Thursday, June 4, 2009

Household Organizers Unite! - Springtime cleaning, clearing, and closeting!

Ok folks, time to fess up. How organized is your household? Are you like me? Is some of your stuff organized and yet other stuff, well, not so much? Do you find that you have the best of intentions on getting things stored, labeled, hung, and shelved in an efficient manner only to find the job half-done? I’m vacillating between hoping some of you are nodding in agreement and praying that some of you to have the magic method to make it happen for me.I’m determined that Spring/Summer 2009 will be the year that I find a method to not only get this household in ship shape (who came up with that expression?), but also make it easy to maintain. I’m talking the whole shebang here ... closets, drawers, clothes, kitchen, bath, hall closets, etc. I don’t mean cleaning. My house is relatively clean, it’s just not organized. From the kitchen downstairs to the bedrooms upstairs, there’s so much “stuff” that needs cleared out, sorted up, or purged in some way or another.

And, while purging will be one component to insure success, a big part of my plan needs to include what I call “storage for items to be used again”. For example, keeping an older child’s clothes to be used again by a younger child. So many organizing books and tips call for complete purging, and while that’s fine for some folks, there are those of us out there that do make use of hand-me-downs. There is a 3 ¾ year gap between my girls, and I like to hold onto the older gal’s clothes for re-use to the little one. My littlest gal LOVES hand me downs, even to the point where she likes to help pick out her older sister’s clothes knowing that she’ll get them someday. Works for me. Works for her. And, works for her sister. What doesn’t work, is figuring out how to store this stuff with the limited space we’ve got. Ideas? Please, ideas? Someone please help me! Save me!

Plus, as my kids get older, their clothes take up more space. And I don’t mean that they have more clothes, I mean the clothes themselves are bigger and require more space. For example, my son is 5’10” and weighs around 170 lbs, and wears a size 13 ½ shoe. I’ll let you envision how much space a couple pairs of jeans and shoes takes up.

I went into my girls rooms to snap a couple picks of their closet and drawers, but just couldn’t do it because 1) it didn’t feel right doing that without their consent (my goal would not be to embarrass them ... they are getting older and as such are a little more private about their stuff), and 2) I couldn’t figure out where to begin. We cleaned out their drawers this weekend and sorted clothes to give away and clothes to keep. There’s just still so much “stuff” that needs cleaned out and organized in there. (See Duckie, I like whimsical critters, too!) I did, though, snap a photo of the mural I painted on the walls of their room a few years ago. The girls did warm my heart this past weekend when we were sorting stuff in their room. They were talking about rearrarranging their room, and I asked if they wanted to repaint the walls. They both said an emphatic “NO!” that they like the flowers and bunny and tree I painted. Now I know that they will most likely change their mind sometime soon, but it’s great to know that they like their space. Of course, their big thing is that they want their own rooms. Can’t say as that I blame them, but the old magic wand isn’t working so they’ll have to make do.ANYWAY ... the one thing I did get my homeschooling stuff organized. This is one of two of our bookshelves. Isn’t it lovely? At one point, I homeschooled all three of my offspring; now I just teach my son. We finished up on Monday! Woowho!!! I’ve packed up all the materials and reshelved all the books. I love this shelf. It’s chock full of reference materials and guide books that make homeschooling a snap and makes homework time for my girls much easier. I’m a book fanatic. While I love the internet and it’s wonderful usefulness in doing research, there’s something magical for me in looking things up in an actual book.

Alrighty then. Who wants to join me in getting organized this Spring/Summer? I figure I’ll take it week by week, spread out from now until then end of July. I saw a book yesterday that broke down getting your entire house organized in 20 weeks. It was ridiculously expensive priced at $29 and I did NOT get it. I figured between my determination and your suggestions, I’ll be able to figure this out.

Here’s my first pass list:

Kitchen – organized all cupboards, drawers, counters, fridge. Sort out all pantry stock. Sort out all dishes, cookware, utensils, plates, bowls, cups, etc. Donate unwanted items (or label for garage sale).

