And Everything In It's Place. Also known as Numero Uno of (drumroll!!) The 2 Major Principles Of Organizing. Hey, it's my blog, I can be silly if I want to. Ok, I know you've all heard that darn saying at least 8 million times since you were born. The thing is, it's 100% correct. If an item doesn't have a home, it's automagically clutter. It's sitting out, taking up space, becoming an eyesore, and ruining that Better Homes and Gardens poster house that's just itching to get out. Let's be honest though, it would really suck to live in a BH&G home. I'd be afraid to sit on the pristine furniture or leave out the book I was reading, but I digress. Somewhere between BH&G and the current clutter you're wading through is a happy medium. A place where it takes zero brainpower to know where something goes. It takes even less brainpower to know if you need a new roll of scotch tape because you have one roll, in the wrapping paper bin, and it's almost out and you already wrote it on your Shopping List. No second guessing, no “I know I bought a new one, and I know it's here Somewhere”. Oh the dreaded Somewhere. Let's banish Somewhere and replace it with I know EXACTLY where everything is. The end of sleepless nights, tossing and turning, wondering if you can find that kazoo you bought months ago that little Jimmy needs tomorrow at school for music day. Replace that with “Jimmy, please grab your kazoo out of the bin labeled “Music Supplies” in the garage and put it in your backpack”. Ahhh. Rest and relief.
So how do you get to a place where everything has a home? Well, I'm going to be frank you with. You need to let go of a few things. I know...I KNOW. You might need it one day. You very well may, but right now it's causing you a big headache. And one day you can buy another at the local store if you “really” need it, which I'm guessing you don't, because we really don't need a good portion of what we have. Phew. So where do you start? You start the reduction in one small drawer or nook or cranny (the actual process is a whole 'nother post), you finish that one small spot, and you go from there.
Once you're down to just having the items you need, love and USE, you have to make a home for them. If it's as extreme as laying the item down in a drawer or hanging it on a pegboard and drawing a line around it with a Sharpie, do it. If that's what it takes for that item to go back there, DO IT. You can also write the item's name on a Post It, stick the Post It where the item goes and place the item on top of it. Slightly less dramatic than the Sharpie Method, not nearly as fun. :) Here are a few more ideas:
Group like items, then label the shelf:“Snack Foods”
Group like items, then label the box: “Wrapping Supplies”
Hang hooks for backpacks, towels, robes, keys, etc.
Hang like items together, one home for sweaters, coats, pants, etc.
Group like items in drawers: socks, underwear, shorts, etc.
Group like items in bins: DVDs, home maintenance, light bulbs, electronic cables/parts, batteries, correspondence, hats, gloves, medicine, etc.
The bottom line is this: Gather together like items, keep them in once place and one place only, label the box, bin or shelf if necessary in either a temporary (Post It, label) or permanent way (Sharpie Outline).
If suddenly a new box of greeting cards appears and it doesn't fit in your “Correspondence” bin, you have three choices. You give it away, you keep it and give away/discard something else in the bin, or you buy a bigger bin. The last is only an option if you physically have the space for a larger bin and you know you will need to write more letters this year and the smaller bin just isn't cutting it. A bigger bin is NOT an option if you don't have room for it and if you're just using a bigger bin as an excuse to keep more stuff than you could possibly use in 3 lifetimes. Be honest.