If you’re anything like me, your pets have almost as much stuff as you do. And it’s pretty easy to let all of the pet supplies take over the house, from the toys, treats, food, bowls and various other pet-related items. Believe me, I know! That’s why I’ve taken steps to tackle the creature clutter head-on.
1. Store all pet supplies in one area of the home.
After some experimentation, I’ve found that it’s most convenient to store all pet supplies, with the exception of toys, in one central location. In my home, the laundry room is “pet stuff central.” There’s an entire cabinet (base and overheads) dedicated to storing and organizing the supplies we need for our two cats, Turtle and Olivia, and our dog, Chilly. This helps me keep the rest of the house clean and organized. Plus, it lets me see, at a glance, when I’m running out of litter or pet food. Our pet sitter, Kasey, also appreciates it because she knows she can find everything she needs in one place. Not surprisingly, though, the area tends to get cluttered. So I’ve come up with a few ways to keep things neat, organized and accessible.
2. Store heavier items down low for easy access.
The bottom cabinet is where we keep dry pet food. I store it in a sealed bin so that it stays fresh and prevents the Florida humidity from removing the “crunch” factor. There’s also room for heavy, oversized or infrequently used items such as travel gear, an e-collar and unopened bags of food. While it’s a perfect space for these things, we discovered it was difficult to reach some of them, especially the heavier items. We found ourselves constantly pulling everything out and then putting everything back in. That got old fast! To tackle this issue, we customized the cabinet by adding a roller drawer. Now we just pull out the drawer and whatever we need is right at our fingertips!
3. Separate pet supplies by category.
In the cabinet above the counter, I put the most frequently used items on the easy-to-reach bottom shelf, with lesser-used items up higher. So, on the first shelf, we store pet shampoos, household cleaning products intended for pet messes, seasonal bandanas, and extra leashes and collars. Medications and grooming tools go on the second shelf, and extra bowls and a first aid kit reside on the top shelf. I purchased a variety of nylon bins at the dollar store to keep different categories of supplies separate (i.e., cat mediations, dog medications and grooming supplies have their own bins). This is important because mixing up dog and cat meds could not only be dangerous, but deadly — especially when it comes to topical flea and tick meds.
4. Make sure everyday items are easily accessible.
On the counter itself are three containers. One holds Chilly’s leash, doodie bags and favorite fetch toys; a glass canister holds his once-a-day dental treat; and another glass canister holds his crunch treats for when he’s a good boy (which is pretty often!).
A shelf across the room holds the “dog towels” that are reserved for Chilly’s bath time. The one exception to storing everything in the laundry room is the two cat litter boxes. In order to make our least favorite pet chore super convenient, I keep extra supplies in a litter box caddy within easy reach. The caddy holds a scoop and liners, and it also has a small bucket-type reservoir in which you can put a plastic grocery bag to collect those delightful “scoopings” before discarding.
5. Keep clutter at bay by storing toys in a basket.
Like most well-loved dogs, Chilly has lots of toys, so we keep those in a basket next to his crate and bed in the TV room. I try to wash and rotate his toys monthly so he always has something fresh and seemingly new to play with.
Turtle and Olivia’s toys are upstairs where they hang out most. While they spend most of their time in a sunny spot on the bed or gazing out the window, I do provide them with fresh catnip and teaser toys that we can play with together. Their favorite cat-things are definitely the scratching posts and corrugated cardboard scratchers located throughout the house. Fortunately, they prefer these to our furniture! My last frontier of organization is Chilly’s travel backpack. Well, it doesn’t actually fit on his back, but it’s a child’s backpack that I found perfect for his supplies when we travel. The pack is just big enough for his bowls, a few days’ worth of food, favorite toys, leash, doodie bags and a few water bottles. So when we’re ready to hit the road with him, we just grab his backpack and his nylon, foldable crate, and off we go! To get started on your own house, look for “dead areas” that you may not be using for anything else. Maybe, like me, it’s your laundry room. Or perhaps it’s a shelf in your pantry or the top of your refrigerator. It may take a little experimentation to find out what works best for your space. But with just a little ingenuity and some organization, your home can be a happy, comfortable place for both you and your pet.
By: Kristen Levine