"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
_ William Morris
, 19th century craftsman, designer, writer

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Organize: Small Miracles

I learned a lot interviewing pros from the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) for my bookazine projects on organization and one of my favorite tips was to attack clutter and chaos in tiny fun-sized bites.
The idea: instead of setting out to re-organize a whole room, start with a single drawer. 
 So, I did. Starting with one of the busiest, most ransacked, disorganized drawers in the house -the "medicine cabinet" drawer. 
I humbly submit the before picture above. Scary, but this is Halloween month...so look at the scrambled contents and imagine Psycho music...
On the advice of pros, this was my process:
  •  Work standing up.
  • Set a timer or stopwatch (unless this stresses you out, because who needs that!). I was hoping to do the job in 15 minutes, but it ended up taking 29. The sense of urgency kept me on task and focused.
  • Sort quickly into piles: Keep - Toss - and What the heck is this doing in here? For some drawers and cabinets you may also want a donate pile.
  • Wipe down the inside of the drawer and any organizational containers. Line with contact paper or even a piece of wrapping paper cut to fit.
  •  Now comes the (relatively) fun part, add back into the drawer only what truly belongs there. Check expiration dates before restocking. I found medicine from 2009 -time flies! Although it's not fun to throw out unused products, I realized I was grateful we hadn't needed to use the entire box of Immodium before it expired, but I digress. In addition, if we did actually need the Immodium, it would be a sorry time to find out it had expired. Digressed again.
  • I also tossed broken boxes and sorted contents into plastic baggies. I didn't want to buy new drawer organizers so I worked with what I already owned. If I find better solutions in the future I will let you know!
  • Finally, I cleared the trash and relocated the lost items to their proper places.
  • My drawer is not perfect, but it is a major improvement and it definitely rates as a minor miracle around here. No more headaches looking for the Advil!
Just as the pros predicted, success is inspiring. However, since the plan was only for one drawer and one small chunk of time, I scheduled the next mini miracle for another day. Slow and steady wins the race. 
(Also, yes, that's a bundle of Chapstick we've got there -and maybe now that I can actually find it, I can stop the insanity.)

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