Set up your kitchen in a way that makes sense to you. -Susan Santoro

97: Hot Tips to Organize Your Space with Kids AND Protect Your Budget and the Earth! (with Susan Santoro)

Sigh, those lovely pictures of “other people’s” organized kitchen on social media!

There, I am not.

But I don’t feel great when I look at my own kitchen/piles/surfaces! I called in an expert organizer today to talk about one of my weaknesses, organizing, with a focus on one of my strengths: saving money and saving the environment.

I was furiously taking mental notes for my future pantry (post kitchen remodel) as Susan explained her philosophy on repurposing items.

Be sure to watch her examples on video, and you’ll learn:

  • How to channel your creativity into organizing
  • How to be gentle on the earth (and your time, bonus!) when finding new organizational systems
  • 5 reasons why repurposing items makes uber practical sense as you organize
  • A solution for that feeling when you look into a drawer or cupboard and think, “Yuck. There’s so much randomness in here!!”
  • How to connect with your kids and find quality time through a practical task
  • Why involving the kids is a win-win-win, and how to motivate kids to continue to follow the organizational system (I admitted I can’t even get mine to get socks to the hamper sometimes!)
  • Your big practical step to take action on TODAY that will take a weight off your mind

Can’t see the video? Watch Home Organization on a Budget on YouTube!

No time to watch the whole video? Here are the notes!

Home Organization Video Time Stamps

  • 0:14: Today we’re going to be creative! We’re going to talk about home organization with the specific focus of being budget conscious and environmentally friendly.
  • 0:47: I have Susan Santoro with me on the Healthy Parenting Connector today. She shares simple organizing ideas for busy families. She grew up in the military, served in the Air Force, and now has an active duty military spouse which means lots of moving!
  • 2:12: Susan shares a bit about how elements of her background came together to make her an organizational wizard.

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Eco-friendly Home Organization

  • 3:44: I talk at Kitchen Stewardship about taking care of the earth. One thing that caught my eye about Susan is that she uses many repurposed items in her organization.

Many packaging items coming into my home anyway were items I could repurpose. -Susan Santoro

  • 4:52: Susan focuses on items already coming into her home for organization supplies and containers. Especially things that can be recycled. It saves time, money, and the environment.
  • 6:03: The recycling industry is changing. Many places are accepting fewer and fewer types of items. If we can reuse it, that’s better than recycling.

There’s a reason the order is: reduce, reuse, and then recycle. -Katie Kimball

Home Organization on a Budget

  • 6:50: Aside from environmental concerns, repurposing items is great for the budget. Fancy bins and shelves can get really expensive. If you’re the type of person who likes to mix things up style-wise, rearrange frequently, or experiment with different organizational systems, it can get REALLY expensive.

When you set up a new organizational system, you need to live with it to see if it really works for your family. -Susan Santoro

  • 9:00: The way you organize changes based on your family. When you have toddlers you’ll want to keep certain things out of reach, that could be stored lower down when you have teenagers.

Practical Organization Tips

  • 9:35: We get into some practical strategies for kitchen storage.
  • 11:21: To get started using repurposed items for organization stop and really look at what comes in your home. You may be surprised to find food packaged in containers people buy at organization stores!
  • 12:45: One note on glass vs plastic. There isn’t much leaching from plastic when you’re storing dry goods, or repurpose plastic containers for office supplies or bathroom storage rather than food.
  • 13:22: Susan shares her favorite type of container with us and some helpful uses for it.
  • 13:58: If you have enough space and don’t need to stack containers, keep them lid free. It’s easier to grab things out and more importantly, put them away again!
  • 15:38: Susan shows us a simple solution for corraling condiments and dressings.
  • 16:58: Do you have a handful of clay pots your children have made? Make good use of them to hold twist ties, rubber bands, condiment packets, paper clips, etc.
  • 17:45: When a container loses its lid, don’t throw it out! Use it as kitchen storage for lids, dishcloths, etc.

Look at items that can no longer serve their original purpose and use them for something else. -Susan Santoro

  • 19:14: When you have a clear spot for something, it’s easier for everyone to put it away in the correct place. Clear organization helps the whole family contribute to keeping the house clean.

“Mooooom, I’m hungry!!”

How many times do your kids ask for snacks each day? Wouldn’t it be a relief if they were empowered to prepared their own snacks, instead of coming to you and whining about how hungry they are?

Download and print:


Home Organization with Kids

  • 19:55: We talk specifically about letting kids help us organize. Involve them in the process!

Organization is a tool to make life easier and calmer. -Susan Santoro

  • 21:44: Susan covers cardboard boxes in wrapping paper and mod podge, a great craft for kids!
  • 23:37: Color coding and labeling is also a great way to involve kids and make the system work for them. The more they are involved, the more ownership they’ll take.
  • 24:37: The million-dollar question is how to keep kids involved long term in keeping things organized. Like everything in parenting, this will shift frequently over the years.
  • 25:08: Explain the reasoning to your child and bring them along with you. Make it easy for them to use the organizational system.
  • 27:40: If a system isn’t working, you don’t have to do it that way! Take what works and make changes until you find a method that makes your life easier. The point of organizing isn’t to create further stress!
  • 28:46: Don’t put a perfect organizational system over relationships. When you’re crabby, yelling and your organization is causing conflict, it’s time to reassess.
  • 30:02: We leave you with a practical piece of advice you can take action on today.

You don't work for your organization system, it works for you. -Susan Santoro

Resources We Mention for Home Organization

Susan SantoroSusan is a professional organizer and the founder of Organized 31, where she shares simple organizing ideas, crafts, and recipes for busy people. She grew up as a military child, served in the Air Force, and is now the spouse of an active-duty military member. Susan earned a BS in Economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Human Relations at the University of Oklahoma.

Susan’s experience in military plans and moving into and organizing more than 25 homes led her to create Organized 31 to help busy families make the space and time for what’s really important to them. She understands that busy people often have limited time and budgets, so many of her tips revolve around free and repurposed items.

She has been featured in both print and online publications for her organizing, repurposing, craft, and parenting tips and ideas.

free and eco-friendly home organization tips

What You Should Do Next:

1. Subscribe to The Healthy Parenting Connector

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2. Try a Free Preview of my Cooking Class for Kids

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3. Enroll in the Online Cooking Course for Kids:

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About Katie Kimball

Katie Kimball, CSME, creator of Kids Cook Real Food and CEO of Kitchen Stewardship, LLC, is passionate about connecting families around healthy food. As a trusted educator and author of 8 real food cookbooks, she’s been featured on media outlets like ABC, NBC and First for Women magazine and contributes periodically on the FOX Network.

Since 2009, busy moms have looked to Katie as a trusted authority and advocate for children’s health, and she often partners with health experts and medical practitioners to stay on the cutting edge. In 2016 she created the Wall Street Journal recommended best online kids cooking course, Kids Cook Real Food, helping thousands of families around the world learn to cook. She is actively masterminding the Kids’ Meal Revolution, with a goal of every child learning to cook.

A mom of 4 kids from Michigan, she is also a Certified Stress Mastery Educator, member of the American Institute of Stress and trained speaker through Bo Eason’s Personal Story Power.

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