Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Have I Mentioned That it's a Process?

No, my house doesn't look like this, but I have learned that even
an I need to see it person can learn to adjust to labeled storage
provided it's set up properly. (Photo: Thirty-One Gifts)
The semester is drawing to a close and piles are appearing. Okay, in some places, they've been hanging around for a while. But, generally speaking, things aren't as bad as usual. While part of this is due to the fact that I taught only one class this semester (as opposed to the three I taught in the fall),  part of it is a testimony to the newest incarnation of my organizational system.

Last semester at this time, my house was a mess. Piles had migrated from my home office into the living spaces of the house. There was a chair in the living room and a section of the dining room table  that remained covered with papers and materials from Thanksgiving to mid-December.

So, when I cleaned up between semesters, I knew it was time to take stock and make changes. This semester's load would be light, but next fall, I'd be back to juggling materials for three classes again. If I stood any hope of using my furniture for the purposes for which it was intended, something had to change.
A new office with a big closet would've been a great solution, but that wasn't going to happen. A patented a step-by-step process to follow would've been great as well, but the truth is, given my styles and the size of the space I was working with, it was more of a simultaneous assess/purge/
re-purpose/put away process.

Before I could start, I needed to re-envision the existing room and consider how I was using the space I had. Were there things in the office that needed to go? (Yes). Containers that weren't right for the space and/or weren't earning their keep? (Yes). Did I need to reconsider how I was using all of the major storage areas of my little office? (Yes). Was I on budget? (Yes).

In our house, moving one thing quickly turns into a game of dominoes. I wasn't quite ready to get rid of a cart in the office that was sturdy and in good shape, but wasn't earning its keep, so I moved it to the living room. This led to my relocating a small piece of furniture, along with another container that held books and magazines. The cart ended up solving a storage problem in the living room, and it needed a little dressing up, but that was the fun part.

Meanwhile, back in the office, I needed something to replace the cart. I bought an inexpensive, not-quite-right three drawer unit to tuck under the counter. Style-wise, it wasn't perfect, but it functioned as I needed it to: it put all my papers out of sight. Dangerous for an I need to see it organizer, so I made sure to set up the drawers by broad category and label them. Nothing goes into any of the drawers that doesn't fit its category, so I can work with it (just three categories to remember), and it looks immeasurably better.

I snagged two small drawer units (with clear drawers) from our basement and set them up next to the larger, new three-drawer unit, completing my under-the-counter transformation in the office. No longer was I wrestling with awkward, difficult-to-access bins. Putting something away was as easy as putting it in its labeled drawer, making Don't put it down, put it away! easy to put into practice.

I was so excited about this drawer idea...but it seems to
be too much of a style stretch for my I need to see it style.
I could go on and on, but I won't. Suffice it to say that by the time I was finished, I'd put the space in my office to better use, cleaned up a corner in the playroom (and procured two fun fabric bins for myself in the process) and put a small shelf unit (from the playroom) to use in my kitchen. Most of my "new" stuff was re-purposed old stuff, so I purchased only one new item. I still have two empty spaces (one small drawer and one lidded fabric bin) in my office, so I have room to maneuver and grow. In addition, I have one larger drawer that's not earning its keep and will most likely be re-purposed between this semester and next. This summer, I'll do some tweaking and dispense with the remaining piles.

I still smile when I look under the counter in my office and see how much better that space -- along with the spaces under the counter in the kitchen and under the window in the living room the -- looks and functions.
That's the best part. When it's easy to put stuff away, life is so much easier.

And the piles are smaller, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment