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Bucky Helps Organize

January 14, 2014

As sad as it is to say, I just finished reading my January Better Homes and Gardens. If you are a magazine subscriber you will understand why this is sad- seeing as I received the issue a month ago and finished only in enough time to receive the February one. I digress. The point here is that the new January issue was all about organizing.

I personally like to refer to it as ‘Winter Cleaning’ (who wants to stay inside and clean in the spring??) This is the activity where I start  going through all my stuff and decide what I want to give away, keep, etc (I also do some cleaning).

As I was reading the tips from professional organizers in the magazine (side note: How does one become a professional at something like organizing? Is there some alliance you  have to be a part of or test you have to pass?) I ended up analyzing my own organizing ways (because, yes, I am a nerd). So just think of this as one colossal Ask Bucky post on how to solve two huge organizational issues.

Problem: You don’t know where to start.

Solution: First try picking a room or ‘troubled spot’. If you can tackle one room (or closet) at a time, you will feel your chances of success skyrocket. Trouble spots are almost easier to fix the more chaotic they are. You need to first survey the disaster zone and identify the problems. I will use my own bathroom as an example (issue/reason): Clothes all over the floor/too lazy to take them to a hamper. Toiletries strewn across the sink /no counter space on pedestal sink. Towels…everywhere /I don’t even know).

And this is a couple of simple ways I plan on fixing it:

a) Put a hamper in the bathroom. We are obviously too lazy to walk out to the hall hamper to release our discarded clothes pre-showering.

b) Reorganize the shelves and the medicine cabinet to hold everything that was taking over the sink. I used the million makeup bags that I’ve collected over the years to keep everything together and easy to find.

c) At any given time we have about 6 towels in our bathroom (that’s not even counting hand towels or wash cloths), which is a little excessive for two people. The solution was to add two hooks to the back of the door. Now two towels can hang on a rod and two can hang on a hook (because, yes, four is a reasonable number).

At any rate, you can see how honing in on one messy spot can help you identify what you need to help you start organizing (hooks, bench, containers, etc).

Problem: I don’t have enough time to go through and organize my home all at once.

Solution: Does anyone? If you’re like me, a type A person married to a packrat, it is pretty much physically impossible to clean and organize an entire home all at once.

Here’s what I do to stay on top:

a) Keep a box or paper bag (the ones from the grocery store are great for this) in your closet. Throughout the year, if you put on anything that doesn’t fit or you don’t wear anymore, just throw it in the bag. When the bag is full, take it to your local clothing shelter. You could also do this in a kids room as they outgrow toys and clothing.

b) Start a purgatory box. Essentially, this is a medium sized box that holds clutter (think all that mail, receipts, loose change, pens, etc on your kitchen countertop). You first start by ‘cleaning off’ the countertop (or room or area…) into the purgatory box. At a designated time, like while idly watching tv, go through the box and throw out what you don’t need and re-home what you do. Depending on your amount of clutter and the size of your box, you might only need to go through the box once a week.

c) Compromise. What do you really hate doing around the house (laundry)? What do you really love doing (watching tv)? Ask these questions to anyone in your household (the answers I gave here would be my husbands) and then strike a compromise. Getting my husband to clean out his closet was nearly impossible, so I struck a deal with him. He can watch tv while I wash and dry the clothes, but when I’m folding and putting them away, he has to be working on his closet. You can do something similar if you live alone, just say: ‘for every hour of tv I watch, I have to spend an hour organizing something in my house’.

See, that doesn’t sound so bad! These aren’t crazy expensive ideas or ones that take a full fledged anal retentive person to carry out. If your goal in 2014 is to get more organized, then props to you!

Feel free to share your favorite organizational tip in the comments below.

Happy Tuesday!


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