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Organization For The New Year

I love to organize pretty much anything, have I shared that with you?  My husband calls me Monica Geller when he sees me get out of bed after getting all tucked in to put something away I left out.  I can't help it, and to be honest it does help me sleep so much better.  I really believe in having a space for things, it helps me with the clutter that comes with having a lot of us in the house and definitely helps them put their own things away.  With a house full of people we can create some serious chaos in a short amount of time.  Sometimes I feel like I just tidied a space and five minutes later it looks like a hurricane blew through and left all kinds of stuff scattered in its path.  I am not sure about your house, but my people are prone to misplacing things and if I can keep them putting things where they belong we seem to be able to cut down on the "can you find my ---" asks.

There is something about a new year that makes me want to clean out things and start fresh. I go from clutter galore at Christmas with little things everywhere to wanting to purge and organize three weeks later.  A little crazy maybe, but it seems to happen every single year.  I start small ... a cabinet or drawer and before I know it I am going closet to closet and drawer to drawer on a massive purge.  You would think that as organized as I am on a regular basis this would be necessary, but every single year I find stuff to accumulate that doesn't need to stick around and so off it goes. Combine that with clothes the kids have outgrown, things we have decided we are just ready to part with and the usual needed purge and before you know it I have made more than one trip to the trash or to the local charity. With a brand new year I also always check out my storage systems to make sure they still work for me.  If I haven't used it in six months it gets donated or sold.  It is good to start fresh and clean things out ... good for the house and good for the mind.

For me organizing means having a space for things and having them clearly labeled.  I have found for me it is so helpful to add labels as it helps others be able to find things on their own, and in the case of the pantry helps me instantly spot what needs replenishing.  Please don't misunderstand, I am not saying my whole house is completely organized, but I do pride myself on being pretty good about this topic. My closets, linen closets and pantries are in good shape.  When it comes to the Hubs and the kids the story is notsomuch the same, but I pick my battles. And then there is my workroom which seems to gather clutter daily, so we will discuss that today.  It is a lot better than it usually is, but somehow during the crazy of the week things get dropped just inside the door.  Drives me crazy that I do it, but it is what it is.

I have found a pretty simple formula when it comes to organizing ... anything I can place into a basket with a tag or label, a plastic box and a label from my favorite label maker or a good fold and some color coordinating and I am one happy type A girl. I do not like clutter so anything that has a labeled box makes it easy for me to cut down on stuff ending up everywhere. Hands down my favorite baskets to use in closets and in the pantry are either these or these.  The handle is perfect for adding labels or tags.  I have found that it assists the children and guests in finding things they need.  I use these for so many things but my favorite may be light bulbs and extra batteries in the laundry room and toilet paper and extra soap and garbage bags in the linen closets.

The laundry room and mud area is my favorite spot I have organized.  It was a necessary change we made when we added a fourth child a few years ago.  All of a sudden we had another backpack, more shoes, more jackets and another child dropping things on the kitchen table.  One day it hit me it was always a mess because we didn't have another option.  They didn't have a place to hang their bags and store their shoes so dumping everything at the door and on the table seemed like a perfect plan to them.  After we made the changes to our laundry room I saw an instant difference.  I still have to remind the kids to hang up their bags and put their shoes away daily, but at least we have a space to make it all work.  Now that the oldest has his own place and the fourth child is deploying to Japan with the Marines our load is a lot less but it still can get pretty messy pretty quick.  The mudroom area works for easy cleanup which makes this mama so happy.

The other area I saw the most mess was the clothes left in the dryer or on top of the dryer waiting patiently to be put away.  Since the kids were young I have encouraged them to pitch in with their own laundry and now that they are all teens (and above) they are fully responsible for their clothes, washing, drying, folding and putting away.  I always find spare things hanging out in the dryer or on top and I fold it and put it into this Elfa storage system to the left of the washing machine.  If they are missing something they immediately get directed to this area to find what they are looking for which takes the stress off of me and helps them be responsible.  My goal is independence as they leave the nest and this has been the best task to help with this.  There is always the night before they need something and they are staying up late to add something to the dryer for the next day and I am always around to help, but there is nothing like the lesson of procrastination failure to learn to plan better.

I hope my simple system helps anyone needing some tips or help in this area.  It definitely works for me and for us.  As our oldest just moved out I found him needing a first aid kit and I bought a box for him to keep it all in and store in his closet.  He smiled at me when I handed it to him and said ... wow, my first box, I feel so grown up.  

sniff ... 

Happy Friday loves ... anyone else super excited about the first Friday of the year?

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