Category Archives: organizing

It’s been a while…

Lots of milestones since I last blogged:

  1. Became godmother to William Joseph. Spent 5 days in Berkeley CA where my brother and his family live and enjoyed very much the ceremony (which took place DURING mass, and was great) and the party aferwards.
  2. The boys finished their first year of school here in Toronto. Alex has one more year before he heads off to university.
  3. Alex got his first job, as a grocery clerk at our local No Frills. It’s four blocks from home which is great, but he hasn’t been scheduled for many hours yet. He’s enjoying the paycheque though. He bought an iPod shuffle to run with and is suddenly hyper-aware of how much everything costs.
  4. Alex is taking Driver’s Ed this week. Yikes! How did that happen?
  5. Michael got contact lenses yesterday.
  6. We replaced five feet of our kitchen counter (a peninsula) that was damaged, and installed a new sink and faucet, and….wait for it….a new dishwasher. Our old one sounded like a jet plane and prevented conversation pretty much anywhere on the main floor of the house. The new baby is flush with features, and you pretty much have to put your hand on it to figure out if it is running. Yesterday, I ran the “Top Only” cycle after breakfast which saves water and frees up space to get the rest of the days dishes in by the evening.
  7. I have started listening to a very inspiring audio book on decluttering (It’s All Too Much by Peter Walsh). I gave away all my scrapbooking supplies to a (very grateful) cousin, and a pile of art stuff to Michael’s art teacher. I listed a bunch of books to sell on Amazon.ca and give away on Book Mooch. I’ve got a long way to go, but it feels good so far.

Blogging may be light over the summer. Have a good one!

Three bags of shreddies

Well, shreddings. Three large garbage bags full, ready for recycling. I have wanted to tackle our filing cabinet ever since we moved and I finally got the kick-start I needed.

A couple of weeks ago I saw an item over at Uncluttterer on the FreedomFiler. It’s essentially a system for managing household and/or small business files that is self-purging. I ordered the smallest kit that just comes with labels and instructions as I already had hanging file folders and a cabinet.

It arrived on Thursday and by midday Friday, our living room was awash in piles of paper to recycle, paper to shred and THEN recycle, old labels to throw away, and dust. By mid-afternoon today, I had two thirds of the cabinet purged, the shredding bags out on the back porch, the carpet vacuumed, and a basic system in place to manage our files.

I got rid of 10 years of tax returns, 6 years of bank statements and bills, pay stubs, immigration paperwork, user manuals and warranties for things we no longer own, etc, etc. It feels incredibly freeing to have all this empty space in the cabinet and to be able to locate important papers quickly without pawing through piles of out-of-date stuff.

I still have health records and the boys school and sports files to go through. Plus Z will have to deal with some of his bulging files full of financial and work stuff, old papers written in Arabic, and yellowing photographs from his childhood.

My ultimate goal is to get rid of our existing three drawer lateral cabinet because it’s in our living room, is not attractive, and takes up too much space. There is simply nowhere else in the house to put it. I think I can get down to half the cabinet, which could then fit into a three-drawer standard filing cabinet that could be stashed somewhere unobtrusive. Or stored in some kind of attractive desk-type furniture thingy (maybe like this or this) in the study part of our living room.

Three bags of shreddies

Well, shreddings. Three large garbage bags full, ready for recycling. I have wanted to tackle our filing cabinet ever since we moved and I finally got the kick-start I needed.

A couple of weeks ago I saw an item over at Uncluttterer on the FreedomFiler. It’s essentially a system for managing household and/or small business files that is self-purging. I ordered the smallest kit that just comes with labels and instructions as I already had hanging file folders and a cabinet.

It arrived on Thursday and by midday Friday, our living room was awash in piles of paper to recycle, paper to shred and THEN recycle, old labels to throw away, and dust. By mid-afternoon today, I had two thirds of the cabinet purged, the shredding bags out on the back porch, the carpet vacuumed, and a basic system in place to manage our files.

I got rid of 10 years of tax returns, 6 years of bank statements and bills, pay stubs, immigration paperwork, user manuals and warranties for things we no longer own, etc, etc. It feels incredibly freeing to have all this empty space in the cabinet and to be able to locate important papers quickly without pawing through piles of out-of-date stuff.

I still have health records and the boys school and sports files to go through. Plus Z will have to deal with some of his bulging files full of financial and work stuff, old papers written in Arabic, and yellowing photographs from his childhood.

My ultimate goal is to get rid of our existing three drawer lateral cabinet because it’s in our living room, is not attractive, and takes up too much space. There is simply nowhere else in the house to put it. I think I can get down to half the cabinet, which could then fit into a three-drawer standard filing cabinet that could be stashed somewhere unobtrusive. Or stored in some kind of attractive desk-type furniture thingy (maybe like this or this) in the study part of our living room.

Front Hall Closet Makeover

As I have mentioned before, we don’t have a lot of storage space in this house so every bit has to count.

Our front hall closet will the be repository of every winter boot, glove, scarf, coat, slipper, etc used by the four of us, so it needed to be well-organized.

