Organization Shmorganization

I’m not really the organizer in our household. Heck, I’m hardly the “cleaner” (although when I get the urge, watch OUT! I do it to the nines, thanks to the Cinderella-sans-wicked-step-relatives upbringing my mother imparted on us). Dave prefers things organized, but not museum-like or dust-free, just pile-less…and it’s not that I don’t. I’m just not great at it.

So, what better way to waste time (and pre-baby time, at that! Yes, I started this post before Hadley arrived…heck, at this point I thought he MUST be a girl!) than to take a fun Better Homes and Gardens quiz about my organization personality. Of course, the description is pretty dead-on:

I’m not sure the last time I “planned” a “party” (although I’d love to do that…I had to reel myself back in when I started planning our upcoming baptism get-together; gonna be very low-key with very few folks), but the “key traits” part of it is accurate. I realized that a lot of my decorating involves the “collector” part of this description. While I’m by no means a hoarder, I’ve got a kazillion antique items that I love to use to decorate. I’d say that I have a “collection” of various items, be they antique glass (especially milk bottles…yep, I have a soft spot for milk in glass bottles, but I particularly like to make the connection to my ancestral family’s old farm – I do happen upon “Homestead Farms” bottles on occasion, and that’s my bloodline!), cake plates, McCoy pottery (my maiden name, so, y’know),  I also suddenly thought, “Well, that’s not really very simple. Why do I have this stuff, and why do I show it off the way that I do?”

Easily sidetracked? Yes, please.

Anyhoo, while Dave and I strive to live simply and attempt to simplify as much as possible – especially now that the baby’s here! – the antique items I have hanging around are ones that mean something to me. No need to clutter the joint up with things you don’t love. But, when it comes to decorating, I tend to put out “vignettes” (a sweet, professional way of saying “clumps”) of stuff. I would like to work on how to implement a cleaner way of decorating with all these, erm, clumps. We’ll see how I do with the upcoming

What I particularly like about this quiz (especially when searching for the energy and motivation I’m craving) is the fact that you can click “Get Guide Now” and receive plenty of organizational suggestions for your “personality”. In my case, they simplify (there’s that word again) the tasks and provide suggestions – some of which I already use.

Once a season (okay, a couple times a year – but it was about four during 2011-2012 thanks to Operation Maternity Clothes), I go through my clothes and donate what I’m not wearing, as well as switch out the seasons and store the non-season items. I also use books in decorating, and when placing books on bookshelves, I organize them but also switch their directions to add interest. And, no; there’s no Dewey Decimal System in place. Let’s just say that Beatles go with Beatles (there are a lot of those, so they get stuck together), old movie stars live with old movie stars, self-help books all co-exist, etc.; sometimes I go crazy and organize by color, though. Maybe because I can’t do something so *crazy* at my work libraries.

So, if you’re bored (ah, the luxury of time!), feel free to take the quiz and let me know what your personality style is. It’ll be neat to see if anyone’s as disorganized scatterbrained free-spirited as me!

Operation Closet: Closed

Over my recent spring break, I performed what I can only describe as (in my skewed little world) a miracle.

It all started with a closet that was brimming with, well, crap. Coats, scarves, gloves, hats…and the occasional piece of randomness (on the bright side: Now we don’t have to decide which towel hooks to buy for the bathroom! How long ago did I BUY those??). Let’s just say that, like many doors in our home, we couldn’t close it. And being in the middle of our most-used living space, it was downright embarrassing.

The goal for this closet was to 1) purge our winter coats and maybe even make some room for *gasp* visitors to hang their jackets, 2) organize the top shelf area, 3) make some room for my everyday use bags, and 4) be able to see the floor.

While pulling out all the items in the closet, I found some wooden hangers that we got for Christmas (luckily it was this past Christmas, not last year or any other embarrassing year) to add some consistency and get rid of the ol’ plastic ones. Isn’t it strange how the worst part of organization is the fact that you have to completely destroy an area first? You can’t really clean a closet (or pantry or cabinet or…) without pulling everything out. So, long story short – that’s what I did.

