My therapist and I had a very enlightening session the other day. I discovered how my disorganization was really impacting every single aspect of my life, and how my opposition to getting organized wasn’t any of the other things I’d self-diagnosed. Oh, dear. You know what, though, it brought the urgency of getting organized into very clear focus, and I’ve been going about it all the wrong way. I realize that I need spaces that are devoted to single functions, or related functions, and all the supplies and tools needed for that function have to be arranged in a way that makes sense, is easy to see without moving things around, and be easily accessible. I’ve been trying to create NEW areas like this, and in the process I’ve not only been delayed in creating these areas, but I’ve been turning other areas I can already use in this way into realms of chaos, with stuff that doesn’t belong in them “temporarily stored.”
So, step one was the laundry room. The laundry room also has the spare fridge and freezer, my computer, and the kitchen overflow that comes from shopping at Costco and having lots of cooking toys. This is ALSO where the paper, pens, pencils, extra folders, dividers, and so on – school supplies and stationery, dontchaknow – were kept.
“My room” (wouldn’t you know, I get my own room, and it has a washer and dryer in it. Heh) is used by everyone, and as such, was yet another collection of horizontal surfaces to dump stuff on. Plus, with all the things being stored in it that other people needed to get to, there was a lot of tripping over each other. So I’ve been busting my behind the last couple of days trying to straighten things up and put stuff in order in a sensible fashion. I still have another day or two of working out the last few details, but the improvement is incredible.
The freezer/fridge area has a shelf unit to the right, and is next to the direct route between the kitchen and garage (which will be an art studio, but let’s work on finishing one thing at a time. . .) Clearly, things that the rest of the family needs to be able to get should be there. So I put a shelf on top of the freezer that the electric griddle can slide under, because that doesn’t fit in the kitchen but gets used a lot, and on top of this is all the thermoses and insulated lunch bags (and a huge box of straws behind those. Don’t ask.) The giant pack of paper towels is on top of the fridge. On the very top of the shelf, up close to the ceiling, I put the picnic/partyware. Even when the weather’s nice, I don’t need those often enough for climbing a stepladder to be an inconvenience. The shelf below has the gadgets – bread machine, ice cream maker, tomato press, etc. On the shelf below that, I put the big tupperware – the stuff I use for things I’m taking to parties and such – behind the giant plastic wrap and spare packs of napkins. My tool bag is incongruous there, but it fits. On the easiest shelf, I put all the paper supplies on a vertical divider, put the small things like paperclips and rubber bands in a divided plastic box, and put that on top of a large basket that has all the tape, pens, pencils, glues, etc, with boxes holding things together (like all the colored pencils) and easy to see what you need and pull out if what you need is in the back. Under that, recycling (and I put the twine and scissors for newspapers in the basket for newspapers!), and under that, the cat and dog food. Now, what’s on the shelves next to my computer desk are the things I need, and nobody should have to be poking around my desk looking for stuff. Manuals are together. Software is together. Scrap paper and notebooks are together. Woohoo!
I’ve organized the cabinets above the computer – pet toys in a box, pet meds and grooming in another, treats under those. All the candles are in one place (I have a bazillion tea lights because I could never find the ones I’d bought before. I might never need to buy another tea light as long as I live.) Insect stuff is right by the door at the bottom, so you can spray yourself or grab some incense before you go outside.
The cabinets over the laundry have been started. I repurposed an IKEA box of drawers, and now all my batteries are together and arranged by size, and lightbulbs are separated by base. Oh, and I even labeled the drawers. Heh. I still need to get to the cleaning supplies, the shelves above the machines, and a few other out-of-place items, but it’s looking pretty darned good. Bit by bit, one room at a time. Once I’ve tamed the clutter and have a working system, it’ll be a lot easier to keep my head from exploding. Every time I want to do something creative, or even not-so-creative, the need to straighten up the work area and find all the supplies is completely daunting. Either I straighten up and get stuff together to start. . .then run out of steam so I don’t do what I wanted to do (and this creates another dumping ground for “miscellaneous”, which perpetuates the problem) or I just don’t even go anywhere near the area (so it gets even messier, since it is at that point an established dumping ground for “miscellaneous”.)
This is going to happen, and I really want to make it work. The less clutter there is in my space, the less clutter there is in my mind. And now, finally, I’m off to shower, dress, and have lunch, because I am a taxi service and band parent for the rest of the day.