Rule #4: Like with Like. A classic! Even the most disorganized person recites this for me and for good reason. If you have ever looked for a bandaid and just know you bought a package not that long ago but can't find it you understand the wisdom of this rule. One of the basic reasons we organize is to save time. If all your bandaids (bills, candles, gift bags etc etc…) are in the same place you will save time and money knowing you only need to look in one place for your supply. Listen people! one place = more time! more $$!
Rule #5: Sometimes cheap is too expensive. Buy items to last. I do love the dollar store for some things but when it counts, buy quality over quantity. It is better to buy one $80 coffee maker then 2 $40 ones. You will most likely get a better cup of coffee but you will save space in the landfill too.
Real Estate in the Bay Area is some of the most expensive in the country. Why do we pay hundreds of dollars per square foot storing boxes of outdated college textbooks? Keeping your life (and things) current is good practice for allowing new, exciting things into your life.
Here are a few ideas for all of you to keep a good flow of energy through your home.
www.freecycle.org – A neighborhood driven internet based site that allows you to post what you need to get rid of for free! And, you can request a need and there is a good chance that someone in your neighborhood has it and wants to get rid of it…also for free. Nice.
www.earth911.org – Just type in what you want to recycle and your zip code and they give you the place you need to take it. easy! I had a question about recycling incandenscent light bulbs but there was no information on the site. I emailed someone and, no kidding, got this great detailed response about why the old school, incandescent light bulbs are not able to be recycled. Personalized service!
Garage sale – Get rid of loads of stuff at once. Remember that bargining is in the spirit of the garage sale. You may remember how you spent $80 on a set of utencils but the customer doesn't know that and most importantly, doesn't care. All they know is that they are at a garage sale and they want a bargin. Give it to them.
college kids – What college kid doesn't need a microwave, coffee mugs and milk crates.
neighborhood listserv – You can find out if your neighborhood has one by going to your city website. I belong to 2 since I live right on the border. Postings include, free plant cuttings, neighborhood meetings, newsletters from our mayor and council people, events, lost pets (and found again!), suspicious behavior and on and on.
friends – I just attended a clothing swap with 12 other women and got rid of 8 shirts! All that doesn't get chosen goes to Good Will or Salvation Army.
family – My parents just bought new appliances and since their old stove and dishwasher work great, my parents, who love a good road trip, are going to load them into their van and drive from Michigan to California! I get "new" appliances and someone will get my older appliances (still good) from Urban Ore. Yes, this is pretty extreme but it works for us.
Rule #6: You need to maintain. sigh. This is possibly a sad reality for many including me. You may feel the reason you are disorganized is because you have no time or energy at the end of the day. You dig dinner out of grocery bags because you don't even have time to put them in the cupboards.
This may be the time to re-evaluate your life. Is everything you do important and necessary to you? Does what you do each day reflect your life goals? Or, is it simply time to engage your family, your mate, your children in helping you stay organized? Simple things like having your 10 year old sort laundry or put away the groceries are useful skills you may take for granted but actually need to be taught.
Part of the overwhelming nature of our lives is sometimes your household just has too much information coming in and it is hard and unrewarding to maintain when, each week, piles of store magazines, credit card offers etc come in. You can stop this. Here are 3 sites to stop the mail that never gets opened anyway.
Let me know if these rules are helpful to you and what are some of your favorite rules for staying organized?
When I find a company I have used and have had a positivie experience, I put them on my resource page. But first I like to blog about them!
I used them once for a moving job I got at the last minute and truly needed the boxes in 2 days.
I ordered them Monday afternoon and they were delivered to my door Wednesday morning. Big relief! Did not want to make a trip to a local moving place that morning.
I also compared their pricing and they are much cheaper than just buying boxes at a local place. Also, they deliver to your door! I LOVE that.
Happy Moving everyone!
Emily's Organizing Rules
So, I was just talking to my good friend Tracy the other day. She's moving for the 2nd time in as many years. Getting excited to move again is just about impossible for most folks, but Tracy has managed to almost get there.
