Organizing your home is a daunting task and when you add pets to the mix, it can become even more daunting. Similar to children, pets have toys, cleaning supplies, food and water, and sleeping areas which all require constant cleanup! Don’t get frustrated with your pet’s needs! Try some of the following tips from Sherry Brown to create an organized home that includes everyone—including pets!
Assess the lifestyle of your pets. When organizing a home that includes pets, remember that all family members, even pets, have a daily routine. Consider a routine day or week with your pets to pinpoint their eating, sleeping, and playing needs. If you own a dog that requires numerous walks every day, make a mental note of what items the walks require. A leash, collar, and cleanup supplies should be easily accessible as you enter and leave your home for quick dog walks. Certain pets require more maintenance than others; therefore identifying what takes the most time is the first step toward organizing with pets in mind.
Declutter before you try to get organized. Before you even attempt to organize, decide which items you consistently use and which can be throw out. A scratching post that your cat used when he or she was a kitten might have been a well-used item before, but now it’s taking up space in your living room. Pet carriers which are broken and expired pet food and treats should be thrown away. If items are in good shape, but your pet has no interest in them, consider donating the supplies to pet shelters in your local area, like ARF. Determine how to optimize your pet area for best use. Once you have assessed your pet’s needs, it’s time to tackle your home. For many pet owners, the laundry room, garage or utility room is the best place to store pet food, cleaning supplies, and play toys. For larger animals, consider storing food in closable bins that stay airtight and can be accessed through the top or the front. Stackable bins are ideal for small pet areas to maximize vertical space. Look to pet supply store for a wide variety of pet feeding and storage containers customized in different sizes for every home.
It’s time to sort and organize. Sort through your pet’s items and give each item a “home”. In a mudroom, place hooks at the exit door for leashes and collars and install some shelving for your shoes and umbrellas. Place eating supplies in a designated space and use a mat or non-slip pet dish to prevent pet food from spilling or being overturned.
Keep important medical papers, vaccination and veterinarian information stored with your important household documents in your home office. Make sure you keep them up-to-date. You or your pet sitter may need the information in an emergency. If your pet needs medications, keep them on a shelf or cabinet adjacent to the pet supplies for easy administration.
Organization for non-furry pets. While they may not need as much organization room, pets such as fish, reptiles and other aquarium or container-type animals do require cleaning supplies, food, and other special supplies. These could be stored on a shelf in the laundry room or utility area. Rabbits, gerbils, hamsters and other caged animals often come with their own organization challenges. Keep spare newspaper, cage-cleaning supplies, and food away from small children and consider housing these supplies in a garage for out-of-the-way storage that doesn’t consume valuable space inside your home. Use these tips to assess your pet’s lifestyle, declutter the old supplies and create an organized area in your home to benefit everyone. You will be surprised how Sparky’s morning and evening walks become a little easier when you aren’t searching for all of the supplies every time you leave the house!
Join Bark for Life on May 17, 2014 from 9 a.m. to noon at Morrow’s Meadow in Yorktown. The American Cancer Society Bark For Life is a fun, activities filled, noncompetitive walk event for dogs and their owners to raise funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society’s fight against cancer.