06 January 2017

Organizing And Reorganizing For The New Year

It seems many of us enter the new year with a burst of energy for reorganization. This is usually the time of year when I get pretty serious about making a sweep through the entire house to organize better spaces and reorganize areas that have grown out of control over the year. The week before Christmas, when we were down with a mild and queasy flu, I grabbed a composition notebook and started making a list of organization projects, room by room.

In the few days before Christmas, in between nursing hits of ginger ale for the stomach, watching movies and taking feverish naps, I managed to knock off a list of small projects. I reorganized my sock drawer and got rid of a lot of no longer attractive socks. I reorganized where I keep my workout clothes and pajamas, taking advantage of the huge drawers under the half-staircase that leads down to our bedroom. They are right next to my side of the bed and don't make a lot of sense overall. But for bulky things like workout clothes and pajamas I now realize they are perfect. Under the top landing of the staircase there are four square-front drawers stacked two on two. So I took the top two for clothes and in the bottom two I put books I like to have by my bed on one side and bedside toiletries (hand lotion, saline nasal spray, eye drops, a few favorite essential oils and stress-relief scents, microwave heating pads, etc.) in the other. Great use of the space and now there is far less clutter around my bed. Hooray! It'e easier to keep all the surfaces around the bed clutter free, which makes for a much more restful space.

In the bedroom I still need to reorganize my jewelry drawers. They used to be so fabulously organized and now some of my jewelry is getting older and worn, there are a few pieces that need repair and I really need to just update a lot of my costume jewelry pieces. So that will be a project for another day. I also need to tidy up the lingerie drawers and my swimwear drawer. Trying to do just one drawer a day seems much more manageable than trying to tackle the entire room.

Simultaneously, which wouldn't be recommended by any professional organizer, I've been working on my office. Today I got the itch to organize all the small supplies I have in my work space. On one side of my desk is basic office supplies that they entire family uses. On the other is my business supply cabinet with small bits and pieces I'm using to make things. As I'm going through cupboards and drawers I am questioning why I chose to store some things in the office. What was I thinking when we moved in?! I guess it felt like I had all the room in the world at the time, but now I'm taking books and other things out of this space and putting them in our family room. I also need to reorganize the printer area. We seem to have two dead printers suddenly -- a vintage laser printer and "not old enough to be dead yet", "multi-purpose-do-it-all-but-not really" inkjet printer -- and now have a new one that's working like a charm. I need to disconnect the oldies and give them a proper resting place.

In my beautiful former workspace in Los Angeles, it was all open shelving and I'd designed a place for everything before I purchased the Elfa unit that I came to really love and enjoy. Just talking about it or looking at old photos makes me a little sad. Here I have four big boxy drawers, four lower cabinet shelves and two sets of upper cabinet shelves...all with doors. Initially I thought the doors were fantastic because they would hide everything. And hide every they do. Getting stuff in and out is a major pain and the short height of the shelves makes storing anything vertical like binders or magazine racks impossible. Frustrating. So I'm working at trying to find better solutions for usage of the space. Maybe I'll buy some bright baskets for the lower shelves so that I can see what's inside those deep, dark caverns.

I'm hoping that by having my areas of the house more organized it will help inspire others to be a bit more organized with their things. I was imagining that it would take a couple of weeks to get things spic and span in my spaces, working in between many other commitments, but it might be the entire month of January and that's okay. I'll just keep working at it. It seems like every time I start a project, not long after I see The Man working on organizing some area of the house or garage.

The other big key to organization success is finishing small projects. If they don't get finished, they often stay unfinished for a while and multiple half-done projects just make everything feel chaotic. So if I start something, I want to finish it all at one time, in a couple of hours, more or less. This is the biggest reason why I am keeping daily projects so bite-size.

I have lots more to do in the office. Home offices seem to be where everyone dumps things and ours is no different. Since it's a shared space with the laundry I've had to really crack down on dirty laundry making its way into the dirty clothes baskets rather than thrown on the floor. Life with family is a constant battle for cleanliness and order, is it not.

We've been working really hard with The Bug to help her create good habits for staying organized and keeping her room a place where people, especially she, wants to be. Her room is small so we try not to keep too much stuff in there. There are other areas of the house where she can store toys and games, winter clothes, etc. So the goal is to keep her room simple and mostly for sleeping and getting dressed and ready for bed. Instilling this goal in the heart and mind of a pre-teen is a good parenting challenge...daily....I'll leave it at that. Ha.

While I'm writing this, solutions are coming to me for some other organization challenges we have in this house. I need to race in and write those down in my 2017 organization notebook before I forget. I think after a year here in this house we've really come to a place where we have found the quirky things about it that don't work so well. But solving those in a way that works for our family is our next big challenge and I know it's totally doable with a little elbow grease and strategic thinking. We have plenty of space, we just need to use it better and find ways around some of the bizarre quirks.

Do you get the organizing bug at the beginning of the new year? If so, what projects are you taking one and how is it going? Thanks for coming by!

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