Organizing: One Little Annoyance at a Time

My whole goal when I’m organizing anything is to solve what’s not working for me.  Usually it starts with something small that is annoying the heck out of me.  Whether it’s something falling on my head when I open a cupboard or paper piles on the counter, I am always looking for ways to keep those annoyances from taking over the house.  Often it’s a matter of purging (which I love to do!) or it’s time to create a new system to accommodate new circumstances.  Life is constantly changing on us and so all we can do is try our best to keep up with it.

The best way to do that is to try and attack one of those annoying problems each day.  Take a walk around and ask yourself, “what today is driving me crazy and what can I do about it?”.  People tell me all the time “well my whole house annoys me, so I just don’t know where to start.”

Break it down.

Not many people I know have a whole day to dedicate to decluttering and organizing their whole house.  So instead of doing nothing let’s pick one small space and just do it.  Whether it’s for 10 minutes or a half hour  there are things you can do in that time frame.

Here’s an example of what I did today.  Took me all of 10 minutes and yet this problem had annoyed me for much longer than that.

My youngest son who is 7 has had this dresser since he was born.  He has grown over the years, his dresser has not.  I have organized and re-organized those drawers hundreds of times.  Today I did it again.

Before:

dresser before

Squished:

squished basket

The top drawer has always housed underwear, socks and pajamas.  Not a big deal when these items were itty bitty.  But as his clothes have grown in size they just don’t fit in the drawer that way anymore.  Pajamas were getting squished in and then I would have to shove on the drawer just so to get it to close.  OR I would just leave the clean pajamas sitting on top of the dresser (oh yes I did!) because they wouldn’t fit inside.  That’s annoying!

After:

dresser after

So I decided those pjs would have to reside somewhere else.  The underwear and socks got brand new baskets to live in (they are soooo happy to have room to breathe!) and I cleared the bottom drawer of summer wear to make room for the pjs.  The summer wear found a new home in the closet which was easy enough to do since I’d just recently re-organized it.

favorite basket

My favorite basket from Wal-mart, although someone recently told me they are no longer making them anymore.  Please tell me it isn’t so.  What is this world coming to!!  (the one above is from my “stash”)

So there you have it.  A quick organizing project to solve an annoying problem.  All is well.

What space is annoying you today?

Have at it!

Filed under: Kid Stuff, Organizing Basics

Comments

41 Responses to Organizing: One Little Annoyance at a Time

  1. 1
    Shannon W says

    These are also my favorite baskets and I have not found these exact ones in a while – I did see a similar but different sort at WM yesterday but they were wider and flatter

  2. 2
    Kelly says

    I find myself reorganizing spaces again and again. You’re right to point out – our needs change and grow with time, while our space stays the same! So smart to remind people to rethink a space they’ve previously thought had already “been organized.” Just because it worked for you for a long time, doesn’t mean you can’t make it better as your needs change. :-)

  3. 3
    Making Our Life Matter says

    I love those too, and yes, WM is no longer making them. I need to spend some time looking at Target or Kmart to see if they have them.

  4. 4
    Crystal says

    I thought I was the only one that loved to purge!!! I’m always reorganizing and donating stuff. Great tips!!

    • 4.1
      Theresa R says

      If anyone lives in Texas, our HEB has those exact baskets in several different sizes. I seriously think I have an addiction to those baskets–they seem to call my name whenever I pass by them on the shelves, LOL!

      • 4.1.1
        Laura says

        Baskets often call MY name too!! lol I so get it :)

  5. 5
    Karen says

    I LOVE those baskets! I just went to Walmart last week to pick up a few more to match the existing ones in my closet and they were GONE! If anyone finds them anywhere I would love to know. I looked at Target but didn’t see them there….Thanks for the great blog, you always have so many helpful hints to share! :)

  6. 6
    Andrea S. says

    I bought some baskets similar to that but maybe a bit smaller at Dollarama.

