Sunday, February 06, 2011

The Big Clean Sweep Continues

So I'm purging and organizing, right?  I'm making fairly good progress and expect to be finished sometime in March...of 2012.  It's slow and tedious but worth it.

I started with paper since it's a huge problem in the Green House and it's compounded by the fact that every time I go to the mailbox more papers arrive that need to be dealt with.  My usual system of dealing with them is piling them all over the house until I'm in the mood to face them, which is never.  Obviously, that wasn't working for us.

I'm not completely finished but almost and here's a peek at what I've got done so far.  This is our grab-and-go hurricane box with all our important stuff in it like insurance policies, car titles, birth certificates, passports, house deed, tax returns, medical records, etc.  The next time we refuse to evacuate for a hurricane, we'll be ready.

I have a really bad habit of keeping not just warranty information but instruction manuals, installation instructions, receipts and notes for just about everything we buy.  I guess this could be a good habit but it had gotten so out of control that it filled almost an entire file drawer in my desk.  I had instruction manuals for some of Taylor's toys that we got rid of 10 years ago.

I found this little warranty folder thing on the clearance rack at Office Depot for $5.00 so I bought it.  About 5 years ago.  Oh those good intentions.  I finally put it to use and it's fabulous.  I cleaned out my files and made sure that we actually still owned the stuff I was saving warranties for, then put everything into my tidy and accurately labeled expanding folder.  It came with several pre-printed labels but I found those didn't quite cover all the categories we needed.  Fortunately it also had a bunch of blanks you can label yourself, which I did for important things like fire arms.

At the same time I bought this folder I bought another one like it (also for $5.00 on the clearance rack) that's designed for bill paying.  It has monthly dividers so you can just drop all your paid bills and receipts for that month into its section then at the end of the year I'll keep only those things we need for our tax return.  Both of these folders came with little record books to help you keep track of stuff but that requires a little more effort than I'm willing to give right now. 

I'll have to take a picture of my bill paying folder when I finish putting it together, but right now here's what the file drawer in my desk looks like.  It's a really deep drawer and was jammed full front to back with all kinds of crap that I didn't need.  Now it will hold my 2 new binders plus maybe 3 or 4 other file folders of stuff that we need to hang on to and that's it.  Naturally, I forgot to take the "before" picture but trust me when I say it was bad.

Before Christmas I bought a paper shredder at Office Depot for around $40 instead of my preferred $5 but it has proven to be worth every penny.  I've shredded 4 huge black garbage sacks full of stuff and my intention is to shred as I go from now on instead of letting it all build up.  That's the plan anyway.  As soon as I get the rest of my desk cleaned up I'll take a picture of it, it really is a cool desk.  It's a gigantic banker's desk that used to be in my grandfather's office and I love it.  Jayson hates it and keeps trying to get me to get rid of it but I just can't.  It's too fabulous.

I spent some time cruising the internet this afternoon searching for some organizing solutions that might work for us.  An excellent source for all things organizing is a blog called Organize With Sandy.  Let me just say, Sandy is a force to be reckoned with.  She shares all kinds of tips on her blog as well as resources, give aways, and product endorsements.  She also sells some little card and purse organizers that are cute.  By the way, when I saw her purse organizer called the Pouchee, that's what triggered my flashback to the Ambassador Bag.

It also triggered several hours of web surfing producing some helpful and some not so helpful ideas.  I spotted a link on Sandy's blog for the Butler Bag and had to look away really fast because of its Ambassador Bag likeness.  Those of you who know me well are probably scratching your head because you know about my huge army surplus bag that I carry around and try to pass off as a purse.  You've seen me dig in it for 15 minutes looking for my keys that ended  up being in my other hand the whole time.  You've watched me pull things from it such as a handful of dead batteries, a pair of socks and a 2 pound bag of Twizzlers.  I appreciate an organized purse but I don't require it.

Thanks to Sandy I also stumbled upon the Bedzak and found myself actually wanting one.  If I ever spend my husband's hard earned money on something so lame, you have my permission to shoot me and put me out of my misery.

Also under the heading of lame but in a different way is Pottery Barn's Daily System.  You're probably thinking to yourself, "But it's Pottery Barn and we like Pottery Barn don't we?"  Yes we do, most of the time.  However, it is my personal opinion that anyone who buys this system should be shot in the head at point blank range.  Why, you ask?  Let me explain.

Just because Pottery Barn sells it, doesn't automatically make it fabulous.  PB touts this as a modular system that can be customized to fit your needs.  Sounds absolutely great.  But it isn't and apparently PB finally figured that out because all of the components are on sale and some are not available anymore.

I have several issues with this system but the main one is easy to identify.  Look at it.  Just look at it.  Does it make you feel calm and organized?  Not me.  To me it looks like organized clutter which is still clutter.  I look at that wall and I feel like it needs to be tidied up.  Fail Pottery Barn.

Another issue I have is the price.  The components can be purchased separately, which is good, but most of the main ones run in the $40-$50 range, making a complete system cost $300 and up.  If you have $300 to spend on a bad organization system just because it's from Pottery Barn, that's fine, but I hope you would also have sense enough not to.  Fail again Pottery Barn.

So now that I've trashed Pottery Barn and insulted everyone whose ever shopped there I guess I should offer an alternative solution, right?  Okay, I don't have a specific solution other than to say it really isn't necessary to hang all your stuff all over the wall even if it's your office wall...unless that's just how you roll.  For office clutter you might try Peter Walsh's In Place System from Office Max.  It's not exactly pretty but it does appear to be functional and I like how his hanging file folders interlock.  Plus, all the components are very affordable.

