Last time, I went room by room and identified what needed to be done to organize and make most efficient use of the space in my small house. School is starting again in a month and I wanted to have everything in its place and better systems for some of my everyday activities.
I started in the office, concentrating in the computer area. College seems to bring with it numerous credit card offers and bills and notifications that always seem to be tucked in various places on the desk, asking to be thrown away or forgotten. So I got very a simple, $3 silver mail sorter that went nicely with our translucent blue desk (who says you can’t be functional and stylish?.) There are slots for outgoing mail, my mail and my boyfriend’s. Using this simple system, we have been able to keep track of our mail much better. Now I can pay my bills on time and not have mini heart attacks when I can’t find that one, really important piece of mail.
If you are anything like me, disorganization is not simply limited to your desk. No maam; it extends also to planner and mind. It’s difficult to remember due dates in the midst of piles of homework, so I got a small dry erase board from a dollar store and stuck it to the nearest wall with all the due dates for our monthly payments. It’s not written down and forgotten about in some small place in my planner or on a note that will get lost; it’s in a place that I can’t help but look at.
Another problem in my working area was not having a place to put necessary paperwork like tax information, financial aid information and notifications from school. As it stood, all these important documents were tucked willy nilly in various folders stacked on my desk. Of course, this too has a simple fix: I went to Office Depot and got a small file box and created pertinent files for all of my paperwork and all of my boyfriend’s–making sure to keep them separated… just in case, well, you know. I also got a small storage container with drawers to sit on the desk and hold office supplies for $7.
The rest of the work for this room involved cleaning and reorganizing. I threw away a lot of old folders that were taking up space and freed a lot of shelf room that I left fairly bare, knowing that as I re-organized the house, I would probably find things to fill the office shelves. That is one of the key things I learned going room by room: it isn’t necessary to fill every blank space with decoration or stuff, its good to leave some room for all the new things you acquire, like research for papers or schoolwork for a given semester.The rest of the room is still filled with the boyfriend’s stuff, which isn’t great, but I have learned to pick my battles and just make sure that if it isn’t necessarily well organized, at least it’s clean.
The next room I concentrated on was the bedroom. I’m like many women who find themselves with more shoes than room to store them. I bought two small bins for $3 each to store my shoes: one bin for dressy, one for casual. This freed up a shelf in my closet that I could use to store my pants. Knowing myself, I have a hard time keeping shoes in any sort of order, so instead of trying to find a way to organize and display my shoes, I just threw them in a bin with a lid to create a cleaner look.
I became a big fan of things with lids, so I got a standing laundry hamper with a lid. I’ve found that lidless hampers tends to look a little messy and standing hampers take up less room, which is greatly useful in small spaces like apartment bedrooms and dorms.
I needed to do something about my accessories, and quick. I scoured the house, looking for old boxes that I’ve kept for such an occasion and found instead an old popcorn tin in the office that I’d kept just in case. I cleaned it out and it fits perfectly in my closet to hold my scarves, gloves and other various accessories. I also got an over the door rack with hooks for $5 to hold purses and coats, which frees up a lot of room in my closet. When looking for storage, think outside the box (literally). Those old shoeboxes that you can’t bring yourself to throw away could become jewelry boxes or hold knicknacks.