last feature for the paper, I wrote about how using the
Marie Kondo method of
decluttering my home has impacted me as an organizer to my core.
She encourages us to keep only the stuff that makes us happy. This
is actually a tall order, and not an insignificant psychological
feat. While I was on my organizing kick last year, I hit a wall
when it came to the paper purge, and the whole process got put on
the shelf. Then I hit critical mass, with the excess stuff of
having two growing children cluttering up my basement and work
As I continue to work on “the purge of all times”, it is easy
for me to get sidetracked and lose my motivation. Luckily, Marie
Kondo’s new book,
Spark Joy arrived just in time. I’m in the middle of it,
and have to stall the urge to put it down, just so I can go get rid
of some more unwanted stuff. This book is much more in-depth and
descriptive, complete with illustrations on how to fold your
clothes properly to maximize drawer space.
I’m eagerly anticipating reading Chapter 6, about getting
rid of paper. I’ve built this task up so much in my mind that it
has paralyzed me. I’m afraid I’ll shred something I may need down
the line. Yet, if I’m being honest with myself, when was the last
time I actually needed to reference one of my paid bill statements?
I can’t remember. Surely, going through this category of stuff will
feel just as liberating as shedding the bags and bags of clothing I
did last March. Wish me luck, this duty is next on my list.
Yes, I have just two favorite home organizing books. I’ve read
many, but only two have actually changed the way I think about home
organizing. This is the best time of year to gear up for
organizing your living space to better fit your needs. You’ve
just accumulated more wonderful possessions from the holidays, and
now you need places to put them. In next Sunday’s paper, I’ll
write more in depth about the process of purging. For now, here are
two book recommendations, as you consider what to get rid of
and how to fit your new belongings into your daily life.
The Life-Changing Magic of
Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. This book really has changed my life
for the better. Her determinant for what to keep and what to
toss is, does it spark joy? Not only did this help me get rid of
lots of excess, but it stays on my mind as I shop, so I am less
likely to buy impulsively. Kondo also encourages you to purge
by category of item, not by room. This was a game-changer for me.
I’ve got her newest book
Spark Joy, due out on January 5, on order and I am so looking
forward to its arrival.
My next favorite is Organizing From the Inside Out
by Julie Morgenstern. I love this book because she really
delves into how to arrange your living spaces so that they make the
most sense for how you live your daily life. She also gets specific
about filing systems and how to store all kinds of items.
Morgenstern encourages you to think of your spaces in terms of
zones, and how you use them. For example, a living room might have
zones for reading, watching TV and doing homework. Then you work
off of that footprint for where to put things you’ll need to access
for those activities. She compares it to the way a Kindergarten
classroom is organized. I just loved that principle and it has
really stuck with me.
I hope the approach of the new year has you motivated,
energized and ready to improve your home’s function through the
power of organization. We can go on this journey together.
As I just wrote about for the
Sunday paper, I prefer the patina of an old, rusty bin to the
plastic sheen of a storage tub. This is not to say that I don’t own
a great many plastic storage bins, but I do like re-purposing old
stuff as organizational implements.
Tired of the mismatched baskets that I use as my snack pantry
above the buffet in the kitchen, I went out in search of vintage
metal bins and wooden boxes to replace them with, and found these
Uptown Mercantile and Red Plantation
Another of my favorite vintage organizing devices is this old
tool box. I used to use it as my “market box”, when I was a vendor
peddling vintage furnishings at flea markets. Now it holds some of
my crafting supplies:
I use this metal basket to organize papers, magazines and
notebooks that I need at the ready. I have another one similar to
it in the bathroom, corralling clean towels.
How do you use your vintage treasures to organize everyday
Sue wrote to me with a request for pantry organization
solutions. Hers is under the stairs, so it is quite oddly shaped.
While it seems she is all set with efficient pantry-depth
shelving, she still has struggles. She sent some photos:
In studying the photos she sent in, I came up with five good
tips that just might help her keep what she needs within easy
Think of your pantry in terms of zones: Baking, Canned
Goods, Boxed Foods, Tupperware, Glassware, Small Appliances, Party
Supplies, etc. Put items from the most used zones in the front.
This helps tremendously when it’s time to prep a meal and when
groceries come home.
An over-the-door clear plastic shoe organizer can
hold your seasoning packets, soup mixes, back stocks of
spices, even canned items or animal treats.
Magazine holders are just the right size to hold
aluminum foil, Saran wrap, and wax paper upright and make it easy
Use milk crates, or plain cardboard boxes to corral larger
items like appliances or bulk bottled water on the floor of the
Small- and medium-sized, clear or perforated bins work
perfectly for grouping like items. Use one for all of your pasta,
one for your grains, one for bags of rice, one for beans. You can
use them for canned goods too. Label them clearly. It’s
much easier to pull out a whole bin, than to push items aside, to
find something at the back.
Here are some suggestions to help with the process. All of the
following products can be found at Target stores or at
Sue- I hope this inspires you to make some changes!
Please feel free to email your design, decorating and organizing
dilemmas to me at email@example.com!