Sunday, February 10, 2013

Before and After- Getting Organized

Craft cupboard BEFORE-notice everything
shoved everywhere.  Yeah.  Classy.
Cupboard AFTER- all labeled and purdy.  

 In which I come clean (groan) about tackling some of my biggest messes...

Pantry BEFORE-an
overflowing mess
I've been sick these last few days with Strep Throat.  Big Yuck.  Before that, though, I was a lean (well, not quite), mean (not usually, but sometimes) organizing machine.  I've cleaned out and organized three bathrooms, three bedroom closets, a file cabinet and a whole kitchen full of cabinets and drawers (including the mother-of-all-junk-drawers). There's more still to do, but I'm making progress!!
Pantry AFTER- notice the labels

What brought all of this on?  Well, I've been temporarily unemployed, and found myself a SAHM with kids at school all day for the first time in well, ever.  So, my "someday" has come.  Organize I must.

Pantry door AFTER

Here are some things I've been learning as I organize:

*Bite off a small piece at a time.  You probably WON'T get your whole pantry cleaned out in one shot, and that's okay. Set yourself a time limit and see how much you can get done.
Love this labeler

*Start with easy projects.  You will feel a satisfaction from completing them that will help you keep going through the bigger ones.

My "junk" drawer.  This,
my friends, is a miracle.
Wish I had a before shot.

Just picture everything 
here, plus more, all
stirred up together
*Labels are your best friends when it comes to organizing.  I got a labeler for about $15 at Walmart and it has served me well.  It helps me, and especially the rest of the crew here at home, put things back where they go past the original organizing. It also makes you feel good about yourself to see everything nicely labeled, lets be honest.

*I sort things into four categories :  keep, throw away, give away, and put away somewhere else in the house.  Organizing experts seem to say that if you haven't used an item in the last year you should get rid of it. Some people say six months is a good enough time frame, but that seems a little extreme to me.

Clear plastic shoe organizer works
great for gloves and hats

*Watch organizing videos on YouTube for motivation as you work.  Peter Walsh has some good tips, as well as a very motivating Facebook page .  There are also MANY blogs, magazines and books devoted to the subject of getting organized, but sometimes I feel like many of them are just trying to sell me things. I mean, the Container Store is great and all, but as much as I might like to I just don't have the money to fill my house with their stuff.

*Be patient with yourself.  I've had time lately to do this that I have never had before.  You may not have this time, and that's okay.  You know what your values and priorities are, live them.  If you do have time, though, fit in a little organizing.  It feels good and helps you not only feel better about things, but also helps you save money because you don't re-buy things you already have just because you can't find them (not that I have EVER done that...).

Re-purposed Ikea shelf
Honestly, that's about it.  My organizing is certainly not "pristine" or "perfect", but its getting better.  And, I have to tell you, it feels pretty awesome to actually be tackling these things.  

Now if only the rest of my house hadn't been totally trashed since I've been sick..... 
Ah reality....

How about you?  What works for you when it comes to organizing?  Any tips I've forgotten?

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