Thursday, September 5, 2013

TNO's Tips & Tricks 32 - Focus on ONE room!

You know the story, friends.

You move into a home.  You bring stuff into that home.  While you're living there, you accumulate more stuff.  Stuff gets shoved into places, right?  Like drawers.  Or boxes.  Or, behind that random piece of furniture where no one will ever find it again.

It happens.

Everyone has that place in their house where stuff goes to disappear.  In our house?  It's the office.  We have a beautiful set of Pottery Barn knock-off desks we purchased from the JC Penney Outlet a few years ago {they're no longer available, but a similarly less expensive brand can be found at my affiliate links here and here!}.  While our desks are pretty beautiful pieces of furniture....

too much storage can be a bad thing.

before and after office organization

By having so many drawers {18 to be exact}, space isn't at a premium.  And so we abuse the lovely privilege by dumping loads of papers and documents into them.  One junk drawer turns into two, which turns into three, which turns into five.  Then a few months or even years later, you're not really sure what is in your drawers other than the fact that it isn't anything you've needed in years.

Time to whip that room back into shape.

Before and after office organization

The important trick though, is to choose one room.  Spend as much time as you need to clean it up, but only focus on getting that one room clean before you do anything else.  DH and I finished our office with a ton of work, but were able to complete the task in just less than 24 hours.  That meant that all naps and at night after the kids were in bed was consumed by cleaning up the office.  While I'm sure it wasn't fun for DH {you all know I was having fun, let's be honest}, it's a necessary evil to complete at least every few years - if not ideally every few months.

Here are some helpful tips to guide your room of choice:

1. Take it to the trash!  {Or even better - recycle!}

The first place to start is with trash bags.  Most likely, there will be a ton of excess stuff that needs to be pitched.  Keeping at least one trash bag per person is helpful in getting rid of all the waste you don't need around any longer.

2. Set up a system of piles.

We used our dining room as the staging area for our sell and donate piles.  We used the foyer table and a laundry bin to house items that needed to return upstairs to our or the kids' rooms.  You're going to have tons of items that have migrated from their respective homes, so put them together instead of making 800 trips.

3. But, put it away immediately!

For those items that needed to return to our kitchen or living room - we took them back and put them away immediately.  And those piles and bins of items were put away as soon as the office was finished being cleaned.  If you don't consider that a part of the project, you're just going to be transferring piles of stuff from one room to another and filling another room with junk.

4. Determine your systems BEFORE you put everything back.

I'm fairly positive that by the end of the project, DH just wanted to dump everything we were keeping back into the drawers and walk away.  I get it, it's a tiring process.  But, if we did that, we'd be right back where we started in a few months.  I had planned in advance and purchased some hanging file folders, binders, and sheet protectors.  

Instead of just shoving everything back into a drawer and adding to another mess, we sorted items into categories while we were purging.  By the time we were ready to put our paperwork and desk drawer supplies back into our desks, most of the work had already been completed.  At that point, all we needed were a few labeled tabs and we were good to go.

Before and after office organization

5. Soak it in.

I'm a firm believer that you have to really enjoy a room once you have it done up all pretty and put-together.  If you don't spend some time in your clean room when it is clean and organized, you're not going to be driven to keep it that way.  Take some time to use the room in all of it's glory and get a feel for how amazing it is cleaned up - and then pledge to keep it that way!

What room{s} are on your list to clean up and organize?

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  1. We are getting ready to add a room, so almost every other room is getting shifted around. I'm preparing myself for a lot of going through old boxes/closets and getting everything organized as we move it all around.
    Thank you very much for the tips; I will be reading more so I know exactly what I should be doing. (I have no natural organizational skills, so I need all the help I can get!)

  2. This was wonderful, and much needed. We are getting ready for a first birthday party here and we need to tackle our catch-all room.


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