Monthly Archives

August 2015

Stuck in a rut

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It’s very easy to get stuck in a rut in life. It’s even easier to get in a rut with items around your house. Where you have something now may not be the best place for it, or the best way to utilize that space. (Personal example in 3… 2… 1…) In my room I have a small dresser type thing that holds 3 different basket drawers, one on top of the other. The top 2 baskets are the same size and the bottom basket is about twice the size of the other 2. I had my hair products and utensils in the bottom basket because that’s where it was convenient to put them when I moved in to the room. And I just never thought to change them up…. until now.

Earlier this past week I received a box of stuff from my mom that needed a home. This caused me to reevaluate my bedroom situation (I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m also a live in nanny so I just have a bedroom plus some space for storage in the basement). I looked at the basket dresser thing and knew it was my only option. In the top basket I had a bunch of scarves, wraps, elastic headbands and turbans that I don’t REALLY wear that much. And in the bottom, as mentioned above, I had hair products/utensils. So I decided to take those out and see if the contents in the “hair” basket could be dumped in the “scarf” basket. Guess what, they could! And I was able to sort through the wraps, scarves, headbands and turbans to weed out the ones I no longer wanted (yay for purging!). The ones I still sometimes wear were able to fit in the new top level “hair” basket and other ones that I wanted to keep (my grandma’s) have been put in a storage bin in the basement for future use. And the large bottom basket has become home to the contents of the box my mom sent.

So, don’t let yourself get in a rut with your drawers. Sometimes it’s fun to change things up and you might even come up with a better way to use the space. And even more importantly, it’ll cause you to look at everything you have in that drawer and think “Do I really need this?”. So go find a few drawers in your house and see what you can do.

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I thought I had a countertop here…

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Here’s a personal tip from a job I’ve been working on for the past year (and it’s a¬†recurring¬†job, not an organizing job that has taken a year. That would be crazy). Anyways, here’s my tip: don’t let papers pile up on any surface whatsoever. It may be a desk, a coffee table, a kitchen table, a dining room table, a counter top, or it may be any other surface you can think of that I can’t. Wherever that place is you’re thinking of right now, I can almost guarantee papers don’t belong there.

Papers belong in 1 of 3 places. #1 In a filing cabinet. #2 The trash/recycle bin. #3 In a box for safekeeping (this includes important papers or mementos). Or, they may end up in a small box/bin to go through at a later time (where they should then end up in 1 of the 3 aforementioned places. So I guess that’s like, 3.5 places). In my (*ahem) professional opinion, if a piece of paper doesn’t have a place to go, it will end up haphazardly thrown on whatever surface you were thinking of earlier and it will just end up taking up space. And no one wants that to happen. Not me and especially not you.

So get in the habit of putting your paperwork where it belongs right away. Otherwise, you may never see that section of flat surface again.

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Now where did I put that map…

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Cars…. such a blessing and such a curse. Some people are meticulous about the outside of their cars, while other people are meticulous about the inside of their cars… Then there’s those other people who are OCD about both. Regardless of where you fall in these 3 categories, everyone can agree that having an organized car interior is helpful. You just may not know how exactly to get that.

Containment is key. For those diehards who refuse to use Google maps or Waze, put your maps in one of the pockets behind the front seats (this is also a great place for extra napkins which, believe me, come in handy). You can get even more organized by keeping the maps in Ziploc bags so they don’t get mixed up with other papers you shove back there. Or the cubby on the driver’s side of the car. Take your pick. But have a spot where you always keep them so you don’t drive off the road or cause an accident while looking for them (now what happens while you’re looking at them is another issue).

For the oh-so-important manuals, registration, insurance cards etc. put them all in the glove compartment. And make sure they’re on top so they’re easy to grab should you (heaven forbid) need them quickly. I tend to go through my glove compartment every month or so to make sure whatever else ends up in there is underneath my registration and insurance. We don’t need to make getting a ticket any more drawn out than it already is.

For the little extras that wind up in our cars (toys, umbrellas, ice scrapers, change etc) check out car organizers (Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon). They’re quite excellent.

And finally, for the trash that stinks up the car, you can either buy a car trash can (online or auto parts stores) or just take the initiative and throw it away. Personally, I recommend the latter because you’re eventually going to have to throw it away anyways, but if you’re a procrastinator…. well, I’m just impressed you actually got around to reading this blog post.

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Like with like with like with like….

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One thing I’ve noticed with organizing is I don’t always go in with a plan. Yes, I can see the end result in my head, but that doesn’t mean the specific items are placed where they will eventually end up. I just know it can look better than it currently does and as I go along in the organizing process, the layout order comes as a natural part of the progression.

I recently did some work in a master bedroom closet. The owner has a great space, but it wasn’t being used to its full potential, and clothes were just shoved in wherever there was space. My thought was, ‘Why make figuring out what to wear even harder by not knowing what all you have?’. So I set to work. I started with the hanging items first. I knew getting TOO organized (color coordinated) would never last, but keeping similar styles together (again, like with like – can you guess my favorite organizing tip?), i.e. long sleeved dresses, 3/4 sleeve dresses, short sleeve dresses, tank dresses, strapless dresses, definitely gives an organized look without being too restrictive and making the homeowner even more overwhelmed after I’m gone. I did the same thing with her shirts (long sleeve -> tank tops) and pants (pants -> shorts). There can be so many different sub categories in those general categories, but for the average “not OCD about organizing” person, I’ve learned these are good, and even more importantly easy to maintain, categories.

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