So I’m sure it’s safe to assume that we’ve all flipped through the IKEA Catalog numerous times checking off, circling and even drooling over dream kitchens and the fight to organize areas of our house that, well let’s face it, we’d throw everything away in if we didn’t actually need it.
Now a trip or two to the Container Store lets me know that I am completely capable of tidying up my living room from kid clutter, my home office of “important papers” and art projects or my pantry of the one million spices and canned goods that I forget I have swearing to myself that one day I am going to utilize all of those pins I’ve pinned on Pinterest and get my existence together! I mean I was just at the Container Store a week ago boasting about how those storage units were a no brainer and I could totally get my kitchen in shape in no time flat, leaving with nothing remotely close to aid in assisting me with this project and coming home to an apartment full of things hanging everywhere.
With that, I am here to tell you first off that you are not alone in your systematized plan to create some kind of sanity in your life. And two that there are quick easy and effective ways to do it without hiring a contractor for that amazing spinning shoe rack that holds every single shoe you could possibly own (…ha! That’s a joke without a punch line if I ever heard one) or liquidate your bank account buying two shelving systems that you find only hold the overflowing toy collection your kids seem to keep adding to (another birthday? Please…my apartment can’t hold another gift!) while that recycling project continues to pile up in the corner by the back door and is often used as a door jamb when bringing in multiple bags from your shopping trip, which we know is just more “stuff” to add to the current dilemma at hand; finding out where it’s all going to live in your house.
But have no fear…I’m here to hold your hand! And while it’s probably sweaty from the anxiety you feel because you can’t quite get it right, I’m not going anywhere because I’m in the same boat. Now while we try our best to plug up these holes that are making a long standing appearance in our charming abode lets figure out some basic solutions to getting you out of this rut by touching on two major areas.
Let’s start in the Living Room: You want to live there correct? Not fight over the mess of papers and nonsense that have taken up residence and are not part of your décor. I also want to show you ways to avoid clutter from happening to start with.
- Build up! Create the illusion of a bigger space by installing a tall book shelf or wall unit. The closer it is to the ceiling the larger your place will look and will provide you with endless space to store all of those odds and ends. You can then purchase decorative boxes (ranging from $4.99/2pk -$14.99/ea depending on your personal style, color preference and feel)to hide the unmentionables (kids toys, DVDs, your magazine collection, photos), things you really don’t want people to see or get their hands on. Not all of us can afford a great room for the children where we can let them over flow with all their childlike glory! Besides you don’t want the items in your space to consume you, this way you get to kill two birds with one stone (figuratively that is, I’m not a harmer of animals-except those pesky insects-yuck!) by putting special items on display and showcasing your entertainment items (TV, sound system, DVD player, and so on) while creating a uniformed visual for your guests.
- Bury Treasures in chests or Trunks! Now mind you we are not going to cover them over with dirt, but nonetheless we are going to mask the contents. What’s more while thinking up this great idea for tucking away our prized possessions (these could be guest blankets as well!) it came to me, why not also utilize it as a seating area? Is your living space kind of small and lacking in places and areas to entertain because you’re using all your space to pile up your belongings? Grab cushions from IKEA ($25/ea) to throw on top of those chests or trunks and voila! Instant seating for your guests.
Mind you these containers can be inexpensive and even from the thrift or army surplus store. Find a good deal and snatch it up ASAP (just make sure whatever you use is sturdy enough if you plan on using it for an accommodating seating arrangement, we don’t want any accidents). I would even take it to the next level by supporting you in purchasing some reasonably priced baskets (again found some at IKEA for $7.99) to put at the ends of your book shelves or even under your side tables by the couch. The critique here is to put appealing items in these baskets because while adding character with your kids cute stuffed animals or a truck collection work in your space, building blocks and awkward toys might not be a sight for sore eyes.
- As far as avoiding things from going back where they belong and ending up on surfaces not designated for them put something permanent in its place. I can’t tell you how many times it kills me to hear my mother screech “that is not a resting place” even if you just set it down for one second! What I mean by that is give your living room a face-lift with these great coffee table pick-me-ups.
They’re not just for your wine or to brag about how clean you are! Sass your surface up with these new fun fresh ideas that leave your guests stunned and intrigued and less likely to leave that god awful ring around your table because they’re compelled to drink up fast and not linger, besides no one likes toting around a sweaty glass; And as my friend Kevin says, no need to advertise what you have or (have not) been drinking all night lol!
Or even still promptly nip giving your family members the go-ahead to leave unnecessary items hanging around in the bud especially if they can’t put it down anywhere except for where it goes.
Moving forward to another pressing room in the house: you’re Kitchen. If anywhere there was a place in the house to chuck full of clutter and re-create the leaning tower of peas and other canned goods, this is it! For me though I am a visual person so if I can’t see it then I don’t have it or if it’s not in front then clearly I don’t care to eat it! This leads to expired items and over buying because I swear I just don’t have those two cans of corn or that container of bread crumbs this recipe calls for. On a side note here, into the personal life of Angeline, I am a single gal who doesn’t cook for anyone but herself if she decides to cook at all so while I have bread crumbs in my cabinet (two to be exact, one Italian and one regular) I have no idea why they exist lol! Oh right probably from that “one” time I made meat loaf and thought I was going to live off of it for a month??? I don’t think so I have ADD when it comes to food. My taste is fleeting so spaghetti this week and we might not see it again for another few months, even with leftovers protracted in the fridge waiting for my speedy return, it just depends (although I probably could live off spaghetti or any other pasta dish for that matter.
