I did, indeed, clean house like a wild woman yesterday, and I would not blush if you dropped by today. (Not that that is the point of anything, but we'll talk about that more tomorrow and Friday (unless the power goes out because we're having rainstorms) when we discuss the book Shopping for Time, and the big-picture issue of stewardship of our time. I hope this is helpful and valuable to some of you.)
But today I thought I'd just chat a bit to you girls who, like me, are out-of-sight, out-of-mind girlies. This has really become apparent to me in the past couple of years:
I pay attention to things I can see, and I pay less attention to things I can't see.Usually, if you come to my house, what you see will be clean. (Let's forget yesterday, shall we?) But if you were to open closets or drawers, unless I've just had a big organizational session, you are likely to be injured by the mess.
I will never forget the expression on my mom's face last year when she opened one of the big utensil drawers in my kitchen. It was priceless. She didn't say anything, but I know she must have been thinking, "Wow, how does this girl cook?" (I don't, mom.)
She managed not to get impaled on a bamboo skewer in her search for the vegetable peeler, so that's good.
A couple years ago my sister made me a birthday card that listed things she loved about me (my favorite card from her ever) and it included "messy drawers". That made me laugh so hard. And when I worked for a corporate real estate company years ago, my coworker Penny would come into my work area and laugh and laugh, because it always looked pristine, but then she'd open a drawer and ask "What, do you just push everything off the desk into here?" (Yes.)
But in the past couple of years, I've made progress! And it's possible. I'm here to encourage you. I just quit fighting this tendency and decided to work with it.
Aby Garvey over at Simplify 101 has been most helpful (take one of her classes or look at the photos on her blog and in her organizational notes -- so inspiring), and so was a random comment someone made on an HGTV organizational show awhile back about kids being much more likely to put their things away if (1) the container was out where they could see it and (2) it didn't have a lid on it.
"That's me!" I thought. "I'm a kid!"
So I've gotten better about using open storage. (I put that in bold because it's the main thing. Open storage. Tah dah.)
So in a nutshell, I need stuff out in the open if I'm to keep it clean and organized, but I hate visual clutter. So I want it to be cute open storage. :)
I've talked before about my love of bowls and baskets for storage, and this is why. Let me give you a couple more examples of open storage/open organization that are currently working well for me, to my shock. :D
That picture up top is a little colander that holds the coffee pods for our Nespresso machine. It sits next to the machine, and I don't mind it on the counter because it is colorful and I like it. We use them daily, and this makes sense to have out.
Paperwork is my arch nemesis, and I continue to struggle with it, but I've gotten better! :) The main thing was realizing that the file drawer in my desk is like a black hole to me, and is really only useful (for me) as dormant storage for files. I need active files out where I can see them. This basket (thanks, Aby Garvey idea woman) has worked so well. It holds my working files (they change regularly), a little flowerpot with pens in it, my reading glasses (sitting on top of a container that holds stationery), note paper, and the composition notebooks I use to keep other things organized. (I'll talk about those some time next week.) I picked up the basket a few years ago at Target, and it just happens to hold files, so that's good. Use what you have already. :)
We will eventually redo our bathroom, but in the meantime, we lack storage, and I don't want to spend a penny on it because it's temporary. I had a chair with towels stacked on it here for years, and then just recently realized if I dragged in the nightstand that was out in the garage, it would give us an extra drawer. But anyway, the storage baskets work well, and stuff gets put where it belongs.
And finally, this isn't storage, but it's "open organization". This is the first year I've realized that I don't use closed, book calendar/ planners. I have owned awesome, beautiful ones since I was a teenager, but I don't use them! I'll use them for a week, and then nothing.
Yet year after year, I buy them, because everybody else does. But I need the whole month out in front of me, and big, open squares, and this calendar works for me! If I'm out and about, and a date comes up, I just write it on a pad of paper in my purse (that I use for any notes I take while out) and then put it on this when I get home. I have one calendar, and that's it, and it is working.
So that's all I have to say today. I just wanted to encourage you if you are like me in this way, and feel bad about it. Don't feel bad. Just try some open storage. :)