If you are like me, and I like to think I’m not alone here, things begin to pile up around the house. Those strange odds and ends that do not seem to have good homes and end up cluttering the kitchen table until they bother you enough that you shove them into a drawer where they might never see the light of day again.
Before our move I spent some time turning an old writing desk into a charging station for our growing collection of tech gadgets and also as a point where those odd items could be put neatly. We drilled a hole in the back and inserted a power strip to plug everything in. I dolled up the shelves and drawers with washi tape, wrapping paper and protective plastic sheets. This worked great, for a while.
In our new home, though, the layout is significantly different and the desk became a place where things got stashed to keep out of sight. In the before pictures you can see how great it looks, until it is opened and the disaster inside spills out. I needed to rethink how the desk was going to be used. I also began to realize that there were other places in the home where things were starting to gather up. Time to organize!
I accomplished this during nap time one afternoon recently; in less than two hours I went from having cluttered messes to neatly organized places for everything. Here’s how:
1. Gather Everything!
Figure out where things are collecting in your home. Look near the entrances and see if there is a counter that is gathering all the things that were in your pockets or purse. Check out that drawer that has random things in it, maybe in the kitchen, or the living room. I had two in the dining room.
Pull it all out and dump it in one big pile where you have some space to spread out. This might look a little overwhelming but soon it will be under control again, have no fear!
Do an initial sorting of the pile.
I had one bin where I put things that had homes elsewhere. There were tools that needed to go into the garage, pens and paper clips that went in the office, and random crafting supplies to go into the basement. When I was done I ran around the house putting these items away.
I also had a trash bag handy where I could toss everything that was trash; there was a surprising amount. Old receipts, packages for batteries, broken bits of toys that will never get repaired.
Then I put what was left into small piles. For instance all the batteries went together, the flash lights, the candles, cell phone accessories, a small collection of handy tools, pocket knives, spare change, and so forth.
This is my favorite part (I can already feel my husband rolling his eyes a little). Luckily I had enough bins from my previous attempts at organizing everything to hold what I had in front of me. If you aren’t in this boat, a quick trip to the store will be needed.
Be sure to budget yourself; it can be easy to get carried away with those pretty organizing trays and bins. If the budget is small, head to the dollar stores, or even your own recycling bin. Small cardboard boxes, like the ones in your pantry, can easily be cut down to size and covered in paper or duct tape to be functional and decorative at the same time.
Once everything has it’s own little container, the job is almost done.
I was okay with keeping the two drawers in the dining room dedicated to random stuff, and I needed two spots in the house for my husband and I to dump our things as we walked in the house. I then needed to decide what things went in what spot.
I finally decided that cell phone accessories, batteries, flashlights and power adapters all went well with the charging station in the writing desk.
The random tools, knives, candles, spare keys, a nice collection of command hooks etc went together in the dining hutch drawer.
And the few personal items we might need going out the door went in our respective containers.
4. Put It Away!
Now for the last part; put it all away. Tuck those neat little bins into the drawers. If labels are needed, add them to make things easier for everyone.
Also be sure to take a moment and show your work off to the other people in the house. This is a good practice not only to give yourself a moment of pride as you show off a little, but it will also help them know where to find things and hopefully they will start putting them away there too!
So there you are. In less than two hours you can tackle those pesky junk drawers and end up with a neat organized space. Gather everything up, sort it, bin it, and finally put it all away. Remember to take out the trash. Then show off to everyone else in the house and maybe get yourself a celebratory glass of wine when you are done!
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