When Katy suggested I write a little bit more about organization after my last post, I quickly responded with something to the effect of, “No problem! I am the master of this stuff and I know everything in the world, ever.” Well, friends, it turns out that as I write this post, a good three weeks later, I am still not sure where to start. The jury’s still out, but I think this means I don’t know everything.
Oftentimes when you realize something in your home or office needs to be organized it’s because the situation is out of hand and you’re close to the “let’s just buy a flamethrower instead of making that trip to The Container Store” breaking point. Unfortunately I have no good advice for that hair-pulling moment. I’ve been there and I admit, it’s scary to see that side of yourself. You know, the moment you see a crazy woman with messy hair and bugged out eyes in the mirror and realize it’s your face you’re staring at — that moment. What I can offer, though, is a list of basic organizational today and, over the next few weeks, I will expand upon each tip so before you know it, you’ll be an expert*, too.
*Disclaimer: I am not actually an expert on anything except how to spread Nutella on a piece of toast, but I am pretty dang good at the whole “staying organized” thing.
1. Assess the whole situation.
Let’s assume you have a room that desperately needs some attention. What you need to do before running to the store and buying those really cute wire baskets from World Market you saw that blogger pin on Pinterest (because darn it, you have a coupon!), you really need to look at every single part of the room. What furniture do you have that you can utilize better? What free space do you have that can potentially be used for new (or old) organizational furniture and accessories? When are you even in this room? What do you use this room for? What will be easy for you and everyone else who uses this space to maintain? These questions are really just the starting point, but I promise if you go into the whole process of setting up an organizational system with firm answers to these questions first and foremost, the rest will be a breeze.
2. Figure out what, exactly, you have already that you can use differently.
Drawers, you guys. Drawers. I am not sure who invented them, but I don’t think he or she intended for drawers to be compact graveyards for anything and everything under the sun. Chances are, if you put a little thought and effort into it, just organizing your drawers a little better to keep similar items together, the sun will shine a little bit brighter. Other things that you most likely already have that can be helpful in organizing: jars, vases, small boxes, trunks, built-ins, shelves, and that dusty space under your bed.
3. Keep your plan realistic and simple.
The best way to ensure your system of organization is going to fail before you even put it into place is by making the system difficult and elaborate. Especially if you are just starting out! Don’t put your DVD collection into alphabetical order if you know that you’ll be happy enough getting the case right side up on the shelf. It’s okay to be proud of utilizing your shelves well before you start researching how to implement the Dewey decimal system.
4. Take it day by day, and breathe a lot.
One of my bedtime rituals is to make sure that everything in my room is picked up and in its proper place. Although this practice might seem tedious and, frankly, a little bit sad, it helps everything stay where it belongs. I have learned that when I start making “I’ll get to this later” piles, later never comes. If you don’t have time to make a sweep of your home every night, try doing it at least once or twice a week for starters. You’ll realize that taking ten minutes every few days is a lot more time efficient than spending four hours wading through everything you own once every few months.
Whew. This post was long-winded and, if you made it to the end, I applaud you. I hope these tips are helpful to you, for they’ve surely helped me a lot in keeping everything in my life a little more pulled together. Stay tuned — next time I will be writing more about how to assess the whole task at hand before getting started.
For those of you who already have great systems of organization in place, what are some of your tips and tricks? I am all about learning snazzy new ways to keep my things in place!