  7. 7
    Michelle says

    I tackled my dining room table today. It is just a clutter magnet. I’ve challenged myself to organize one thing each day and this was the area annoying me most today. I like your advice to just pick whatever is annoying you at the time and tackle it. Most things don’t take that long if you just break them down.

  8. 8
    Rache says

    I’ve deliberately bought my children bigger dressers than they need so that we can avoid exactly that problem. right now we store bedding in the top drawers since the boys can’t reach up there, but eventually that will live in a linen closet or underbed boxes or something so there is more room for their clothes. We move every few years and built in closets aren’t a given in UK forces housing, so we don’t have them available in the boy’s rooms, and I prefer to fold their things anyway.

    Like most mothers of small boys my biggest challenge is toys. every time I think I’ve got it sorted someone makes a humongous mess again, or someone helpfully puts everything away all mixed up.

  9. 9
    Stephanie Moore says

    I’ve had no problem finding baskets like that at Wal-Mart and Dollar General. There is one size I can’t find, but the other sizes are plentiful. Last week, I found some pink baskets just like these at Dollar Tree. (They are the “half a sheet of paper” size)

  10. 10
    Robyn says

    Thats my problem my whole house annoys me!.. LOL.. I began in my kitchen some months ago and sadly all that time I spent seems to have not helped. I organized all the plastic containers and tops and it worked well for a while but now it’s a mess again, same with the underneath of my sink cabinet.. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I also keep putting a small basket on my table for incoming mail and it still ends up all over the table.. I feel defeated :(

    • 10.1
      Kim says

      I could have written your story. I feel the same way… all the plastic lids, containers, bags, junk, and the paper/Mail… I have tried several systems, baskets, mail centers… I can’t keep up with it. I need help because I also feel defeated… :(

  11. 11
    Hilda says

    Great reminder to just do something about what’s annoying you. The energy dealing with the annoyance over and over is so often greater than the energy it would take to organize it better. And I’ve put clean things on top of dressers for too long too instead of just reorganizing the drawers :)

  12. 12
    Sandy says

    For years my annoying clutter has been unsorted stacks of junk mail, and recently I think I found a solution. Between my wall and sofa in the TV room, I have hidden a used gift bag. In it I pitch the junk mail that I’m not sure about. Occasionally while watching TV I will pull out the bag and by then the mail does not seem to have the “value” I thought it had when first received. The shredder sits by the sofa, so I rip off our name and address and put it back in the gift bag to shred after the TV is off. It’s been working for me for several months now.

  13. 13
    Amanda says

    I’m 15 but I’m the organizer in my house ahah I’m trying to get my mom on board with this one project a day idea. It’s just hard because she hates cleaning and organizing (I don’t understand how because love it!!) I can do it but then she gets frustrated when her stuff has been moved ughh

    • 13.1
      Laura says

      Hi Amanda, how nice to get a comment from such a young reader, that is fantastic! I know it can be hard to make changes when another person in the house isn’t all for it. It is a fine line for sure because whatever you do you must respect your mom and her wishes when it comes to her spaces. Perhaps you can sit down with her and explain how you have some organizing ideas you’d like to try and could you work on them together. If she says no ask if you could go ahead and do them on your own if you promise not to throw anything away without her knowing and showing her where everything is afterwards. If that too fails, please don’t give up. Continue to keep yourself and your stuff organized. If will benefit you for the rest of your life! All the best, Laura

      • 13.1.1
        Amanda says

        I literally screamed when I saw you commented lol thank you so much :) I’m going to try talking to my mom tomorrow and hopefully she’ll be open to listening to my ideas!

        • 13.1.1.1
          Laura says

          You are too sweet! Let me know how you make out :)

          • 13.1.1.1.1
            Amanda says

            I spoke to my mom earlier today! She said she’ll support me and let me do one “mini organizing project” a day. I decided I’m going to try to teach her how to organize too because like I’ve read many times before, no one is born an organizer and it’s truly a skill you have to pick up :’)

            • Laura says

              Yay so proud of you! Try not to overwhelm her and as much as you want to dive in head first try to keep projects to the `mini`she mentioned so as not to turn her off the whole idea. It`s going to be great!!

