with being retired, we are able to go see our grandchildren that are out of state now. So we are going to FL for Thankgiving and then will be here in MI with the other grandchildren for Christmas. Our youngest grandson (15 months) lives with us with his mom so he keeps us busy and laughing all the time….what a joy he is to us. I enjoy reading about your children so much. My time as a young mom was a difficult time for me, but God has given me a great time of restoration with my grandchildren and thus my children. I love Him so much….how He blesses us. Hugs and many blessings to you.

      • Oh wow, that would be so frustrating!!!! Headaches are miserable!!! Your grandson is about Paxton’s age, they are SO fun at this stage, learning and exploring the world around them. Such a blessing! Tell me more about your speaking ministry. Oh, Florida for Thanksgiving would be so so fun! But alas we have to wait until next year to go back to see my dad. Have a great on Janeh!!! T

  4. I love your basket method! We use them for Adelynn’s things, why not for our own things? Dave has trails too… although the name “Dave trail” isn’t as cute as Dale trail. I think I am going to have to get him as basket!! That will take care of the pile on the kitchen counter, the dining room table, the piano, and his night stand. Maybe I will have to get him 4 baskets 🙂

  5. Hmmm…Marius doesn’t leave trails, the only ‘pile’ of his that bothers me is his clothes! He wears the same work clothes all week (carpentry…no point in washing them every day unless they are really bad), and he always puts them in a pile at the end of the bed, or bottom of closet! I want him to hang them up or SOMETHING! But he says I’m just putting them back on when you wake up so why do I need to put them away!? I think I need to get a chair that he can put them on! I think what eliminates the trail is his pants, lol. His cell phone, reciepts, wallet and knife are all on/attached to them, so there isn’t a trail!

    I love love love your organization! I’m trying, it’s hard having moved 3 times in a year. I don’t feel I’ll ever truly be organized until we have our own house.

  6. I LOVE this post!!
    I am a neat freak and I Tidy all day long !
    I mean really how can you walk past anything that needs to be fluffed,picked up or even straightened 🙂
    I also have baskets everywhere for everything and being a basket lover anyway it works perfect I even have one in the hatch area of my car. My hubby starts his trails as soon as he pulls into the garage after work and hits the mud room where he starts to shed cloths then onto the kitchen where he will dump the pockets on the island ( NOOOOOO not there ) and then on to the bedroom Yikes…Yep I have a basket in the mud room and the end of the island I guess I can give him that much room in MY kitchen:) It really is confined with all the baskets thank you Lord I can deal with that much :))

  7. If you’re ever bored I would gladly let you organize my house! 100 year old houses (beautiful as they are) are not helpful for organizing and storing all of the stuff we use in the 21st century, We have no closets except in the bedrooms and only a few drawers in one of the bathrooms. As much as I love this house, cleaning it makes me crazy! Great post, I’m going to have to try some baskets. I had a plastic tub by the kitchen door to catch socks, but the dog didn’t think the socks should stay in the tub 🙂

  8. This could be me and my family! I too am a pillow fluffer/house straightener with a family of “trailers.” Great post, and I totally agree with the open basket concept and use it in my house as well. Very easy for husband and children to drop their belongings in or around the baskets. Close counts, right?!?!?


    • Hi there Holly, fellow-pillow-fluffer, and Welcome! I agree, this is one time when “almost” counts! At least baskets are a tidy solution until the random “things” find their way back to their rightful homes. 🙂 It’s hard to be OCD AND a mom of 4!!!! Happy Friday, thanks for coming over….T

  9. I am trying to come up with a new organization system for my 3 year old’s room and then I remembered this post about the baskets! So grateful for the ideas. Bonus! I wanted to do a basket for my husband right by the door too. However, I could not think of where to put it. We are short on space! What a good idea to put it on the dryer…ours is right by the back door that my husband uses to come in through. Thanks!!!!!

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