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Just Start Organizing: Part 2

In the last post I talked about how getting started with a bookshelf was a great beginning to your organizing process.  Once you get going, and see the progress you can make, you will be encouraged to keep going and take on a little bigger organizing project.

Another good space to begin organizing is your medicine cabinet.  This is a helpful area of your home to have organized, because when you get into your medicine cabinet, it is usually because you are looking for something.  Also, that something you either NEED to find or you will HAVE to run to the store and buy another medicine.  So, for those reasons, it is best to have everything right where you KNOW it should be.

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Benjamin Franklin Quote

The first step in organizing your medicines is go through them.  Check expiration dates and properly dispose of outdated meds. I also like to wipe the bottles down and get all the sticky stuff off of the kids liquid medications.  You know, from when your child was throwing a fit and did not want take the medicine, and in the midst of the flailing arms and legs the bottle gets knocked over and it gets all gooey! Or the bottle tips over in the cupboard and leaks on the shelf!  Been there, done that. Just wipe away the memory.

The next step is to sort through all the medicine.   Start organizing by separating all the prescription medications and organizing them. You can group together all the kids over the counter medicine, another grouping can consist of supplements/vitamins, and then another one will be all of the adult over-the-counter medications. Another section I like to make a separate group for is all the creams and ointments like: hydro-cortizone, benadryl, & neosporine. They don’t usually stand up well so I put them together in a basket or small bin.

Whew! You got all that?  Good, because that was the hard part.  The rest goes down like a spoon full of sugar.  Now for the next part, there a few ways you can organize your medicine.  It depends on how much space you have to dedicate to medicine storage and also how much medicine your family uses regularly.

At my house I have a simple method. I have small plastic bins (they are easily wiped out) and I group the medicines according to ailment: One bin has adult headache/cold medicine, another bin has stomach/indigestion medication, the third bin has band-aids and first aid, and the fourth bin has all of the kid’s medicines.  I also have a short bin with the creams/ointments. Then I also keep the thermometers handy on the shelf.

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Another way I like to organize medicine is with the small stepped shelves that are usually used in pantries.  With these shelves, even if you only kept the meds on one shelf in the kitchen, you could still see everything you had at a glance.

When you have more room to spread out, then you can separate your groups onto the tiered organizer.  Dedicate one tiered shelf for prescriptions, one for kids, one for over the counter, and one for vitamins and supplements.  If you want to make sure you will easily be able to grab the one you are looking for, alphabetize the medicine, front to back and left to right.  Also, be sure to leave space between the bottles so they don’t come tumbling down when you reach for one in the back.

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A bin for loose items like ace bandages, boxes of band-aids, and ice pack bags help to keep all those items contained and neat.  Also, to help you when searching for the liquid syringe for the kids medicines, you can keep a small container for them and also one for the thermometer(s).  Another bin is good for all the half-opened boxes of allergy medicine and the like so they are great housed together and so they don’t fall on the shelves.

I have complete faith in your ability to get the medicine cupboard/shelf/closet organized, and make the next time you have to access it a much better experience.  You may find yourself walking by and opening the door just to look at your organized space and smile.

Happy Organizing!!

Just Start Organizing: Part 1

Just start organizing!  It feels like the Nike Slogan, Just Do It.  But what if you just can’t, despite your best efforts, do it?  And what if the organizing gets started, but you don’t ever feel like you will get there?

Organizing seems like a simple enough process or idea, and many people start with great intentions.  In an effort to get organized, people will buy every organizing tote, storage rack, and over the door organizer known to man, anticipating everything will magically become organized with the right tools.  But then those containers and storage solutions will sit empty, while some are relegated to a corner of the garage, or some are filled to the brim with things that still can’t be found when they are needed.   Almost everyone wants to get organized, and most start with great intentions, but sometimes it is hard to know where to begin organizing.  So where is the best place start?

Bookshelves are probably my favorite place to organize.  I love them because you can see everything that you need to organize at one glance.  Also, the books have a variety of colors and sizes.  Another plus to bookshelves is there aren’t always books on them.  Some people like CDs on their shelves, kids like toys and stuffed animals, and others like to incorporate decorations.  Organizing bookshelves are different each time, and it usually takes less than one hour. Before starting,  you should first go through and weed out the things on the book you no longer want, and donate or sell them.

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These CDs are also alphabetized according to the band. I know, nerdy.

For this bookshelf, it became the home for a CD collection. And this is only a portion of the CD collection, it continues on the next shelf.  Grouping all the CDs first by band, made it easier to put them into alphabetical order.  Now, when searching for the perfect CD of yesteryear, it will be a sweet sound, and music to the ears.

 

Though not always music to the ears, kids are notorious for housing an insane amount of the soft and cuddly, stuffed animals.  Instead of shoving all of these bright and colorful friends into the deep recesses of a toy box, they are incorporated on the book shelf.  Another fun way to change up a boring bookshelf, in addition to adding stuffed animals, is to organize the books by color.

