Being organized is being in control

Is it just me, or does making a bed instantly provide a feeling of accomplishment? For me, it doesn’t have to be perfect (far from it in fact), it just has to be tidy enough that I wouldn’t be embarrassed if someone walked in (which is funny because that never happens).

To answer my own question, it’s definitely not just me.  In fact 84% of recently stressed Americans say they worry that their home isn’t clean or organized enough. This lands home organization on the top 5 list for stress triggers, according to a Huffington Post online survey.

Center Drawer Held EVERYTHING

So what’s specifically my problem, and potentially yours? I’m chronically putting laundry into draws and calling it a day. Somehow I had trained myself to only look for clothing in drawers. The closet was a place for outdated, formal, or seasonal pieces. This created a pattern of rarely entering the closet and if I did feeling like I had nothing to wear.

I carried this bad habit to my child’s closet. In ONE DEEP drawer I was stacking all the pants to one side, shirts to the other, and PJs crammed somewhere in between.  Accessories were parceled into smaller drawers. Bulky items were put into the second large drawer. Clothes that were too large were put in the closet, typically on the store hanger with tags. This seemingly non-issue created a lot of headaches.

To be specific…

  • By the end of the week the drawer was a stew of clothing making it extremely difficult to find any type of coordinating outfit.
    • This is stressful when you have a wriggling baby on the changing table or child giving you exactly 2 seconds of focused energy toward dressing.
    • A total waste of time because you’re doubling your efforts on laundry day having to re-fold the entire drawer, not just laundry.
  • Bulky blankets and linens were barely fitting into the second available drawer.
  • I was bursting at the seams with stuffed animals. I bagged them all up and put them in guest bedroom closets. This was clearly ridiculous because it meant they were out of sight and therefore out of mind. Good for me, but a total waste of enjoyment for my child.
  • The biggest sin of all, when I did go into the closet I’d find the brand new upcoming clothing were already past season or too small. I had forgotten about them and missed their brief 3 month window.

Can we all agree this is way too much bad energy at the start of your day? Maybe your issue isn’t a drawer, but figuring out what’s inhibiting a successful morning allows you to direct your energy toward productivity instead of mood stabilization.

I spoke with Nancy Patsios, owner of everyday ORGANiZiNG, about best practices when taking on a major overhaul like this. For me this seemingly simple project was actually reorganizing 2 closets plus fixing the mess I had spread into two other rooms. She pointed out that “having a goal in mind and envisioning how you want to use your space are key ingredients in any organizing project.”

What to pick up during your next trip to the store…

  • Plenty of kid hangers – Nancy says, “shifting from folding to hanging clothes supports the organizing adage, ‘vertical is visible; horizontal is hidden’“. Go crazy, they’re $1.99 at Target for an 18 pack.
  • Stacked clip hangers – I found mine at HomeGoods costing $7.99 which hold 8 bottoms. The stacked feature saves room and provides a surprisingly great preview of options (as you’ll see in my video).
  • Shoe Organizer – I had one already but bought a second one for my older child. It’s significantly helped sort real shoes from princess shoes. I’ve also heard they’re great snack organizers for a pantry, just something to consider.
  • Hanging cubes – I received this for free on a Facebook “Buy Nothing” group. Check to see if your area has one. It’s been great to hold spare diapers and wipes. I envision using it for other practical purposes once they’re potty trained.
  • Accessible bins for all the stuffies and/or toys – On local Facebook yard sale sites I’m constantly seeing racks with movable bins for half the retail price. I happened to have something similar in a guest bedroom closet that was much better utilized in my toddler’s room. Also, by hanging the clothes to the closet I could utilize the dresser for puzzles and crafts.
    • Don’t be afraid to get creative! everyday ORGANiZiNG promotes “thinking outside the box and using everyday items in unconventional ways to make a child’s bedroom uniquely functional.”
  • Tupperwares – If you’re hanging onto clothes for another child, invest in some storage bins. These are routinely on sale and I’d suggest buying a set so the lids and sizes are stackable and interchangeable. I’d overestimate how many you’ll need given the amount of sizes, accessories, socks, shoes, etc related to dressing a child. Once you get rid of the clothing you’ll be useful for something else.
    • Be sure to LABEL THE BIN. For example, “CLOTHES 9-12 MONTHS / SIZE 2-3 SHOES” Every time you see it you’ll be reminded of owning said items in the bin which begs the question on if they’re still worth keeping. For your next child you’ll thank yourself for being so specific. If it’s not labeled consider the items left for dead.

Stay tuned for “Kid’s Room Makeover”

Watch my video, directly from the infamous closet, to see exactly how I turned things around. The bonus – I spent very little time and money in the process.

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About the Author

Quentara Costa helps the sandwich generation prioritize kids, self, and aging parents. For years Quentara was the primary caregiver for her father who was diagnosed with Alzheimers at the age of 70. Since his passing she’s become a mother of two sweet girls. Professionally she received a master’s degree in Personal Financial Planning from Bentley University and has held the CFP® designation since 2010. Community involvement includes hosting the Merrimack Valley Senior and Caregiver Group and volunteering for Budget Buddies.

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