In which I lay out my strategy for finding a place for everything in our home (#39).
I’ve been thinking about finding a place for everything as I work on unpacking the new house. I’m using a daily picture from this weekend to show the first load of items that couldn’t find a home in our home. I’m determined to make the most of this house from the beginning, and here’s how I plan to work hand-in-hand with this goal to get it done:
– Plan room for expansion: In all the closets, I’m working to leave an empty shelf, or space where a shelf could be easily added to the current system. Every bookshelf should have a bit of buffer or flexibility. Goodness knows we’ll be buying more books.
– Everything must find a home in the location where it is most used: It’s no good to put “extras” in the empty spaces in our least-used rooms when I use it in our most-used rooms. And if I don’t use it, I shouldn’t keep it. No pushing off the issue on my future self by stashing random things in our extra bedrooms’ closets. I can make the conscious choice to store our suitcases in the closet in the guest room, but I can’t slowly fill it with other items that belong in the bedroom, office, or bath. The room that we intend to be a nursery along down the line should only store items that we’ll use in a nursery along down the line.
– If it causes stress or guilt when I see it, it doesn’t stay: No more clothes that I never wear, gifts that didn’t suit, or relics of projects that I’ll never return to.
– Invest some money in organization products that fit the need, space, and look: Stop making do with organizers that function part-way, or look hideous, just because I already own them. I’d much rather spend $25 here and there to get things right — I don’t feel the need to buy them all at once.
– If it seems like clutter, and could be purchased again, donate it: I refuse to fall into the “it could come in handy” habit in the early days of this house. Unless the item is truly unique and irreplaceable, I’ll be bidding it a fond farewell and passing it along to another home. What’s the worst that could happen — I have to buy it again someday?
So far, so good. Clearing out the large batch of donations pictured above was such a simple way to make a big dent in the stuff that is waiting for my attention. That stuff is generally concentrated in the two biggest problems areas for this goal: my office and the garage.
I think that I can make a large dent in the clutter and chaos in my office once I get the shelves I desire — hopefully this weekend — and have a weekend day to devote to it. The mess is very unfortunate and frustrating, given how much time I spend in there — but after spending all day in there, I don’t want to hang out after work and try to organize my craft supplies! The challenge of finding homes for those items lies more with lack of motivation than lack of a system right now.
On the other hand, the garage is screaming for some thought-out planning and serious shelf system purchases. We have never had a garage before, and I’m determined to start with a space that will allow us to park cars in it. Believe me, that’s a tall order around here — no basements, small attics, and literal 2-car garages with no room at the sides to put anything but a shelf up over the hubs’ head, which I would not be able to reach without getting the car out of there and busting out the ladder. The front of the garage is largely occupied by our large trash and recycling bins, which the homeowners’ association requires us to keep in the garage. It will be a challenge to fit in tools, ladders, paint, and all the other odds and ends that are spread out through the garage, just waiting for a permanent place.
Luckily, I like a challenge.