EATING AN ELEPHANT

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If It’s Missing… Get Rid of It

By | Purge, Weekly Tip | No Comments

I’m sure you read that title and thought, “Wait what? If it’s missing then how can I get rid of it?”.  The answer is in the “…”.  If it’s a puzzle missing a few pieces, get rid of it.  If it’s a game missing pieces, get rid of it.  If something is incomplete and you don’t use it BECAUSE it’s incomplete, why are you hanging on to it?  I realize there are heirlooms and other things passed down that you may want to hold on to, which is fine and totally understandable.  But if it’s a game or puzzle and it’s missing any part of it, clear it out of that space!

Several years ago my parents and I went through a period of time where we did a LOT of puzzles (rocking out to Les Mis and Phantom of the Opera because we’re super cool) and, as all puzzle aficionados know, when you finally finish a puzzle and discover pieces are missing… In that moment there’s nothing worse.  The elation you should have felt is gone because all you can see are the empty spots scattered around the puzzle.  And I’m not being dramatic.  Be honest, if you could choose between a puzzle that was complete or one that had “missing 3 pieces” written on the box, wouldn’t you go for the complete puzzle?!  Yes!  Of course you would!  So get rid of the incomplete one!

I have 7 nieces and nephews (and another one is on the way this month!) and if one of their games is missing pieces it’s not as much fun to play (again, personal experience talking here).  If you have children and can relate, then get rid of the game(s)!  If you don’t have children and can relate, then get rid of the game(s)!  If it’s one the kids (or you) love I’m sure you can find it again in a store or online.  Or you can hit up a much loved family member and they can search for a replacement, but there’s no reason to keep the incomplete game.

And don’t feel guilty about getting rid of either of these items!  Wouldn’t you rather see games and puzzles in your cupboard or closet that you actually want to use instead of a bunch of boxes that you never take out anymore?  Yes.  The answer is yes.  Every time.

Do you agree with this post?  Or do you like to hold on to favorite games and puzzles even if they’re missing pieces?  Let me know in the comments below!

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Organizing the Catch-All Room

By | Previous Job, Weekly Tip | One Comment

Well, it’s the fifth week of the month which means your weekly “tip” comes in the form of a previous job. 🙂

Some homes have “catch-all drawers”, “catch-all cupboards” and “catch-all spaces”… This home had a “catch-all room”.  I met the mom in a ballet class we both were taking and every week she would tell me she needed to hire me “one day” (which I hear a lot) and she actually did!  I went to her house for a consultation and she showed me her “catch-all room”.  As we discussed her desires for the room, she told me it needed to be multi-functional for her family.  She is a crafter and seamstress so she needed a space for that, she home-schools her 3 kids and so she needed a space for them to do work individually, she wanted a space for all the arts and crafts supplies they use every day, along with a place to store books, old pictures and other random items that didn’t have a home.  If this sounds overwhelming, it was.  It was a a VERY cluttered space but had SO much potential.

We worked hard for several hours and came up with 4 different “zones” in this large room.  She had her craft and sewing space, her kids got their desk space (she only has 1 kid at a time sit a do work so the desk she had was perfect), the large bookshelf that already had arts and craft supplies on it just needed to be organized and the small bookshelf was perfect for the items her husband needed stored, along with the pictures and books we found along the way.

The one tip I’ll give to you guys based on this job is this – purge! Every single item in your space needs to be addressed. A lot of what you’ll see in the pictures was thrown out or donated.  If she hadn’t been so ready to get rid of the unnecessary, this job would have been a lot harder and a lot longer.

Overall it was a great experience and I was thrilled I could help a friend out.  Scroll down to see the “before and after” pictures.

Do you have a “catch-all space” you need organized?  Let me know in the comments below!

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A Guest Post For Every Parent’s Need

By | Guest Post, Weekly Tip | One Comment

Okay maybe not EVERY parent, but parent’s with young kids.  One of the most common questions I’m asked is, “How do I keep my kid’s “too small and too big” clothes organized?!”  I’m sure some of you out there are saying, “YES!”, but even if you’re not just keep reading.  You never know when you may be able to pass this info along.

