Tag Archives: organize
Oooohhh! The desktop! Mine’s been driving me NUTS for weeks now. I’m one of those visual types who needs to see things in order to remember they’re there. I loved having a Mac years ago because whenever I hit “download” it downloaded directly to my desktop and I never had to hunt for this PDF or that JPEG. When I inherited a PC laptop from my hubby (then boyfriend), I intentionally moved important downloads and documents to my desktop so I could keep track of them, just like I was used to on my work Mac computer. Well, despite my usual vigilance to keep things “pretty,” I let things slide and here is what my desktop looked like last night:
Woah! Stuff everywhere. It was hard on the eyes, hard to find anything important, and not very inspirational.
So, just as a quick clean-up, here’s what I did:
- I deleted any shortcut icon for a program I rarely used. When you install these little programs they make themselves a shortcut for you. How convenient. Except I’m okay with clicking on the Start Menu, thank-you-very-much. If I need you, I’ll find you.
- I dragged any shortcut icons of programs I use on a regular basis down to the start menu task bar on the bottom of the screen. I rearranged them by type (iTunes and Spotify are both music programs, for instance,) and voila! Instant order! YES. Love it.
- I created a SORT! folder and dragged all icons of files that I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them into that file. Yes, it is delaying the inevitable, but the goal was to clean up the visual mess. I’ll get to the real digital organizing at a later date.
- I created a To Read folder for all the PDF downloads from great blogs I’ve visited. There are several downloads about growing your creative business that I really wanted to read, but just couldn’t see in all that mess. Now I know where to go for my reading material.
- I kept the folders for our different businesses and this blog, so I had easy access to those files.
- I went to WallBase.cc (at Daniel’s recommendation) to find a good background to download. The one I chose really spoke to me and my purpose for cleaning up my desktop.
- I rearranged the folder icons and moved my Recycle Bin a bit to be visually-pleasing and in places that made sense.
It’s a great feeling to have simplified my desktop. In fact, now I’m inspired to write more and read more of the many downloads I have stored away for future inspiration. I’m pleased with the result, and hope it will inspire you, as well!
Additional Posts in this Series:
p.s. This is it! This is the last day to enter my book giveaway of the book Organize Now! plus an At-a-Glance daily planner. It closes at 9pm CST today. Don’t miss out!
Is it Tuesday already? Crazy. But here goes … welcome to the Brame residence. Come on in and stay awhile! Here’s my little ol’ entryway hall in all its (non) glory. Our home is a builder basic house with its share of little quirks. Not the least of which is a funny curvature of the wall where the hall ends. The bottom is wider than the top. You can sort of see this in the first picture with the shot of the entire hall. Hmmm.
From the perspective of our kitchen and living room, looking down the hall, the dining room is on the left. (Or, if you prefer, it is on the right immediately upon entering.)
I knew that I eventually want to get a console table for the hallway, to hold miscellaneous items and pull the hallway together. For now, that dream table is going to have to wait; we are operating on a tight budget as we pay off debt, and I’m okay with that.
Not having money to buy new things has made me re-purpose those items we have. Hence, the use of two tv dinner folding tables we got for our wedding. Ta-da! Instant “console.” I added the crocheted lace runner from my grandmother to tie the two pieces together. The lamp is another item stolen from another room. Its mate is in our bedroom, but I like to have a softer light than our overhead light to leave on when we go out, so that it is easy to see when we first enter the hall when we return. The letter “B” was a thrift store find before I even met my husband. Funny how that works out, huh? The bulletin board is for storing notes and our gym’s class schedule (and most recently Christmas cards from friends). The basket in front of it is yet ANOTHER item stolen from another room. I use this one to hold keys until we put up a key-holder, but its siblings are in our bathroom, holding toiletries. Finally, the white plastic-coated wire “mail sorter” is actually a plate holder from The Container Store.
I’ve had this set-up in the hall for several weeks now and can’t imagine living without it. My keys are usually handy, as is an iPod for runs, and any outgoing mail or bills I need to remember to take with me to the post office when I make a Creative Salvage shipping run. Having a “landing strip” is an invaluable tool for staying organized on the go. I love mine, even if it is pulled together from the most unlikely culprits. Spending $0 on it was worth the sacrifice in other rooms, although I admit I’m really looking forward to purchasing new or new-to-me furniture and trimmings that will let me return the current items to their original uses.
I got the idea to create a landing strip from Apartment Therapy. If you’re not familiar with Apartment Therapy, go check out their site, but for now, here’s a video their founder, Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan created to discuss the importance of having a landing strip in the entryway of your home.
What vision do I have for this spot in our home in the months to come? Well, I pulled together a little somethin’ somethin’ with Polyvore. Take a look!
Wow. I can barely believe it. In just two days, this blog will turn 1 Year Old. I’m strongly considering making it a smash cake.
In honor of this momentous occasion, I’m rolling out a smorgasbord of goodies and new projects in the coming weeks and months. The move and the holidays took so much out of us over the past few months, but now that we’re all settled in, we’re ready to begin again with renovating and decorating and organizing. I can’t wait to begin!
