What do I know about organization? I come from very organized parents, a father who organized the refrigerator alphabetically (Mom, did you know Grandpa organizes the fridge alphabetically?) and a mother whose jewelry was organized by metal, color, and use. Amazing. Being a rebellious child I rejected some of my parents’ advice and it seems organizational skills was among them. I should have picked more wisely.
No, I am not an expert on organization; I am a novice. Forever a novice, but I did learn a few things about organizing.
Here’s a few lessons I learned.
1) Put it back where it belongs.
What is it? It is the glasses I can’t find (they are on the top of my head), the car keys that should be on the hook on the key rack but are in my coat pocket, the book I was reading that should be on my night stand but is in my tote.
Learning to put things away where they belong means finding them and not wasting time searching.
This has got to be one of the hardest things for me…me with the hoarding tendencies. Do I really need to buy more fabric? Yes…well, maybe not….OK, no…at least not today. Do I really need more yarn? No. Can I give away some? Sure…er, well, yes, I can. I will start by putting it in a bag and see if it gets to the car (then we’ll see how long it stays in the car before getting lost in my trunk…big car problems). I keep a donation bag handy for those little things I find and think what the hell was I thinking? Obviously more money than sense that day. Before I know it the bag is full and ready to go to the car. Maybe the bag will make it to the hospice center’s box.
3) Buy just what you need.
Oh boy, retailers hate this kind of advice (like me, OK. A little self-hate and self-deprecation going on). But really, do I really need nail polish in every shade even though I haven’t polished my nails in over a month? Granted, the idea was good at the time, and I didn’t buy every color, just three because I thought red, white, and blue nails would look very patriotic. I my defense, I didn’t buy every essential oil in the store when I was making salt scrubs….just 3….because they were too expense to buy too many….and I caught myself before they went in the shopping cart…before I had one of those “If I make and I could sell them” moments.
4) Make a list before you shop
And what does this have to do with organization? one might ask. Everything. You can’t organize if you have too much, don’t have the space, and/or don’t have the need. Eggs for $1.50 a dozen is a great price but if you don’t eat eggs (like me) or only use them for cooking once and a while (sometimes I have to). It could be the $1 a jar peanut butter. Cheap, yes, but buying 12 jars? True story but I didn’t do it…not that time. I came home to 6 jars of PB on my kitchen table.
Example; 4 dozen eggs isn’t a bargain when you don’t eat eggs (and the hubby shouldn’t, either). The money I save up front becomes the money lose when the bargain is either thrown away or given away. I could spend the money better, like buying things to organize my things, which leads me to tip #5.
5) Have organizational things to keep your stuff organized.
Call them whatever the things names are, bookcases, bag organizers, shoe holder, coat hook, coat rack, key hook (yes, that is where my keys go unless I forget to get them out of my purse). They are invaluable if they are used. I have one for my car (all the car stuff goes in it so they are not all over my trunk). I have a box to hold the vintage handbags I sell (a shining moment in organizational achievement) and a special place to keep the Pyrex (another shining moment). I even rewarded myself with a new earring holder (ok, not new…I found it at a thrift shop but it’s new to me).
6) Keep the organizational thing close to where it will be used.
This no-brainer isn’t always a no-brainer to everyone. Some of us have to learn (like me…I am a slow learner). Now the mail I need to keep, a-k-a bills, is on my desk (along with other papers I don’t know what the hell I am supposed to keep) instead of in the kitchen with my keys. A coat rack should be near a door going outside. Simple. Dishwashing detergent near the sink and dishwasher. Iron where you use it (mine is in the sewing room on the ironing board always ready for a project).
7) Ask for Help
No, not necessarily professional help….although that is OK…I am too cheap. I have friends who are organized and see the world different than me. Thank God. I go to them. My good buddy, Nancy, can look at a room and say “Here, try this” and it works. She helps me with my vast supply of patterns.
Keep doing the good things that work and slowly but surely they will become a habit.
Life is a series of works in progress…..and I’m working on it.
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