messy-papersAlthough I’ve lived in my current place for less than a year, by the start of this winter, things were totally out of control. Thanks to a busy work schedule, and general exhaustion in the evenings, chaos had begun to rule. Where there once were neat empty counters and desktops, were now piles of disorganized papers, folders, and books (of course there would be books).

I would periodically try  to make things right, but these efforts were really just stop-gap measures, and never were very effective.
Finally, last month, things reached a tipping point. Partially spurred on by Jean’s post here about reorganizing, and completely fed up, I gave in and devoted a couple weekends to completely reorganizing my home. Of course this resulted in multiple trips to various stores to purchase a variety of organizers to help me out, numerous trips to the recycling bins and to various charity stores to donate clothes and books, but for the most part, it worked.

Unlike my previous, rather disorganized, efforts, this time before I did anything else, I walked from room to room in my home, with a notebook, and made notes about particularly problematic places. For example, the kitchen breakfast bar had become the place for me to dump unopened mail and assorted papers brought from my office when I’d first arrive home each night. My desk in my office become the second dumping place, should those assorted papers make it from the breakfast bar. And don’t get me started on the top of my dresser.

Armed with me list of problem areas, I sat down and brainstormed about potential ways that I could organize this stuff, and that wouldn’t require a lot of daily effort to maintain. Then, it was off for one of the first of many trips to Target, Ace Hardware, and other locations for the perfect organizers.

I’ve now lived with the results for a few weeks, and so far, things are working out quite well. There are still a couple problem areas that need a bit more work, but for the most part, the key problem areas are much better.

A relatively simple, and inexpensive purchase has solved the clutter on the breakfast bar. I went through the existing pile of papers, and sorted them into the major categories. I then purchased an inexpensive, but pretty file box and filled it with file folders labeled to match the problem categories. Every night, when I come home, I now sort quickly through my mail and papers, and put them in their appropriate file folder. It takes no more than a minute to do, no additional steps, and they’re put away.

One of my other successes was moving all of my spices and herbs from a cupboard a bit too high above my head, to a drawer where they are easy to see and sort through. Another success was the purchase of a couple cheap metal hanging baskets that I attached to the shelves in my laundry closet. I moved various bags and wraps from another drawer, and they’re now in the baskets — easy to see and non-cluttered.

Do you have any favorite organizing products or tips? I’d love to hear about them.