Project Repurpose: Home Organization
I recently visited my family and friends in Miami. While there, I decided to help my mother organize some of her belongings in her house. Now I am no neat queen myself, but I am trying my best to get better. In past posts, I shared my struggles with staying organized. I have also had 2 organizers to come in and help me on two different occasions.
I still struggle to keep clutter down. I think my weaknesses are discounted items from stores, paper, and clothes. I truly believe that hoarding and clutter is a learned behavior that can come from your upbringing. There are several people in my near and distant family that have similar struggles with keeping their surroundings clutter free. Realizing that clutter can be a life long struggle, I am making efforts to break the clutter cycle. A few things that I have started to implement to help keep a clutter free environment is:
1. Avoiding window shopping.
2. Avoiding aimlessly shopping the Clearance areas in Walgreens, Target, etc.
3. Shopping for items that I need and not stuff that I "want".
4. Having a list when shopping to avoid picking up things that I don't need.
5. Putting things away as soon as I get home.
6. Having a designated area for junk mail (i.e. in side the shredder can).
7. Shredding junk mail and old paperwork at least once a month.
8. Going paperless by scanning files into my computer or snapping a shot of the paper with my iPad camera.
9. Purging old technology, clothing, shoes, home accessories, etc. if they have not been used in over a year.
10. Grouping and storing items by like kind for easy access.
Now back to my Mother's house. My mother has the tendency to have all of her clutter in sight. For example, the kitchen table has at least 3 loaves of bread, a bowl of fruit, several packages of napkins, plastic ware, bags of rice, etc. all on the table. The last time I organized the kitchen (over a year ago), I bought her a few bread bins from Ikea, placed the rice in containers, put the extra plastic ware in the pantry, etc. but it seems that all that I did got undone. I guess she reasons that if she leaves it out, she does not have to look for it. I am not sure. I think all-in-all she has good intentions for keeping the house neater but she starts little projects everyday and bounces from one thing to another, thus not being able to complete an entire area. So when I helped her this time, I did the following:
The photo above is of my mom's "Florida Room". Before, that area had a cluttered walkway containing a cluttered bookshelf and a VHS tape tower with old tapes in it. My mother was not a fan of getting rid of large amounts of items at one time, so I decided to 'Repurpose' a majority of the items. I removed all of the items from the area and put them into the dining room. We went through all of the books and organized them by type (i.e. History, Bibles, Dictionaries, Health, cookbooks, etc.). She agreed to donate any books that she had doubles of. We then started on the VHS tapes. I explained to her that our old Family Movies could be transferred into digital copies and the old kids movies and educational videos left over from when my niece was little (my niece is almost 30 now goodness!!!!), could now be donated so that another child could enjoy them. That seemed to ease her mind, as she seemed to be concerned with items having a use by others outside of her possession. After purging and organizing, we created this little area (picture #4) where she could grab books to read as well as display all of her African art.
The above photo shows the walkway space in front of my mom's China Cabinet. There were items cluttered in the that area which included pieces of fabric, mops and brooms, random pieces of paper, etc. The containers had spools of thread for her sewing projects, a container full of magazine subscriptions, and 'vintage' drinking glasses. The bin project is from a year or so ago. She promised me she would move and purge some of the items in the containers during the year. As you all see, it never happened. We moved all of the items in that area and began to sort through them one container at a time. We decided to attack one container, the magazines, and placed the other containers on the back porch out of the way until later. Mom did a pretty good job sorting through the magazines. She, unfortunately, decided to flip through all if the magazines which slowed progress, but she did rip out articles that she wanted and tossed the remainder of the magazines in the recycle bin. Because that process took several days, we were unable to get to the other two bins this time, but they are on my to-do list for next time. After placing all of the items in their proper place, we had a clutter free walkway!
We ended up making good progress clearing other parts of the house as well as removing a large cabinet that acted as a junk keeper. I was happy that she allowed that unsightly thing to go. I am happy and hopeful that, like me, some of what I learned and passed on to my mom about organizing helps. It truly seemed like she started to see the concept behind grouping items for easy retrieval.
I truly hope that you all make 2014 a clutter free year! Spend more time creating and less time looking for stuff! :-)