On a bit of a lighter note from last week (hope I didn't scare anyone off!), let's talk about junk drawers. We all have them - yes, even me! And surprising as it may sound, I advocate that every house should have one....with some boundaries, of course.
"Junk" drawers are better played out as the "lost and found" of the house vs. a catch-all for things tossed in "just for now" until the drawer becomes such a jumble the contents look like junk. Do you really want your valuable storage space being used for junk? I didn't think so. Read on for steps to an organized junk drawer.
1. Location. Shoot for a space that isn't right at your fingertips (that is reserved for things you access every day), and that is accessible to everyone in the house. A drawer, bin, or even a free standing box are good options.
2. Contents. This is the interesting part. Make a conscious decision about the items you are putting in the container. Is it truly "junk"? Then why save it? Is it something potentially important but you aren't sure who or what it belongs to? Sounds like a lost item; using this space as designated "Lost and Found" will help everyone in the family know where to go when they are missing pieces and parts! During organizing jobs when we are sorting items we also designate a Lost and Found box for items we are pretty sure have missing parts or we aren't quite ready to throw them away in case they are important.
3. Label and Containerize. Don't skip this step! Not only do we need to label the container as Lost and Found, or whatever term resonates with your family, but the contents need to be containerized and labeled as well. Repurposing plastic containers, small boxes, egg cartons (for tiny pieces) and using baggies inside the drawer keep the items from becoming a massive jumble of "junk" that overwhelm anyone who dares search for a missing part!
Already have a junk drawer? There are two options - determine the last time you went in there for something (and actually found it). If it's been a long time, consider dumping it all in the garbage, pulling out anything valuable, of course. Or, sort the items, returning them to where they belong and containerizing the rest.
Stuck? Post a comment below with your dilemma and we'll work together to solve it. "Junk" drawers are a great segue into a larger organizing project.
It's true - I'm a (recovering) perfectionist. I've wasted hundreds, if not thousands, of hours on details so tiny that no one ever noticed. And for what? A feeling of never being done, often an inability to start because I can't complete it perfectly, and, of course, focusing on the forest, (heck, the stems on the leaves), and rarely seeing the beautiful forest.
Maybe it's my age, or the realization that there are bigger problems in the world. Or because I've come to understand my limited time on this earth; building relationships and memories has become more important than acquiring and perfectly maintaining "things". Then there is the obituary section I skim each day. They rarely mention possessions, but express feelings of loss for those left behind. Morbid? Perhaps. But I've come to terms with, "Done is better than perfect", although willingly admit to perfectionism relapse here and there (ask me about painting my son's room recently!).
As a Certified Professional Organizer I get asked almost every day if my home is "perfectly organized". I smile (while cringing a bit on the inside), gulp, and say, "Nope - my home is lived in, not a showplace." A better question would be - "Do I have a place for all my things?" Yes. Are my things always in their place? Nope!
Homes are where the story of our lives play out, not Martha Stewart-esque show rooms (sorry, Martha - I do love your organizing ideas tho!). Get on top of the chaos, reclaim the space where clutter currently resides, and enjoy your home. Need help getting started or staying the course? Call me today! Taking that first step is easier than you think.
I look forward to hearing from you:)
Display a WHAT? Perhaps you've heard the word "tschotske" used before - if not, Wikipedia defines it as "a small bauble or miscellaneous item", not a clever take on my last name as I originally thought :)
Meet Harry Coconut. Minus the hair he is kind of creepy, In fact, my daughter used to turn his face to the wall when she was watching TV alone so he wouldn't stare at her. Where did Harry come from? My husband got a tropical drink served in him on a family trip to the Florida Keys. He loves him. Not quite the look I was going for when decorating our family room, but everybody has a say in what lives there. So, what to do with creepy Harry Coconut? I was stumped for years, and he spent a lot of time facing the wall, until learning about air plants from the lovely ladies at Brown Eyed Susans in Pelican Rapids.
Now Harry's look has changed from creepy to funny, and it makes me smile every time I walk by. Plus the air plant is easy to take care of and helps keep the air clean!
I'm pretty sure ALL of us have tschotskes sitting around that this would be fun to do with. One could also make a display using a piece of inherited glassware from Grandma or other sentimental piece instead of having the whole china cabinet jammed full of unused dishes. Less is more, and showcasing one piece vs a whole cupboard tends to catch our eye and be easier to maintain.
Do you have a unique way you've displayed or cherished a single tschotske? Please comment below - we'd love to hear from you!
*sigh* October is probably my least favorite month. Nothing to do with the shorter days or colder temps, but more the arrival of "everything pink" in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Am I anti- Breast Cancer Awareness? Quite the contrary - I've had my own journey with Breast Cancer and am a proud 15 year survivor (hear my story). Seeing my daughter's volleyball team wearing pink during their games, or the ladies at Choice Therapy in pink makes me feel loved and supported as a survivor. My issue is the companies who wash their products and marketing in pink, but don't actually support Breast Cancer research, or do so in very small percentages while reaping the benefits of increased sales.
For example, the Oriental Trading Company sells loads of pink Breast Cancer Awareness products, but not a single cent goes towards Breast Cancer research. In 2010 Dansko (who's shoes I LOVE) rolled out a "pink ribbon" clog. They donated $25000 to Susan G. Komen before the clogs even hit the market - and weren't donating any more regardless of how many pairs of clogs sold. And the NFL - don't even get me started:(
If you plan to purchase a product whether it had pink on it or not, great! If you are considering a pink purchase because it supports Breast Cancer Awareness please check out the company before hand.
Better yet, directly support Breast Cancer Research by donating to a charity that focuses on research, or do something with a local group (check with hospitals - they usually have support groups). Charity Navigator evaluates all non-profit charities and can help guide donation decisions based on your objectives.
How about you - have you ever purchased a product in support of a cause? I'd love to hear your thoughts on "pink-washing" too!
Ahh yes, the leaves are gently wafting down as seasons change from balmy summer days to crisp autumn ones.
Ever consider how one leaf on the ground is joined by another and another; pretty soon there goes a full weekend spent raking? I didn't think so. Paper piles tend to happen the same way. We set one down "just for now", then add the mail for a couple days and some school papers.....voila! A pile of paper clutter (a/k/a delayed decisions).
My neighbor uses her leaf blower (particularly enjoyable at 7 a.m. on Sunday mornings) to get the leaves off her driveway before they even hit the pavement. Unfortunately that technique won't work for papers - they require a bit more finesse. But not a lot more effort. The key is to deal with each of them while they are in our hand. If the action required takes less than 2 minutes - DO IT NOW instead of delaying and creating a pile. If it will take 5-10 minutes create a folder or *gasp* a pile (yes, I said pile) that you will return to, and then schedule a time into your calendar to deal with them.
What's your biggest paper challenge? Comment below and we'll solve them together!
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Tammy Schotzko is a Certified Professional Organizer who