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Control the clutter, once and for all

Internet, before I had kids I was SO ORGANIZED.  And then arrived the pitter patter of little feet, and everything went to pot.  I’ve slowly been regaining control (as evidenced by the success of Jude’s daily chore chart). But the tipping point was last year after we went to Watersound and stayed in that glorious home on the beach.  I came home and felt icky over all the clutter clutter clutter everywhere. And it’s the exact same feeling I have when we leave our house at Carlton Landing which is joyfully lacking in clutter, and come back to our house in Oklahoma City. We have SO. MUCH. STUFF.

It stresses me out. And it’s totally proven that clutter is a creativity killer, at least for me.  So I’ve systematically been taking back the control of our home. I’ve been sharing a few things on Instagram stories, but this is my comprehensive post with all the links, details, tips, etc.  And in fact, it was SO much info that I’m breaking it up into a few different posts.  SEE PART 2 ON THE PANTRY HERE.

CLUTTER-BUSTING TIPS

Step One: I made a list of all the places in my house that give me anxiety. What makes me cringe when I walk into a room? Where do we automatically DUMP stuff, and then leave it?   Specifically, I focused on the kitchen, our breakfast nook drop zones, and the laundry room as those places felt manageable with a little elbow grease.

Step Two: Get ruthless.  Start cleaning out those drawers. Internet, we had THREE junk drawers. NOPE.  Get a trash bag for the trash and a large box for a donation pile. Go through EVERYTHING and determine if it should stay or if it absolutely has to go. Don’t be swayed by guilt or “shoulds.” This is about function, plain and simple. If you haven’t used it since you received it as a wedding gift in 2005, then it’s time to say bye bye.

Step Three: Once you’ve got everything cleaned out, reassess your needs. Identify similar items and group them together.  And this is the key: you’re going to have to spend some money to get organized. Empty drawers and cabinets simply don’t offer enough boundaries to help you stay on top of a mess of things. You’re going to need plenty of bins, labels, markers, etc. It’s one thing to have all those drawers, baskets and bins, but if you don’t specify what exactly should go in them, then what’s the point? It boils down to boundaries: if you don’t specify what does or does not belong in a bin/drawer/basket, then it’ll become a catch-all for EVERYTHING. Make it specific enough to make sense.

KITCHEN/DROP ZONE

In our breakfast nook, I realized that the desk that was formerly there had become a major crap catcher. So much stuff would get piled up there, and none of it would ever get organized or go away. I started thinking about how we had the same problem at the lake house – a random little nook with a desk, and zero storage. Having shelves built in made all the difference there.

But built-in shelves isn’t an option in this corner of our house due to the door that (admittedly) is rarely if ever used. A bookshelf was going to be a perfect solution here. I pulled in my Ikea Fjalkinge unit. I LOVE the clean lines of this shelf. It’s pricier than some Ikea shelves at $130, but it’s so clean and chicly simple. I think the key for having any kind of storage on display is to choose storage that’s not only functional but also attractive.  I asked Serena & Lily if they’d want to partner up on this, and they happily sent over their pretty and incredibly sturdy Riviera bins. I’ve used them at the lake house, and I was impressed at how heavy duty they are.

 

ORGANIZATION MUST-HAVES

  1. SERENA & LILY RIVIERA BINS
  2. GOLD FRAME WHITE DRY ERASE BOARD
  3. EMILY LEY HOME BASE BINDER
  4. TARGET ROOM ESSENTIALS WHITE PLASTIC BINS
  5. DYMO LABEL MAKER
  6. METAL BIN LABEL CLIPS
  7. SQUARE CORK BOARD
  8. A SIMPLIFIED LIFE
  9. CONTAINER STORE ELFA DRAWERS

HOME ORGANIZING RESOURCES

I love following The Home Edit on Instagram because not only are they are so smart at organization, but they make it beautiful and happy too.

They also did a super helpful interview on Young House Love’s podcast and followed it up with this handy dandy list of bullet points.

Emily Ley wrote a fantastic new book entitled A Simplified Life — it’s chock full of so many handy checklists and ideas.

She also has a comprehensive free printable list to help you get on your spring cleaning.

And don’t forget to pin the image below for your reference —

Ok! That does it for this week, but I’ll have more in depth looks at our sadly minimal pantry situation, as well as how I transformed our crazy pants laundry room into a functional butler’s pantry.

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  • Kate Van Geldern Bowler

    I am in the process of doing the exact same thing at our house right now! It’s amazing how much zen I feel having my gift wrap organized. Linen closet this weekend!