January 11, 2012

Organizing Tips to Live By and Love.

I've always had a drive to change and improve the space that I'm in.  I remember as young as 8, rearranging all the furniture in my room every now and again not only for a change of scenery, but to see if everything flowed better.  Since then, I've been dubbed the "organized" child in my family.
What I won't tell you is that when my sister and I shared a room, I would shove all of her stuff under her bed so it would make our room look nicer. What a good sister I was am...

Source: HomeInteriorZone.com

Which brings me to my first point:
1.  There is no right or wrong way to organize.  It more has to do with how to best utilize your space.  Like I always tell my husband and will tell my kids- "Everything needs to have it's own place".  Meaning if everything had a "place" or designated spot-there would never be a mess.  Yes, I do realize that it just can't stay there and look ever so pretty gathering dust.  But if it was used and then put back into its place-so I don't have to stomp around my house like a drill sergeant picking up dirty socks... whoo-la! The house would stay clean!  {If only it were socially acceptable to have a dirty sock hamper in the middle of your living room floor...}
So as I'm currently going through all my kitchen cupboards, not only do I want to make sure that everything has it's own space, AND I want to make sure it makes sense where I'm placing them.  Think of it as putting measuring cups where all my baking paraphernalia is.  Keep like things together.  It's easier to see what you have, and what you need.

2.  Toss anything you don't need.  Keep only what you use.  After clearing out my cup and glasses cupboard, I found a dessert shot glass from PF Changs (from a dessert on the go), a miscellaneous wine glass cup - acquired from who knows where, and two shot glasses from when my brother went to London.  (It sounds like I drink like a fish, but really, I don't--at all.)  The dessert and the wino glass - when am I ever going to need or use them again?  Toss! Or better yet Donate.  And the shot glasses from Cherri-o London? Well, we'll have to find a special place for them as they have sentimental value, but will be Relocated... somewhere else.

3.  Make a list of things that need to be replaced, of things that are broken, things that have worn out, and or are missing.  Again, with the example of my cup cupboard.  I have two "grownup" plastic red cups left.  I did have eight.  Where they ended up, my husband's work or lost in the abyss I call my garage I'll never know.  Also make a list of tools or materials needed to improve the space.  Spice racks, pantry organizers, and bins are a great way to corral your goodies together.

4. Make and stick to a budget for things that need to be replaced or for materials needed to you to continue your quest for ORDER.  Remember not to go overboard because essentially we're trying to subtract, not add to the problem.  If you can't afford it now, save your pennies, or take a dive under your couch cushions until you can afford it.
Example: I would one day LOVE to have all the same spice jars. It bugs me to have eighty different jars-only to find I have three things of cinnamon.  Grr!  For that reason I like to buy in bulk.  So I know what I have AND I find it saves you money.  So I shop and get things like my spices, pasta, nuts, ect at WINCO.  (I love my Winco!) Or I think even Freddy's has bulk stuff.  Right now I have bags and bags of spices that most of them, I have no clue what they are. (Considered them tossed in the garbage-io!) So not only do they clog up my spice space, but they aren't pretty to look at.  I can't afford to go out and buy 30 something spice jars at $4.00 a pop, but I can start small by choosing a jar that I love (and will love forever more) and invest (with coupons or wait for sales) in four or five jars at a time to get my collection started.
How happy the day will be once I have all my spice jars all neat in a row!  Can't wait to get out my label maker (*CHEESEY grin*)!  Plus by keeping a few on hand, I can run out and get a particular spice with no hassle and no bag to mess up my clutter-less look.
       4A.  Another thought while on this tip:  make the investment in nice/er things.  In the long run it will save you time and money to get quality stuff.  It doesn't have to be top dollar, but I have found that while my dollar store organizing stuff is great now, I'm going to have to end up replacing it for something that I actually like to look at later.  Waiting for sales or collecting coupons are great ways to get what you want at a price that makes you do a dance at the checkout stand.

4.  Finish one project before you start another.  A super duper important tip for me because I tend to "wander" when on a project.  Stick with one and finish it out before you tackle the next.  (even if it means taping off your secured area with caution tape. ;)

5.  Deep clean as you go.  If I can accomplish one project by completely clearing out, putting everything in order, then {really} cleaning it out...that's one less thing I have to do for the year  month.  Making spring and fall cleaning a breeze before it even gets here.  Who doesn't want one less thing to do in the end?

6. Organize from big to small.  Or in other words have a direction when organizing.  For my kitchen clear-out project, I started on the right with my cup cupboard and am working in to my left with the rest of my cupboards, then ending up at, gulp!, my pantry.  Saving the biggest for last.  By then hopefully I will have everything else in its own place so all I'll have in there is cereal, soup, and bowtie pasta.

Instead of just cleaning out your utensil drawer,  look at the bigger picture as to how the rest of the kitchen is functioning.  Maybe you need your measuring spoons and spatulas in a different area than your turkey knife.   Think big, then start small by dominating one task at a time.

7. Keep the things you use most easily accessible.  You may not need your sugar and flour bins every day, but you don't want them back behind everything in your pantry when a craving of super chocolate chunk cookies knocks on your door.  Keep your everyday things close to hand and things you don't use as often behind your everyday items or in their own dormant space.

8. Go with your flow. Ways that work for me may not work for you.  Experiment with different settings and methods and see what works and take note of what doesn't work.  If it doesn't work, you can always change it up and move it until it does flow.

9.  Rome wasn't built in one day, neither does your house need to be organized all at once.  Take your time, but don't procrastinate.   Like I may have mentioned before, procrastination tends to be my middle name, but I will e-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y get to whatever project I intend to finish.  {Keyword: eventually.}  Don't hassle yourself into thinking you only have the month of January to squeeze all your new organizing projects in.  Take your time, do it right.  Start with one cupboard, then one shelf at a time. Invest  good, quality time with your project.  Otherwise you'll be back in the same spot as you were before.  Do it once, do it right, as my dad always taught me.

10.  Plan. I put this one last more to be funny and ironic... (even though I may be the only one laughing) Have a good game plan.  Unless, that is, if you have an amazing brain that categorizes and organizes as you go--then you probably don't need these tips.  Notice I say good plan and not perfect.  Make room for improvements and ideas as you go along.  By not having an idea where your going to put A when B doesn't fit where you want it while you still have C-Z scattered on the floor, your project may turn into a even bigger project than what you started with.  Don't make more work than needs be.  If you have to, by all means write it down, cut out pictures, make a small diorama... Without a plan, you don't have a plan.

Well, there you have it.  All I know about organizing in my little world.  I know there are a million and one tips out there that have to deal with this topic, but I've come up with these to help me get motivated and excited for each new endeavor that crosses my path.  The examples above were as I was reorganizing my kitchen cupboards, but can easily applied across the board with any project that you encounter in your home.  I hope these help and if you have any to add, please feel free to add in your comments.




  1. such great tips! so soo important. i'm a bit of an organizing fiend. my unwritten rule is, nooo junk drawers allowed! :) xoxo!

  2. Love that rule! Thanks for stopping by!!


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