Organizing: Tips to know where to start | Organizing Made Fun: Organizing: Tips to know where to start

Monday, August 12, 2013

Organizing: Tips to know where to start

Last week I told you all about my trip to Atlanta. But, part of my trip there included a two night stay with a dear friend of mine - FYI: I was a high school leader at our church years ago and she was one of "my high school girls" in my small group I led and has now grown up and is married with her own little family! I digress...anyway, she recently moved to Atlanta and I wanted to visit her before my conference started and so I flew with her {she was back in my neck of the woods visiting family} and her little toddler boy back to Atlanta. They moved into a small apartment a few months ago and she had a few spots in her small place that she simply wasn't sure where to start. So, I taught her some basic tips and we organized her laundry and pantry room.

First off, she has a wonderful laundry room and pantry all in one little room in their apartment - what a gem to have that! Well, her first question to me when we got in there was "Where do we start organizing?" That's a great question, isn't it?

So, I told her to simply take it a little at a time - if we took everything out, it would be overwhelming! We took the first shelf and started pulling everything down. 

In no time we began to notice a pattern of things - laundry items, cleaning items, pantry items, etc. We put them into grouped piles.

Next, we noticed a lot of boxes and cleaners that were nearly empty, empty, or duplicates. This is one reason I like to take things OUT of boxes and put them into clear containers. So, we scoured her apartment looking for some sort of containers. This is how you keep the cost down - use what you already have. In fact, she didn't think she had much, but it turns out she had quit a bite more than she thought when I started giving suggestions of places and types of containers to use. Here, above, are all the containers we came up with. She had clear shoe boxes with her shoes in them that she could do without for a bit, baby wipes containers, and a cardboard box! Yes, they all work - maybe not all of them are "pretty" but can contain things for now until you can purchase a prettier container OR you can dress up what you do have later on.

Within about 15 minutes, we had this done! It wasn't hard and it makes more sense now - she has all her laundry items in the "laundry zone" above her washer and then we made a cleaning zone above her dryer with a container to hold all her cleaner, another one for all her cleaning rags, etc. 

You can see better with this simple before and after. She didn't spend a dime! We put like with like. Arranged things in a way that it made more sense for how she does laundry in there. We took the large basket down and set it on her dryer to use as a catch-all for small laundry items from her kitchen. It makes much more sense. Technically this isn't the full "after" because we used some commands hooks that she bought later that day and hung up other items on the side wall and behind her washer/dryer.

Next, we hit her pantry area and started with each shelf, throwing out expired food, or relocating items that are not needed in here. She started a donation pile, as well. It's not horrible, but it didn't make sense either.

She saw her breadbox and told me she needed to donate it because she could no longer store bread in the humid Atlanta-area in it. She was surprised when I told her not to donate it. I used it to hold all her plastic grocery bags, as she didn't have a good place for those. Look at your items and see if you can give it a new purpose to keep the cost down. If you can't use it right away, then donate it. Don't hang on to it in hopes of finding something -- then you start getting clutter again!

We continued through her pantry area and she was having FUN organizing - imagine that! I helped her to see how she needed to make sense of her pantry. There is a door into the pantry that blocks a portion of the shelves, so on that side of the shelving {the right side}, we put all the items into zones that weren't used as much - the baking zone, her canning supplies, etc. On the other side we put the different like with like items - pasta zone, breakfast zone, dried fruit/nut zone - where they could grab it more easily. On the top we put the items that she used the most - the blender and crock pot - and not struggle getting around the door. 

On the bottom pantry shelves we set up easy grab areas. She desired to be able to keep a laundry basket on the floor in there, so we were able to make a way to do that -- I also want you to keep in mind she didn't spend a dime on any new containers and her shelves are only 12 inches deep. So, yes, things hang off, but that's OK.

I wanted to help you visual learners a little more with this map of her zones. It just gives you a more visual look at what we did. 

And over washer and dryer you can see how we visually set things up. I also had her label many of the items. She already had a label maker but she could easily make something simple with washi tape and a marker. This way her husband knew what and where each thing was - since we took several items out of their original containers and stored in a clear container. 

By the way, I've had several people comment that they think it's sort of weird to take things out of the original box they came in to store in a container. Why is this a good idea? I'll tell you why...first of all unity. It looks much neater and cleaner to have everything neatly in the containers. But, practically speaking, if you get a big enough container for what you purchase and can fill it with the food/product, then when you can always see how much you have - and this can save you a pain in the neck when you pick up the box of cereal and it's got 2 flakes left in it and you didn't buy any at the store because you thought you had a whole box!  But, if you are anti-clear container, that's fine. This is just why I like to do it. 

So that's it! This is how you can get started and organize each area of your home...little by little. AND it can be fun - especially when you get on a roll! Have you had trouble getting started with organizing? Leave any comments or questions and I'll see if we can help you out!

Pin It

 Like what you see here? Consider becoming a follower or subscribe via email! Are you an Organized Reader? I'd love to see your organized space. Email me HERE and show me your space to possibly be featured as one of my Organized Readers. 

  Protected by Copyscape Web Plagiarism Check
Connect with me:
Follow OrganizeMadeFun on Twitter Follow Me on Pinterest
Google Plus for OMF beckyb_omf Bloglovin’ OMF OMF Facebook page