Tag Archives: Home Organization

“Spark Joy” Reignites My Will to Declutter

In my 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 space.

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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.


My Two Favorite Organizing Books

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.

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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.

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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.

Organizing with Vintage Stuff

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 at Uptown Mercantile and Red Plantation Mercantile.

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 items?


Pantry Organizing Tips

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:

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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 reach.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Magazine holders are just the right size to hold aluminum foil, Saran wrap, and wax paper upright and make it easy to grab.
  4. Use milk crates, or plain cardboard boxes to corral larger items like appliances or bulk bottled water on the floor of the pantry.
  5. 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 Target.com.

Honey-Can-Do over the door shoe organizer. $12.19
Honey-Can-Do over the door shoe organizer. $12.19.
Threshold Gold Rustic Wire Magazine Holder. $8.99.
Threshold Gold Rustic Wire Magazine Holder. $8.99.
Room Essentials Milk Crate White. $3.99.
Room Essentials Milk Crate White. $3.99.
Room Essentials Branch Weave Storage Bins, set of 4. $39.99.
Room Essentials Branch Weave Storage Bins, set of 4. $39.99.

Sue- I hope this inspires you to make some changes!

Please feel free to email your design, decorating and organizing dilemmas to me at paisleypine@gmail.com!