J and I have been displaced out of our house for about a week now. Our floors are being refinished and I’m excited to share the progress with you soon! Luckily my Dad lives close by, so J and I have been able to crash at his place with Toby. Dad has cable, J and I love watching shows like Hoarders so we take advantage. After watching that show I.MUST.ORGANIZE… so, you get to read all about it!
Dad and my brother, C, have plenty of room but they lack an organizer’s touch on their life (in my opinion!). So with the rainy weather yesterday and the after effects of watching Hoarders: Buried Alive, I decided I’d help them out a bit and organize the kitchen workstation/desk area.
The purpose of this area had not been really defined and it kind of became the dumping ground for things. It also became place to stash stuff Thursday night before the cleaning ladies came on Friday — don’t even get me started on cleaning your house so a cleaner can come!!!
I started with 4 drawers and a cabinet shoved full of stuff. Dad and C had plastic organizing bins in the drawers, but since nothing had a “home” everything was mixed together in those bins. In fact, one of the drawers was so full that you could hardly open the it and once it was open you could not shut it. I think everybody has a drawer or two in their house that seems to get like this no matter how hard you try and avoid it.
Take a look:
I’m thinking a little organization on this wouldn’t kill anyone, right?
First things first. I talked to my brother and my dad who both use the space. I asked what they would like to use the space for. Together it was decided that C’s school stuff and smaller knick-knacks/toys should be housed here. At the same time Dad needed a place for all of his phone books and directories, paper sorting, home improvement items that are used frequently, and other items that are needed as you are going out the door.
That is a LOT of stuff from a LOT of different categories all crammed into 4 drawers and a cabinet, but I did my best to achieve their goals and make it functional. *Side Note: I had all afternoon, but if you only had a few minutes you could tackle a project like this one drawer at a time.
Once the purpose was defined, one by one I emptied the drawers and had my brother help me by sorting the contents into 4 parts: Keep, Keep but relocate, Toss, and Donate. This is a pretty straight forward process when you’re organizing. We filled up 3 target bags of stuff to trash, 1 bag of stuff to donate, and an armful of stuff to relocate to its appropriate place in the house.
After we knew what was being kept, I asked my brother what he wanted in which drawer. I think this is key to organizing. Making it as practical and functional as possible. Although I may have preferred to do it in a different way because it would have looked more stylish, it needed to be completely functional to him so that he would USE the system I put in place and not just turn it back into a disorganized mess.
The decor driven side of me really struggles with this sometimes because I want my house, or in this case my dad’s house, to look stylish and pretty. But then I remind myself that more than being stylish, I want home to be a place where you don’t spend hours looking for something because I (obsessed decorator) wanted to store the item in an obscure place just because I didn’t think it ‘looked nice’ where it is most useful/logical.
The drawer purpose/categories we came up with were Homework/Everyday Use, Project Materials, Toys/Knick-knacks, and Dad’s drawer for directories/notepads.
- Defined the purpose of the space
- Tossed/Donated what is no longer used
- Figured out the most functional place to store items
It was time to
- Put like items together and fit the stuff back into the space
Take a look:
As you can see we have all the essentials C needs to do his homework. Paper, notebooks (under the paper), pens and pencils, highlighters, white-out, paper clips, rubberbands, etc. The plastic organizers are helpful in keeping everything within sight yet it still has a ‘home’. C even got possessive over the drawer and I heard him tell Dad not to put his stuff into the drawer because it was for HOMEWORK stuff only. I may have slightly grinned at this… Maybe I’ll rub off on him.
Next to that I put Dad’s drawer because it was up high and right below the phone.
There are post-its for easily jotting down a message, empty notepads, and all the reference directories. Kind of empty, but I’m sure it will fill up soon…
Then we made a drawer for C’s project materials. These are things he doesn’t use everyday for homework, but they are needed pretty regularly.
I corralled everything into a container (minus a lid) so he can 1)SEE everything he has when he opens the drawer for quick access to something and 2)he can pull the whole thing out at once onto the table for bigger projects. Below the container I’ve stored all of his construction paper and card-stock as well as letter templates he uses for posters.
The last drawer is ugly, but it serves its purpose.
All of the random small toys that didn’t get donated or tossed are in a plastic basket while the cards/games that were contained or didn’t have loose pieces were neatly stacked next to the basket. It may not be pretty, but C knows where he can go to find his silly putty or hacky sack.
I don’t have before shots of above the desk area because I wasn’t intending on cleaning them out too, but I was on a cleaning/organizing binge so I did! 🙂
For the top cabinet shelves, the method behind the madness: I tried to put the things needed on a regular basis down lower on the shelves — the water bottle, bug spray, flashlight, tape, pens, etc. The higher the shelf, the less often the item is used. This way you can SEE what you need and if you’re running out instead of going and buying more bug spray because it was shoved to the back of the top shelf.
Whew! That ended up being quite a lengthy post, but hopefully full of some helpful tips. I’ll be back with my next organizing project next week…
I’m linking up to: