31 October 2011

Conquering K9 Clutter

How could anyone who has lost five books on getting organized be qualified to tell you how to organize your household? As the Queen of Clutter, I have experience working with both a cluttered lifestyle and now an organized clutter-less lifestyle. How did this great transformation take place? For me, the quick motivator was preparing our house to sell.

I live with three dogs -- and one husband -- in a large city. We have an open door policy for babysitting and training other dogs. As an information specialist and consultant, a tremendous amount of paper arrives in my life on a daily basis. Out of guilt, I plant trees to honor the fallen that live in my house.

No matter what the size of your home, you will be able to have a place that is spacious, clean and orderly. Yes, you can achieve this without moving.

Filing folders. Make a folder for each one of your pets. In this folder you should keep health records, annual examinations and vaccinations, special health care issues. Keep track of veterinary visits by writing the date of each office call on the front of the file folder. Depending on how active your dogs are you may want to use a hanging folder and then have separate file folders on the inside for health, showing, breeding, pedigrees, registration papers and other important documentation. This system cuts down on paper piles and keeps important records handy for review and tax time.

Toys. Sort through your toys and get rid of the one's your dogs don't like. Once you have weeded through the toys find a suitable container to keep them in. I use a basket that sits on the family room floor. You can add a second basket for gathering toys and supplies for return to the designated spaces. To keep your dog more interested in the toys you save, you can rotate them in and out of use. Toys that are in good condition, but not of interest to your dogs can be washed and donated to a local animal rescue.

Routine.  Find a routine that works in your household and start using it. By performing the same tasks repeatedly, you will find yourself putting toys where they belong, filing papers, storing food and keeping supplies in one location. You may remember this from kindergarten, "A place for everything and everything in its place." It still applies and will make your life simpler.

Feeding. I feed my dogs at the same times every day because this works best in my household. I keep all the food in the same place with the bags stored in Rubbermaid® tubs with covers. I have a measuring scoop stored neatly inside the containers and my canned food is stacked next to the dry food bins. If your canned food does not have pop-top lids, keep a can opener nearby for simplifying the feeding process. Another added bonus to storing the food in containers is the reduction of mice and other pests trying to eat your expensive dog food.

Supplements and Medications. Keep a list taped in the cabinet near where you prepare your dog's meals. This makes it easier for you and anyone else who feeds your dogs to use the same system you do. If you have a pet that requires multiple doses of medication throughout the day, buy a pill dispenser from your local pharmacy that has a week-long supply of holders for the pills. Keeping your supplements and medications near the food will remind you to administer the dosages.

Appointments. Add grooming, veterinary, training class and show schedules to your calendars, computers or day planners. This helps you keep track of scheduling for your dogs and makes your life easier.

Designated Dog Area. Designating one place for your dog supplies makes finding them infinitely easier. Your can designate an entire room or just one drawer, look to see where you currently keep most of your supplies and try to work something out near that area. Remember, working with what you have is easier than trying to set up an entirely new area. This is a place where hooks work well for leashes and more.

Grooming Supplies. Store your brushes, toenail clippers, shampoos and other grooming supplies in a tote box or plastic bucket. When you groom your dog, grab the tote or bucket and you are ready for a brush or bath. Toss a lint remover brush into the tote or bucket to remove hair from your clothing. Lint brushes can also be stored around the house to remove hair from furniture and clothing.

Organize Instructions. If you have a trainer, dog walker or dog sitter work with your dogs, prepare an instruction booklet on where to contact you, the veterinarian's contact information, feeding instructions and times. You could also include a photo of your dog, information on whether you let them on the furniture, outside schedule, disciplinary measures. Keep this booklet with your other dog supplies and pull it out when you ask some one to dog sit for you.

Tame the Paper Tiger. Scan through your periodicals, newsletters and papers. Copy or tear-out the articles you want and store them in a three-ring notebook for future reference. I keep a travelling folder in my truck to read when I am waiting for appointments. A good tip on keep papers: If it is a monthly, keep it one month, a weekly stays for one week and daily papers are recycled at the end of the day. You can really cut back on paper if you use the library and Internet for reading things that interest you.

Storage Solutions. Look at your house and see what themes run through it, and then determine what type of containers you want to utilize. You can go as simply as plastic boxes, or as fancy as custom designed storage bins. The biggest key to deciding what to use for storage is finding what works for you. Look at alternatives such as old trunks, hat boxes, baskets, stainless steel or anything that fits your needs.

Select Local Links:
Chuck & Don's Pet Food Outlet
Pet Stuff (Minnetonka and Excelsior)
Pet Junction Pet Supplies and Training
Red Lake Rosie's Rescue
Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota
Animal Rescue Organizations in the Minnesota Area

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