Figuring out what to do with all of your dogs things can be overwhelming. From leashes to toys, to medications and foods it can quickly become clear that your house is a dog house. We of course, want to acknowledge that there is a dog in our house, but there’s a fine line between it being a house with a dog in it or a dog’s house with you in it.
Dog stuff can overrun your house, says Jeri Dansky, a professional organizer from Half Moon Bay, Calif. She advises creating hidden storage opportunities.
8 Clever Ways to Organize Your Dog’s Things:
- Dog items with bonus space. Look for dog beds with a drawer underneath, pet steps with a lift-up step top, or elevated feeders with storage under the bowls. A dog Murphy bed saves floor space.
- Double-duty furnishings. Assign toys to the space under an ottoman’s top, or keep dog towels in a bench with a lift-up seat.
- Kitchen cabinets. Mount a spice rack under your over-counter cabinets to hold dog medications and supplements. Mount narrow shelves or hang an over-door shelf unit on the inside of cabinet doors.
- Awkward spaces. Install a lazy Susan or pull-out storage unit to utilize cabinet corners.
- Behind doors. Add a shoe organizer with pockets, a shelf unit, or rows of hooks. If you can’t install something on the door, use over-the-door hooks or organizers.
- Underneath furniture. Hide gear in containers that fit under beds, sofas, and tables.
- Walls. Hang wall pockets, or install shelves to host supplies in baskets. Use hooks or pegs for leashes.
- Stored luggage. Between vacations, store out-of-season dog clothes and coats in suitcases.
“Look up, down, and think creatively,” Dansky adds.
Let’s talk toys. Among all of your dog’s things, toys can be the hardest to corral. If you leave them out they are likely to end up strewn across your floors, if you hide them away, your dog might not play with them at all. So how can you prevent dog toy clutter while still encouraging play?
6 Tips for Toy Clutter
- Location, location, location. To find the right storage solution, first consider where your dog plays most, and look for storage options in that room. If your dog plays with Frisbee discs and balls outdoors, store those on the patio or covered deck for an immediate game of fetch.
- Who, what, when. Then consider how your dog plays — does she play mostly alone or with you? What types of toys does she prefer, and how does she act with different kinds of toys? Does she need supervision with certain toys? Your answers will help you decide between using an open storage container with anytime dog access, or a closed or out-of-reach container so you control the toys she plays with.
- Size maters. When choosing an open container, the right depth depends on the height of your dog. Hide her favorite toy at the bottom of the toy basket; she will enjoy “shopping’’ through the pile to find it.
- Decisions, decisions. To manage toys, you could provide your dog a choice among self-play toys like plush and squeaky toys, yet keep interactive-play toys like tug and tossing toys out of reach until you’re ready to play. You might reserve chew and treat toys for special occasions. Your storage will vary accordingly.
- Rotate and remove. Your dog will accumulate more and more toys as time goes on, but likely will have a few favorites. He probably doesn’t need five balls and 10 squeaky toys. Store duplicate toys away and switch one or two of them out every few weeks to keep your dog interested and engaged. Remove old toys that have fallen apart or aren’t getting any attention and introduce other toys you’ve been storing away.
- Permission to hide. Your dog doesn’t need all his toys, all the time. Look for baskets, bins, and boxes that have a carry handle or wheels, or fit under a table so you can easily tuck pet toys away before company arrives.
If you’ve used these tips and you are still finding yourself overloaded with doggie items, it might be time to clear some stuff out. Consider what your dog needs versus what you want your dog to have. Remember, your dog doesn’t know that you have a selection of leashes in green, red and blue to match his moods.
Extra leashes, toys, beds and more can be donated to your local shelter giving you a chance to clean up and do good all at the same time!
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