There's the drawer in the living room hutch that is jam packed with all sorts of odds and ends: candles, old pictures, holiday cards, dice, a matryoshka doll and frame with Aaron's baby handprint ... just to name a few. I'd go take a peek to see what else is in there, but it's a scary little drawer! When I need something from there, I quickly pull it open, search around for the needed item, stuff everything back in and close it quickly while poking back in the junk that's trying to escape and try not to catch my finger in the drawer.
My closet is also a disaster zone, but the good news is that there is nice strong door holding it all in there. If that door were to ever collapse under the pressure, there would be an avalanche of clothing, suitcases, dusty shoes, my foot massager/hot water bath gizmo, a file folder full of preschool activities I never revisited after organizing them two years ago, a box of things I'm collecting for GoodWill, and a bunch of random maternity clothes that missed out on being stored with the rest of my prego wardrobe. Those really need to go.
My sister helped me organize my pantry several months ago but it looks like I need to schedule another appointment with my private organizer. :) It's amazing how quickly I can fill up the shelves with bags of random "important" things and lose any semblance of order. We currently have a grocery sack of fish paraphanelia perched precariously on the top shelf, right next to our stash of tea, a hodge-podge of place-mats and Pete's birdseed. And that's just the top right corner. Scary. Now I just stuff in my pantry items when I get home from the grocery, carefully close the door (we don't want any seismic activity) and hope that the next time I need to get in there, I don't end up with a box of ziplock bags on my head.
Then there is the goody drawer and silverware drawer, but I already lamented that mess!
Phew! And that's not even taking into consideration all the kids' crazy nooks and crannies! They are famous for stuffing small spaces with inordinate amounts of "treasures" and then stepping back and saying, "There! Perfect!" Most of those little pack-rat nests I have been willing to walk past, but if the mess starts creeping into our common living areas, I have to do something. One such area is the laundry room.
The laundry room that houses so much more than just laundry! Of course there's the washer and dryer and all the soaps and cleaners that go along with that. With a little hunting you might find my dusty iron and ironing board ... maybe. This is also were Gimi's house is nestled under a set of shelves full of crafts, and whole lot of other odds-n-ends: citronella candles for summer nights, Easter eggs to hide in the spring, buckets of beads for the girls to make necklaces and my bucket of bathroom cleaning supplies. What an interesting conglomeration of bits and pieces!
There is also a clothing rod that currently holds extra coats, snow pants, table clothes and a few random bags full of other random items. Just below that is the vacuum and a box full of enough shoes to clad an entire kindergarten! And just above that are ten little coat hooks covered with enough coats to keep that kindergarten class warm and cozy! And that would be swell if this was a kindergarten class, but it's not. But if that's the case, why do our four kids need so many shoes and coats!?!
Brett and I tackled this little problem several weeks ago and discovered that while there was room for improvement, we couldn't actually get rid of much. We just needed to organize it better. Here is the before picture so that you can see that I wasn't making anything up:
|Sorry I don't have a wide-lense camera |
for the full effect! There's an extra set of hooks
behind the door ... if you dare to take a peek!
We went through the shoes and tried to streamline what went in the shoe bin. For each kid we tried to choose one pair of tennis shoes, dress shoes and slip on shoes. Of course, that still amounted to a dozen pairs of shoes ... so it's hard to call that better. :) We took the snow-boots and put them in a cardboard box and stored it on the shelf above the dryer. That way those clunky guys are only out and about when we actually need them.
Next we had the kids each choose two coats: a heavy one and a light one. All the other sweatshirts and warm wraps went to live in the kids' closets. This went a long way towards making the area feel more organized. That meant that Lydia and Ashley each had two coat hooks for their coats and Aaron and Norah had a hook for each coat and one for their backpacks. Completely do-able even for a kid in a hurry!
Finally we sorted and refreshed the current organizer on the back of the laundry room door. I actually love this little hanger-guy. It's an old shoe sorter that I picked up from Wal-Mart years ago.
|Why there is a pool inner-tube in with the |
winter stuff is a mystery to me, too,
It's perfect for all the little bits and pieces that we need. In the summer we fill the sleeves with sun hats, baseball caps, sunscreen, bug spray, pool toys and visors. Then, in the winter, we trade out the warm weather supplies for the cold weather parts: hats, gloves, scarves, hand warmers and more of all the above. Again ... we apparently have more than four children living here! But at least they are organized.
Now our laundry room is a bit more functional and a bit less frustrating. The door actually opens all the way instead of getting hung up on the coat that fell off the over-loaded hook or the back-pack that got dropped to the floor in a pile.
And now when you walk in there, you don't run the risk of getting ganged up on by a bunch of hoodies and held at glove-point! :)