Saturday, February 2, 2008

Organizational Specialist?

This week a local group invited me to attend their organizational seminar. A real, live organizational specialist was going to speak. Having a good friend in this group, I thought that I would go to do a little socializing and maybe pick-up a tip or two.

I enjoy organizing closets, drawers and the such. Do not confuse organizing with cleaning. Cleaning is not my thing. My home is pretty well organized except for occasional spruce-ups. I enjoy organizing so much that I have offered, even pleaded, for the chance to help a friend who is planning on organizing her basement. I hope she takes me seriously.

This organizational expert displayed all of the wonderful things that we could buy to organize our homes. Plastic buns, plastic totes, plastic envelopes. Plastic, plastic, plastic crap! The entire seminar seemed like a big infomercial. "Buy this and you too can be organized." The women attending furiously scribbled notes looking for a way to simplify their busy lives.

After the seminar I raised my hand to suggest that maybe people should stop bringing more stuff into their homes as a way to get organized and make life easier. I even suggested ways to cut back on catalogs and financial offers. The pens were flying. The speaker was scowling. The idea of making our lives more simple could put her out of business.

If you too are interested in cutting down on the stuff that comes into your home, check out these two great website. Visit Catalog Choice and those unwanted catalogs will stop arriving in your mailbox ASAP. OptOut Prescreen is another free website. Just register all of the adults in your home and kiss those annoying mortgage and credit card approvals goodbye.

For anyone out there looking to get and stay organized, my not-so-expert advice would be to keep it simple. Your clutter will expand to your area. So lots of bookshelves or plastic totes may not be the answer.

In my house we have a few organizational tricks that are working great!
  • Keep a few vertical folders in the kitchen for all of those papers that come into the house. Each person/action gets their own color.
  • We have four small drawers near the back door where each person can fill their own drawer up with all of the mittens and hats that will fit.
  • In the basement each person gets two memory totes for yearbooks, baby shoes, report cards, art, etc. When your totes are full then it's time to purge.
  • There is a donation bin in the basement. Just one bin. When you outgrow something, toss it in. When the tote is full it's time to take a trip to the Salvation Army.

So, we're not perfect. Things get cluttered and messy. For the most part I'm happy when we can all get out the door remembering backpacks, mitten, dance shoes and coupons. Every day remind me self to KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid!


Erikka said...

I like your tips! and they don't even have to involve plastic :) Thanks.

Erikka said...

ps. did you get the package yet?

Anonymous said...

Great tips!

And I love your perspective on the whole "organizational" industry. It does seem to be a bit counterproductive, what with buying more and more stuff to mange your endless piles of stuff.