Let’s Get Organized – Installment 2
It’s time to be honest. How many of you walk into your house carrying odds and ends and deposit said items on your kitchen counters? Or your kitchen table? Or a chair in your kitchen? I am guilty, guilty, guilty on all 3 counts.
I cannot speak for you, but I will admit to doing this because it is easy. I generally try to carry way too much stuff out of my van to avoid a second trip and drop everything in the first convenient spot I can find. Oh, I may have ALL the best intentions of going right back to those items and placing them in their rightful spots. The trouble is, after I remove my children’s coats, prepare the strawberry milk that they have been whining about for the entire drive back from wherever, and pour myself my obligatory glass of Chardonnay (post 5 p.m., natch), suddenly putting those things away seems less critical.
The result of this mindset is that clutter is the first thing that my family and I see when we first walk into our home. Psychologically, this is not a good thing!
I am not the only guilty party here. My children are the worst offenders. The floor seems to be the chosen resting place for many of their toys and clothes. Now I have tried my very best to curb this behavior. However, if the question, “You don’t want Bobby (our bulldog) to rub his butt all over your Star Wars pjs, do you?” doesn’t evoke feelings of disgust, I don’t know what will.
My husband is also guilty. (Sorry honey.) He and I both have a nasty habit of dropping our mail on our kitchen island. Now this alone doesn’t have to be a terrible thing and I know that many of you do this too. But with us, we shuffle the crap around OVER and OVER again.
Voice in my head: “Jed may really need to know about this awful time share opportunity at this place-that-we’ll-never-go-to. I’d better keep it here for him just in case.”
STOP THE MADNESS!!!!
What do I want????
- To be able to sit at my kitchen table for dinner with my family without pushing aside my makeup, junk mail, coloring books or my husband’s iPad. (Side note: Scientists would have a field day looking at all the microscopic funk that would come off of that iPad. My husband is a pharmaceutical rep and takes the thing into doctors’ offices. Bleccch.)
- Counters clear enough so that I do not have to move all the garbage from one counter to another while I am wiping them down.
- Buy-in of the whole family so that we can start some awesome new habits in 2017.
But mainly I want for us to walk through our back door feeling TRULY happy to be home.
So let’s get a plan together, shall we?
Getting Down to Business
After reading my first installment of this series, my wonderful sister Elizabeth introduced me to a website Home Storage Solutions 101. Honestly, I got a little tingle reading over all of the tips in this gem of a site. There seems to be a common theme among the various topics. Getting organized can be an achievable goal if you break it up into 15 minute timeframes. Now this I can do!
By skimming this site, I can already tell that paper clutter (our main issue) is a problem not isolated to the Peterson family. Being that I’ve been doing this for so long, I will virtually have to be deprogrammed (like a cult member) to successfully break free from Accumulation Nation. Nevertheless, I’m ready to bravely step into a new organized world!
Allow me to share some of the little nuggets of wisdom from our Organizational Hero, Taylor, that resonated with me:
- When you are decluttering your piles of paper, start with 3 containers:
- Large container (recycling or trash can) – for the stuff that you already know is garbage.
- Medium size container – for sensitive information. The stuff containing your bank account information or other data that could help an unsavory character become you will be shredded.
- Small container – for those relatively few items that you will actually need to look at again and/or file. In my case, these will be bills, insurance documents and the like.
- Carve out 15 minute time frames for decluttering. With short increments like this, you will be much less likely to dread the task which can lead to avoidance. Avoidance is a bad thing if you’re trying to escape Accumulation Nation!
That’s just a tiny taste of what you can find on Home Storage Solutions 101. Super helpful, but what on earth can we do to keep from getting in to the clutter predicament?
How to Avoid Creating Clutter
Fortunately, this topic is also covered on Taylor’s handy dandy website! She talks about creating a home mail organizer center. For me, this will involve:
- Setting up “operations” on our kitchen desk, nearby where we have traditionally sorted mail. Per Taylor’s suggestions, this spot will be close to our trash can, recycling and filing cabinets.
- Buying an organizer. This is where my husband and I will gather the incoming papers of the day (including bills, school communications, etc.) and sort them accordingly. Taylor points out that “dealing with the papers” in this stage doesn’t have to mean seeing the process through from beginning to end. Just to categorize them in a meaningful fashion is enough. I just ordered the one pictured below from Amazon, so I’ll report back and let you know how I’m coming along!
- Selecting a set time on a weekly basis to see the process through. In our case, this will likely be paying all of the bills, putting kids’ events on our personal calendars and scanning paperwork that we will need to keep indefinitely.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel overwhelmed, but empowered. We can do this, lovely readers!
If you have any kitchen organization tips that have worked for you or ideas that you’d like to try, I’d love to hear from you!