              • Amanda says

                Thank you so much, I’m super excited to get started!

  14. 14
    Sandra P says

    It hit me today, my bedroom! We moved into this tiny place from a 4 br large home, and things weren’t fitting. This is a temporary place, but I decided, that if I can be organized in this little place, I can be organized anywhere! So, I hit the boxes and downsized even more to my basic needs. I am storing memories more efficiently and I love how the place is looking. I’m not finished, but I’d say 80% finished! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  15. 15
    Jeanette says

    I have these baskets and I love them. I found them at the Dollar General Store!

  16. 16
    Jasi says

    baskets are good but if you can make some cardboard or thin wood dividers you’d reclaim about 30% of that drawer you lose to the sides of the basket and awkward shape. or maybe just use one basket so that the other clothing can fit around?

  17. 17
    Barb says

    I have used old children’s shoe boxes in my kid’s drawers to contain the underwear and socks. I suppose I could cover them with pretty paper but I haven’t gone that far and they certainly don’t seem to notice.

    I have to say…..I think it’s hilarious that you’ve flashed your son’s underwear on here. I have an 8 yr. old daughter and she would be horrified if her underwear was displayed on the internet. It just makes me smile…..maybe your son doesn’t know. :)

    Love your blog!!!!!

    • 17.1
      Laura says

      Hahaha…I totally thought of that :) But he’s a total boy and would run around in his underwear all the time if we didn’t insist that he wear pants lol.

  18. 18
    Tiffany says

    So funny how many of us love those baskets! They are Sterilite Ultra large and I ordered them off Amazon. I use them to store books in my kindergarten classroom.

  19. 19
    Sharla @ Slacker Saver says

    I like your favorite basket. I, too, have a stash of my favorite container, and I only allow myself to buy that particular container without a specific use in mind. Every other container or basket that comes into the house needs to have a destination ready when it enters the door.

    I spent yesterday afternoon emptying the plastic drawers full of junk that we never use anymore and my daughter (18 months) recently found. I had to kick her out of the drawers every time I did laundry, because the items weren’t child safe. Now that they’re empty, she likes to put stuff in the drawers while I do laundry.

  20. 20
    Laura@peacebutnotquiet says

    I just got fed up with my Tupperware drawer and organized it the other day! I didn’t even have a basket — I went to the garage and got a shoebox to corral the lids. I was desperate…

  21. 21
    Breanna says

    I think they have those baskets at Dollar General!

  22. 24
    Sheryl says

    They have all the sizes of the baskets on Amazon(dot)com Look for “Sterilite Ultra Basket with Titanium Inserts, White, 6-Pack”

  23. 25
    Jamie says

    I have been able to get those same baskets at Dollar General. They are usually $1 to $3.

  24. 26
    Laura Hutchinson says

    For me, it was our tiny laundry room. Every time I walked in, I ended up walking back out in frustration. Piles of clothes everywhere – and none separated. Also, cleaning products were hidden under the piles, so I couldn’t see what I needed to buy without having to move everything. Yesterday, I finally tackled it. The entire thing took me less than an hour, and my stress levels are now greatly reduced. Huzzah! Here’s what I did: http://thepathbetweenthestars.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/morecleaningthanusuallygoesoninthelaundryroom/

  25. 27
    hsmominmo says

    This is exactly what I chose to do during last month’s New Years Organizing Revolution. And I am so happy I did! I did not revamp entire rooms, I chose carefully what spaces were driving me crazy or needed the most attention. That set boundaries to my decluttering and organizing. And now, it isn’t such a big deal to move forward and tackle the next space. Thanks, Laura, for I must give you much of the credit. You are the GREATEST!

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