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You can do a rainbow theme, or just mix it up. Also, placing some books flat allows you to put other items on top which gives you height on the placement of the added decorations.  I also like to group hardback books together, chapter books together, and soft back books together.  For households with little munchkins, I put the chunky books on the lower shelves for little hands.

 

 

 

The color theme of organizing books works great for adult books too.  I prefer to group like books together.  For example, while organizing a bookshelf, put all the cookbooks together, corral western books together, and the romance novels belong together.  Then, after you have sorted the books, you can go ahead and organize books by color.

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Leaving blank spaces in a bookshelf makes it look more open.

For the final example of bookshelves, here is a large built-in bookshelf over the bed.  In this room I needed to create zones for several different things.  There is a zone for shoes, which are placed facing out. This helps him see exactly which pair he is grabbing.  Another zone houses the trophies and memorabilia. These are placed higher on the shelves so he can still appreciate them, but they don’t take up valuable real estate on the lower shelves that he can reach easier.  Ball caps create another zone, and they are  organized by color with more hats behind each stack, which are easily accessible.  Next to the end zone helmets, is his collection of important things. Finally, next to his bed are the books, an alarm clock, and the baskets of things he uses on a more consistent basis.

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You can see from these examples that bookshelves are a great place to start organizing.  After you have removed items you no longer want in your space it is easier to make room for the things you really want.  You can make sense of your items by grouping them together with similar types or uses. Then, you can further organize it by color, and also break up the monotony of a boring shelf by laying  books down which helps create height, and then adding a decoration or picture frame to change up the look.

Happy Organizing!!

Updating old cupboards

Hello!! It’s me again. Melodee 🤓 Your personal Organizing Nerd.

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Do you have any old melamine cupboards in your house?  You know the ones I am talking about, right?  They are boring and white.  And usually a little banged up.  These ones are located in a laundry room, but I have also seen them in a storage room or garage.

This turned out to be a fun and easy project.  Hardly anyone likes to do laundry anyway, and this room is visible from the kitchen so it was screaming for a mini-make makeover.  But painting was a very permanent option, and new cupboards was an expensive option, so this is a good marriage of the two options.  But luckily it doesn’t require a high commitment level.

For this project I ordered some contact paper from Amazon.  Yep, you heard me right. Contact paper.  The possibilities are endless.

IMG_6435It’s not only for lining shelves.  And if you hate the look, pull it off.  No harm, no foul. One by one I took off the cupboard doors and wrapped each of them like a present.  The tricky part was the larger pieces, trying to get them straight and not crumpled would have been easier with a second set of hands. After the contact paper went up the it was obvious old handles needed an updating too.  A quick run to Home Depot and we found these cute handles for a little color splash.

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The contact paper updates the space in an inexpensive way. Overall, the contact paper achieved the desired effect.  An updated space for under $100.00.

Happy Organizing!!

 

Overwhelming kid’s room

Hi!  This is Melodee, and I know that kid’s rooms can have you feeling really down.  Sometimes you have to ask yourself where do you even start?  It feels like a battle.  Asking your child to clean up your room, but then it doesn’t get cleaned up.  You dig in your heels and say you aren’t cleaning it this time and the battle wages on. More and more gets added until eventually you are clearing a path.  This is the situation with this room.

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Yikes!!!  Right?  This room started out innocently enough.  A trip to her dad’s for the summer and a simple suitcase that didn’t get unpacked. Followed by a sleepover with a friend and all the toys brought out to play.  Then blankets and laundry lost their places, along with things being tossed in that she had left around the house.  It’s a simple process and we all know the drill. Things can quickly get out of hand and then it multiplies.

The question becomes, “but where do I start?”  The best way to win against a room like this is not too hard. It is similar to how you would win most battles; divide and conquer!!  For this room I started with the obvious, laundry.  Her laundry basket is usually stored under her bed and it was mysteriously empty.  Ha ha. Gotta love kids.  So I gathered all of the dirty clothes and a limited about of clean clothes.  There were 2 loads of dirty clothes scattered around this room which went straight to the laundry room.

Then I hunted for the shoes.  Lots of shoes.  I paired them together and put them in a shoe organizer in the closet.  This helped clear the floor too.  I was making significant progress.  The toys were my next mission.  I sorted all the barbies together and put them in one bin, and then I found the legos which went in another bin, and so on.  I could actually see the floor!!!

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This moment was so rewarding!!  I also recommend that when tackling a room this bad that you do it when the child is away.  I was able to get rid of two trash bags worth of old papers, toys that had seen better days, and old decorations she had saved from a wedding this summer.  She hasn’t even missed them.

Here is the desk area behind her door that housed her distressed piles of collections.

