Last week I was scrolling through my Facebook and I came across the Good Housekeeping article – “6 Places We’re NOT Organizing Anymore.” Naturally, it caught my attention and I, of course, quietly gasped. What areas could they be talking about? I asked myself. I immediately clicked on the article to see what over 1,000 people “liked.”
As I read the article it all made sense and I knew where the author, Lauren Piro, was coming from. The areas she confronted are a constant struggle for many of us so I completely understand sending up the white flag. And, to Lauren’s credit, leaving these areas disorganized is not going to prevent you from reaching your ultimate goals in life. However, as the person who comes in when these areas become overrun with clutter and cause daily frustration, I can attest to the fact that some level of organization is necessary. After all, organization is about making your life easier by living lighter and more efficiently.
All of this got me thinking… maybe we need to address some of these areas in a more simplistic way and just get real about the level of organization needed to make life easier and not add more work to the to-do list.
So, here’s what I have for those who would still like to have a little order to their chaos…
- Junk Drawer – It doesn’t have to be perfect, but a junk drawer still needs to be manageable so you can find a 9volt battery when you need it. A junk drawer can easily and quickly be organized by dividing it into sections with drawer dividers and keeping similar items together (e.g. batteries, pens/pencils, office supplies, tools, etc.)
- Photos – I completely agree with Lauren that many of us don’t have time to scrapbook (I know I personally don’t); however, printed photos in a box will never get looked at and they will only take up space. Don’t even bother printing them. Drop them into an online photo album that can easily be shared or printed into a beautiful book with the few clicks of a mouse. The book will take up less space, look great as a decorative accessory and be easier to flip through.
- Laundry Room – While we don’t entertain in the laundry room, we do want to make it a pleasant place to be. After all, many of us don’t enjoy the task of laundry so it’s important to keep the space looking good so that we can keep ourselves motivated and so that there is enough space to work in the room. Using decorative bins for loose items is a simple way to remove the visual clutter from open shelves. Tidying up the space on a regular basis will keep the piles of clothes at bay, the dust to a minimum (in what can be a very dusty room) and keep you on top of your detergent and pre-treater levels so you always have back-up supplies.
- Kids Play Area – Organizational skills can be taught at a very young age. While it is not the end of the world if My Little Pony gets put with the animal figurines, the play space will always become a disaster if the munchkins are tearing about the whole area looking for something that isn’t in its proper home. Keeping items in their home will make life easier and will teach kids the benefits of organization at a young age. Keep them involved in clean-up time so they become responsible for being able to find things. Staying on top of this type of work on a regular basis (even once a week) prevents things from getting out of control later and creating one of the most overwhelming and time consuming sorting and organizing projects you will ever encounter. (Check out my Springpad Notebook “Organize the Play Space” for tips on making over your child’s play space.)
Nail Polish – Sorting through 10 or 15 colors every time you paint your nails can be annoying to say the least. I’ve witnessed many of my friends’ and clients’ chaotic drawers/bins and the process they go through to find the color they want. Keep the colors neat and tidy by taking a Q-tip and dabbing the color on top of the lid. This way you won’t have to pull out every single nail polish to find what you want and you’ll easily be able to keep the colors in order.
Serving & Cooking Utensils – Purging is always helpful, but even after a purge you may still be rifling through things to find what you want. Using drawer dividers, split the drawer into sections to easily organize the items you use on a regular basis (if you have more than one drawer, use one for baking utensils and one for cooking utensils). Then, put the once or twice a year items in a canister that gets stored in the pantry. After all, you don’t want to be without that turkey baster come Thanksgiving.