Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What my Mother Taught Me About Organizing

This is, perhaps, my most favorite organizational tool.
Just wish I'd ordered one in this print.
There always seem to be a few places in my house for which I'm struggling to find the right container/storage. Accustomed to taking my styles (I need to see it/drop and run) into consideration, I have a reasonable idea of what will work and what won't but, when I factor in the aesthetics, sometimes it gets complicated.

When we're desperate to bring order to a trouble spot, it's tempting to hop on the new-and-improved-solutions bandwagon. If we're not careful, we can be drawn into the promise of instant organization and end up spending money on something that looks good and works for someone else, but is not a match for our styles.

My mom always described herself as frugal. A recent foray into her closet revealed a well-developed knowledge of what worked for her both organizationally and budget-wise. With the exception of a few pairs of shoes neatly stored on a rack on the floor of her closet, all of her shoes were in labeled (in just enough detail) shoe boxes. Why bother with store-bought fancy (or even clear) boxes when the boxes that came with the shoes worked just as well? Gift boxes were trimmed down to the size that matched whatever she wanted to store in them, and used to subdivide shelf and drawer space. The occasional dollar store plastic organizer was also in evidence for this purpose but, most often, Mom simply made what she needed out of whatever was on hand.

And it worked.

She was very particular about the storage that was visible, however. Recycled boxes might work in out-of-sight places, but, in the living spaces, there was a place for everything and everything was in its place. She chose pieces carefully, considering style, function and aesthetics and everything came together in tidy rooms that reflected her tastes.

Although I aspire to that same level of tidiness, I'm still a work-in-progress, seeking the perfect tools for my I need to see it/drop and run styles. Often, I have a better idea of what won't work than what will, and I find myself seeking solutions that don't seem to exist. While part of me yearns for a home as uncluttered as my parents' home, I'm more inspired by my mom's closet than her living room because her practical, visual approach to that space fits both my personal and organizational styles. And, like my mom, I'm not shy about where I find my solutions.

The next time you're searching for the perfect solution, keep in mind that, depending on where you're using it, how it works might be more important than how it looks. Dollar stores, dollar bins and clearance racks are often organizational gold mines and, if you get your new container home and it doesn't work, you haven't wasted much money.

Every workable solution, whether recycled, repurposed or custom-made takes us one step closer to winning the organization wars.

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