Monday, March 1, 2010

Time Management Junkie--Skill #3--Organize

For my bestie’s 40th birthday party she had a “Clean Sweep” party.  When the invitation came in the mail, my husband said with some disgust, “who would want to clean and organize on their birthday?”  He looked at me (wearing a cheesy smile which he knew meant I was contemplating an outfit to match my yellow dishwashing gloves) and said, “Nevermind.” 

I know you’ve heard the adage, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”  An oldie but a goodie.  If items are where they are expected to be, life flows more smoothly (and you won’t waste anymore time looking for your keys, phone, purse, etc., if these items are stowed in “their” places).

It takes a lot of time to get organized but the result pays dividends.  My kids’ toys didn’t make it into labeled bins on their own.  I had to do the initial work.  But now when M.E. is done playing with her ponies, she finds the bin, puts the toys back in, and puts the bin away where it goes (ok, she still needs a bit of reminding but it takes way less time to say, “remember to put the pony bin away” than it does to clean up a room filled with random toy sets while holding a crying baby and making dinner for guests that are due in about three minutes).

Confession:  I have a borderline obsessive relationship with my label maker and my fascination with bins is not quite unhealthy but getting there. 

I organize with a bin and label system.  For kids the labels are photo-based so the kids can put toys where they belong (and even dad can look at the bin and say, “that bin is for your baby dolls.”).  Adult bins are either color coordinated fabric bins (Matt is tan, I am brown) or labeled with words (“Honey, where are the bandaids?” “In the bin labeled “first aid.”).  I use small baskets for food (baking spices, cooking spices, baking supplies, cake supplies, etc.).  I use mini-drawers to organize cords for IPods, cell phones, and other technology. 

This can all be very overwhelming and I can hear you saying, “but I don’t have time!”  Start small.  Remember you eat an elephant one bite at a time.  Start with a closet or a drawer and then move on.  Eventually everything will have its own place!
In coming weeks I’ll post photos and tips on organizing but there are a lot of resources out there and I suggest you look into them (google keywords like: organize, de-clutter, clean …).

In the meantime, if you have a problem area and you’d like suggestions on how to organize the area, please e-mail me a photo and I’ll offer suggestions.  If you want me to come organize with you, you pay for the travel for both my label maker and me J

P.S.  I didn’t make it to Kim’s Clean Sweep party because family was in town (but I did make it for dinner).  I was so bummed!


  1. Great tips. I try to stay organized. I had the linen closet all organized and labeled, but it hasn't stayed that way. The hair stuff is in the first aid basket and vice versa. Of course, I have 3 teens in the house and most days I don't think they care what goes in which basket.

    However, my BIGGEST organizational challenge is my work desk. This desk is used for my photography business, household bills, the kids school stuff, my blogging, etc. I probably need baskets, but I want something that looks nice. I'm working on decorating the room in a beach theme. There's a photo of the desk here

    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. husband has a label maker. He ♥ ♥ ♥ it! so cute.

  2. I LOVE to organize. I love it so much that I actually had a dream the other night about how to organize our bills! Obsessive? I don't know, but it's probably not a good sign when you start dreaming about it. :)

    Love the label idea...haven't done that myself, but we are pretty good about keeping stuff in it's place. I think I might try doing this in some areas of my house, though.


  3. Only one thought comes to mind after reading this....Monica Geller :)

    Heather B.

  4. Deb, Amy, and Heather--Thanks for stopping by. Heather--I love Monic :)--Amy apparently does too.

    Deb--I'm so on it!

  5. Oh boy do I need this! I actually REALLY like to organize, but I swear, once I get things where they "should" be.. hubby ruins it! lol The kids are great about keeping things put in sets, in bins, etc.. but hubby goes on a cleaning spree and just tosses everything randomly into a box. Ugh... I've given up for a while, but this has me motivated to really get back at it. My biggest task right now is the boys' room.. since they share it. The closet, the bookshelf, the toy bins.. IT ALL NEEDS ORGANIZED. calgon take me away...

  6. I just thought you should know that your love of bins has rubbed off a bit on my and now all my sewing and crafty stuff is in bins. Now I just need to get some bins for Lillian's room. :)

  7. Mandy--Good luck!

    Sarah--Oh, I'll go shopping with you. And if my label fetish rubs off on you, you can borrow mine (from time to time).

  8. Love this post! I soooooo want to have a CLEAN SWEEP birthday party! I'll be looking forward to your upcoming tips! It's so much easier doing this organizing stuff together! Thanks for the smile and the great ideas!


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