Update 8/29/17 from an article originally published 4/15/13.
It may not come as a surprise to you to hear that dogs are the country’s most popular household pet. And if you are one of the 42% of dog loving pet owners, then it probably won’t be a surprise to hear just how much “stuff” these furry companions can accumulate.
We love our four legged family members so much that we love to spend money on them–lots of money. According to a recent survey, Americans have spent over 66 billion dollars on pet products alone. Now that’s a lot of Fido’s belongings to constantly be tripping over.
From trendy new toys, fashionable leashes with matching collars, cute dog clothing and soft plush beds, to all of the annual vet visits and paperwork that goes along with them, where do you put it all?
We’re busy enough between work, school and kids. As much as we love our pups, we don’t have time to be organizing all of their stuff. We have enough of our own messes we need to clean up on a daily basis.
The good news is, tidying up after our dogs doesn’t need to be a big chore. Not only that, there are ways to turn storing all your dog’s essential supplies into cool, functional decor. This article will break down how to organize pet supplies into three steps. Then, we’ll narrow in on the three dog supply basics that can easily be organized and decluttered with a few clever flea market finds! Just keep reading to find out our top favorites.
Organizing Pet Supplies in Three Steps
Need help getting motivated to start going through all of your dog’s supplies? We get it; you sit down to start the process, look around at all your “stuff” and immediately get overwhelmed. Getting started is always the hardest part in an organizing task! Well, we’ve got you covered. Here’s an easy three point checklist to simplify things and get you started.
Step 1: Clean and Purge
First things first when it comes to any organizing task… Pull out all your pet supplies and clean the shelves where you’ve been storing them. Keep what you want and get rid of what you don’t!
Go through the piles of vet bills, expired medicines, old toys, broken leashes and puppy clothes that don’t fit anymore. To start fresh, clean what you can. Throw any stuffed toys, clothing and blankets into the wash and run any dog bowls or dishwasher safe chew toys into the dishwasher.
If you keep your pet food in bins or containers, jot down a note to clean them thoroughly the next time they are emptied. If you have kids, get them involved by asking them to collect the toys that your dog or cat has scattered throughout the house. Gather everything into a big pile so you can move onto step two.
Step 2: Sort
Sorting doesn’t need to be a tough task. Organize the remaining items into the following categories:
- Perishable chews and treats
- Chew toys
- Plush toys
- Leashes and collars
- Pet beds and blankets
If you have a bird, rodent or reptile, you should also create a separate area for that pet’s cage supplies. Items like bedding, decorations, wheels and perches can go in this pile.
Step 3: Create a System
After you’ve sorted through your pet supplies, you can begin to store them in permanent locations in your home. The approach you take to this task will depend on your overall organization style and the space in your home or apartment.
You can use plastic organizing towers, cupboards or a dresser to put the rest of your supplies in order. Pet guru and American Kennel Club spokesperson Lisa Peterson “stashes her pets’ goods in a tall, skinny tag-sale dresser. The top drawer is dedicated to her pets’ health―all pills and a folder for their medical records. The second drawer is for spare leashes and collars, the third for grooming supplies, and the last for bulk dog chews.” Sorting your pet supplies into a dresser makes particular sense because you’ll know exactly where everything is, cutting down on the amount of time you spend searching for pet essentials.
It’s a good idea to label each drawer or cupboard where you store your pet supplies too. Keep veterinary records and contact info for your vet in a convenient, central location. Store health records and vet info with your pet’s medicine. Not only will this help you get organized but also it will give you peace of mind if you hire a pet sitter while on vacation. Be sure to keep treats and food separate from medicines. This will prevent cross contamination and will ensure that no one accidentally gives your pet a pill thinking it was a treat.
Organize into designated locations throughout your home for maximum convenience. Here’s the fun part — getting creative with your storage options. Here are a few repurposed storage items we love to use for dog supply organization.
Repurposed Pet Storage Ideas
Dog Toy Storage Ideas
The best way to organize dog toys is by not “organizing” them at all. First, get rid of the old, dirty ones that are never used and falling apart. Then simply toss the rest in a cute basket or bin.
Just like kids toys, at some point, these dog toys end up all over the floor, under the couch and in the corner. Being able to just grab them and toss them into a bin at the end of the day makes the cleanup process that much quicker and easier.
Repurposed Storage Idea: Apple Crates
Don’t have any extra bins lying around? More importantly, don’t feel like spending the money on a new expensive basket? Get creative! Yard sales are a great place to find inexpensive, clever storage solutions. Try giving new life to things like old wooden apple crates, wire milk crates or antique ceramic pots. Even old suitcases look great stacked up and no one needs to know they are actually filled with every squeaky toy imaginable.
Leashes are something you use almost every day and chances are you have more than one. Keep them somewhere convenient and tangle free — either in a front entry, hallway closet or a simple hook hanging by the front door. You can easily grab and go and won’t need to waste time untangling a bunch of knots from stuffing them in a drawer or on the floor.
Repurposed Storage Idea: Rake Heads
We love how these old rake heads were given new life as purposeful dog leash storage! Keep your bag, hat and leashes all together to make getting out the door quick and easy. You might even have some lying around your own shed or basement. If not, these are inexpensive yard sale or flea market finds.
Organizing Pet Paperwork
There’s nothing worse than having to rip apart stacks of paperwork every year to find Scruffy’s most current vaccinations in order to renew the town’s dog license. Delegate one folder per dog and always keep it in the same spot.
You don’t need to spend the money on a store bought pet record organizer that you will probably never fill out. There are plenty of free pet care printables available to print out like this one, or this downloadable “Pet Pack” from Etsy.
Repurposed Storage Idea: Dish Rack
In need of a more stylish way to file papers? Better Home and Garden’s says to try an old dish rack! Another inexpensive flea market find, and way cuter than a boring manila folder or stack of papers on the counter.
Everything will look good as new in these creative storage solutions, and you’ll feel instantly better seeing all of your dog’s supplies neatly tucked away. The best part about organizing your pet supplies is that you’ll have more time to devote to your furry best friend!