I realized I haven’t shown off the new house on the blog yet, except for the office, so in honor of our one-year blogiversary, I’m launching a new series, Home Tour Tuesdays, to expose the rooms in all their bland glory and then we’ll revisit them again after projects are completed along the way.
Which brings me to The List. Daniel asked me to make a list to keep track of all the things I think need to be improvement upon in the house. The idea is to budget out into the future and pace ourselves financially. There’s just one “little” problem. The List is really, really long. Seriously. It’s so long I had to make it its own page so I wouldn’t bore you to tears in this post. We’ll be referring to and adjusting The List as we can over the next few years. As projects occur, I’ll link to them and mark them as in progress or complete.
My hope is that by the time we are ready to move out and into our first completely-ours home (as in, we bought it), we’ll have the list completed and the duplex will sell quickly to a new owner who will appreciate the updates and love it as much as we have. Fortunately for us, my dad owns the home and is in support of any renovations we will do since it will hopefully enhance his likelihood of selling his investment property.
Finally, stay tuned after this inaugural House Tour Tuesday for my very first giveaway announcement! It might be Behind Closed Drawer’s birthday, but we’re the ones giving away the gifts! Sweet.
My room-by-room tour will begin next Tuesday, but for now I’m starting things off with just a little teaser of what’s to come. I give you … our front door:
Welcome to our house! It’s not fancy, but it is home. When we walk over this threshold, we walk into a place where we work, relax, and live. There’s happy doggy paw prints scattered across the tile by the back door on rainy days; there’s dishes in the sink; there’s empty walls waiting for the money to fill them with artwork; there’s even dirty socks on the bedroom floor sometimes. But, above all, there’s love. Love and faith and family and friends and the things we’ve collected in almost two years of marriage that make the place ours. Our deep desire is for this home be a place where loved ones are welcome, where old and new friends can stop by for a cup of coffee and good conversation, and where Christ is always honored.
So, welcome, friend. I can’t wait to show you more! My initial 365 days of organization are nearly up, but each year brings 365 more. The journey is not over. In fact, with this new place of residence, it has only just begun. I hope you’ll join us as we discover what new things this year will bring.
You can cast your vote by commenting on the giveaway blog post on Thursday, and you will receive additional entries by sharing the giveaway blog post with others in your social network and posting another comment to let me know.
I’m so excited! Tell your family and tell your friends. Tweet it. Pin it. Facebook it. Spread the word. I’ve flipped through the pages of the book after purchasing it for the giveaway and let me say, it’s pretty good stuff to give your own organizational journey a kick start.
Today is the final day of this series! I hope that you have gleaned some nugget of truth along the way that will be useful to you in your home. We’ve already talked about Being Intentional With the Process, Making Specific Goals, Sorting the Major Areas You Use FIRST, and Not Getting Distracted by Details. Today we’re going to go a step further and discuss the importance of knowing what you need before buying those cool, snazzy organizers that are being promoted in every major home store these days (they aren’t dumb. They know how many people make home organization a resolution this time of year!)
I have to say, this particular post resonates with me because as that girl who liked to organize but hated to clean and sort to get the organized state, I went through cycles of binging on pretty, neat plastic tubs, bins, shelves, and anything else that caught my eye. I was operating under the mistaken delusion that more containers meant quicker organizing.
So here’s what would normally happen: I’d buy clear plastic shoeboxes with the newest hip shade of lid, a couple of big totes, and maybe some baskets for good measure. I’d bring them home, take them out and admire them, start putting stuff in them, and I’d eventually get stuck. My sorting method would leave too few or too many containers remaining. Or they wouldn’t fit under my bed or on the top shelf in my closet. Or they’d be cheap and fall apart within weeks. Or … something. But you get the picture.
Then there was the problem that I’d inevitably lose track of which tub or shoe box held the particular item I would look for months later, so I’d tear them all apart until I found it.
So, please, spare yourself that agony …
Step 5: Before you buy organizers, know what you need.
This might make you cringe, but live with your stuff for awhile before you make that next shopping trip to Target or The Container Store.
The beauty of organizing your home is that you don’t have to be confined to a particular method of cleaning, sorting, or decluttering if it doesn’t work for you. I like to keep my toothbrushes in my bathroom in an open mason jar. You might prefer a classier holder. I keep memorabilia in clear plastic bins, you might prefer baskets. I have the majority of my craft supplies in cubbies and fabric drawers in our garage, you might be horrified by that idea and choose a snazzy wardrobe (cast off from the big tv days) to house your crafts.
So, basically, if I was to give you a list of all the best things to buy to get your home organized, they wouldn’t necessarily work for you and you’d be stuck with even more “organizational” clutter than before.
My suggestion is simple; take a few days or even weeks or months to really get the feel for how you use your home. Not how you wish you used your home, but how you really, truly use it. Pay attention to where you put items out of habit when you are done using them. Notice where you wished you had a shelf, or a container. Gather all of like items with like (wooden spoons with the wooden spoons in the kitchen, printer paper with the printer, dirty colored clothing with other dirty colored clothing) and note how much room is needed to hold all the like items.
