Tuesday, September 8, 2009

laboring on labor day

i spent much of this weekend with my hair in a pony tail, wearing nasty clothes and armed with a paint brush, fabric bin or trash bag. i cleaned my house from floor to ceiling, and yes, i even broke out the dreaded mop...my least favorite cleaning utensil. why, you might ask? it's all her fault, and her's. i started reading through their blogs on friday, and immediately felt something inside me urging me to ORGANIZE and CLEAN!!! i grabbed my keys, ran out the door, and found myself staring at various bins, buckets, and sorters in Target, Dollar General and TJ Maxx, all in a matter of minutes. i bought some great stuff and came home with a new zest for all things clean and orderly. (too bad ryan didn't share my same sentiment! he just kept rolling his eyes and thinking i was possessed.)

it all started in the kitchen: our cabinets were already pretty orderly as we just finished renovating the kitchen a year ago and i made sure to have plenty of space - including my 3 lazy susans in the corner cabinets that i absolutely love! however, our pantry is a different story. i don't know if it is just because we never really have much in the way of food on hand or what, but our pantry always looks helplessly empty, yet chaotic at the same time. we usually keep a large variety of cereal, breakfast bars and chips on hand but that's about it. the rest of the stuff is just random and totally unorderly - like 3 random containers of bacon bits, 4 boxes of different types of popcorn, a large assortment of neon, bendy straws, and boxes and boxes of weight watchers muffins. there is just no method to the madness! after reading this post, i decided to arm myself with some baskets and bins in order to make things more easy to find and to add the illusion that we actually have something in the pantry. this picture was particularly inspiring:

now, my pantry is far from looking this nice, but a girl sure can dream!! i decided on a lime green and navy color scheme for our pantry, after finding some great baskets and bins at the dollar general. armed with the new bins, i took all the various 100-calorie packs and other individually wrapped snacks and put them in the baskets, throwing out their old boxes. i also put the chips together in a bin (with all the random popcorn) and have a bin for all the random stuff. it really helps give order to the chaos and looks much cleaner than it did before with everything spread out randomly on the shelves.

next, i moved to the coat closet in our foyer: i pulled out of all the extra hangers, random shoes, sports equipment, scarves, bowling ball bags, etc. off the floor. i decided that instead of letting that prime floor space get taken up by a hodge podge of stuff, i was going to use it wisely. i bought a beautiful, dark brown basket from TJ Maxx that is perfect for storing shoes. i am a flip flop fanatic which involves frequently changing my shoes several times a day and leaving the other pairs laying around various places in my house. i decided that all shoes that i'm not exactly ready to put away can go in the new "shoe basket" until it's time for them to be put away. i have already noticed a big difference and am not having to constantly search for the other flip flop that my dogs have carried off somewhere... i also sorted all my scarves (and i mean ALL of them...to the tune of about 25!) and put them on this jewel from ikea:

now, instead of the scarves taking up 2 fabric bins at the top of the closet, they hang neatly on this, leaving me room to fill the bins with gloves, hats, and other winter gear.

finally, i cleaned out my closets for clothes to give away. i try to do this at least twice a year, but i am a self-proclaimed pack-rat when it comes to clothes. i still own clothes from my high schools days which are long gone and the size on the tag proves it!! i currently have 2 closets - one in our bedroom with winter clothes and shoes, and one in our upstairs guestroom with summer clothes and shoes. however, because of the sheer volume of clothes that i keep, i also have to use our hanging bar in the laundry to store clothes as well since i cannot fit everything in my 2 closets. i have a serious problem, i know!! i love to find a bargain, and then i never want to let go of old stuff. anyways, after a lot of self talk, i pumped myself up enough to tackle these spaces. i knew that i don't wear even half of the stuff, so i needed to purge in a big way. i grabbed some trash bags and went to town.

usually when i purge my closets, i take a lot of time and agonize over every decision. this time, i did not. i decided that if i couldn't remember the last time i wore something, it had to go. i made 2 piles:
1. giveaway to the ukraine clothing drive
2. giveaway to the "my older sister needs some color in her wardrobe" clothing drive

i successfully pulled out 3 large garbage bags to send to ukraine and enough clothes for my sister to be dressed in something new for about a month :) success!! plus, as an added bonus, for the first time since moving in, i was actually able to fit everything from the laundry room into one of my 2 closets!!!!

so, after a busy weekend of laboring around the house, suffice it to say that i have been less than motivated to do much in the way of housework this week. maybe i'll start reading the organization blogs again so i don't have a relapse of pack-rat-itis...