Kristin at Everyday Organizing has personal experience with this (unlike my single, childless self).  She has twins, a boy and a girl, and at the time she wrote this post they were toddlers – yikes for clothes organization!!! She addressed this issue in her post Too Small/Too Big Baskets. She writes:

“…the areas of my house that require the most constant purging are my kids’ closets.  As all parents know, toddlers grow out of clothes in the blink of an eye.  I swear, pants that fit perfectly last week are suddenly two inches too short.  At least once a week, I put an item of clothing on one of my children only to find that it no longer fits.”

If you can relate then click the post title and see how she combated this problem!

Do you like this post?  Have you been trying to figure out a way to tackle this in your own life?  Or do you have a better way to keep track of the random clothes in your kids’ closets?  Let me know in the comments below!

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This is One of My Least Favorite Organizing Tools

By | Least Favorite Organizing Tools, Weekly Tip | One Comment

This organizing tool is one that can be found in dorm rooms all over America, which is fine.  In my opinion they should stay in dorm rooms.  They are handy, they do provide extra storage when needed, and they are affordable, but please, do NOT bring this item into your home once you’re out of college and in your own place.

Okay, so what is this item?  Plastic stackable drawers.  These guys are magnets for dust and dirt in every tiny little corner, they bend, warp and break very easily because they’re cheaply made and, quite frankly, they just aren’t nice to look at.  If you’re willing to do just a bit of research you’ll see there are so many other great options out there.

One such item is IKEA’s Raskog utility cart.  This consistently is one of IKEA’s top sellers and everyone who has one raves about it in all the reviews and online articles.  If you don’t like the look of that particular cart or the price is higher than you’d like there’s other carts out there such as this one from Wal-Mart or this cart from Amazon.  Or, maybe you want to go in a completely different direction and buy something like this from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Whatever you choose to use, do yourself a favor – donate those plastic drawers to someone going off to college in the fall and find a new way to store the items it contains.

**Well this post has been up for 3 hours and has already drawn discussions and disagreements so let me add this note – when I say I don’t like theses drawers I mean out in a kitchen, bathroom or bedroom. In some ways they do make sense, such as LEGO storage or for craft supplies. The point of my post was more to draw attention to the fact that if they’re being used as regular storage in ‘public’ rooms, there are other options. Yes, there is a place for those drawers, but it’s hidden away, out of sight. This is my personal opinion.

Do you agree with this post?  Or do you like the plastic drawers? Let me know in the comments below!

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This Item Will Transform Your Drawers

By | Most Favorite Organizing Tools, Weekly Tip | No Comments

Guys, let’s get real for a second – if I said the word “drawer” to you, your mind would probably go to the messiest, most unorganized, clutter-filled drawer in your house; the one drawer you really want to organize, but probably never will.  Instead you just keep digging through it, finding what you need and then closing it without ever addressing the issue.

Well, let me give you 2 words of advice: Drawer.  Dividers.

Seriously, these things will change your life.  And your drawers.  Drawer dividers are different from regular utensils holders because, unlike standard utensil dividers, they come in a variety of sizes and shapes.  Some are just simple spring-loaded pieces of plastic, wood or bamboo, similar to tension rods.  These dividers in particular allow bigger items to be contained (like different clothing items, kitchen utensils, tools, etc), whereas the tray ones provide smaller spaces for little items (like rubber bands, scotch tape, hair clips, etc).

I love using the standard utensil dividers for more than just utensils (and you can read about it in another blog post) but sometimes they aren’t the best choice to go with and here’s why: you can only add so many items to one slot, sometimes the trays in the drawer add just enough height so baking utensils like ladles and whisks don’t fit in the closed drawer anymore, and sometimes there are oddly shaped items that don’t fit into a narrow slot no matter how you rearrange the other items.

When that happens I usually suggest some of these:

Bamboo drawer dividers

Plastic drawer dividers

Adjustable drawer dividers

There are plenty more options out there for every drawer you can imagine, in every room you can imagine.  I’ve used these drawer dividers in kitchen drawers, dresser drawers, bathroom drawers, and more.  They’re so handy to have and can be a help to everyone by keeping a drawer organized simply by keeping the items in it separated and contained.

Do you like this post?  Agree with me that drawer dividers are awesome?  Or do you have a drawer divider disaster story?  Let me know in the comments below!

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