It helps that she made up a bunch of organizing rules that she sort of learned the hard way during her first move. Moving can be like a slow death and Tracy just realized that keeping all sorts of things for "someday" projects just wasn't working out. Out of this one thought came rules for everyday life that would keep her from going back to saving most everything. Being that I am an organizer I was excited and we ended up sharing our favorite rules. She gave me permission to share her rules as part of this blog.
Here is my first post of the combined wisdom of both me and Tracy, in no particular order.
Rule #1: You get the room you have. Seems sorta confusing, but I like my rules short and snappy. Here's what it means. Say you have 2 bookcases in your home and there is no room for another. According to my rule you get to have as many books as can fit into those 2 bookcases. This rule is about you defining what is important in your life. So, if you just have to have 3 bookcases full of books, by all means, have at it. All I am saying is that before you have a bookcase worth of books lying around your home you need look around, decide what is less important than the books and get rid of it before you start buying books. This might be my favorite rule by the way.
Rule #2: Use according to purpose. For this rule, let's move into the dining room/eating area of your home. We all have a table that was bought with the intention that you, your family and loved ones would eat on it. If you're not careful it ends up being the mail, coat, keys, purse and junk holder. I have included a picture of my dining room table and it always looks just like this. This isn't bragging because the rest of my home doesn't always look this nice and calm. This is me saying that one area of my home will always be ready for me to use immediately. It relaxes me to look at my clear table when I walk by (no matter what the rest of my home looks like and maybe especially when the rest of my place is a sty) and it relaxes me when I set my plate down for dinner. It helps that I have a dedicated place for my purse and keys by my front door. My desk gets the mail and the front closet gets my coat. No matter how organized you want to be, if you don't have a place for these items all bets are off. Which brings me to the last rule of the day…
Rule #3: Everything needs a home. This is pretty self explanitory (right?).
This rule is about time, energy and what you want to do with yours. Do you want to look for your keys everyday? Do you want to eat on top of a pile of newspapers at dinner time?
Find a home for your things. Put them in that home every single time. For instance, I have room for 3 pairs of shoes near my front door. If I decide to wear a pair that don't live there, when I am done wearing them, I put them by the stairs and the next time I go to my bedroom closet I bring them with me. It does take a little thought but it's your home, your castle! You will be rewarded. Over a year you will save weeks of time. That's right. weeks.
What rules help you keep your home the way you want?
I have a few more rules coming next week, and they are just as fun!
My Grandfather died a few years ago and my family was fortuate enough that every single child and grandchild was able to attend the service in South Dakota.
His wife, my grandmother, had decided to move to an assisted living home after his death. The house was already sold so our family needed to remove everything my
grandmother didn't want in just a couple of days.
I think it was my mom (although I could be wrong here) who suggested we hold a sort of private auction for the remaining items in my grandparents home.
How it worked was each person was given a set of different colored stickers. Every child and grandchild would walk around the house, open drawers and closets and put a
sticker on any item they wanted. If more than one sticker ended up an item, an auction was held. Each person trying to outbid the other for what they wanted.
I think it lead to the most expensive coo coo clock ever!
When each person was done they would look at each item, decide on the value, and put the total amount of cash in a coffee can. The cash, of course, went to my grandmother.
This afternoon will be remembered by me as a sweet end to 2 lives with the incredible benefit of getting to reminice with one of them. My cousins and I would laugh, be puzzled, be shocked and wonder at the things my grandparents had saved in the 60+ years they were married. There was such sweetness because my grandmother was able to sit in the middle of it all and tell us about the items we brought to her attention. She was also able to laugh, be puzzled and be shocked at the things we chose to keep in the family!
I am proud that each member of my family was able to participate in a day full of generosity, memories and laughter.
Two of the items I chose are pictured here. A little garden knome and some cracker jack prizes from the 1950's (I am told) that I framed. Some of my favorite art in my home!
How have you been able to make a transition in your life with some grace and laughter?
There are never enough ideas!