Wow! I've gotten more response from my latest post than I have for any other posts so far- Thank you everyone for your kind words! It means so much to hear that my simple home cleaning project has inspired so many of you!
On the heels of that post and the positive reactions it stirred, I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorite finds that were useful to me in the process of organizing my home. I’ve already done all the leg work- I might as well share my info and give you guys a head start on your home clean-out projects!
My first “helpful hint” is actually advice rather than a product find…. and who doesn’t like unsolicited advice, right? Well, if you’ve ever been pregnant, you should be used to it already, so a little more won’t hurt. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna tell you that you shouldn’t eat lunchmeat or lift heavy boxes. In fact, I want you to lift lots of heavy boxes--- of books. If you’re like most people I know, you have many books in your home that you’ve maybe read once and will never read again. Get rid of ‘em! Unless you DO read your books more than once, what is the reasoning in keeping all that extra weight? Many of us feel that the books we own somehow define us. A perfect example of this is my interaction with Dave one day about 2 months ago. In my frenzy of excited cleaning out, I got on a book-ditching kick, and I feverishly tried to convince Dave to get rid of his large collection of Stephen King novels. He said, “But if I get rid of them all, how will Anna know what I was into?” This was a poignant statement, and so I didn’t push the issue. If you feel truly attached to your books, please, go ahead and hold on to those little treasures. I’m just asking you to take a serious look at all this paperback poundage and see it for the heavy empty space in your home it truly is. Here is just one small pile of books I donated to my library…
Do you see how much square footage these few items take up? I’m not saying get rid of it all- in fact, I held on to my college Art History books (yea, yea, I was seriously an Art History major. Talk about cliché). But trust me, it feels good to get your space back- PLUS there’s totally a feel-good bonus if you donate them. So fill up some boxes of books and dump them off at your local library! Unless you’re pregnant- If that’s the case, don’t you know you’re not supposed to be lifting heavy boxes?!?!
P.S. Dave totally relented and got rid of his collection. In the end, I think he couldn’t help but recognize how much lighter the house felt without all this extra stuff. I mean, really? This was only like one tenth of his collection:
When I get on an organizing kick, I tend to be anal. I’ll play with one set-up, and if it doesn’t work, I’ll start rearranging everything over and over again until I finally come up with some kind of system I like. My problem is that I want to have the freedom to drag stuff around without the help of my husband. Therefore, I found these super heavy-duty, yet super lightweight, snap-together shelves made by Sterilite.
At around $25, this is a great deal for the functionality. I can easily drag or carry them around my basement with very little effort. They’re a cinch to clean and look nice enough to set up in a mudroom or pantry. I slowly bought several as I was organizing my basement, and as you can see, they hold a ton of stuff. Plus, they won’t rust over time like those outdated metal shelving units.
Like I said before, I’m a crafter with a ton of supplies, so I needed some boxes to help organize everything. I actually found these a couple of years ago back when I was organizing the children’s supplies at the Art Center.
I love these boxes because
-They are clear, so I can easily see the contents;
-They are a nice size and two fit perfectly when stacked on my handy new shelves;
-The top is a flip lid, which means I never have to worry about losing a lid. This is great for both kiddie supplies and messy crafters such as myself!
These boxes are also Sterilite brand (those guys should really be paying me for the endorsements, hmm?).
Do you have a shelf in your basement or garage that looks like this?:
Random half-empty cans of paint from projects past just rusting away in a dark corner? I absolutely LOVE this simple find that was right under my nose for years! Home Depot and Lowes sell these awesomely handy (and absolutely adorable!) quart sized empty paint cans!
It’s the perfect way to condense that awful clutter. If you ever need to touch up a wall, these little buddies make it a quick and easy project without the clumsy mess of a large, paint-splattered gallon can. Plus, you can label the sides with a sharpie marker, so you’ll always have the details should you need to buy more at a later time!
Just as a side note, you should check with your township to find out the rules for disposing of your old paint cans. My township requires that all paint remnants be completely dry; then I can throw them in with the regular trash. I just left the cans open for a few days in my basement (high up where the dog can’t get to it, because yes, he is definitely dumb enough to lap up paint) before I tossed them.
Ok, are you ready for me to totally dork out? Er, perhaps I’ve already done that anyway, so this next find shouldn’t surprise you… If you are a mom of a young baby, you probably have these tiny organizers in your cabinet right now:
Baby food containers! Are these not the cutest little boxes ever?? They are made of a nice, solid plastic construction and even have handy little lids! Plus, clear is always good so you can find exactly what you’re looking for. I have these little buggers all over the house (just ask my husband- he’s tired of hearing me talk about them. Seriously. But whatevs, you knew what I was when you married me). Toothpicks, hairbands, office supplies…. I even have one in the middle console of my car to hold cough drops! Not to mention, they make a fun stacking toy for babies- these totally keep my munchkin occupied! Plus, it’s helping to foster her future OCD organizational habits that she will inevitably learn from her crazy mother!
This next one is pretty simple, and I’ve had it for a few years. But since so many friends and family have commented on this simple organizational wonder upon opening my junk drawer, I thought I should share it here:
You can find these in the sewing section of any craft store, and even at pretty much any large shopping chain whose name ends with “-mart”. ‘Nuf said.
My final find is actually a secret obsession of mine. There are few things I like better than finding a pretty box to put things in. When I was doing The Big Cleanout, I came across many of these lovely shoeboxes that I’ve collected over the years, but they had become junk collectors stowed away in my basement. I freed them of their junk and started to put them to good use. If I haven’t officially dorked out to yet, it’s totally about to happen for real this time…. I give you the beginning of my grown-up shoe storage!
My shoes were in piles on my closet floor scratching one another up, and one day it hit me like a ton of bricks: Why not use these pretty SHOEBOXES to hold my actual SHOES!? Plus, most of these boxes have neat tag holders, so I can label them with descriptions of the shoes inside. I know it’s a super cheesey idea, and you may say, “Oh, but I don’t have the space in my closet to stack a bunch of boxes.” My (unsolicited) advice to you is that you should take the time to make the space for something like this. I can honestly tell you that when I look up at these charming little boxes on my closet shelf, I get a *Warm & Fuzzy* feeling.
And this find also leads to my final tip. We all end up with missing socks on laundry day, and there’s nothing quite as annoying as a single sock messing up your room while it waits patiently for its mate to resurface in a future load of whites. I have found a way to attractively store all these floaters while simultaneously satisfying my shoebox obsession:
Ahhh…… *Warm & Fuzzy* feelings all around.