Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
CLICK ON THE RABBIT ( yes, those are cabinets) TO SEE MY PORTFOLIO, AND LEARN MORE ABOUT MY SERVICES...theartofthehome.com

Friday, January 25, 2013

8 great organizing tips from the woman once demoted from maid to dishwasher

Hey, I'm organized, I just don't do windows...very often...or very well.  And I may not use it all that much, but I know exactly where my broom is (I park it in the same place after every flight).  I may not be the Queen of Clean, but feel free to call me the Oracle of Organization, the Wizard of...hmmm...oh, just read the tips already!
Organizing is even better when you make the practical pretty.  This repurposed radio cabinet holds chalk for the menu board in a repurposed sugar bowl.  Tucked in beside the refrigerator, it's the perfect cabinet to hold cookbooks in an otherwise unused space, and to keep a few vases and  old teapots handy for flower arranging.
 So, did you read the last post and make your list? Having trouble figuring out how to re-arrange your stuff to suit your life, still? Here are my most useful organizing tips.
1.  Buy Less Stuff.
     The easiest way to avoid hauling home extras is to not shop at those really convenient stores that pack a full grocery store between the lingerie and the electronics.  They lure you in with one cheap thing, or ten, and sell you a bunch of stuff you never planned to buy.  For anyone with a clutter issue, these stores are not saving you money.

2.  Give Stuff Away.
     If you love it, keep it.  If you use it, keep it.  If you spent a lot of money on it, but it doesn't really work right/fit right/look right, cut your losses and let it go.  It's taking up space, causing congestion and maybe even feelings of guilt.  If it was a gift, and you don't love it/won't use it, find a creative way to explain how much somebody else loved it sooo much, you had to pass it on.  Time is relative, so you aren't lying, you're just telling the truth in advance.  Donate it to a thrift store (far from the gifter's home, if it's distinctive), and let the person who loves it find it.

3.  Keep a Give-Away Box by your door.
     Don't wait for once a year, or once a season, or to step on the crap one time too many.  Every time you notice something that's been hanging out unused for way too long, in the box it goes.  Every time the box is full, off to the thrift store it goes.  Put big stuff and things the thrift store won't take on the curb with a free sign.  Somebody else is gonna feel like they hit the jackpot.  I've been on both sides of this exchange, and it's fun either way.

4.  Store things as near as possible to where they are used, and make sure it's easy to get them out and put them away, without having to move other items.  This is why a toy box in the bedroom doesn't work for most young kids.  The toy they want is on the bottom, and the place they play is in the kitchen.  Store the chocolate fountain from your wedding shower on a shelf in the garage, and convert a kitchen cupboard to toddler storage.  When they are old enough to prefer playing in their rooms, they'll be old enough to want the chocolate fountain handy in the kitchen.

  Office stuff the problem?  Try grouping projects in baskets sized to hold file folders.  365 Being, the bookazine I co-publish, doesn't require a lot of files, but they do have to be dragged to various locations, which rarely actually include the office.  The ones I'm in charge of live in one easy to carry basket.  Lots of my other projects do the same.  Magazine caddies work well for this, too, and look pretty in whatever room you actually like to work in.
Need a convenient place to store an extra table for crafts or big family dinners?  Trade in a display console for a drop leaf, and you will always have one handy.

5.  If practical things are pretty, they can be stored in plain sight.  There isn't a convenient place to store an extra folding table here, but there was a spot in my entry where I wanted a small pretty table for display.  Turns out the vintage Duncan Pfyfe drop leaf that I used to use in the artroom looks perfect here, and pops up to full size in a jiffy.  These are so common on craigslist, you probably won't pay more than $50, if you have to pay anything.  Having simple lines, they're easy to paint, and go with almost any style from baroque to contemporary.

Glass candy jars organize all kinds of things.  If they don't have lids, vintage saucers and butter plates, with figurines epoxied on for knobs, will do the trick.  I store my tiered server here with ribbons on it, since it only holds party food about once a year.

Tiny craft supplies stored in glass jars.  Painting all the lids black really helps to make it look like unified abundance, rather than just organized clutter.
6.  Store things in clear containers, the prettier the better.  Put the staples you use most, which may not be the traditional flour and sugar (oats and doggy biscuits might be your true staples), in canisters on your kitchen counter.  In fact, store supplies you use a lot of in glass canisters in every room of the house.  What is always a hassle to get to when you need it?  If it doesn't go in a glass canister, it will probably go in a basket.  Projects from crafts to crochet fit this category, as do extra rolls of toilet paper.  Like I said, every room.
Keep projects in the works corralled in baskets.  This one travels to open studio nights almost every week.

7.  Dresser drawers always a jumble?  Put all your clothes except lacies and socks in your closet.  This may mean purging your closet of all the stuff you don't actually currently wear (See #s 1 and 2).  Hang all your pants, including sweats and jeans, and stack t-shirts and sweaters on divided shelves.  Dressers work great for storage in almost every other room of the house.
This buffet sits in its proper place in the dining room, except the dining room no longer pretends it isn't actually another art studio.  About the only dinner guests I ever have are here for 2nd Saturday Studio, anyway.  Ephemera and collage supplies, much like stuff in an office, are easier to use and keep tidy (yes, that's relative) if they are stored vertically.  Here, all sorts of specialty paper, vintage advertising, clip art, and old cards stand upright in planter boxes, bought for pennies at the thrift store.  Stock paper is stored in magazine and paper file boxes sold at craft supply stores. 

8.  Repurpose furniture, either the useless things you can't bear to part with, or thrifty finds that could solve your storage issues.  Buffets are great for art supplies, toy storage, and I've seen more than one spend its second fifty years as a tool bench in the garage.  Small coffee tables can stack to make shelves, on their own, or on a buffet.  If it's your style, it can be charming.  Farm benches are often used this way, too.  Small shelves and tiered plant stands can turn a narrow dresser into a hutch as well, and old lamps you don't need, but love the look of can be turned into small table bases, candle and plant stands, or even hat stands.

With an open mind and a proper disregard for the traditional rules of how a house is supposed to look, you really can fit the life you lead into the home you have.  Organizing your stuff will give you more room to do what you like, and more time to do it.  Hope this was helpful!  Have a great weekend, and I'll be back Monday, probably with a sneak peek at what's coming up for spring in the bookazine. 

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