When you’re living in a small space, it’s important to keep your dog gear organized and together. Creating a doggy command centre can help you get organized and declutter your dogs stuff.
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My dogs have a lot of stuff.
I should probably be embarrassed by how much stuff my dogs have. I mean, I knew it was a lot, but the process of packing it all up into boxes and moving it really made me shake my head. These dogs have as much, if not more, stuff than I do. By my final count, they had two Rubbermaid totes, a moving box and a toy chest full of stuff. Plus the stuff we left at the Daddy’s for them to use & play with. That’s insane. My “crazy dog lady” title is well earned.
I needed to get a handle on all this stuff.
Living in an apartment there just aren’t as many places to hide it all as there used to be. Even if there was…do we need it all? Maggie from Oh My Dog recently went through and took an inventory of all their dog gear. I considered doing the same, but after I counted 17 leashes and went off on a tangent wondering where the 18th leash had gotten off to (I buy everything in pairs!), I realized that my brain was not going to lend itself to such a task and decided to come at it a bit differently. I layed out all the dog stuff on the craft room floor, so I could see it all. It took up the whole floor (and sadly, I was too dumb to take a picture. I assure you, it was a sight to be seen.) Seeing it all sprawling across every inch of the room, I realized, I needed to purge and organize. I set out a plan to get my doggy business in order.
I was actually surprised how easy it was when all was said and done.
Even if you don’t have the benefit of having all your dog gear in one spot, we’ve got a no fail system to help corral the chaos. The whole process took me about a month, but it was no effort, almost no time commitment and it guaranteed that I was keeping only the dog gear we really needed.
- Start with 3 things: a cabinet, closet or cupboard designed as your “Command Centre” and two boxes. (If you’re like me and you have too much stuff, large boxes.)
- As you use dog things, put them away in the cabinet. Some things will be obvious. I use our leashes, harness and collars every single day. I quickly designated a shelf with a bin as “the leash spot”. I brush out the dogs with a shedding tool every couple days, so the grooming tools quickly found a home in the command centre as well. Food, treats and supplements got a shelf of their own as well. It’s important that at this stage, you only put things you USE in the cabinet.
- When you find a dog item around the house, but don’t use it, ask yourself: Do I want this? Try to be tough on each item. Can you remember the last time you used it? Is it in good condition? Is there a specific reason, season or event when you’ll need it again? Does it have sentimental value. If the item is still useful, toss it into the “keep” box. If you’ve decided you don’t need it, toss it on the other box. When you’re done, you can take a full box of doggy donations to your local shelter.
After a few weeks, you should have naturally and effortless gathered all (or most) of your dog gear into one place.
You’ll have a really good idea of how much space your doggy “needs” (ie. products and gear you use) take up and you’ll know how much space is left for your “wants”. At this stage, I went through my Keep box one more time, eliminating another 1/3 of it all based on not having enough space. My goal was to create a single dog space that had all their things (except toys, which will remain in our DIY Designer ToyBox)
Treat yourself to some organization containers. You want everything to be easy to get at and to have like items grouped together. I bought myself several fabric storage bins, a couple decorative storage boxes and ordered one very special container to hold my prized dog tag collection. There’s a filing box in there to store Koly & Fe’s vet records (and corresponding insurance claims). A stack of spare food & water bowls (since my gorgeous PawNosh bowl arrived, all others have been retired.)
The command centre will always be a work in progress.
As my storage needs change, I’ll keep restocking, re-purging and changing this space up. I’m already considering raising the bottom shelf a titch and putting a pressure mounted rod in there to hold hangers full of our favourite dog coats and costumes. I want a few more of those gorgeous keepsake boxes from Just4MyPet. I like how sturdy they are and how they hide what’s inside and protect it like jewelry. I have saved a few of Kol’s puppy toys (like his favourite vinyl ducky that feel to pieces) and Felix’s collar that he was wearing when we adopted him and I would like to have loevly places to keep those in. I may get a special one just for storing my dog-themed jewelry in. (Plus, I can’t play favourites! Since it’s so easy to customize these keepsake boxes with any image you love, it only seems right that I get a Koly box and a Lu box too.) I’d like to hand some leash hooks next to the Command Centre for easier access.
Do you have a “Doggy Command Centre”? Does it help contain the chaos of having too many dog things?