Sunday, July 26, 2009

Guest Column: Keeping Fido Organized Means More Time For Fun!

Organization guru Molly Boren of Simplicity Works Home and Office Organizing Services is a long time friend of Happy Dog Land. Not only did Molly organize Jill (a notorious slob), but she introduced Jill and Billy to their wonderful agent Rebecca Oliver.

If Molly can successfully teach Jill how to keep her clutter under control, she can help anyone, including your four-legged pal! Like many dogs, Jill's dog Shadow had his things strewn throughout the house. Shadow wasted way too much time hunting for his bone or poop bags. Finding his stuffed Hedgie was becoming a chore. Molly to the rescue! Shadow is organized and everyone in the house knows where to find all the canine accessories.

We asked Molly for some advice on keeping all the dog accessories organized and accessible. Here's what she said:

With a little organizational forethought, you can avoid some of the frustrations of dog ownership -- and better focus on its joys! Here are some ideas to consider:
  • "A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place"
This old chestnut has endured for a reason. If everything has one "home," there's only one place to look for it or to return it. Give each broad category of things a home, preferably one near the area in which the items are used.

- Label containers. This is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to stay organized -- a Sharpie or a Post-It note works fine. (Ed. Note: A battery operated label maker is loads more fun!)
-Corral those little bags of pet snacks in one open bin.
- Decide whether to keep pet-related cleaning supplies in the "pet supply" home or in the "cleaning supply" home. Either works; just be consistent.
- Tell everyone in the household about these "homes"! Only once they're fully informed can you get annoyed with them for not picking up after themselves.
  • Everyday vs. Extras
- Keep all everyday grooming and feeding supplies on a shelf or in a cabinet near the pantry, main entrance, or other often-used area.
- Transfer a manageable amount of food from a large bag to a smaller, air-tight container, or use a binder clip to keep the contents of a smaller, open bag fresh.
- Keep extras such as surplus food, seldom-used medicine or out-of-rotation toys in a less accessible home like a high shelf. These items don't need the "prime real estate" required by everyday items.
  • Grab and Go
- Store supplies for walks at every entrance/exit point: leash, towels, plastic bags, etc. for Fido, and perhaps gloves, a scarf, a flashlight, and a lint roller for you.
- Establish a system for moving dirty post-walk towels toward the laundry. Do they go straight to the laundry room? Is there a small hamper near the back door?
  • Triggers for Reducing and Replenishing
- Use the changing of seasons or Fido's birthday as triggers to go through his supplies and toys and recycle, donate, or toss what's no longer useful, expired or broken.
- When a supply container becomes less than half-full, check your "extras" area; if no surplus exists for the item, add it to your shopping list.
  • Contain the Slosh
- Put Fido's water and food bowls on a tray. Not only does he deserve a little fanciness, but this also contains spills and saves you elbow grease.
  • In Case of Emergency
- Be sure that Fido's veterinary and health information are clearly recorded in a binder or posted on the fridge with your other family emergency information so that anyone can find it when they need it.
  • Have Fun
- With the time and energy you've saved by getting organized, take Fido to the park!

Visit Molly's website and learn how she helps busy people streamline their lives with tips, tools, and hands-on projects that make everyday routines and spaces more efficient and less cluttered. Be sure to sign up for Molly's helpful newsletter.

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