Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring Inspired Organization: An Introduction

You might be wondering why organization is part of this blog.  Simply put, organization is a big part of my life.  Please allow me to clarify that I am not an obsessive-compulsive type of organizer/cleaner (despite what my friends and husband might say, ha ha).  If a spoon is turned the wrong way in the drawer, I don't break out in a sweat and panic.  I do, however, put things where they belong the instant I make contact it, which has been a behavior practiced and reinforced for a long time.  Organization has been part of my life for 35 years.  My mom was (and is) a very organized person and she taught me how to organize things, but moreover, how to make it fun!  It's also worth mentioning that I moved many times growing up, and because of this have learned to let things go - the less you have, the less you have to pack, right.  Purging became necessary and helpful, but also quite gratifying.  I consider myself a minimalist, I also consider myself a realistic organizer.  I keep only what I know will matter to me in 30, 40, 50 years, such as meaningful cards from family and friends, extra special pictures from my children, those heartfelt love notes my sweet husband (and yes, there is a special box for all of these things).  I create spaces, such as a "memory tub" for my children (each has their own), housing such items as treasured homemade baby clothes from my grandmother and their first year scrapbooks I put together.

Above all, organization make me feel productive, successful and balanced.  It's part of my healing and my efforts to decrease stress.  It makes me feel...happy.  I don't know how else to explain it.  It just makes me feel good and when something makes me feel good and healthy, I keep doing it.    

I will be sharing with you some main points of organization in my home over the next two months. Including: 

1.  The filing cabinet

2.  Mail & office space

3.  Hall closets 

4.  The bedroom closet

5.  Junk drawers

6.  The kid's space

7.  Kid's art/memorabilia

8.  General memorabilia

9.  Miscellaneous papers, instructions, etc

10.  The Kitchen

My hope is that these posts will inspire you to tackle one (or more) of your nagging organization/cleaning projects this spring.  It's never too late to start, it's really just a matter of starting.  I find that this is the biggest hurdle for people...just starting.  Once you're in, you're in, and there is a commitment involved to finish, and that can be overwhelming.  But I truly believe that taking on these little projects that can impact your life in a simple, yet profound way, and create happiness and a feeling of success.  We are so bogged down with material things, shopping for this and that, electronics, kids TOYS (don't even get me started on that), and something as simple as taking control of your space and getting things in order can feel very rewarding and empowering.   

Here are a few points to think about before we start: 

1.  Make a list of things you want to organize.  Keep it realistic.

2.  Carve out some time to complete the object.  Running out of time is your biggest enemy.  Once you start, it's important to follow through until your finished.

3.  Start small.  If you're not used to organizing things, start with a small project, such as under the kitchen sink, or the bedside drawer.  Start small and get yourself accustomed to the behavior of going through things, looking at things, and (perhaps most important)  letting things go.

4. Tell someone about your project/intentions.  This is a great technique in preventing procrastination.  When you verbally express your intentions to do something to someone else, there is not only personal accountability but someone else will have knowledge of your intentions and hold you accountable.

5.  Include others.  I prefer to organize alone, but for the starter, you might want to include your partner or children.  I always include my kiddos when we clean and organize their art bin or play room.  Together we decide what we are keeping in their art journal, what are we hanging up on the wall, what can we give as gifts (grandparents just love getting those sweet pictures), what we can donate or sell, and what goes into recycling.

Goals of Organizing:

1.  Purge.  You want to get rid of stuff.

2.  Recycle or sell what you don't need/want.  

3.  Cleaning.  Diving into a space you don't pay much attention to allows for the opportunity to clean it. 

4.  Make room for more important items.  If you clean out a drawer, you might very well make room for something more important in that space.  For example, your bedside table can store books you're reading opposed to old papers, magazines, mail or old socks.  

5.  Take inventory of what you have.  This is a great point to remember when organizing your closet.  Above all, the goal should be to KNOW what you have.  It's like going shopping. "Oh, there's that super cute little summer dress I haven't seen in five years."

So keep a lookout for these posts over the next few months.  One will come your way next week.  Until then, take a moment and look at your space/home.  Does it make you feel calm, happy, balanced?  Does it make you feel tense, overwhelmed, angry?  Think about how your home looks now, and think for a moment what you might want it to look like.  Then finally, make your list.  
And I'll see you next week.   


  1. what a lovely home you must have:) I do like to be organised - I just find it difficult to maintain!

    • Thanks Christine. We have a pretty small space for a family of 4 so, for me, it's crucial to make sure things are organized and that everything has a place. Things can get crazy really quick and if we all don't keep on top of it, the house can get just thrashed.

  2. Cassidy StaufferApril 15, 2013 at 6:00 AM

    My house is in desperate need of spring cleaning! I especially have trouble organizing the kids rooms, I can't wait for your series!

    • Thanks, Cassidy. I find the biggest help in a kids room is to have only the bedroom essentials in there and overall as few items as possible. We have two dressers (one for each child), a bunk bed, a bookshelf, and a basket with stuffed animals...and that's it. I use under the bunk for some storage (blankets and pillows in airtight bags), but overall keeping it simple is key for me. The kids share a room right now and it's a pretty small space. All toys are in the toy room which helps keep the spaces divided and helps keep things together.

      I've noticed that a kid's closet tends to get very messy and packed full of stuff, and often forgotten (especially if there are doors) I like taking the doors off the closets and using the space as part of the room. We house one small dresser in the closet, the laundry basket, and a few bins for misc clothing like bathing suites, gymnastics and ballet clothes, slippers, etc. And I have items hanging as well. Each child gets 1/2 of the closet for their clothes. I go through the hanging clothes every few months and donate or give away clothes that don't fit or the kid's just don't wear. So everything hanging is used and worn. I also keep a basket on the top shelf in the closet for hangers. When I get an item down from hanging, for example, a dress for my daughter, I don't put the hanger back on the rod, rather, I put it in the basket. This just helps keep the hanging clothes tidy and neat with no loose hangers. :-)

      More to come...

      Have a great week.


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