A big struggle of mine is house keeping and time organization. It's not for a lack of trying. It's just not something that comes naturally for me. I know I'm not alone, and wanted to offer some tips that have helped me. I love reading tips on other people's blogs on organization and time management.
Today's Tip: Double Duty - If you have limited space like I do, make sure something you buy can serve multiple purposes for you. Especially if it's something you'll only use for a little while.
Example: Changing Table/Dresser/Hutch
For baby number 3 we bought a dresser with a hutch instead of the regular baby changing table. A standard sized changing pad wouldn't fit so I bought some foam at the craft store and hot glued it together. It worked perfectly! Now, instead of the changing table only being usable for her diapering years, it can easily transition into a traditional dresser later by removing the changing pad. And the hutch uses a lot of wall space we wouldn't otherwise be able to use. We even have some canvas containers on top to hold extra diapers and toys.
On a side note, don't be afraid to buy something for storage that isn't part of a system. Meaning it doesn't have official "matching" storage containers to fit it. Just measure it and go online to find containers that fit those dimensions. Turns out the Circo (or Closet Maid) canvas containers fit great for my shelves. I also found some pretty hard canvas baskets that worked great in the drawers at Target. So I was able to maximize the storage space even more with little effort (or money).
We were able to get the whole unit for $120 used ($300 retail). About $200 total for the whole unit and the storage containers. Which is much less then it would have cost us to buy a dresser, changing table, & shelves for the wall (to gain the same amount of storage and use)! And it can be used for years!
Example 2: Waffle Maker/Sandwich Grill/Griddle
I have a waffle maker/sandwich grill my parents received at their wedding. On one side of the cooking surface ("plates"), it is a waffle maker. If you take the "plates" out and flip them over, it becomes a sandwich maker. But those two flat "plates" do so much more then just make sandwiches. I have used it many times to make quesadillas or grill a burrito. Also, I realized when looking up it's link for this post, it can be opened up all the way (flat) to become a griddle! Yippee! My griddle broke when we moved here 6 years ago and I've been lazy to replace it because I didn't want one more thing to take up space. But I do miss the versatility of it! Now I don't have to! I can't just open up my waffle maker and there you go, one more use for this awesomely versatile product.
It will have to be replaced soon because it is so old so I am very happy that they still make it. So handy to have around! Here's a link so you see what I'm talking about: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-G48TD-Grill-Waffle/dp/B000063XH7/
I actually learned to cook pancakes and eggs on the sandwich side (without closing it of course) when I was growing up. I'd say $60 for a waffle maker, sandwich grill, and griddle is a steal! Especially for one I KNOW will last a very long time.
Moral of the Story:
Before you go to the store to buy something, do your research and make sure there's not something else you could get that would fulfill many purposes for you, or better yet something you already have!