Laundry Room – organize all cupboards and supplies. Sort games (we had a game cupboard in our laundry room). Donate unwanted items.

Downstairs Bath – organize all cupboards.

Downstairs Hall Closet – Just cleaned this out. Donate unwanted coats, backpacks, etc.

Family Room: Clean out wall units. Sort through games, crafts, videos, and cd’s. Donate unwanted items or label for garage sale.

Master Bedroom: Sort through dresser drawers, and donate unwanted clothes. Accept that I won’t fit into those clothes anymore and be done with it. *sigh* Get hubby to go through his clothes. Lordy, he has stuff that hasn’t been worn for years (thank God) in there.

Master Bath and Closet: Pray for guidance and advise other family members to send out a search party if I don’t resurface in an hour or so. Note of explanation. The master closet has been used as a storage closet.

Upstairs hall closet. Sort through all towels, sheets, etc. and donate what is not longer used. Salvage old sheets by turning them into dust cloths; old thin towels can be used as yard/vehicle towels.

Son’s room: Sort drawers and closet. Remove all items that don’t belong to son (husband’s old records). See if son will part with any of his junk, I mean stuff. (Actually, son keeps his room pretty tidy. The girls, well, not so much.)

Girls’ room: Take a multivitamin and perhaps ingest something with caffeine. Insist that girls part with things from days gone by. We really don’t need to hold onto EVERY little, itty, bitty, thing from our lives, now, do we? Can you hear their ... “OOOOOhhhh, but I LOVE that. I got it when I was 3. It was a Thursday, at 2:20 pm and we ... blah, blah, blah.”

Upstairs bath: Via con Dios. While all three of the kids use this bathroom as their main lavatory, this is my youngest child’s domain. She actually requests that I don’t clean in there because she prefers to clean it. She does a good job, too. It’s just that it’s time to say goodbye to the bazillion bottles of dried up nail polish, etc. that are lurking in the cabinet drawers. This room needs to be purged.

Garage: This area is actually pretty good. We do a MAJOR clean out every Fall for our big Halloween party, so this just needs a good sweeping. The kids can tackle that.So, what do you think? Care to join me in getting organized week by week? I figure if I break it down, I won’t feel so overwhelmed. Send me your suggestions. What’s your tips and tricks for getting organized? We could pick a day of the week to post our organization/clean out tips and progress. Now that I’ve posted about it, I’ll HAVE to do it! You know, if we do it together, we’ll have a greater chance of sticking to it and gaining success. Does it sound like I’m beggin? I am. Shamelessly. I’m bad that way. Baaaaad. Baaaad girl. So, save me from myself, and join me (and send me your ideas) in The Great 2009 Organizers Unite!

Stay tuned for more food posts, too! I've got some new goodies I'll be sharing with you soon including a delightful chicken salad lettuce cup to enjoy on hot summer days, a lovely cheese strata to savor for outdoor breakfasts, an amazing crab or lobster salad that will make you weak in the knees, and more!


Marjie said...

There are rules in the kitchen. There is an order for the flatware in the dishwasher, and woe betide the disobedient! Boxed stuff in the cupboard must be placed like with like, all labels must face the same way, etc. Hubby's sister accused me of being a Stepford Wife the first time she poked through my cupboard. Organizing hubby? *Snort* He piles everything, then sets his piles up carefully. That's the disgraceful background you see in my pictures. Since my house is 80 years old, I have a cedar closet in my attic, and hand me downs go there to await re-use. Sorry I can't help with that. Everything the bigger kids no longer want goes to Goodwill. Ruthlessly. I took a truckload (literally) in March. Toys? Well....let's not go there, shall we? Books? They never leave. Each boy has his Calvert books in a special shelf in his room, and the manuals are headed to a bookshelf to be kept for reference, along with my myriad sets of encyclopedias. BTW, at the last used book sale I attended, they had a 2000 set of encyclopedias. I almost bought them for you for $50, then I thought I should call you first, then I thought that you'd not appreciate it at 6 or 7AM on a Saturday, then i realized I don't have your phone number anyway...ramble, ramble, ramble.

