Without a doubt, one of the hardest things about living in a constant renovation-zone (aside from finding drywall dust in your underwear drawer on the daily) has been finding and maintaining some semblance of organization. If I had a dollar for every time one of us has asked the other where the tape measure is (WHY is it always the damn tape measure?!), I could probably pay someone else to do this renovation for us. Some days I think we spend more time looking for lost tools and swearing than actually working…
There are so many moving parts to a renovation and it almost always requires that all of the contents of at least one room at any given time be emptied and stored in another place for some length of time. To make matters worse, I tend to be a pretty disorganized person by nature. I’ve never been great about sorting and storing things (and as a result, I’ve never been great about finding things… ????). Living in a fixer-upper has just given me further excuses to continue being disorganized. When you’re planning for the whole house to be disassembled and rebuilt at some point, it’s hard to justify buying or building storage for each room, knowing it’s only temporary… especially when I’d much rather spend that money and time on the actual renovation.
Now, I’m not one to declare that it’s a “new year, new me” or anything, but it recently occurred to me that I need to make a few changes. I’ve started to notice my disorganized ways rubbing off on my kids, and while I can accept my own disorganized fate, it’s not something I want to plague my kids (or their future significant others) with.
Finding Organization in 2020
One of the first things I’ve started to buckle down on is our routine. So many times it seems like we’re running and rushing from one thing to the next until we all collapse in bed. I’m always really good about making sure my kitchen gets cleaned up every night before bed, but the rest of the house? Not so much. Every evening, either before we sit down for dinner together or before we go to bed, I’m trying to consistently have 10 minutes of decluttering. Everyone picks up whatever random stuff they see sitting out and puts it AWAY- not just moves it to a different spot (this is one we struggle with!).
Also, it turns out I’m not the only person who lives here- therefore, I’m not the only person who cleans here, either! Nate has always been really good about helping out whenever I ask, but I’m terrible about asking. I started writing out the weekly cleaning tasks on our whiteboard in the kitchen. My kids have tablets, but I’m terrible about actually allowing them tablet time, so I attached “screen minutes” to each chore. They choose which chore they want to do and when, and they get to decide when and how to use their screen time. So far, it’s been pretty successful. I’m talking like, fighting-over-dust-cloths successful.
Without a doubt, this is where most of our clutter and disorganization issues come from. We don’t have a ton of storage in this house after removing 2 of only 3 storage closets on our main level. Our entryway will have a good-sized closet, but not until we are able to take on our kitchen renovation (they share a wall), so right now, I am having to get creative with storage.
I have no shortage of random parts from old furniture that I’ve collected throughout the years. One day, while walking through my basement, I saw some abandoned dresser drawers in a corner and it hit me- they were exactly what I needed for the cozy reading nook I had been planning for my living room. Whether you need something to gather books, toys, or other small items, a well-placed drawer can serve the purpose.
I am forever picking up toys- dog toys and kid toys are almost always strewn across my living room. I haven’t been great about buying and using baskets, but I’m trying to get better. There isn’t anything pretty about dog toys, but a pretty basket at least helps… I love this cream and leather one from Target.
My kids love to color, write, and draw, but finding scattered notebooks, pencils, and crayons make me IN.SANE. I got this cute basket as a gift from a friend and I wanted to be sure I put it to good use. It’s the perfect size for collecting all of the odds and ends that we use frequently and want available, but don’t want sitting out.
My dad made this hope chest for me when I graduated from high school, and it obviously carries a lot of sentimental value. We’ve always kept it in our basement because it’s so big and because, well, kids…. I didn’t want it upstairs where it would be likely to be used as a chair, desk, hot wheels ramp, etc. But here’s the thing about our sentimental pieces: they may be safe when they’re out of sight, but we aren’t able to enjoy them. I moved this beaut up to my entryway for now (it will go in our bedroom when we’re able to tackle a master bed/bath renovation) and while it holds many sentimental items, there’s also space in it for my yoga mat and yoga blocks that can be pulled out each morning and then stored away, out of sight.
Also, this firewood ring sat outside for a good year before I decided to bring it indoors to give it a new life. I am literally always cold, so I have a ton of blankets… It’s nice to have them nearby. I have a blanket ladder in the garage that I plan to bring inside soon (it will fit my space better), but it needs to be cleaned up and refinished. At which point, this firewood ring will probably go back outside.
Do you have any good tips for running a more organized home? I could use all the help I can get!