Thursday, September 22, 2011

{Home Organization: Part One}

I admit it. I'm NOT a very organized person. If you pop over for a visit without any advanced warning, you will most likely see piles of mail on the counters, toys strewn about, and general messes throughout the house. Don't get me wrong: I LOVE a clean and orderly house! In fact, I enjoy hosting parties and having people over so I have the push to tidy up and get things clean. Yet, within about 24 hours the house is in shambles once again.
But recently I discovered several organizing blogs and websites that have completely inspired me to make changes in my own home. I'm tired of searching for things, of yelling at the girls because they don't know where their shoes are, and of living with clutter and knick-knacks that we don't need. So bit by bit, area by area, I'm cleaning things up. I'm determined to get this house tidy and organized so we feel a sense of peace and calm when we walk through the door.
My first step was choosing a few areas of the house to work on first. Obviously, I can't tackle the whole house at once. Organizing this place is goint to happen in stages and over a period of time. So I chose a few areas that cause me the most grief and, quite frankly, drive me batty every time I utilize them. I thought about how the areas would be best used and what I needed to purchase / do to make them work for us better.
Then I headed online to one of my favorite organizing stores, Ikea! I searched the site for the items I needed, wrote down the item numbers and prices on an index card, and planned my trip. Last Friday Dixon and I spent the day at Ikea and found everything on my list and more! It was such a thrill!
So let's check out two of the areas I tackled first.
First up is the girls' room. Their entire bedroom makes me break out into a sweat and feel panicky. It's an adorable room, but nothing is ever put away. Because we don't have a playroom, their bedroom houses all their Barbies, American Girls, and other toys. They have gotten better at cleaning up after they've played, but there are always little pieces and parts of toys on the floor, under the beds, on the nightstand . . . just everywhere. And don't get me started on the clothes. UGH, the clothes.
I decided to start with an area that cause lots of grief for us on a daily basis: the socks and undies drawer. I've always kept the girls' socks and undies in one drawer: socks on the left and undies on the right. But the girls dig around in that drawer looking for a certain pair of socks and it ends up a mess. Plus, I have a hard time letting go of things . . . even kids' underwear. So there were undies from size 2T - yep, the very first undies I bought for Sasha six years ago were still in there - up to size 10. Ridiculous.
Ready to see this mess? Here it is:
Insane, right? A drawer organizer was desperately needed. And I found the perfect one at Ikea! When I got it home and started sorting through the drawer I realized that the organizer was too big to fit into this drawer, so I needed to move things around. The pj drawer was in a different dresser and the drawers are bigger and deeper. Switcheroo! The socks and undies are now happily organized in what was the pj drawer. All of Clara's are on the left and Sasha's are on the right. And now there is room for tights, leg warmers, and slippers in the other half of the drawer - awesome! I filled a bag with tiny undies that we no longer need as well as all the patterned socks that are cute but look ridiculous when worn with most outfits. And the pjs are now in the former socks and undies drawer - only the ones that currently fit the girls. Here's the after photo:
I LOVE how it turned out! Something so simple has already made a big difference - I haven't had to hunt with the girls for a matching pair of socks or a pair of undies that fit since organizing these drawers. Awesome.
Next up are my cabinets that house drinking glasses, mugs, wine glasses, kids' cups, and few other random items.
As you can see, it's a mess. We have mugs that are almost 20 years old in there, complete with chips on the rims. Everything is mis-matched. And do you see the bottom left shelf? Yeah, those would be restaurant cups that the kids bring home - most of them from Moes. They use them almost 100% of the time. It's nice because they were free, reusable, and easy. But they were also taking over the cabinet.
We also were using the top of the microwave for "storage" of sorts. A basket of K-cups lived there, as well as a basket of old jelly beans (tossed), a box of sugar packets, and other little things. It was just a cluttered mess.
I found a shelf insert at Ikea that I knew would help this cabinet immensely. And I was right! I cleaned out all the shelves, got rid of the mugs that were chipped and lots of other cups and things that are never used, and wiped down all the surfaces. And those Moes cups? I threw away 16 cups and 25 lids! There were three packages of wine charms in there, so I removed them from the packaging and put them in a pretty jelly jar that I found at a flea market for a quarter. The cocktail recipe books made their way into a drawer and various other random items found new homes as well. With the addition of the shelf insert, I was able to put all the normal sized mugs on the bottom (including two Tastefully Simple mugs that have been in a box for years, unused), and all the tall mugs and travel mugs above them.
And those K-cups and sugar packets? They now fit quite well on the bottom shelf! The microwave area is totally cleaned up and tidy. Yay!!!
It's amazing what a simple white shelf insert can do for an entire section of a kitchen. Another look at the before and after:
I already have a few other projects in the works and I'm excited to complete them and start more. What are you organizing right now?

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