For the quasi-organized

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I love to be organized.  Like really, really love it.

I think it has something to do with my inner control freak and my outer chaos, which results in the freak trying desperately to rein in control on the chaos whenever possible.  If my environment is under control, then I can be more in control as a mother and homemaker.  Same was true in college–I could not study for a test unless my room was anally in order (Kellie will attest).  Then I could get to work and focus on the matter at hand.

All in all, this love of organization is fine unless control becomes an idol.  Bring in 5 kids under 7 and the OCD thankfully has to take a backseat.  You just can’t be organized in everything, all the time.  It is not remotely possible and I would lose my mind trying to make it happen.  I have to give things up, learn to go with the flow, roll with the punches, and allow messes and mishaps throughout my home and life.  Having oodles of kids is actually really good for me!

These days if organization happens, it’s usually in a small corner of my life–a drawer de-cluttered, the van vacuumed and detailed, my closet purged and reset.  These are small celebrations of organization in which I delight.  They are my chances to celebrate one small area of control in the madness of life!

So here you have it, some recent triumphs of organization and accomplishment in my little world.  Perhaps they will inspire?

1) Project Cookbooks

I was getting really frustrated at the poor use of space in the cabinet holding my cookbooks.  The shelves were at odd heights which caused me to have to store my small cookbooks vertically down below and my larger ones, up above horizontally.  This made it difficult to access the larger ones and disjointed in general.  The second problem was that I had quite a few printed recipes hanging out, waiting to be cooked.  They weren’t ready to file, but they were haphazard and getting lost in the process.  So after faltering for the last four years, I had an epiphany (and time and motivation) last week to change the shelf heights to allow for greater vertical space down below.  What a change!  I could now store all my cookbooks together along with taller oil and vinegar bottles.  In the center, I had just enough room to place a plastic organizer to store the random paper recipes.  Perfect!  I wish I had a before photo for you–this is truly an improvement!

Processors on top, smaller items in the middle, and tall cookbooks and bottles on the bottom. I am so thrilled every time I open the cabinet doors!
Everything in its place.

2) Project Gift Bags

I’m apparently a crazy gift bag hoarder (that or I don’t give enough gifts in return!  Yikes!!) It was so out of hand that a good portion of a large upstairs closet was devoted to the excesses of our gift materials.  It was getting totally ridiculous.  So, over the weekend I cleared out the closet and brought everything down to our main floor.  I really wanted a gift set-up nearer to our everyday life where I could grab a gift bag, tissue, and go, rather than have to rummage around in an upstairs closet when we’re running late to a birthday party!

Thankfully, I had two cabinets in our butler pantry that were being ill-utilized.  It was time for a change.    After much gift bag purging, bada boom, bada bing, I give you our new gift station (perfect timing for the pre-holidays):

The new and improved gift station.
The best is that each drawer pulls out for easier access. This side has regular and birthday gift bags, tissue in the top drawer, and ribbons/random items in the bottom (and yes, that is a balloon blower for making balloon animals–you can hire me for your next party! lol)
The other side has Christmas and baby shower gift bags, Christmas boxes, contact paper, and the flags for the front of our house (random but it was a flat spot to store them!)

There you have, two small organizational triumphs in my mama world.  Nobody notices them but me.  But the fact that they are there sets my heart at ease just a little bit and that is worth gold.

So it’s a 3-day weekend, where will you find your organizational peace?

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  • “They are my chances to celebrate one small area of control in the madness of life!”
    Yes exactly!
    I engage in organizational therapy as well. In anticipation of starting school this week I cleaned the basement play/craft area and organized my new school cabinets. I try not to think about what they will both look like in a couple weeks and focus on the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing everything will get off on the right foot come Monday. I’ll take whatever small victories I can get!

  • jess a.

    as i was unpacking clothes from the summer, i realized how many clothes in my closet i really should get rid of – did a major clothing/shoes purge as a result! (4+ large garbage bags) i’m pretty fired up. and there’s more to be done!

  • Sarah

    I love the results of projects like this too, where you set yourself.up for long term success and order. And you get the blessing of contentment each time you open the cabinets! 🙂 I feel like as I have gotten older my need for things to have an ordered place has increased. And thankfully, I am slowly getting smarter about how to set up better maintainable systems. Now if only I could find the also essential time and energy to take care of all the challenges around our house…

  • Kellie “Red”

    I can attest to your love of organization! And your cabinets look GREAT! Nice work!