I have been a bit slow in getting this next post up, but let me tell you the fun things keeping me preoccupied!! My dad has been at our house, working furiously to finish our basement!! I know, I’m spoiled – I have a dad and father-in-law that can do all things handy! (love him as I do, my husband and I seem to be lacking those genes!) I’m sure you all will be getting lots of before and after photos, but I had to share this one! I know it is a little uninspiring right now – but I’m ecstatic about it! Someday the alcove above the fireplace will house a tv, surrounded by pretty tile. So, sorry for the delay in this post, but I’ve been busy! Really, my dad has been busy and I’ve been making his life difficult with my crazy requests, and occasionally I pick up a broom or tighten some screws!
O.k. back to organizing! Stuff that has no home is our worst enemy. I have two homes for a lot of things – a temporary home and a long-term home. I don’t agree with the argument that you should only touch any item once. Although that sounds lovely – heavenly actually! it isn’t always reasonable or even a good use of time. Having a short-term and long-term home for some items will help save you time, and it will keep that growing pile off your kitchen counter.
Everyone has busy days when just getting the kids in the door, fed, changed and back out the door in the time allowed is a mighty accomplishment. I can deal with items quickly on those busy days if I stash them somewhere in a temporary home. The key is that this temporary home is orderly enough that things can still be found, they are not getting destroyed and I know where they go when I have time to put them in their long term home.
Do you remember these before pictures of my house after a crazy busy day from “this post“? (Including groceries to put away and breakfast dishes in the sink at 4pm!) I had about 25 minutes to get my kids a snack, my daughter in her ballet clothes, and the house in order. Then I had to get out the door to dance, and back home to make dinner. If every item strewn about had to go to a different room and I had no idea where to even put some of it, my clean-up job could have easily taken an hour or more – not time I had that evening.
When the clean up job seems overwhelming or would take too long, we often throw up our arms and say “forget it!”. This is where a temporary home is helpful. By stashing things to go upstairs in my stair basket, mail in my bin, homework folders in their bins…. I can do a quick clean-up that returns my home to order. This clean-up took less than 25 minutes start to finish – including snacks , washing dishes and getting Addi dressed for dance. I know some of you think that is because of my caffeine intake! but really it’s just about systems that work for containing my clutter. This feels good when I walk in the door to make dinner and enjoy my evening with my family. And right or wrong, I think our house being in order for the evening makes Jason and I feel better about what I did all day while he was hard at work.
Here is one of my temporary homes that I find very helpful on a regular basis! I have two boxes in my junk drawer – tucked in that right back corner. One is for miscellaneous hardware, screws… that I have no idea what they go to but I don’t think I should toss them. I have a second bin for all the really small kid toy parts and game pieces I find laying around. You can see all the random things I find, but don’t know what they go to or don’t have time to get them put away in the right place.
2-3 times a year I clean my junk drawer out, sort those boxes and deal with what is in them. It usually takes 15-20 minutes to go through them, toss what I have figured out is trash or broken, put away what is simply misplaced… and I’ll end up with a handful of things that go back in the drawer because I still don’t know what they are! This is a good task for one of the times you can do a 15-20 minute project but don’t have time to start something major. I often find myself doing this kind of thing at the counter while my 2 year old takes “forever” to eat a simple lunch!
The other thing I love… when my husband asks me if I’ve seen “the octagon shaped white plastic piece missing off an appliance” I know exactly where to find it! Kinda makes you feel like a rock-star housewife! And when the kids need a missing game piece I don’t have to try and figure out where I tossed it in a hurry because a guest was on the way. This is what I mean by everything has a home – maybe a temporary and long-term. Yes, in an ideal world I would pick up every marble, bingo chip, dice… and put it neatly in the correct game box each time I find it. That’s not my reality – and half the time I don’t even know what game it came from!
I have a “temporary home” for a lot of things in my house. For those of you that think my house is always spotless – it is not! All of the floor space, counter tops and tables are usually free of any clutter (because that clutter makes me cranky!). However, if you find my stash zones you will find a pile of stuff NOT “put away” most days! I am big on a house being calm, and peaceful to live in, but don’t translate that to perfection. Your house can feel orderly and calm, without it being perfect.
This relates back to boundaries too. I have a temporary home with a boundary, so that my quick clean up times don’t get out of control. On a regular basis I have to take to the time to put everything! away in its proper place. Above are some of my “temporary homes”.
The goal is that you don’t have to deal with everything immediately when it comes in your door. You can do a quick sort (which makes it easier to deal with later), and then put items in a safe place so your house isn’t cluttered until you have time to deal with it completely. (Which for some items might honestly not be for months! – like those cards, pictures, sentimental items.)
Once your counter,desk, floor, table… are clean it is much easier to be motivated to keep them that way. I must admit, waking up to a house where all the clutter is gone and everything is in its place is a joyful and peaceful start to my day! It definitely motivates me to stay organized!