Here’s a fun little “before and after” for you.
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So, what’s the miracle? Not only can I see the floor AND close the door, but we can now toss our unsightly shoes there before company comes. They’ll never know! Tricky, tricky! (All the rest of our shoes go into the nearby ottoman…which makes me sick to think about because one of our naughty scratching boys who shall remain nameless has created his own artwork of pinhole scratches upon said faux leather ottoman. *sigh* It still fits its purpose and folks wouldn’t know unless I made them run their hand across it, but it’s the principle of the thing!) So, now our guests not only have space for their shoes to go near the door, but there’s room in the closet for their bits ‘n pieces. In other words, we can have folks over! Seriously. Who’s coming? (Too bad we’re booked solid the next several weeks, LOL.)

DSC03292DSC03296It’s closed!!
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One other tidbit of trickiness to share: my favorite “work bag slash purse” (see in the last picture above; I retired the green for the mustard a little while ago) can now be treated with some respect when I get home, thanks to am M3 plastic hook or two. Although, admittedly, it still gets tossed near the ottoman 50% of the time. Ya win some, ya lose some. Either way, this is definitely a “Dude, Get On That Already” that’s been awaiting my attention for years. *bows* Finally!

Oh, and while I was at it, I replaced an outdoorsy wreath (featuring those fake red “buds” that I used to like so much) with a bit of summery freshness. This is our “dump everything” spot, so it doesn’t always look so tidy, but the ceremonious, aggressive deletion of red from the living room is definitely happening! You can also see my attempt at daily organization with our “mail basket” and ottoman.

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DGOTA: Closet

My most recent “Dude, Get On That Already” challenge may seem small, but small projects add up! And, honestly, it’s HUGE in a small kinda way. Okay, that makes zero sense, but I’ve got a serious case of Pregnancy Brain, so it’s a miracle that I can speak in complete sentences. 😉

Anyhoo, I started this “project” a little while ago by taking a rather large haul of unused or unwanted goodies to Goodwill, including some purses and lots o’ shoes. I went from two totes (which were both housed in “my” closet, now the nursery closet) down to one. A single tote housing all of my purses/handbags/shoes…given how little of a “girlie girl” I am, I’m surprised how much I’m impressed by that.

From here, it took me awhile to finally clear out the rest of the closet, but consider it DONE! If my hubby could reduce his space usage by one closet and one dresser (down to one of each), the least I could do is FINALLY get off my tuckus and shift (and edit) some stuff. Sure, I’m leaving a couple of large, important items (um…y’know…my wedding dress) way in the back of the nursery closet, alongside the big ol’ bin of accessories, but there will still be plenty of room for the baby’s stuff.

Pay no attention to the scarves hanging on the closet door (and the messy bookshelf to the left). Every amateur actress needs a feather boa, right? 😉

The “rest” of the closet…where my wedding dress and other sundries live.
Winston had to remind me that our “big” luggage also will be housed,
atop the bin that holds my accessories.

And the closet’s still not quite done! I know, “dude, get on that already”…I know. It’s just lovely to have an empty space that we know will be filled with baby storage solutions and cute things. We already have a large board that we’ll be painting white and retrofitting to create a shelf above the closet pole. Er, rod. Whatever that thing is. Either way, I already expect it to be a bit of a challenge, since we did the same in Dave’s closet space and it. Was. A. Bear. I’m wishing for a pleasant surprise, especially now that the belly’s getting in the way more and more everyday.

What other storage solutions are we thinking of for the baby? Other than the closet (which is LOTS of space, considering the size of the rest of the house!), we’ve got a couple of empty drawers from a previous DGOTA challenge, which is miraculous in our house — or anyone’s house, it seems!

‘Tis a thing of beauty. This free space is mere feet away in our hallway, so it’s quite convenient. A little closer by, I’m stocking up (or will be) on baskets and bins that will help organize on shelves and other surfaces. Some items don’t have a job yet, but I’ve got a couple of possible ideas for them – such as a white, seriously-made-of-plastic-but-doesn’t-look-it “basket” that will be ideal for laundry OR diapers (or a still TBD use).

I’m also already indebted to a dear friend who lives *swoon* near an Ikea who will be picking up some hanging shelves for us (aaaaand possibly one for the office…shhh, she doesn’t know it yet ;-)), once I can determine exactly where they’ll go and what size we’ll need. Thanks to Pinterest and other ideas I’ve gleaned, I’ve got some…erm…”creative” ways to display and house some of the other goodies. Wait ‘n see.

