Monday, May 2, 2016

Organizing after a Junk Raid

No one said going on a Junk Raid would be EASY....
but come on!  

That had to have felt


Am I right or am I right??

When you go on a 

well-planned out and 
well-executed JUNK RAID, 
the satisfaction is enormous! 
I hope you felt it too.  
If not, please keep going. I promise that as you practice you will get better and better. And please feel free to send me questions or comments on how it went for you and where you might be stumbling.

Now it's time to talk about ORGANIZING! (There's that word again--overused but important!) 

Basically, in this blog, when we talk about organizing, we are talking about:

how to find the 
(the things that you have determined are useful, wonderful, and working parts of your life that add something positive to your and your family's existence.) 

and how to store them so they are easy to find and use.

How do you organize effectively?

The answer to that question is 3 basic steps. 

That's it!  

Here they are....
1 is identifying and then using your prime spaces effectively

2 is putting like items together in reasonably sized containers.  

3 is labeling the containers and spaces so you and others know and remember the plan.

Let me show you what I mean by showing you 
Emily's Finished Linen Closet:

There a couple of things I want to point out here when talking about our first step....
" identifying and then using your prime spaces effectively."  

First, I could NOT get an adequate picture of the entire closet so the very top shelf is not in the picture. That shelf would be considered a C space since it is very tall and hard to reach. You would only want to keep the things that you use just every so often in that space. 

Second, it is important to point out that the prime spaces in Emily's closet are primarily the two middle shelves and possibly the shelves right above and below those, depending on how much space she has in her home.  

So, if I were to identify the space priorities here, it would look something like this:

Top Shelf          C
2nd Shelf          B
3rd Shelf          A
4th Shelf          A
5th Shelf          B
Floor                B

So, in Emily's closet, the top shelf (that you can't see) is where she is going to keep things that she does want to keep but aren't used very often. In her case, it was a humidifier, a heating pad, light bulbs and a shoe shine kit. 

On her 2nd shelf, that you can see here that Emily has put a container with sun protection products, nail care products and "crazy hair day" products for fun school spirit days (that she knows will be happening again, every year, for several years to come. (Way to be prepared!)  She also has a container with miscellaneous chemicals like rubbing alcohol, Aloe Vera gel, hand sanitizer, and hydrogen peroxide.

On the 3rd shelf down, Emily has her "medicine cabinet" or basically two clear boxes, one labeled "Internal Medicines" and one labeled "Bandages and Creams."  This is an excellent example of how one could group like things together in a reasonably sized group. Grouping things together is good but be careful not to make things too specific. You wouldn't want a separate box, for example, for pain relievers, and a box for anti acids, and another for allergy medications. It's fine to just group all of the medicines that go INTO your body together and then another to hold everything that stays on the OUTSIDE of your body.

On the 4th shelf, she is going to house extra toiletries that don't belong in the prime spaces in her house (there will be whole different blog post on the importance of keeping "extras" of all kinds away from prime spaces and how to do it) as well as her extra bathroom hand towels and wash cloths.

On the 5th shelf she decided to keep extra soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, lotion and hair products for when the bars, tubes and bottles currently in use run out and are thrown away.

And on the floor are their family's travel supplies (can you see the small box that holds small travel supplies?) including small overnight bags for when they travel and a little overflow from the kitchen in the way of "special occasion fancy glasses" (yes, that's the technical term for them).

So there you go..... there is a rundown on Emily's linen closet and how she used her prime spaces to organize her keepers. 

The other aspect of organizing your spaces that is really important is the use of medium sized clear containers that help keep small to medium sized things together and your spaces easy to use.  

Let me show you what I mean....

This is a picture of my kitchen pantry. The important part I want to show you is how useful the really tall, out of the way spaces become when you use the clear white containers to house smaller things.  
Over here, to the left, you can see that one of those containers up top holds all of our batteries. If I tried to put that collection of batteries just up on that top shelf alone, without the container, they would be a mess, right?  But because I have the container, it makes it so that very top shelf is totally usable, even to hold small things.

Here is a picture of the closet in our den. Here again you can see that the top shelf is totally usable to hold small things because of the use of clear boxes. It makes it so easy to reach up and grab a box, get the item I need out and put the box back away. It makes it so even the farthest back corner of the closet or space is completely usable.

And, in some cases, I don't use clear boxes if I have something else that fits better that I can also label.  Here is a kitchen cupboard...

See how I used the yellow baskets to hold smaller items that otherwise, if they were just tossed on the shelf would be a big mess, not to mention hard to get at. But because of the use of containers, the tall spaces/shelves are just as usable as the lower shelves. I love how I can just reach up and pull the basket down, reach in and get what I want so easily and then put it all back where it goes. 
I hope that makes sense?

The last thing we need to discuss is the importance of labeling your containers. Sometimes people think this step is a bit of an overkill but in my opinion---we're at WAR and whatever it takes to try and keep control of your STUFF should happen! Are you with me?

If you have labels, it identifies what your plan is. It can serve as a reminder to you but also a "map" for your family members to follow in their efforts to help you put things away. If you have identified specific places things go, your chances of having others put them in their proper place go WAY UP!

Labels don't have to be made by a fancy label maker. Save your money and make them the easy way. Using a word processing program on the computer, print out your labels using the largest font you can put on the container and still have it fit.  Then cut them into strips and tape them on with a strip of clear packing tape. It's as simple as that.

So, after you have gone on a JUNK RAID and determined which things are keepers in your life that deserve to be in some of your space, take the time to organize them

using your space priorities and

clear containers that house reasonably sized like items
label you and others can follow your plan!

Don't be afraid to make this a little bit of a trial and error type thing. It's OK to rip off a label or two and change things around until you get it just right. 

Next Post:  Kim's TOP TEN stuff management rules

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