I have to admit, my creative spaces are somewhat of a paradox.  I like a combination of organization and clutter...organization so I can find what I need and a clutter of inspirational items that might spark a new idea.  Lately my balance of those two has gotten a little skewed and I'm teetering on full-on clutter.  I have 2 closets in my art room that house most of my supplies and stuff.  This is one of the closets.  It has 10 Iris carts full of treasures but unfortunately my treasures have overflowed the carts and are getting piled up all over the place.  This will be one of the last projects I tackle in the big Clean Sweep of 2011 since it will be the most painful.   I have another supply closet that's in worse shape than this one, plus my jewelry making stuff has oozed into the living room.

Speaking of jewelry, I'm always on the lookout for good jewelry organizing ideas.  Did you see that?  Did you see how I did that?  Have you ever seen a smoother segue?  I think not.  Anyway, I've never been able to find a jewelry organization/storage system that I'm happy with.  Part of the problem could be that I have a lot of costume jewelry and most of the cute organizers I find can't accommodate everything I have.  Plus, since I make jewelry I'm adding to my collection all the time.  What's a girl to do?

I found this little organizer that I like a lot but I would need about 6 of them.  I like it because it has room for bracelets, necklaces, earrings AND rings (which you don't see often enough).  And since it mounts on the wall, I wouldn't have to worry about my necklaces being too long.  I'm gonna chew on it for a while but it might be doable.

Another organizing thing I've been looking at is for makeup.  I don't have a lot of makeup and I don't wear a lot of makeup but it still needs to be tidy, right?  Check out this little beaut from Clear Cube.  Apparently it is the official makeup organizer of the Kardashians.  For $300, they can keep it but a less expensive version might be nice. 

Tomorrow I will finish up the paper organizing (except for the stuff in the garage, that's a category all by itself) then move to clothes and closets, I think.  That should be easy since I have no problem weeding out my clothes and hauling them to Goodwill.  That's where they came from in the first place!


Kelly Hebert said...

Funny that you mention all this...for the past couple of weeks, I've been on a rampage about clutter & organization...& have made a lot of progress, the past couple of days.

Through yesterday, Michael's had all scrapbook storage 40%, I had a coupon good for 20% off the entire purchase, including sale items. I went in to get the Iris cart that houses the removable 12x12 storage boxes--but the problem is, you can buy what they call the "table chest" (even though it includes the optional wheels) that holds 6 boxes, & comes with the boxes--but you can't just buy the plastic rack to store the boxes you already have...which would defeat the purpose of buying the storage cart so I can reclaim my bookshelves for the solution was to draft Johnny to build me a rack based on the same design...which is in the making right now.

Let's see. Two carts with 6 boxes...original price 69.99 each. At 40% off, that's 41.99 each. Take another 20% off, & it brings them down to 33.59 that would be storage for 12 boxes for 67.18, so it's almost like a "Buy one, get one free deal"...but because the plastic is flimsy, you can't really stack one chest/cart on top of the other, even though it would be a total of only 48" high--so it takes up a lot of floor space. Plus, in my situation, I still have a bunch of boxes hogging my bookshelves, so I haven't really done myself any favors.

We went to Lowe's & picked up the wood & casters to make a rack--so I'm about to have a cart that stores 16 of the 12x12 boxes, & fits neatly under a wall cabinet...for a little under $75!! Because of the sale & the coupon I had, I indulged, & picked up 6 more of the storage boxes for 4.30 each! So now, I think I have enough individual units, that I can separate out stuff a little better, & actually find what I'm looking for, when I need it. Candlemaking supplies will no longer be sleeping with glue guns, india ink, & supplies for marbleizing paper. My other Iris carts with the drawers will be now be used only for supplies that I want quicker access to & never need to take out of the house, & the storage boxes will be used for supplies that may travel with me, like for the class you taught a while back.

WooHoo!!!, if only I can get motivated, & find the time to neatly label everything!

Shamayn said...

I too am in a constant search for the perfect way to organize my jewelry. Let me tell you, nothing exists to fit our needs. I have made several organizer boxes but I am not happy with them. I have been converting some old boxes into jewelry organizers but I'm not happy with them either. I have tried the felty "scarf" hanger things but they suck. I made several of my own jewelry boxes. They sucked. That thing you pictured isn't what I want either. I am almost ready to screw 200 cup hooks into my bedroom wall and call it organized. Yes, I'm desperate. I can't find the pieces I want to wear when I want to wear them so I have just given up on wearing my jewelry. It's an ongoing mess. It's right up there with my quest for the perfect wallet. Don't get me started on that one and no, your big fat wallet thing didn't work for me.

Shannon Green said...

Way to go Kelly! Take some "after" pictures when you get it all done, I'd love to see it.

Mayn, you're just impossible to please, that's all.

Sandy Jenney - Organize with Sandy said...

wow... that's a post! lol You have all kinds of info in there.
Thanks for stopping by, linking up and giving me a shout out!

I actually reviewed that belle dangle organizer and have it on my wall and like it.
(and I do use that bedzak everynight! Great for your tv controller)
You did a great job on your file box.

SkylersDad said...

I have no choice but to find one or two really important things and then burn this place to the ground.

Shannon Green said...

Chris, I fully support that method.