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May 6, 2012

Weekend Awareness: Organization

A few weeks ago, dollimama posted a question, “Be honest, how clean is your house?  She talked about organization…”a place for everything, and everything in its place.”

Reading her post really made me think.  Deep down, I think I’m a very organized person…but at least half of my house feels very disorganized…why is that?  What spaces are consistently organized?  And how do they differ from my problem areas?

The two areas of our house that are consistently organized are the girls’ closet, and the girls’ toys.

[I’m not talking about their toys being organized on an hourly basis, but at least every other day we have everything in its assigned spot…even if it takes OCD Turbo Mommy cleaning up again after the girls are in bed.]

So what is it that makes those areas feel so different from – say – my kitchen pantry?  My closet?  My craft supplies?

The answer I’ve been able to arrive at is that I started both those areas from scratch.  I put thought into a system that would work for us.  And I revisit that system on a regular basis.   

At least twice a year, I go through everything, clean out what we no longer need, and reorganize as necessary.  Along the way I’ve invested in some new shelves / bins / boxes.  I have the space and the supplies to organize our things, and I devote the time to keeping it organized.

I think this realization has a lot of validity to it.  So, in theory, what I need to do with the spaces that aren’t currently organized, is back up and think about a clean slate. 

What’s happened with my closet, for example, is that I’m living a different life now than I did four or five years ago, but I haven’t changed my organizational system to reflect that.  The majority of the clothes I wear are weekend casual (and lots of t-shirts and yoga pants, if I’m being honest).  While I’m hanging on to my business attire, I should rearrange my closet so that my slacks and suits take a backseat to my khakis and soccer shorts.

The area I’ve been focusing on for the past couple of weeks is my filing / mail system.  I have a secretary cabinet that belonged to my grandmother.  While the desk and one drawer have technically been used for filing for several years, I’d let that system get out of date.

I’ve gone through my files and shredded a lot of things I no longer need, things I now know I can find online if I need to.  I’ve dedicated cubbies in the desk to Bills, To Do (like schedule dentist appointments and bank transactions), Coupons (for restaurants and services), and Correspondence (cards I need to send).

I’m proud to say that – with the exception of my calendar – my counters are free of papers and mail.

I’ve committed that it’s a daily chore -- to go through what we receive in the mail and put it in its proper place.  And weekly, I need to sort through my cubbies to make sure everything is handled on time.  So far, the new system is working.

My guess is that it’s pretty rare to truly have a “clean slate”…but to at least evaluate areas from that view point I think will help me get some new systems in place that will work better for who we are, right now.


Julia said...

I totally relate to this: ...get new systems in place that work better for who we are now."

We've been de-cluttering in preparation for a possible move/getting the house put on the market, and I've been amazed at how disorganized my life is! My house isn't a disaster by any means, but I have a lot of unnecessary clutter that, I think, prevents things from being as efficient and as orderly as possible.

I, too, have tons of clothes in my closet from when I worked. They, literally, have dust on them that's collected on the shoulders of shirts and the creases where the pants hang on the hanger. Those things shouldn't even be hanging in my closet!! I don't, necessarily want to pitch or donate them, but they aren't in use for this season of my life, so it really doesn't make sense for them to be there!

I *almost* appreciate the chaos all of this has caused, b/c I'm finding things much more manageable! :)

Mandy said...

I wish I had the space! Go you for keeping on top of things! I need some motivation!!

We're outgrowing our house, quickly. So it seems that despite my efforts to organize, there just isn't a place for many things. In fact, this morning we decided to donate half of our wine glasses to make more snack storage in the cabinet. There is also only two or three bottles of wine in the fridge, and the rest in the basement.

I really need to reevaluate most of our storage. Although I clean out twice a year, the actually system has been evaluated since before the girls came.

How much paper mail do you still get? I loathe the mailbox, and I cringe to think about how much we spent and how long it took to pick out! If I can get it online, I do!

Amanda said...

I feel so much better when everything is neat and organized and its right place- but my kids make that a dai;y challenge. I've made a point to clean out drawers/art supply closet and toy shelves about once a month to try and stay on top of it all but always a work in progress!