Now save for how to create peace of mind, save money, time and be efficient in managing our pantries, let us not forget our refrigerators as well. I know I see you trying to hide the blush that has now risen to your cheeks behind your computer screens, but been there done that…probably still doing that but that’s another blog on how to stop procrastinating! Like I said no judgment and I feel pretty confident that the holes in our boat are closing up pretty nicely, but the gum you’ve got stuck on those two on the right might not stand a chance if we don’t get started quick.
- Visualize: Create a space in your pantry (anywhere you store your goods, seeing as not everyone has the conventional pantry) that allows you to be excited to visit and not dread it. Usually we tend to drift away from things that are not appealing (if an item of clothing is crooked on a hanger I’ll walk past it cause I don’t want to deal with correcting to see if it “might” look nice possibly missing out on an opportunity to get my hands on a steal). So first order of business is to invest in some glass/clear jars (such as tinted mason jars $11/6pk or clear for $9-12/12pk depending on size – Target) for your supplies because they are an excellent choice for holding crackers, rice, noodles, beans, cookies, or cereal. There are even containers that are designed to hold your bagged items such as flour, sugar, cornmeal, etc. This will definitely bring your cabinets to life and add a pop of color and possibly keep things fresher and within their expiration dates. (This goes for your refrigerator too, Prep! Prep! Prep! Make it easier for you to clear out the frig by eating what you have and having it in already convenient grab and go containers, it’s a no brainer then)
- Compartmentalize: start grouping like items together in boxes or trays. What do I mean by like items? Well for example everyone loves movie night so popcorn, any special salts you use for it, candies you splurge on for the occasion may go in one small box and you might have another that houses your baking supplies (frostings, food colorings, gels, vanilla extract, sprinkles, cake mix, cupcake filters), and yet another might hold breakfast items (bisquick, oatmeal, peanut butter, syrups, raisins and granola). Furthermore, grouping like canned goods in said containers might be helpful as well (kids Chef Boyardee meals, vegetables, fruits, beans, soups) allowing you to gain a handle on how much of something you have so you don’t overbuy but are able to see when you are getting low on one thing or the other a lot faster and more effectively.
- Build Up: Use tier shelves to see things that can sometimes fall to the darkness (I hear they have cookies there but that’s beside the point). If you have things behind one another again they are lost to the unknown. With the tier shelving aids there is no reason any can should be left behind. This also works best with spices (if you are already utilizing the bins for your canned goods) because they are small and often hard to find. However, my mom says that these tiers can take up a lot of space in your cabinet (im all about pros and cons) so my other suggestion is to get a quick fix for those spices say on the cabinet door (I’ll post pics on my FB Page…link below) or better still buy a lazy Susan to put in your cabinet so that you can add more to the surface and then rotate as needed to eliminate hiding. Also there are shelf risers to add different heights in your cabinets. If you have extra space between each shelf in your unit then don’t let that extra space go wasted! Every little bit counts.
- And last but not least…Exploit: Every space in your kitchen is a force to be reckoned with, empty wall space (no matter how big or small) can serve a purpose, and you don’t have to have a small studio kitchen to use it either. Hang your pots and pans on the wall (IKEA sells an inexpensive metal bar with hooks) to create more cargo space for your essentials. Put up shelves to highlight china or keep sakes for easy grab and go items that you use on a regular basis (coffee mugs, tea, bowls, and plates) or if you don’t want to decorate the walls then opt for a small island to store those immediate items. Again it serves a dual purpose: more counter space to work with and storage at the bottom. I appreciate this open island cause if I see it we’re in business…if I don’t well my bank account is screaming red cause I am buying things I already own but can’t seem to find!
That’s not all folks, there are plenty more areas of your space to account for and I plan to facilitate my expertise there as well, but for now I am going to leave you with a bit of homework, if you will. Instead of overwhelming you with how to get your entire house equipped for all those pesky out of place items in one blog entry I’m sending you on an organizing adventure and I demand you let me know how it goes! And true to an assignment I am giving you 10 days to tackle both rooms highlighted in this blog segment. Now calm down I am not saying that you have to do EVERYTHING in every single space right away, believe me I know it takes time, but at least look around and see what you’ve got that you can sort through and tackle ASAP! Your house is in an organization EMERGENCY and it needs a little more than mouth to mouth but for now with no ventilator on site; give it all you’ve got!
I will encourage you to take inventory, clean out the entire space before diving in…that means prep! Out with the old and in with the new way of sorting things out, you don’t want to be compartmentalizing expired canisters of rot that are taking up space for appropriate items that can be used right now. How about you plan that trip to IKEA and don’t step foot out the door without a list (have you been to IKEA, it’s a scatter brains worst nightmare if you’re not on a mission so come prepared). Keep my blog close for comfort, reassurance and productivity while navigating those pretty little boxes and book cases, hooks and containers. Unfortunately my blog isn’t interactive or I’d slap you when that shiny knick-knack is eyeing its way into your cart but violence aside I have faith that you’re going to do a great job. After all, once you get it together man and hold off on the ctrl-alt-delete sequence on your life currently in this department that glass of wine will be a luxury and not a desperate cry for help because you’re crazed and confused as to how you got in this situation in the first place.
Post pics of your attempts, successes and fails (remember I am just a comment away from helping you back on the band wagon…I’ve been there people I’ve got the war wounds to prove it and I’d be lying if I didn’t’ admit that I’m still there in the thick of it once in a while when I think I’ve gotten it once and for all) it’s a progress thing guys and it requires maintenance over time but when you execute the plan the rest is a piece of cake, a piece of crumb cake! Anyone Got Cake? Alright I’m off to get sweets and you’re off to the Container Store right?
Happy Organizing Party People
*Next up: Bedrooms and Office Spaces
*For more Design tips and Inspirations in greater detail check out my FB Page @: http://www.facebook.com/designlyrics