Once you have a good handle on this, take things a step further and break out your measuring tape. Measure the space available–height, width, depth–in the areas you need containers. Write the measurements down in a place you will be able to find them again (for me, this was a notebook I kept in my purse). Take the measurements with you to the store. You’ll be glad you did. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve broken this little rule and ended up making a second or third trip back to The Container Store to find something the actually fit. Shame on me!
Now, what kind of look do you want with the container you purchase? If it is for the wooden kitchen spoons, simply putting them in the same kitchen drawer by the stove might suffice and save you some money. But if your drawers are all full, or if you want them even more accessible, a pottery pitcher or a plastic lazy susan with upright dividers might be better. For your closet, matching baskets or sturdy fabric-covered boxes would add a certain polished look. In the office, a simple plastic drawer unit or lidded paper boxes would be appropriate for printer paper. Just make sure the item you buy matches your aesthetic, your space available, and your budget.
Speaking of budget, storage isn’t cheap. Even shopping at Wal-Mart, you’ll still run into sticker shock. I’ve had to deal with this by purchasing a few here and there and making do in the meantime. Sometimes making do for us means not having a drawer divider in a kitchen drawer for awhile, or swallowing pride and accepting to use an ugly boring plastic tub I have on hand, or even focusing on updating one area at a time to aesthetically pleasing storage and re-using the uglier storage from the updated locations in other, less visible locations. In fact, I have one plain brown collapsible fabric “drawer,” (first spotted in our old master bedroom closet, then in our laundry room storage area later) that has made its way around my house and is currently residing under the kitchen sink with all my cleaners.
So, before you go out and buy organizers and containers, make sure you know exactly what you need. Save up, take your time, and measure twice.
And that completes our 5 Steps to Get Organized in 2012 series! If you are just getting started reading and would like to learn more, links to the complete series are in order below. I hope you’ll also take a moment to subscribe to Behind Closed Drawers by email or RSS feed, both located at the top right-hand corner of the page. The one-year anniversary of this blog is coming up, and I have big things planned to celebrate!
5 Steps to Get Organized in 2012
- Be Intentional With the Process
- Make Specific Goals
- Sort the Major Areas You Use FIRST
- Don’t Get Distracted by Details
- Before You Buy Organizers, Know What You Need
Have you discovered Pinterest yet? The wealth of cleaning, organizing, and home decorating knowledge to be found in this social networking site is astounding. I’ve collected sources for organizing help from all across the web and compiled them together for future reference.
Here’s a screen shot from just a portion of what I’ve gathered:
Here is a sampling of my favorite finds …
- Use a magazine holder to store canned goods in kitchen cupboards! From PBJ Stories.
- DIY Bathroom pocket holder for small items. From The Complete Guide to Imperfect Housekeeping. (Or, just use a portion of a cheap Wal-Mart hanging plastic and fabric shoe organizer. That’s my thought. I’m just lazy like that.)
- Use a multi-tiered pants hanger to store rolls of ribbon. From the Creating Keepsakes Blog.
See what I mean? There’s a plethora of information out there, waiting to be found, and full of pictures for visual learners like myself.
Organizing is a slow, agonizing process, but I’m pretty sure even the busiest schedule can allow one 15-20 minute segment of time per week to be designated as “clean out one shelf space” time.
Plan out what you know needs to be addressed and then use free moments (and MAKE the free moments) when you can tackle each project in due course. Box by box, closet by closet, cupboard by cupboard, and drawer by drawer. Before long, you’ll have put a large dent in that list.
Here are some moments in my own life that I think I could probably better use for my organizing time:
- Internet activity. Oh, how this one hurts! I adore Pinterest, avidly read many blogs, and enjoy my guilty pleasure of celebrity gossip. I keep up with friends far and near via Facebook. I obsessively check my Twitter feed. I can easily lose track of time and misuse several hours in my evening when I could be working on a project.
- Television shows. Since we don’t have cable, Daniel and I rarely watch the newest shows, but we do have one or two that we stop everything for and watch regularly. Honestly, I could at least be folding laundry when I do this. However we DO have Netflix, and ooooooh boy. You can waste a lot of time with Instant access to entire seasons of shows at the click of the button! I need to cut back a little and focus more on my household chores.
- Over-cleaning. Okay, I admit, I don’t do this one often. When I do, however, it manifests as a slightly obsessive-compulsive need to scrub tiny parts of things with old toothbrushes and repeatedly remove microscopic specks of dust from places my house guests will never see (like on top of the door frames). Not to say those things shouldn’t be done, but that sometimes they aren’t the priority. Don’t get lost in the tiny details just because they are easy to do. That is called perfectionism and it can actually be your enemy, not your friend. Keep working on that big plan.
So what task do you let take over your free time? Can you spare a few minutes from that activity to focus on making your life better?