Begin Again…Again

I’ve written about organization time and time again. Mostly because I feel like I am constantly organizing and reorganizing and reorganizing things all the time.

Sometimes, like yesterday, I just have to sit down, get everything out, and start from scratch. I took everything from the closet, then the drawers, then the desk to reorganize everything by category so it would be easier to access.

I started with the closet, took out my art supplies and computer accessories and created some nice space for my makeup:

Then I was able to reorganize my hair supplies into a combination of their original container and the old makeup drawers (plus I switched up some of the shelves):

Finally I reorganized my drawers so I can actually access everything. I’ve got the food together, the DVDs actually near the TV, and the paper near the printer:

It took most of the day, but I feel so much better now that everything is clean again. It was just becoming such an overwhelming mess that I could barely function on a regular basis. Now I can do things again!

I Cleaned My Desk…Temporarily

I lost my keys last night. This happens quite frequently lately. See, I have a bucket for them in my closet, but most of the time I just drop them on my desk. Which would be fine if I didn’t do that with everything.

Seeing as I had to work this morning and needed those keys to get into the house where I work, I decided to “clean off” my desk. Not really clean it up in any real sense, but take everything off until I found my key. I ended up removing all this stuff:

(except the towel that was already on my bed) from this desk:

My handy laptop and desk phone can give you a sense of size there. The bed is queen size, for reference.

Quite a bit of stuff to be shoved into such a small area. So I sorted it all on my bed, made piles by category…and then stacked all those piles back onto each other and put them right back on my desk. Like I said, I didn’t actually clean anything up. But it is now an “organized” pile rather than the overflowing mountain it was before.

And, for the record, I found my keys on the desk chair, not the desk itself.

Isn’t That What A Diaper Is For?

There’s a pool in the back yard (with a safety fence, of course) and a pair of small children living in our house. Therefore, I make the trip to the local swim school about once a week with the baby for swim class. Yeah, not necessarily every week. Because there are lots of poops-in-the-pool incidents and classes get canceled for a day.

I’m pretty sure I know the reason there are so many incidents, and it’s not just because there are so many kids. We go on a day there are probably literally 3 kids in the pool before our class. It can’t be blamed on sheer volume of people. No, more likely it is the recommended swim diaper situation.

See, in an effort to be environmentally conscious (I guess), they suggest using one of these swim diapers:

Sure, it’s reusable and saves money and landfill space, but just look at it. You can tell from the picture that isn’t going to hold much of anything. We used one for a while and I could tell every time I got peed on, which means that every baby in that pool is at least contributing to the water level.

So why continue suggesting the reusable “diapers”? I don’t think they can even be called diapers, because they literally hold nothing. I switched the little one back to disposable diapers after a week in Mexico when he had diarrhea and the disposable diapers had worked all week to keep the pool clean. Granted, he’s now potty training so I can make him go to the bathroom before class and tell him no poops in the pool and he won’t, but most of his classes are populated by the under one set. And you don’t know when they poop until you smell it. Or see it, if you are in the pool. Using diapers that don’t actually work as diapers just makes no sense. If it didn’t work before, why do you think it will work this time?

Sort of Spring Cleaning

Not that it is sort of spring, at least not here. I know there are other places that are still going through the 90 &8457; days followed by freezing temperatures the next day. But it is fully spring here, so that is not why this is only sort of spring cleaning.

More like I have never actually been bothered to clean things out in the spring. Ok, I don’t do much cleaning very often anyway, but you already knew that. I do get bitten by the clean up bug about random things occasionally, though.

Take my closet, for example. I’ve been trying to find the best way to keep up with my “clean out the closet every three months” goal. I had been using pictures taken “almost” every day (read: once a week when it was time for laundry), but that was getting to be too much of a hassle and taking up a lot of space in my pictures folder.

Enter the spreadsheet. Or, should I say, spreadsheets. I created a file in numbers for all my clothes, divided it into worksheets for each main category (shirts, pants, shoes, etc.), and created tables for each sub-category on each worksheet. Yesterday I even (finally) came up with the brilliant idea to add a count row at the bottom. For those looking to do the same thing, using checkboxes to keep track of each piece of clothing being worn, use the formula =COUNTIF(b3:b7, TRUE) in each count box. Of course, be sure to use the actual cells that create the boundaries for what you want to count in place of b3 and b7.

The other thing I started cleaning up is what I call my “yarn leftovers”. Those are the bits and pieces you have left over after completing a project. I have decided to wind my significant leftovers into hanks and label them with a tag tied on by some “waste yarn” (leftovers that are under 1 gram, usually used for tying things or making a provisional cast on). I even created nice labels with a little leftover container on them that you can download if you want to have a label for your own yarn. It includes space for yarn name, color, weight, and length. You don’t have to tie it to the yarn, either. You could safety pin it to a ball of yarn, stick it in the plastic bag or tape it to a plastic box, or any other way you like to store your yarn.

Click here to download the labels in a single PDF sheet.

Confession: Why I Will Never Be Able to Live Alone

My room is a wreck. If you’ve ever seen my room under normal circumstances, you are probably either thinking I’m Captain Obvious or you need to send in a rescue crew. Don’t worry, it’s not that bad. But it is in need of a good cleaning.

What? You expected pictures? Nice try, but I don’t want photographic evidence of that. Just try to imagine the mess of random instruments, art supplies, and a mix of clean and dirty laundry. Well, not really mixed laundry. The clean stuff is in the laundry bags, so the dirty stuff is on the floor.

I did at least manage to wash the pile of dishes overflowing in the sink. Because no one was going to be in the house, I just chose to rinse my dishes and leave them in the sink until I needed to wash them. Hey, at least I rinsed the dishes.

This is what happens when I’ve got the house to myself. I do clean. It’s not that I would have trash cans overflowing or have a house like one of those featured on the hoarder shows. Like I said, I rinsed the dishes pretty thoroughly before I stacked them in the sink. But when I have a lot of free time, I get into a habit of starting projects whenever the urge strikes. I just then fill my time starting everything I wanted to start for the past however-long-it-was since I had that much free time. Then I get to the end of the day and just pile the mess into a corner and tell myself I will clean that up later.

So now I have filled all corners of my room with things to be cleaned up “later”. And here I am writing this post. Because I will clean that stuff up tomorrow…

Cleaning Out The Closet

I once read somewhere that, when cleaning out your closet, you should get rid of clothes you haven’t worn in the past three months. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember what I wore yesterday. I would never be able to determine what I’ve worn in three months time. So I’ve come up with a system to keep my closet from being overstuffed.

Each day I take a picture of every piece of clothing I’ve worn during the day, with a few exceptions. Anything I wouldn’t buy second-hand, I’m not going to donate either. Meaning, I don’t apply this system to underwear, socks, or leggings.

After three months, I organize all of the pictures by categories of clothes. I also include sub-categories like tank tops, t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, etc. Then, going by category, I take out anything that doesn’t have a picture. Again, with a few exceptions. I have to have worn at least half of the items in the category for it to be included in the clean-out. That ensures I don’t get rid of all my sandals in the winter or my jackets in the summer.

I’ve been keeping track since October, so today I did a big clean-out

The pile on the left is to donate, the one on the right is to be placed on top of the trash cans for anyone who may be in desperate enough need to take shoes that are falling apart or t-shirts with pit stains. Again, these are things that I would never donate to an actual thrift store.

Two grocery bags to donate and two to toss. I’ve actually cleared off about half a shelf in my closet by doing this. If you ever feel like you have too much in your closet, I’d suggest taking the time to track your outfits somehow for three months or so and see what you really wear. I bet it’s not as much of your closet as you think.