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More madness courtesy of CHBM and Better Today

The idea is to blog about my best organizational or home decorating tips. Huh. This should be easy, right?

After all, I’m the reformed Messy who embraced the Messies Anonymous method, gained control (sort of) of the insanity that ensued around my former abode and later learned the problem wasn’t so much me but who I was married to at the time (the biggest packrat/slob of a human being that ever existed).

But, I’m also the “organizational nutcase” at work who keeps track of all things important in the office – and believe me, there’s a lot to it – if I can’t find the darn info/thing, it doesn’t exist. I keep a bunch of retired male cops from pulling their already thinning hair out, okay?

But, I’m not a great organizer, I know plenty of people who are far more organized than I. Nor am I an incredible neat freak – my house is clean, my kitchen very clean, but it is lived in (there is laundry that needs folding!)

As for decorating? Well… I feel like I spent about 14 years on hiatus from even thinking that way, and I’m finally reawakening to that concept and loving it.

What I am is realistic. Life happens, and it’s messy. Paperwork, details and all the tidbits of crapola that come through our lives need to be kept track of in some way that doesn’t add stress to our already stressed out life. And having an attractive home is just the icing on the cake – it’s far nicer to come home to a place that is pleasing to our eyes than to come home to an ugly mess.

Décor is so personal that what I find soothing, someone else may find annoying, and what others think is “attractive” I might find tacky, or over done, or whatever. My only tip in that area is this: Don’t get bogged down in “designer” concepts. Find what you like, what makes you feel good and use those things. If you do that, always thinking about the way each item, even color and texture, makes you feel, what pleases you – oddly enough, things just seem to “work” that way.

Organizing on the other hand… Wow. There are so many methods. Some swear by FlyLady (I don’t), others like the Speed Cleaning Clutter Control methods, and a few have learned from Messies Anonymous. Some lucky souls were simply born organized; they were probably even born precisely on time, without inconveniencing mother and family by arriving at an indecent hour.

My best tips? Find what works for you and your life style! A system may be perfect, but it will fail if you don’t use it. I’ve tried Household Notebooks (oh great, more paperwork), computer logs, charts, flip cards, and just about everything else you can imagine and through it all I’ve learned what worked for me and what didn’t. But I learned some things that are true no matter what.

~ Don’t get in a hurry. Organization is not a life and death thing. Take your time, pace yourself and don’t rush. Rushing leads to forgetting or missing things.

~ It’s always easier to KEEP something organized than it is to reorganize it once it’s fallen apart. Kind of like cleaning up spills when they happen.

~ Even if something does fall apart, it’s not hopeless. It’s never hopeless. Look at the good, look at what has been done, then tackle the job at hand.

~ Even the simplest system is better than no system.

~ Categorize things, and keep like with like – it  may mean using small tubs to organize goodies, or assigning a shelf to certain items, or using files, bins or baskets – but all your first aid stuff should be in one spot, all your baking gear in one spot, all the baseball gear in one spot, etc. It makes it easier to find everything, and it makes it easier to put things away.

~ Don’t enter or leave a room without doing something nice to that room – straighten a picture, deal with the magazine pile, take that toy to the kid’s room, put the book back – every little bit helps keep things organized.

~ Use little minutes – when you find a moment, go through that pile of newspapers and take care of the coupon clipping you’ve been putting off, sit down and address a dozen Christmas cards, etc. Just because you can’t do the entire room/job/task/etc doesn’t mean you have to do nothing. Do something, anything, no matter how little and it adds up (hey, 100 pennies equals a dollar, right?)

~ Don’t get tied down to “labels” – just because that thing says it’s a medicine cabinet doesn’t mean it’s the best place for medicines (in fact, it isn’t!) Use it for toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash, etc and keep your medicines someplace else. That “linen closet” can hold more than linens (like clear plastic tubs that hold spare light bulbs, candles, matches, or your actual medicine chest – that has a first aid kit in it as well.)

~ And remember to always do what works for you. What works for the guys next door may not work for you and yours. Find what does and do that instead.