I am terribly unorganized. I look at photos of kitchens with glass cabinet doors, (as in see-through!) labeled storage boxes for toys, drawer separators to divide small items into their designated compartments, and I dream of a clutter-free life filled with color coordinated ?closets and wall mounted wrapping paper dispensers. Unfortunately, my life will never look like that. I scroll through Pinterest pictures in hopes that I will suddenly gain the skills and executive function ability to create an organized life, while my attention deficit disorder rolls its eyes and thinks “Oh boy, there she goes again, trying to get all Martha Stewart again.” ?And, briefly, in my mind, all will be well in the world once the new shelving unit is delivered. However, somehow, for some reason, my organization gadgets end up doubling as “clutter keepers” as in, another place to rummage through while I am looking for what I lost. ?But……there is some hope. ?I have collected some effective techniques that have helped me to put a dent in the piles of stuff that is my life. ?A couple little tricks that may seem really simple and so obvious, but were revolutionary to me. ? Hopefully one or two of these will do the same for you!
1. ?Go digital! ??
What is the one thing you always have with you no matter what? You may forget your lunch, lose your keys, misplace your children’s birth certificates (or maybe even your children) but I can bet that you always have your phone with you. Great! Take advantage of that! Need to pick something up from the grocery store? ?Text yourself. Have a doctor’s appointment, lunch date, meeting with the teacher? Download a simple calendar and manage your busy schedule with a few clicks. Some of them even have the option to send reminder via text message or email. ?You can even use the phone’s camera to take a picture of something you want to remember later. For instance, you are walking to work in the morning and walk past a baseball field, which reminds you that you still haven’t called the park district about signing the kids up for T-ball this year. ?Snap a quick photo of the baseball field to remind you again at a time that is a little more convenient to call. My phone has been the single-most effective weapon against the overwhelming amount of loose paper containing phone numbers, important dates, lists, memos, etc. that used to be strewn about my purse, car, desk drawers, and pockets.
2. ?Designate homes for everything.
This may be second nature for most people, but once again, was eye-opening for me. ?I spent a good part of my life searching for things mainly because I put them in random places. I did not realize this until I became an adult with my own home and my own guests. ?I noticed a pattern when people would ask me, “Where do you keep the (insert any household item here)” I never had an answer. This question was my cue to start opening drawers and cabinets until I would come across said item. ?I guess after a few years of doing this, I finally realized that if I designate a specific spot for specific items, I’d save myself a lot of time and the embarrassment of finally finding the cheese grater….in the laundry room…..next to the dog food and a broken pair of flip-flops.
3. Walk in basket.
No, this is not a basket that is spacious enough to walk around in; this is what I call the basket that I leave near the door when I walk in the house. ?By having it there, I have trained myself to throw everything in it as I walk in the door. Keys, sunglasses, mail, and phone. ?Obviously, I will need some of those things again, before the next time I leave the house, but at least when I do need them, I know exactly where to find them.
4. Trash can as a wrapping paper holder.
I too, had visions of creating a “wrapping paper wall” using towel bars to neatly display the wrapping paper roll, horizontally on the wall, ?providing easy access to simply pull the paper to desired length and cut, then wrap. Not gonna happen. ?I do not have the extra wall space to mount multiple wrapping paper rolls, nor do I think it would make an attractive addition if we did. So my solution was a trash can. (an umbrella holder would work well too.) I bought an inexpensive trash can that stands a little higher than halfway up the length of the wrapping paper roll. ?It fits several rolls and I have some tape, scissors, and bows & ribbons tossed in at the bottom of the can. Its portable enough to bring into the wrapping room of my choice, and I designated a “home” for it, so that it stays in the same spot until I have some gift wrapping to do.
5. Kitchen wrap storage.
So my visions for the wrapping paper were re-framed (an ultimately much better suited for) ?on a smaller scale and did not require the use of any wall space. ?I used paper towel rolls and mounted them to the back of a cabinet door.
?6. Undercover Storage
As I said earlier, my attempts at creating storage areas usually turn into my creating more stuff to add to the clutter. But if that storage area just happens to be something that is already there….well then, I have not added to the problem. ?An ottoman with a detachable top, for instance, is a great place to put extra blankets. ?The pedestal under your washer and dryer can be where you put the dirty dish towels or cleaning rags that need to be washed. And in the other one, perhaps, can be where you store your laundry detergent, fabric softner, bleach, and stain remover spray.
I can not say enough about my love of hooks! I have made my own hook racks out of wood that I just stained and screwed in the loose hooks. (Much more economical than purchasing one already made) I have one in the boys room for their hats. One on the back of my closet door for necklaces, Several in the laundry/mud room for coats and back packs. ?Just make sure to designate what goes on which hooks to prevent them from becoming a catch all for anything that is hangable!
There you have it…7 simple tricks that are so easy. so doable. Yet, so life changing! These are the things that have propelled me into my journey of a simpler life. By reducing the clutter in our external world, we at the same time free up space internally as well.