Mrs. L said...

Though I would love to join you (yes, my house is clean but too much stuff) my weekends this summer will be spent going through my moms storage to try to help her get rid of stuff.

For old clothes that I want to save, I keep saying I need to get those "space bags" where you vacuum out the air to save space and keep the clothes clean. That way I can store them in the garage without worrying about them getting dirty.

Aggie said...

I have a couple of scary closets I'm working on...its been on my mind all week! It's such a hard step to even get started!! I'm working on getting all my craft related items in containers...stuff is all over the place and with summer coming I know I am going to need to keep the kids entertained on rainy afternoons. I'm with you on the organizing wagon...

The Blonde Duck said...

I never doubted your love of whimsical critters!

Though I do doubt my organizational skills...Ben is the organizing commander of the Pond!

I just twirl.

Marjie said...

I meant to compliment you on your daughters' room paintings. Twice. Sorry! They're great!

Lo said...

...but, Paula... but, but... Yes, I'm shaking my head, nodding in agreement with you. And wondering if I should take you up on this challenge :)

I'm the woman with the tiny kitchen and TOO TOO much stuff, after all :)

Pam said...

I am pretty organized although I do have a junk closet and a junk drawer that I try to clean up every few months. Good luck - just think how good you will feel when you finish!

Manggy said...

I tend to go through my organizing extreeeemely slowly. And then something comes up (can't find something important/new furniture arrives or old furniture leaves) and then I have to become like this magical tornado and whip everything into order in a few hours :)
O-kay! Your son has just reminded me how wee I am. I'm nearly 28 and I'm 4 inches shorter, 35 pounds lighter, and my feet are nearly half as big! :O
I'm not sure I can help with the clothes dilemma, but I used to watch "Clean House" on the Style Network and they love their stackable containers and hanging shelves :)

Robynn's Ravings said...

YOUR HOUSE LOOKS GREAT!!!! Good job! Doesn't that feel amazing? I always wonder, AFTER I do it, "Why don't I live like this all the time?!" I love organization and cannot seem to maintain it, like some people can. But right now so much is good I'm almost dying to get to my cupboards. Almost. :)

Mediterranean kiwi said...

i wish i could be as organised as you are, but i know i never can be, or at least i think i can if i can sedn the children away with their dad (where??) for a couple of weeks.

i love looking into your kitchen - i am writing a post about kitchen storage, so i must remember this post of yours!

Cathy said...

Reading your list pooped me out. I had to sit down for awhile and read.

Seriously, it always feels so darn good to have a tidy house. I just can't seem to give things away.

Pam said...

I'm with you. Though I don't know if I can be so structured. I kind of have to go with what sounds good at the moment. Yesterday, I labeled and organized all my spice jars. Now, I keep going to my pantry to look at them. Next up is the dreaded corner of the living room.

noble pig said...

How fun. I love to be organized and I can't wait to see your progress.

Cheryl said...

Good for you! I am pretty organized and my thing is if you dont use it for a year throw it out or donate it. There is lots of storage under your bed, I buy those rubbermaid storage things that fit under the bed, they hold a ton of stuff. Thats about my only tip!

Jan said...

My best advice is, don't accumulate too much stuff. Having left behind a lifetime of stuff in England, and having moved so many times since living in the US, I have learnt that "stuff" doesn't matter. One becomes quite ruthless in donating or throwing things away.

My office is the worst room in my house - it should carry a goverment health warning - though I have been trying to sort it out.
Oh, and I guess my kitchen could use work.

Okay, I'll get my coat. :-)

Good luck!

Jan said...

BTW, lovely bunny picture. I'm impressed, you are very creative.