Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Need a Paper Clip? I'll Get it!

The other day I was reorganizing my two junk drawers.  One contains appliance manuals, the fly swatter, light bulbs and a few other miscellaneous items.  The other has office supplies like tape, paper clips, extra pens and pencils, scissors, and matches.

Since I try to organize using supplies that I already have and can be weary of buying beautiful new organizing gadgets, I was using Ziplock bags for several items.  I noticed that whenever I needed a paper clip, I'd have to find the correct baggie to dig one out.  It wasn't taking an absurd amount of time out of my day by any means.  Let me show you some pictures of my drawers.

Right Drawer

Left Drawer
Well I was at Staples the other day and look what I found.

These little dandies are just basic drawer organizers.  There are three different sizes of bins that clip together in different configurations.  I know, I know, everyone as seen these and most people have them already.  But they are new to me and I now love getting paper clips and Sharpies out of my junk drawer.  Check out this beautiful junk drawer!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bins, totes, baskets...

There is a very fun area of my Target store.  It's the "Storage & Organization" section.  There are aisle of bins, baskets and totes in beautiful colors and fabrics.  There are labels and drawer dividers, hooks and shelves.  There are so many beautiful products available to help me make my home look like a page from the Real Simple magazine.

I check out this section of Target almost every chance I can.  If I'm running errands without kids, I head there before the checkout lanes and daydream.  But I do need to remind myself that these products are only tools.  They themselves won't make my house any more organized.  They can actually be counterproductive and clutter up my space more if I'm not careful.

Raise your hand if you have 17 bins with lids like this.

The first step in any organizing project is to really think about what you want for the space.  Think about your children's closet.  It's not just a place to store clothes.  Perhaps your children are at an age where you'd like them to have more responsibility and would like them to put their clothes in their own dresser.  With this goal in mind, you will need to make sure your child can open and close their dresser drawers.  Will you need to add labels to the drawers to help them put items in the correct place?  Do you need to get rid of clothes that are not the right size or out of season, so there is room for the drawer to be closed completely?
From The Container Store

Let's consider the entryway.  What is your goal for this space?  Perhaps you want to have a welcoming space for guests and a way to get in and out quickly and with less stress.  A bench or chair for guests to sit and remove their shoes would be thoughtful.  A beautiful rug and pictures could help set the tone.  A small table with space for your keys, purse and maybe a charging station for your phone could make leaving the house easy.

Baskets everywhere!

Once you have considered what you need from your home, the next step is to take inventory.  Are there items that should be removed?  Sort your items into like piles.  Remember to donate or trash anything you no longer need or love.

Only after the work is done do you get the fun of finding containers.  I suggest looking in your home first.  Are there baskets or bins, jars or bowls that could be repurposed? There is nothing wrong with heading to Target or Ikea, or even the Dollar Tree for organizing tools.  I think it can make a space more fun and easier to maintain with the correct tools.  But make sure to do the work first.  Buying baskets without really looking at the needs of the project is a waste of money and adds clutter to your home.

Before getting sucked into buying bins, totes and baskets of different colors and patterns, do the organizing work.  Even if they are beautiful.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Organizing Our Home Office

The other day I tackled our home office.  We have been in our home for four months now and the office is the one room that felt unsettled.  It's our catch-all.  Where should I put this... the office.  Both my husband and I have small businesses and we use our office for this stated purpose.  However we added an electric keyboard for my piano playing dreams, decoration storage, my teaching supplies storage, Adam's guitar practice room and our sons' Minecraft addiction.  Tall order for a smallish room.  Get ready for tons of blurry pictures.

Let's start with some before pictures.

The desk area, notice the Tibetan Prayer Flags.

Desk and my pretty Wildtree figurines.

The sitting area.
Part of the closet.
On with the organizing!  I began by emptying the closet and sorting it into like piles:  teaching supplies, office supplies, computer items, exercise gear/DVDs, decorations, craft supplies.

Then I quickly sorted each pile.  Donate, trash, keep.  It went very quickly.  Here's a picture from the thick of sorting.

Teaching Supplies, decorations, luggage, office supplies

Remember, it gets worse before it gets better.
In the end, I had one box of Goodwill donations, three boxes of supplies to donate to the boys's school, and a box of garbage and several empty boxes to recycle!



Drumroll please!  The after pictures!

New sitting area by the pretty things and keyboard near the lamp.

The desk is now under the window and the Prayer Flags are centered on the wall.

There's a big change in the closet:

Left side: Photo albums and scrapbooks

Craft supplies, office supplies and decorations
We found these crates at Home Depot and stacked them vertically.
They make a great bookshelf for binders and baskets.

Well that does it.  Our office is now organized and feels more settled.  Thanks for looking at all of my pictures!