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This area was mostly decluttering.  I put all her art supplies together so she could sit and color or write in her journals.  Her jewelry was all put in one container, and her small makeup collection was put where she could access it for special occasions.

Here is the desk after.

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She has a small room and I respected that she likes more “stuff” around than I prefer.  So her books and legos and favorite sleeping bag and a pillow are hiding under the desk.  Along with extra diapers for her baby brother. And since it all is tucked away behind the door it is a good place for a compromise.

The next phase of getting this room back into shape was reworking the furniture.  I relocated the bed to the center of the wall, moved her table lamp next to her bedside and took out the small yellow cupboard that she obviously wasn’t using to keep her toys inside.  I opted to use small bins under her bed so it would be easier for her to slide them in and out for playing.

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This helped open up her room and opened up more room on the wall by the door.  On this wall I added her dresser and I was able to fit her little brother’s dresser too! (He’s still in with mom and dad).  But it is great, because there was plenty of room now.

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So, remember that when a room seems too overwhelming and it is easier to just keep the door shut. (My dad’s method of coping through my teen years).  It is possible to conquer the battle of  ridiculously messy kids’ rooms, and reclaim the peace that is possible, (if everyone in your house would clean up after themselves).

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The best part about this whole journey of clearing the clutter and the mess is that this is MY daughter’s room. YES, MY DAUGHTER… While I don’t profess to be the most organized person or obsessed about things being a certain way, I have become efficient and effective at clearing out clutter, organizing, and I love the process of making sense of a space. I have to attribute this talent I have to being the mother of seven children (aged 1-24).  My children have given me a multitude of opportunities to clean up and organize over the last 20 plus years, so I guess that makes me an expert, by default.

Happy Organizing!!

From Chaos to Calm: Kids’ Toys

Does it ever feel like the kids’ toys jump off the shelves and land in the far corners of the room?  Well, never fear.  We will help you tackle this problem once and for all.

 

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Playroom Before

The main problem with keeping a playroom picked up is that kids are notorious for not putting things back where they belong.  One way to help with that problem is to create a home for each toy . Then, there is a better chance the toys will find their way back to where they  belong.

A good method to begin is to sort all the toys.  Get piles of barbies together, then get all the super heroes in one place.  Baby dolls like to hang out together, and so do the stuffed animals.  You get the drill.  Now, this next step is better accomplished when no kids that are emotionally connected to the toys are present.  PURGE!!  I love it when my kids have a broken toy, because those are the first to go.  Donate toys your kids have outgrown or that they no longer play with regularly.  You cannot organize clutter, and stuffing them into bins doesn’t make less clutter.  You will find that kids will play with their favorite toys and they won’t even miss the ones you let go.

Now is the time where you get to find homes for everything.  I like to use open bins because toys have an easier time of finding their way back inside, and you don’t have extra steps of opening and closing it.  I am also a big fan of labeling the bins.  If you have younger children it is fun to take a polaroid of the toy and put the picture on the bin.  I usually print a label for older children.

In this playroom, the mom was willing to let go of several bulky items, like the bench and a few doll houses.  This really opened up the space in the playroom.  We also added a shelf purchased from Costco, which came with bins.  In here, all of the toys were grouped together and labeled.  This is a home with 5 girls and only 1 boy, so we gave him his very own bin, and he was really excited to have a special place for his own toys.

In the oversized baskets we put all the baby dolls in one and the other one housed the stuffed animals.  The basket on the floor next to the baby dolls contains all the baby doll accessories. It is important to keep the things together that the kids will use together.  It gives the toys a better shot at being put away.   The oversized baskets also make it easy to limit the number of dolls and stuffed animals.  If they don’t fit in the bin, it is time to let some go. This is great when you buy new toys.  Have the kids let some of older toys go to make room for the new toys.

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Toys are now corralled

On the other wall the big Barbie house found a new address.  Next to it we added a tall drawer where the Barbies all fit.  Which makes sense, because the kids play with the barbies in the barbie house.  Although, because the Barbies had SO MANY clothes, we made a bin solely for Barbie clothes. The clothes are located on top of the doll drawers, again, this is where the kids use them.

Another fun idea for dress-ups is a coat rack, with hooks.  Kids are more likely to hang up the clothes if it is quick and easy.  It could also be a game of throwing them up until it catches.

 

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Drawers hold barbies

 

Now you can see, you too can reign in the chaos that ensues from a large quantity of toys!!  SORT, PURGE, DONATE, & ORGANIZE.  You need to set aside several hours, hopefully while the kids are at school.  It is helpful to have all the organizing baskets you need on hand. This way you can start and finish your organizing project.

I recently spoke to the mom of this playroom and she reported that the kids have been keeping it picked up, and they love having a cleaned up playroom.

 

Melodee Finlinson – Organizing Nerds