Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Get Organized!

I’m a bit strange.


No, really.


I’m sure you never would have guessed, had you just looked at me, but I’m here to tell you,
it’s true.


I enjoy organizing. Give me a huge pile of tangled yarn or a bulging cupboard that continually tries to spit it’s contents all over the counter when opened and I’m happier than a turkey the day after thanksgiving.


<heaves a deep sigh of relief>


I’m so glad to get that off my chest.


Does this mean my house is always perfectly kept? Not even close. But ask me for a light piece of patterned purple cardstock or a new bottle of peach soap and I can run and get it for you. 

I would like to make a clear distinction before beginning to share with you some things that have been a help to me in getting organized. Being organized and having a clean house are two very different things. Houses get messy if they are lived in. I’m pretty sure mine gets dirty even when I’m not in it very often. I like to blame the puppy. <smile> To me, being organized means that my possessions are arranged in a way to serve me best. I don’t have an indefinite amount of time and I need my things to help make the most of that time rather than take it up by me having to look for something when I really need it.
  
Getting to the point I am at (which is still so far from where I want to be) has not been an easy task but today I would like to share with you the top five things that I have learned to help me get organized.




1. Keep “Like with Like”
  For many years I kept my dinner dishes on the top right hand side of my kitchen, the food on the bottom right, and the pots on the bottom left. It was how I put them when I was moving in and they just kind of stayed that way. They were all neatly stacked so I never really gave it a second thought until I read a book that contained this concept. The suggestion was to have specific areas of the kitchen for specific things. If your kitchen, like mine, does not have a great deal of cupboard space, then that could mean one shelf closest to the stove for the pots, one area just for the food preparation tools (like mixing bowls, measuring cups, cookie sheets, etc), and one area for the main baking ingredients. This applies to any area of your house. It makes it so simple to then think “what would my canning funnel be with” rather than “where did I put that thing last year” when you are looking for a specific object.

2. You Really Don’t Need So Much Stuff
  I am all for having the proper tool to do the job. I can’t imagine trying to iron everything with a hair straightener (although it does work in a pinch) or trying to get the lumps out of gravy with a spoon instead of a whisk. However, as I was going through my overflowing house trying to find room for a new gift, I realized that so many things I had thought were so necessary when they came into my house were seldom to never used.

less is more.jpg   Your list of important things will most definitely vary from mine as I am in a household that contains two people and one dog. You probably enjoy different hobbies than I. I very much enjoy baking so a glass-bottomed springform pan was quite important but having a set of small tools for gardening wasn’t nearly so urgent as I just don’t do it enough to need them. I used to be very much into rubber stamping but as I grew up, I found I just didn’t do it very often. I had a noodle machine but realized that every time I made noodles, it was with my sisters and mom so had never once used it.
  It is so much easier to get organized and stay organized if you have less stuff. Here’s a challenge for you. Take 30 minutes and go through one closet or cupboard. Have a box for items that you don’t use very often and once it is full, put the date on it and set it into a storage area. If you haven’t needed what is in the box in six months, don’t even sort through it again. Either bring it to a thrift store or have a yard sale. It’s amazing how much money can be made with items that are just taking up valuable space. It took me several months to make it through my house but by the end I had 12 boxes sitting in my garage just waiting for garage sale season.


messy drawer2.jpg3. Start Small
  If you are like me, you want to dive right in and get everything all organized right NOW. One thing I learned very quickly though, is that when I would get tired and take a break, it was so hard to get myself pumped up enough to keep going. It is so much better to pick small areas to tackle in one sitting or, better yet, set your timer for 30 minutes and only work for that amount of time. At the end of that time, I was still enjoying it so it was much easier to go back and continue the next day.
keys.jpg


4. Do the Small Things Right Now
  Sometimes it seems as though there are fifty million little spots rather than three or four large areas containing most of the clutter in my home. Junk drawers, piles of papers, broken toys mixed in with the good ones, time spent frantically looking for your keys, garbage in the vehicle; all of these are ways that we get so used to having disorganization around us, that we slowly start tolerating it.
 Several websites I checked claimed that humans spend 8,760 hours of their lifetime just looking for lost objects. That’s a whole year!  Instead of coming into the house with your arms full of things and having your keys land somewhere in the middle of it all, have a designated hook or dish for them.
  Rather than setting aside the whole pile of sales papers that came in the mail today, take a minute and pick out the ones that you are actually going to look at and put the rest in the recycling bin immediately.


5. See the Bigger Picture
  Why is being organized important to you? For me, it is because I lead a pretty busy life. Between church, home, and work, I don’t have any time to waste. I want to be able to hang out with my husband, family, and friends, pursue hobbies; to do things other than work and clean and cook. In order to be able to do the things I really enjoy, I need to fulfill the important tasks of taking care of my household in the least amount of time possible.
  When my house has stuff oozing off of every surface or waiting to pounce at me from behind every closed door, there is no way I can concentrate on the job in front of me. Every duty seems to take twice as long and after a while of living in chaos, I find it difficult to rest or even breathe. family.jpg
  Find out what your big picture is. What would you do with more time if you had it? 
Play outside with your children? Learn a new hobby? Catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a while?

See there. Isn’t that motivating to get the clutter under control?

--
Sherry Peters

3 comments:

  1. Great job Sherry! I have been inspired by your organizing determination. I love it when my house is organized for example after a move. But my struggle is keeping it organized. I read recently that even 10 to 15 minutes of organizing a day makes a huge difference! It seems like such a small thing and I want to make that my goal.

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  2. Good job Sherry. Thanks for the encouragement! I'm glad I don't have to do the whole house in one day. Going to start in the back closet. I love organizing but I have a hard time getting rid of stuff.

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  3. I knew who wrote this post before I got to the name:)
    For me when I really want to get organized l, I always end up rearranging everything. Somehow that makes it seem like I really organized. For the first while everyone ends up finding the spices when they were going for a cup but oh well... I feel good about my accomplishments :P we can definitely be a lot more productive when we stay organized! Good post Sherry.

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