If you’re like us, you spent a lot of time at home over the last few months and resorted to cleaning and organizing every room of your house because, well, what else was there to do? Along the way, maybe you found a long-lost pet collar stuffed in the hallway closet or a cat toy that had been hiding under the couch for who knows how long. While you managed to get most of your home in order (look at you adulting!), there’s still one more thing that could use your attention—your pet supplies.
Organizing your pets’ supplies is probably something you’ve thought about doing forever but just never got around to it. Or maybe you didn’t even know where to start? We spoke with several experts to get pet supply organization ideas and simple steps for how to tackle tidying up all your pet’s stuff.
Set a time limit.
If you have multiple pets—or just one pet with a lot of stuff—trying to organize everything at once can be stressful. Stephanie Shalofksy, an organization consultant with The Organizing Zone in New York City, suggests setting a timer on your phone for 30 or 60 minutes, whichever you prefer, and focusing on getting done whatever you can in that chunk of time.
“When [the timer] goes off, decide whether you want to continue working or stop for the day,” she says. “Your goal is to avoid getting overwhelmed so that the project gets done.”
Gather all your pet supplies in one spot.
Shalofksy says a great first step is to collect all your pet supplies—food, toys, leashes, sweaters, medication, cat litter, etc.— and lay them out in one spot. It helps to have a visual of how much stuff you actually have.
Divide the pet supplies into categories.
Next, organize all your pet’s stuff into categories, such as leashes/collars, toys, clothing, food and medications.
“You can do a round of sorting and then better assess the amount of space that will be needed for storage,” Shalofsky says.
Decide what to keep, donate or throw away.
This is a key step of the organizing process because it helps you cut back on the amount of stuff you have by determining what you really need. Shannon Krause, chief operating organizer at Tidy Nest, advises tossing any items that are worn out and donating any unnecessary duplicates. (Real talk: You do not need 7 leashes for one dog.)
Now is a great time to donate, too. Samantha Wenig, founder of Neat Spaces NY, adds that during the pandemic, many organizations are looking for donations. Check the websites for your local animal shelters and rescues for their wish list of items. (Get more ideas for helping animals in need here.)
Do a second review of the “keep” pile.
Think you know what to keep and what to throw away or donate? Think again.
“Almost every time, [people] part with more items during the second pass through,” Krause says. “The first time they review everything, they're thinking more about what they like versus what they need.”
Remember: The goal is to get rid of the clutter. Really ask yourself, do I need this?
Find a home for everything.
As the saying goes, there’s “a place for everything and everything in its place.”
While some may designate a “pet central” where they keep all their pet supplies, others will spread supplies throughout their home for easy access when and where they need them most.
Here are a few tips from our experts for finding a new home for all of your pet supplies.
- Leashes: Treat it like a coat. Keep it hung by the door, so it’s easily accessible.
- Walk supplies: Any other items needed for a walk (poop bags, sweaters, rain boots, towel) should be kept in a basket or container by the door.
- Cat toys: Since cats tend to leave their toys everywhere, place small baskets around the house to collect any toys that are nearby.
- Dog toys: Since most dogs can be trained to retrieve toys from a single location, have one home for all their toys.
- Food, treats and medication: Store these items on their own shelf in a kitchen or pantry cabinet.
- Grooming items: Store pet brushes, shampoo and other grooming items where you’re most likely to use them (like a drawer in the bathroom), so it’s easily accessible.
- Extras: Designate a space for storing extra litter, pet carriers, etc.
Select storage containers to help keep you organized.
Once all your pet supplies are sorted and ready to be put in their respective homes, you can determine what type of storage options you’ll need to keep everything organized. For example:
- Keep dry kibble in pet food storage containers. It not only gets rid of ripped, rumpled food bags but also can help preserve freshness. Plus, clear ones, like this food storage container from IRIS, let you check pet food levels at a glance.
- Ditch the treat bags and get fancy with a ceramic or glass treat jar, like this 42-oz. one by Park Life Designs.
- Store pet toys in stylish baskets and bins that blend in with your home décor. Paw Prints’ plastic pet supply bin and Bone Dry’s lattice print fabric basket are two fashionable and functional options.
Even if your pet’s stuff is scattered all throughout the house, jammed into junk drawers and crammed into corners (don’t forget the car!), these steps can help you get organized. Just think how good it will feel to finally cross this item off your to-do list.