Tag Archives: Organizing blog

The Animal House Series, Article 3 – The Elephants in the Room

Article 3 in a Series of 3

When my daughter visited me after I moved to Washington, DC, she looked around the living room and stated, “You have a lot of stuff but it’s organized.  It’s not cluttered like some grandma’s houses.”  Recently my teenage grandson visited and asked, “What’s up with the tea pots?”  Those comments made me take a different look at ‘knick knacks’ and collectibles I had everywhere in my home.  Although I don’t have a collection of porcelain elephants taking over my home, I asked myself, “How does one start collecting things?”  For me, a few mementos are of sentimental value, such as the homemade cookbooks and Christmas ornaments made by my daughters when they were in preschool and elementary school. The teapot collection started when I found what I thought was a collectible teapot worth a lot of money at a yard sale.  That collection grew into about 20 teapots. When I moved back to Nashville and had to downsize my home, I took most of them to a local charity thrift store and kept those that I liked best, still enough for my grandson to notice.

Purging my collectibles, including my scrapbook paper collection, books, magazines, CDs, videos and decorative accessory objects has pained me greatly at times. However, when I do edit mementos and collectibles, my home looks less cluttered and my mind is uncluttered also.  I’m more productive and focused. I still have “stuff” but it looks good since there’s less stuff.  I’ve found great containers and organizing products. There are places your eyes can rest without seeing so much “stuff.”  My knick knacks are arranged by category or color. I wish I could showcase my grandmother’s china collection which is stored away in my buffet, but I’m afraid my daughter will steal it piece by piece. She’s still upset it was passed down to me instead of her and brings up the subject every chance she gets. LOL!

A few “do’s and don’ts” for a few collectibles:

Do find a way to show or secure your collectibles without taking up an excess amount of space in your home. Organization will be simpler for you and you’ll find you can put things almost anywhere if you find great organizing or display products. Be creative. For example, that vintage jewelry collection can be displayed in a shadow box and hung on a wall.

Don’t try to showcase all your collectibles in one space, especially if you live in a small space. This will appear as clutter. Try rotating items periodically. This will also help freshen up your home design.

Do purge books, magazines, CDs or videos if they’re out of date or you don’t enjoy them any longer. Share by donating to the local library, senior citizens centers, schools or hospitals.  Think tax deduction or the ‘I’m a good person feeling’ you get when you share!

Don’t put collectibles in an area that they don’t belong.  Put them where they’re purposeful. The porcelain elephant collection may look great in the kitchen but putting it in a curio cabinet in the living room would showcase it better.

The Animal Series, Article 2 – Is Your Mustang in Your Garage?

Article 2 in a Series of 3

I’ve watched a few episodes of ” Two Broke Girls” on CBS.  When Caroline (the newest broke girl) moved into Max’s (the already broke girl) apartment, she brought along few possessions from her former rich lifestyle. Her most cherished possession, however, was a horse that they put in the backyard since they obviously coul not put it in the small apartment. I found it hilarious that they thought they would be able to keep the horse in the backyard and eventually, with winter approaching, they had to move it to a stable that would, of course, be an extra expense to them.

I’ve never seen a horse in anyone’s garage, yet. However, we acquire so much stuff, I’m wondering if someone does have a horse in their garage. If you know someone who does, let me know. Our original intent of having a garage is to keep our cars in it.   When other stuff starts piling up, where do we put our cars?  Outside! This can become an extra expense because your car can obtain weather related damage.

Some of you may want your garage to serve as a multi-purpose space. A garage and a workshop or a garage and storage area are two examples. Whatever your space needs are, here are a few simple organizing tips to making your garage a functional space:

1. Develop a plan for how you want the garage to function.

2. Clean out the space completely and make repairs where needed.

3. Sort items. Items that are no longer useful or important that don’t need repair, give away or sell.  Discard junk that cannot be repaired. These are usually the things that take up most space in the garage.

4. Everything that you plan on putting back into the space, sort into categories, such as sporting equipment, tools, chemicals and paints, seasonal items, etc..

5. Items such as rakes, shovels, lawn chairs, bikes, and sleds can be hung on the wall with large, sturdy hooks. You can purchase garages at hardware stores such as Ace Hardware.

6. Invest in some type of cabinetry or shelving units to store items that cannot be hung on the walls.

7. Be safety concious. Store chemicals and paints in their original containers in locked cabinets. Keep a fire extinguisher rated “ABC” (effective for all types of fires) in the garage.

Clutter is all about delaying making decisions. So if you haven’t decided what to do with the “horse” you’ve kept in the garage, make the decision to get out it right now, especially since spring is just around the corner.