Oh, and one of the most important storage factors involves a free dresser that will be getting a low-VOC paint job and new jewelry (hardware) to play a very important, not-just-for-storage role as a changing table. Now, let’s all hope it’s an okay size for this job!

Then there’s everyone’s favorite: “sneaky” storage. You know the kind. We’ve got this all over the house – from the two ottomans in our living room to the old “treasure chest” in our front room. In this case, I’ve got a mini-, faux leather ottoman ($7.49?! Sign me up!) and will be looking for a lidded basket or two (possibly the “soft” kind), especially for toys ‘n blankets. Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a possible toy chest that my hubby’s rather fond of. I only wish I could paint it, but it’s got that “rustic” (read: orange wood that would look quite at home in a family camp) vibe that he seems to like going on. Hmm. Maybe that look will come back someday. One can only hope.

So, there’s obviously lots left to do in this space. But, like I said, every little project brings us closer to having a nursery where, once, there was a guest room-slash-dressing room. Purdy exciting! Now, on to that shelf!

Built-In Beauty

Organization can be a beautiful thing. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a “before shot” on this project because Dave had started working on it before I even realized what was happening. Before I knew it, every item in the upper cabinets was on the floor. I can’t really complain about that initiative, can I? That’s what I really call a “dude, get on that already” project!

The built-ins at the end of our upstairs hallway made me want to buy our house in the first place. It sounds silly, but we each had something about the house that made us realize that it had to be the first official “us” space (we had lived together in my apartment for only a short time before finding our house). Dave loved the front porch-slash-3 (or 4, depending on how warm you like to stay)-season-room, so to each his own. 🙂 Either way, the uniqueness of a craftsman-style house is hard to hate.

I try to reorganize this space once a year, but somehow some pills that we had accumulated were REALLY expired, so Dave put a bag together of medications that we’ll dispose of when a pharmacy holds a proper disposal drive.The same goes for lots of beauty items that had been compiled. I always figured that I’d just use them up, but I’d always purchase an eco-friendly option (and want to try it out) after running low on shampoo or body wash. I hardly even USE conditioner. So, after some thought and conversation, we realized that we could donate the un-used beauty products to a local facility called Evelyn’s House (which helps out young mothers and their children). I was ecstatic that, not only could we find a use for our items that were never going to be used and taking up way too much space, but that they could go to help out such an inspiring cause. Win-win!

Here’s the whole shebang, well, way improved. Sheets on top, towels in the middle, random larger items (like a tote holding all of our travel-sized items, my “clothes shaver”, and Neti-Pot), and all toiletries (organized accordingly) and first aide items in plastic containers on the bottom. Seriously, the “before” was craziness.

So, after some moving around…followed by still more shifting…followed by lots more finagling…we figured out how to utilize the space. And, who knows? Next year, it may look completely different. But what I’m most excited about is that we emptied some of the lower drawers for more storage. Y’know. Like for seasonal clothes…or baby stuff. 🙂

How’d we empty drawers? Well, one way was by getting absolutely brutal about what we need. Seriously, how many semi-complete sets of sheets do folks need? Then, we found space to pile the towels and sheets (which, by the way, don’t look any nicer utilizing the “Martha Stewart – put all sheets into one pillowcase trick”…just sayin’) on the shelves rather than hiding away in the drawers. I kind of like that it makes the space look a little airier rather than “stuff laden”. I’m sure a cute basket or two will help add some more storage prettiness, eventually.

On a side note, this project occurred well over a week ago (more like two or three weekends ago). LAST weekend, we did some more organizational work…but there’s still lots more to do, so I won’t bug you with it. Not yet. 😉 And the ultimate goal with all this craziness is to create more usable space in our home to make a new baby’s arrival slightly less stressful than it already will be. We’d much rather focus on learning how to parent; not where to fit stuff and having our home AND minds cluttered. Not a very positive way to live, is it? So, every little bit of work that we’re doing – from Drylok-ing the basement to cleaning out a built-in to filling bags for Goodwill – bring us one step closer to the “more fun” baby stuff (nursery decorating, etc).