August 23, 2012

Organizing...Love It or Hate It?

Have you ever said, "One of these days, I'm going to get myself organized"? Well, you aren't alone. Even the organized become unorganized occasionally. Getting organized is only half the battle. Staying organized is other half. I will touch on both in this post.

Getting Organized: This can be daunting. Step 1 is deciding to get organized. You cannot decide to organize your entire home at once. Choose a room, a closet, a cabinet, etc. Take it in steps. Baby steps. Once you have organized one space, you will feel encouraged to move on to the next space. Once you decide which to start with, decide what its purpose is. Is it your closet for your clothes? Is it a linen closet? Medicine cabinet? Use it for its intended purpose. I'm going to use my closet as an example, since I recently reorganized mine.

I have a walk-in closet and thought it was organized. But it started to become a mess. So over my vacation I decided it was time to get it back to its glory. Step 2, I took everything out. Everything. My closet was set up with a rod on the right side going from wall to wall, a rod on the left side going from the half-way mark to the back wall with a shelving unit in front of that, and shoe racks on the floor on the back wall. Sounds reasonable, right? So why wasn't it working for me? My dog, Minni, loved to go in my closet and take my shoes off the shoe racks. She never destroyed any, just played with them or took naps on them. Sometimes I would come home and find 5 different shoes scattered around the kitchen. Oh, Minni. So I had a box I stood in front of the shoe racks to keep her from doing this, which became a nuisance for me when I needed to get my shoes in the morning, etc. The shelves became a mess, mostly due to lack of effort. There are shelves above the rods as well. These were not being used for any of my clothing needs. Just stuff.

After taking everything out, it was time to reconfigure the general set up of the closet (Step 3). The rod on the right and shelf above it stayed as is, but I took the shorter rod down along with the shelf above it. I took the shoe racks off the floor and placed them up on the shelf above the long rod going from wall to wall. The two racks fit perfectly! I moved the shelving unit to the back wall where the shoe racks used to be. I had previously removed one of the shelves so I could get my stand up jewelry box to fit on it, but I added that back in. I then reinstalled the shorter rod with shelf to the front of the closet instead of the back. I took a step back and looked it over. I was happy with this, so now to decide what goes back in the closet.

Step 4, this is the perfect time to get rid of the stuff you no longer wear. My own rule is, if I haven't worn it in the last 9 months, I probably won't. Now, there are a few exceptions to this, but I try to stick to it as much as possible. Make a donation box (or two). This is the perfect time to do this! I couldn't believe how many hangers I had freed up after this step! I also decided that if I didn't "wear" it, it probably wasn't going back in the closet. The "stuff" that was on the shelves over the rods wasn't getting back in the there.

You can decide what works best for you as far as organizing your remaining items. I find splitting things up by type (i.e. pants, tops, dresses, etc.) and then by color works best for me. I read once that if you hang your clothes by color, you are less likely to purchase something you don't need. For example, if you already have enough black tops, you are less likely to buy another one. But if you have your black tops scattered throughout your closet, you don't know if you have very many, so you may buy another even if you don't need one. (Tip: If your closet is organized by color, when you do laundry, automatically fold/hang items by color, this makes putting them away and keeping them color sorted easier.)

With the closet reconfigured, and my items sorted, it really was easy to decide where to hang everything (Step 5). The shelving unit is now being used for boots and those clothing items I don't hang up. The bottom shelf is where I keep my general household tools (an exception since I had this shelf open), this is very handy and Minni doesn't bother those. I was missing a place for my jewelry case. I thought about putting a shelf on the wall, but was concerned it wouldn't be sturdy enough, then I came across one heck of a deal! I was at our local craft/fabric store, and they had this lingerie chest. They have a bargain area outside and this was in there. It was used but was in great condition. It had a tag on it for $14.95. I had just looked at these at another store for $39.99 on sale. I was soooo dang excited! It fit perfectly in the closet with the new configuration! My jewelry box stands perfectly on it and I was able to move socks, underclothes, and leggings into the drawers. It is nothing fancy, but does the job! I can actually get dressed in my closet now!

Staying Organized: This is a bigger challenge. It really is a decision. There are times when I just toss something in the closet, but then I think, "Wait, I made the effort to make this a functional space, for me, and I like it like this. It will only take a few seconds to put that item away, so just do it." And then I do and I am much happier. It is so easy to let things pile up, then one has to go threw all the steps of Getting Organized again. Personally, I don't want to do it again. So taking a minute or two each day makes my life easier. Getting my closet to this point took me much longer than that. I am proud of how it turned out, which makes those one or two minutes worth it.

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Side note, on the side of the shelving unit I hung this little gadget for belts, scarves, etc.
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You can do this too. Again, start small. Tackle a medicine cabinet or kitchen cupboard first. You will see you have it in you and before long, your home will be one organized hub. :)

Have you already tackled an organization project? Tell me about it!

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