The Crazy Suburban Mom: Rungs on the organizing ladder

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Rungs on the organizing ladder

My last post, Planning and disasters and disastrous planning, was about recovery from Hurricane Sandy and what I learned about my lack of preparedness.

I'm trying to give myself a break about it all and move on, but what to do next? I really didn't know.  If I had a clue what to do with things I'd already be doing it.  

I tried to break it down and get to  the major contributing factor in my discomfort,  finding things, so I started there.  I don't keep track of my stuff well, nothing has a real 'home' and like items aren't grouped.  Figuring out what to do about it all is a huge challenge because it's not natural (for me) to see something and know where to put it.  

That's left me with multiple spots to look for the same type of thing and sometimes there was no sense where an item turned up.   Since finding things was the biggest hurdle (and not only during the week long power outage but pretty much all the time), I started there.


After voting on Tuesday I started overhauling my stuff but I've done this before and wanted success this time.  I decided to track this project in my Pink Pocket Rio because it's more portable and since it's my wallet I always have it with me.  


I made (many) lists of things I needed to tackle.


In the past when organizing I've always run out and bought bins, lots of bins, but this time I decided to see what I actually had.  Maybe I don't need bins this time.  Maybe I have enough containers.  Buying storage items before I know what I need never worked because I always end up with the wrong size bins and not enough of them or too many that don't work.


My lists are general categories, mostly things I have multiples of.


While craft items / art supplies weren't things I needed last week they are a continual thorn in my side.  Not only do these things live in multiple rooms but  mixed up together.  I have this kind of stuff crammed everywhere; bins, drawers, shelves, vintage suitcases....


I wasn't overly specific in each list and I kept making them, adding anything I needed to think about, until I felt done.


I used whatever paper I had and whatever pen was around.  I didn't want to get  bogged down with a specific format this time.  Sometimes I obsess so much about the plan itself, I burn out before I get to the doing part.


As an aside:  The paper on the left came with the Olympic Limited Edition Planner, the paper on the right is regular lined Filofax paper.   One of the nice things about the Olympic paper is the lines are spaced better for writing.  I wish Filofax would make more paper like this; sizing down pages doesn't really work well.


You can size down inserts but once you shrink paper down to pocket size the lines are impractically small.


That's why cutting down larger paper works better.


PS - All these pens fit in my pocket pen loop which is pretty small.

Today I'm going to tackle the craft stuff even though it wasn't something that tweaked me during the storm.  I have a very small house but can think of at least eight places where I keep crafty stuff.

And that doesn't include the stuff I can never find, no idea where that  is. 

Since craft things are all over and  not where I use them, tackling it first made sense.  There is a piece of furniture by my front door stuffed with tiny craft  items (Think: buttons and beads) that would be better suited for  flashlights, batteries, dog leashes, a lint roller, and anything else I always look for on my way out the door.


 Starting there seems odd to me, after all there are areas that need dealing with more, but it's a small manageable place to begin.  Perhaps tackling everything at once is what made all my grand plans fail in the past.  Starting with one drawer (or something else small) and moving to the next small thing might be a good way to cope with an enormous project.

As each thing is finished I'll move up the rungs on my organizing ladder, hopefully getting to the top before I lose power the next time and need the flashlights.


Deborah- Jane 11/8/12, 9:54 AM  

Starting small sounds like a plan to me..

Tracy Reinhardt 11/8/12, 12:53 PM  

That might be the think"?

Tina 11/8/12, 6:19 PM  

I think this is fantastic! As a librarian you'd think I have OCD haha but no -.- I can be organized to an extreme but when it comed to stuff in my room/desk things go out of control! I was surrounded by bins a couple of months ago till I said enough! IT's time to get everything sorted and looking neat! So go you for deciding to organize all your stuff :D Don't know about you but I was pumped when I had music blasting out of the speakers hehe that got me to clean my messy space :)

Kristin Peters 11/8/12, 8:45 PM  

I do everything on a macro level then fine tune. I my filofax I have a section of household needs. That has battery sizes listed for things we always need. I love to look at organized stuff but then again I don't want to get intimidated and quit. Coffee and Beyonce get me moving too. Filofax lists keep my brain from scattering

Pallavi 11/9/12, 7:22 AM  

Hi Tracy! Sounds like you've come up with a great plan! Always good to start small I get overwhelmed when I decide to organize too much at once and give up before I start! My problem is procrastination and I go crazy organizing right before someone comes over. About the pocket size paper, I'm not sure if you only like to use grid paper but there are small note pads that are lined and are spiral bound on the top. They fit in my pocket FILO perfectly just that I have to trim the spiral pull out part at the top. The lines are not as small as the FILO inserts and smaller than regular loose leaf. Maybe its closer to college ruled size. I think they are just perfect and the paper pad is called academix memo book and comes with 60 sheets for about 75cents! Def check out the school section when u go grocery shopping! Hope you have a wonderful day :)

LJ 11/10/12, 1:27 AM  

That sounds like a good place to start to me. When I decide it's time to start sorting things out my other half knows it's time to get scared... very scared... He knows the scenes of devestation and chaos that he is going to come home to. I pull everything out, put it into random piles (which always end up drifting into each other) and never have time to put it all away properly anyway so it still ends up as piles of random stuff put into random places :-)

Cassandra 11/10/12, 8:23 AM  

Julie Morgenstern's book "organizing From the Inside Out", helped me a lot. Her teenage daughter also had a very simple book that is a fast read.

Cassandra 11/10/12, 8:24 AM  

Julie Morgenstern's book "organizing From the Inside Out", helped me a lot. Her teenage daughter also had a very simple book that is a fast read.

Tiki Jane 11/10/12, 3:33 PM  

Tracy, if I can't find a pocket Rio (so far, no luck) what's my second option? I love the Rio (color, spirit) but I'm just getting into Filofax and so many cool models are 'retired' - alas!! Like you are doing, I want a nice wallet-y option.

Love your blog and glad Sandy didn't wallop you too much. I've gone through a lot of hurricanes, but none that came with snow!

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