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.
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!
Ever walk into, or by, a space and find yourself instantly crabby or irritated? The piles of paper on the kitchen table or the umpteen pairs of shoes jumbled on the mud room floor turns us into the Wicked Witch of the West begging to release the flying monkeys on those that created it.
Mine is dirty dishes in the sink when I come home from work. My kids have learned that they had better load the dishwasher before I get home or things go downill from there! I've even come in the back door and heard them furiously loading the dirty dishes because they saw me pulling in to the driveway.
We call spaces that set us on edge "hot spots", and every home has them - unless you live alone and are perfectly happy with things as they are. How do we change a hot spot into a non-irritating, organized space? First we identify the spot - it took me several weeks to figure out why I was so crabby some nights. Once I realized it I enlisted my family's help in solving it. Often the hot spots affect us subconciously - we're so used to seeing the clutter we don't realize the weight it holds over us.
When you know what your, or your living companion's, hot spot is, have a conversation about what can be done to improve it. Small, incremental steps are key to tackling any organizational project vs ripping everything out like a tazmanian devil and being too overwhelmed to finish it.
Good luck - and watch out for those flying monkeys!
P.S. Got a hot spot dilemma? Post a comment below and we'll solve it together.
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Tammy Schotzko is a Certified Professional Organizer who