Here are the “Before” pictures. Note the jumble of miscellaneous stuff on the upper shelf.

And the floor was crowded with shoes that haven’t been worn recently, brooms and mops, a gym bag, etc.
After: I started by moving the brooms to a basement closet where I installed hooks to hold them all. I purchased four clear plastic bins and labeled them with their new owners’ names.

The hanging shoe rack will be limited to slippers or other indoor shoes, and dog walking apparatus (leashes, bags, and paper towels for cleaning his feet after a walk).The shoe cleaning stuff (that was in the cardboard box on the top shelf) is now in it’s own bin on the floor at the back of the closet. The rest of the closet floor will be **strictly limited** to outdoor shoes.
[Hard-assed mother anecdote: Alex tends to leave his shoes directly in front of the door upon entering, rather than taking the, oh, 6 seconds to put them in the closet. On at least two occasions in the summer, after warning him about this, he “lost the privilege” of using said shoes for 24 hours. He had to run in his “back-up” running shoes, poor boy. I may need to resort to this again as the effect seems to be wearing off.]

Front Hall Closet Makeover

As I have mentioned before, we don’t have a lot of storage space in this house so every bit has to count.

Our front hall closet will the be repository of every winter boot, glove, scarf, coat, slipper, etc used by the four of us, so it needed to be well-organized.

Here are the “Before” pictures. Note the jumble of miscellaneous stuff on the upper shelf.

Media_http4bpblogspot_jdbgz


And the floor was crowded with shoes that haven’t been worn recently, brooms and mops, a gym bag, etc.

Media_http4bpblogspot_exryf

After: I started by moving the brooms to a basement closet where I installed hooks to hold them all. I purchased four clear plastic bins and labeled them with their new owners’ names.

Media_http2bpblogspot_ktlaw

The hanging shoe rack will be limited to slippers or other indoor shoes, and dog walking apparatus (leashes, bags, and paper towels for cleaning his feet after a walk).

Media_http1bpblogspot_rmnfw

The shoe cleaning stuff (that was in the cardboard box on the top shelf) is now in it’s own bin on the floor at the back of the closet. The rest of the closet floor will be **strictly limited** to outdoor shoes.

Media_http3bpblogspot_miakd

[Hard-assed mother anecdote: Alex tends to leave his shoes directly in front of the door upon entering, rather than taking the, oh, 6 seconds to put them in the closet. On at least two occasions in the summer, after warning him about this, he “lost the privilege” of using said shoes for 24 hours. He had to run in his “back-up” running shoes, poor boy. I may need to resort to this again as the effect seems to be wearing off.]

Our new closet

Z and I redid our closet yesterday and it’s great! It’s a small walk-in, about 5′ by 6′, and we installed shelving on all three sides (not including the side with the door.)

We started with a very basic closet. Zs side had two hanging bars.

My side had one bar, but at two heights.

I used the ClosetMaid Shelf Track system. I started with their flexible and helpful online closet design application, the Visual Storage Planner. It lets you enter the dimensions of your space and design your closet using their parts. You can see both elevation and interactive 3D views of the closet to make sure that you like the design. Then you can print out a parts list to take to the store.

Home Depot will cut the shelving for you, and because we had the detailed parts list, we were able to have our cuts made at the store, which saved a lot of time.

The demo of the existing closet was a pain, because there were layers of paint over wood shelving pieces (click on photos to get full horror!).

We had to do a lot of spackling to fill holes and ripped drywall paper, and then we primed everything
.
We decided not to put a finish coat of paint on the walls because we were running out of time and our clothes were all over the place. It’s nice a bright white though, and looks just fine.

With the new shelving, we should be able to get most of the stuff off these open storage units in our bedroom.

The shelving used to be in our garage in Atlanta(!) but they’re headed for my basement room that I’m organizing this month.

Our new closet

Z and I redid our closet yesterday and it’s great! It’s a small walk-in, about 5′ by 6′, and we installed shelving on all three sides (not including the side with the door.)

We started with a very basic closet. Zs side had two hanging bars.

My side had one bar, but at two heights.

I used the ClosetMaid Shelf Track system. I started with their flexible and helpful online closet design application, the Visual Storage Planner. It lets you enter the dimensions of your space and design your closet using their parts. You can see both elevation and interactive 3D views of the closet to make sure that you like the design. Then you can print out a parts list to take to the store.

Home Depot will cut the shelving for you, and because we had the detailed parts list, we were able to have our cuts made at the store, which saved a lot of time.

The demo of the existing closet was a pain, because there were layers of paint over wood shelving pieces (click on photos to get full horror!).

We had to do a lot of spackling to fill holes and ripped drywall paper, and then we primed everything
.

We decided not to put a finish coat of paint on the walls because we were running out of time and our clothes were all over the place. It’s nice a bright white though, and looks just fine.

With the new shelving, we should be able to get most of the stuff off these open storage units in our bedroom.

Media_http4bpblogspot_darhl

The shelving used to be in our garage in Atlanta(!) but they’re headed for my basement room that I’m organizing this month.