Thursday, 31 January 2013

Day 1: The Start of it All/My Organization Philosophy/Junk Drawer

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I had mentioned on Monday when I kick started this series that Friday would include Friday, Saturday & Sunday's tasks...that is just way too much because this first one is a big one for me and I really want to be able to focus on it. I figured I'd share this one day in advance so that everyone participating has some time to think on it and we can all get a bit of a head start too if we want to slack on the weekend (oh no - not finding loop holes already!). After taking the before pictures for all of these, I'm realizing how personal you're about to get with my house! Feel free to judge our mess, it's very judge-able. 

Let me start with...My Organization Philosophy.

My ideas on organization run about as deep as Phil Dunphy's Phil'sosophy's, but I do have one theory that I think makes some sense. If you're really bad at purging, start with your junk drawer. I find that when purging is not something that you naturally flock to, or you're having trouble getting a good start, starting with something that's easy to get rid of can really help get the momentum going. Philip isn't the best purger, so sometimes when we have to go through things I'll go through it first, and divide things into piles.
1) I'm pretty sure this is trash
2) I'm not sure about this at all
3) I think you want to keep these things
It makes it easier, because I get him to start with the trash pile, and by the time he has easily gone through that pile and confirmed that it's all garbage he's on a roll with getting rid of things and finds way more things in the maybe pile to get rid of than he might of if he'd started there and been unsure about the whole recycling things objective. 
It works that way for me with the junk drawer philosophy as well, usually there's some stuff in your junk drawer/basket/cupboard/etc. that is easy to get rid of - some old receipts, general garbage, things that don't belong there - and once you've done that it's easier to keep going. 

One more thing that I believe is important when organizing, and that I've tried to stress whenever I'm nagging Philip (he can vouch for this)...I hate to pick something up and then put it back down...only to deal with it again later. If you can choose a place for something right when you start going through it, it will save you a lot of time later. One example of this is Philip was cleaning out his top dresser drawer when he first moved was his "junk drawer" which contained a lot of memorobilia that piled up throughout his youth, and just other random things. As we were going through it all he was telling me about each thing, and I thought he was putting it all into piles that were going to be of later use. Turned out, he was just putting everything down again arbitrarily, and so when he was done explaining each item to me, he had to start back over and actually do something with the items. If you can, take care of the item right when you're holding it, or at least put it in a pile that makes reason to have to go through everything twice, three times, or a dreadful four. 

This is why day one is the junk drawer.

Here are some instructions to follow if you aren't sure exactly what your objective should be (if you know exactly your end goal, feel free to follow your heart on this one, but each day I'll try to provide some instructions if that makes it easier). 

1. Identify the area of your house that is "the junk drawer" - for us we have a drawer in our kitchen, as well as a small basket in the cupboard above (we could probably do with just the basket like we did at the condo, but in the layout of our kitchen right now that drawer isn't really useful as anything else).

Our Junk Drawer.
The shelf above, which also collects random items.
The cupboard above holds our junk basket, which is just a miscellaneous items collector,
it also houses cookbooks and vases.  
Junk Basket items.

2. Empty it completely.

Empty shelf, basket, and drawer! Ready to be refilled!
Okay so I'll admit, after I emptied this all on to my kitchen table - see below - I gave up and wallowed and really didn't want to put it all back in...this is going to be a long month. However, I'm buckling down and continuing (this post has been written very sporadically - so at this point I'm sitting at the table with all the contents of the drawer/basket/shelf and avoiding doing more work). 

3. Wipe it out with a damp cloth - maybe some vinegar if it really needs freshening up. 

Back to business, I wiped out my cupboard with a damp paper towel, as well as the shelf and drawer. At this point I started hating this basket as a junk collector - does anyone think I can paint it? Not sure how that would work...but I wouldn't mind if it was white. I think when I put everything back I'll switch baskets to something I like more. Stay like 2 items down because by then I have to figure this out. One thing that puzzled me in this stage was how many of those plastic price tag thingers were in the bottom of this drawer...I didn't find any price tags...just those little plastic things...does anyone know what I'm talking about? The little T-shaped plastics that hold the tag to the product?

Apparently Google didn't understand me either.

4. Go through everything you took out. This is arguably the most imporant (and maybe most fun in my mind) step. Do you need 35 pens in your kitchen drawer? Probably not, move some to your home office. Those old receipts? Make sure you file them in whatever way appropriate whether that's getting rid of them or entering them in some kind of expense worksheet

Some examples of things I found that didn't belong:

  • A piece of hubba bubba gum - put this in my purse so that it will get eaten one day. Decided to eat it right now...mmm.
  • Huge bag of change - no idea where this came from...took out the silver coins and left all the pennies in the bag because my mom registered for a We Create Change bag and is collecting pennies! I'd highly recommend registering for one of these! It's free, a good way to donate money, and pretty easy to do!
  • 4 scotch tape dispensers - kept one for the junk drawer and moved the rest to the office supplies box.
  • Some Bomber TBD Playoff tickets from last season...if only we'd made the playoffs - recycling!
5. Implement new organizational systems. Before you put everything back, look at what you have and if there are containers or dividers you can use to make things easier to get at.

I don't really have any extra containers handy right now - so I'm going to put a pin in this item, and save it for the "Repurpose Storage" day when we're almost done and I can see if there are extra containers around. One new organizational system involved getting rid of an old organizational more basket! Everything fits in the drawer with room to spare.

6. Refill the drawer with the items you deemed "belong here". 

My drawer is almost empty, I moved all the office supplies out which made a big difference. All that is left in that department is one roll of scotch tape, some scissors, a calculator, pen and notepad. The other things in the drawer are stamps which I find handy there, a lighter because I have no idea where else it could go that would make sense, some coupons, matches, extra shoe laces, Halls, and a shoe shine sponge kit. Oh and some keys that I don't know what they belong to, I'll have to ask Philip and see if they are things we need or what we should do with them.

How you like them apples. That is a lot less stuff.

7. Close up that drawer and feel happy with the work you completed!

Loving this new less cluttered look. I don't even need to show the above cupboard because it looks the exact same, only doesn't have a junk basket anymore!

I decided to add was a piece of art in between the two yellow flower bowls, it should help us from piling things up there, and remind us to keep the space looking as beautiful as possible. I don't have anything there yet, but I'm going to make it my goal to get something before the "Repurpose Storage" day, which I set aside as a day to make sure I get all my supplies I need to make my storage systems better. 

Also just ignore the muffins on my microwave. Just made them this week and took them out to defrost! I pinned the recipe, so if you are interested in Almond Muffins filled with Jam take a gander on my Pinterest page!

8. Brag about your progress! Take a photo and share it on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest so that the world can see it (make sure to tag me so I can check it out too!) Also in the comments, share the funniest thing that you found in your junk drawer - maybe you had an experience like I did with unpacking boxes a couple months ago. I'd probably say one of the weirdest things I found was the huge bag of pennies...not because pennies are strange...but because I literally had no idea they were in there. How could they have been missed? The drawer isn't THAT big. 


  1. That was my gum! I was saving it for a very special occasion!

    1. Also - it was definitely mine ha I bought it for Jenn's bridal shower last year. Oh boy, that gum was old.