Thursday, July 24, 2008

Summer List- Project One

I made a summer list and at the top of that list was the laundry room.

As soon as school ended, I began work on the laundry room. Our laundry room is in the basement and it is a good size. It's probably bigger than our master bedroom. Not as nice though. I have two office style book shelves, two Rubbermaid heavy duty shelves ( the kind you get at home improvement stores), two filing cabinets, an antique dresses (I store my purses in there.), several large Rubbermaid containers, sink, washer, dryer, and the kitty litter box.

I started reorganizing the office style book shelves. I have Doug's and my professional books that we keep but don't use at work very often, my doctoral course work, research paper, my Caldecott and Newbery books, some special books of the kids, keepsake notebooks of kids school stuff, craft books, craft stuff, and rocks. I'm sure you can envision what a mess these shelves were in. I pared down the professional books, got rid of all my coursework stuff except for my best work samples (down to one 3" ring binder from 10 3" ring binders), and got rid of most of the research papers. I also got rid of some craft books. All the other stuff I kept. I did organize items so that all of each type of thing is on the same book shelf instead of spread out across two shelves. I even have some extra empty space.

I then went through the Rubbermaid containers where we had all our table linens and bed linens. Actually some of the bed linens were upstairs and some were downstairs with no plan or organization in place. In the last two years the boys beds had changed from twins to full size. We went from six twin mattresses (counting the pop-ups) to two. It stands to reason that we don't need much in the way of twin bed linens.

The big tub filled with table linens made it hard to search for seasonal items. I was constantly digging through the box, reorganizing it, pulling out all kinds of stuff to get what I wanted. I needed several of the longer flatter boxes instead of one big tub. Once payday arrived I bought five of those types of boxes. Once I got them home and began to fill them I knew they wouldn't work. I made an initial return to the store to exchange the first set of boxes that weren't quite the right size.

One thing I've learned is that if you aren't happy with the solution you're never going to be so it's better to bite the bullet up front, return the stuff, suffer through the mess of taking all the linens out again and starting over. I HATE wasting time but sometimes you have to regroup and start over. (Maybe I should write a book of wisdoms according to Aggie. Hmm.)

Five boxes were key to my organization, one box per each season and one for all season generic use. It has worked out well. Now the big tubs would adequately handle the overflowing bed linens issue. I got rid of most of the twin linens, and placed the other twin linens upstairs since the only twin bed is upstairs. I also got rid of some curtains and rugs that I was saving for the next house or something dumb like that. Finally I got rid of some Tupperware that I use for parties and such which was stored down there. I pared that down to my most used pieces. Yea, more space and no overflow. We donated the linens, curtains, and Tupperware to an organization called Recycling For Families. They collect household non-clothing items for the needy.

Next was the mountain of paper work that needed to be filed. Now over the Christmas break I had reorganized the two file cabinets with color coded files etc. So I just needed to file and add the occasional new folder for whatever new business relationship we had begun, for example my youngest son's high school needed a folder. That was a huge unsightly mess that made the room look so much better once I cleaned that up.

I then went through the photo containers and added pictures that were scattered about the shelf. These photos had not been filed for a year or two, plus some had been pulled for projects and not returned to the correct box or any box. Several summers ago I organized our photos into boxes, at least one box for each year from 1991- present. This year I bought the taller boxes that could hold 8 1/2 x 11 documents. I bought one for each of us and began to sort through the mounds of newspaper articles, swim ribbons & medals, certificates, programs, large photos, sport set photos, etc. (you get the picture).

Finally I swept and reorganized the wrapping paper, bubble wrap, noodles and gift boxes. Living away from family and many friends keeps me stocked in stuff that I can use to ship things in. It is also a way to reuse stuff that has been mailed to is. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Yea, the room is great. There is so much more space to move around and it is way easier to find things. It took me a month, all of June. I had bursts of starts and abandonment but I did get it done. I have this habit of flitting from one thing to the next and never quite finishing anything. My resolution had been to break this terrible habit. I am better at finishing what I start.


Cathy said...

Wow. That is some impressive organizing! I wish I had your energy level.

Homerun Hatch Family News said...

I think it is more an obsession than energy. I don't feel particularly energetic.