Monday, August 13, 2012

The Organized Home

Besides looking good, a well-designed home should be organized. This requires a plan for how the space is going to be used. I LOVE to organize! It's fun and I definitely love getting new ideas for how to do it better. There are so many places in my home where I feel I could be more organized, more streamlined.

Yesterday I attended a free class at Pottery Barn on "The Organized Home". The fabulous instructor, Chelsea, covered the gamut of home organization. She discussed storage solutions for basements/attics, closets, kitchens, offices, and kids' spaces. She relayed personal stories about growing up with an uber-organized mom. And she managed to organize her thoughts well enough that she addressed the individual organizing needs of all of the attendees (for me, this was most impressive).

"How to Get Organized: Storage Solutions for Every Room" is the informational booklet that all of the attendees received. The staff at Pottery Barn put it in a bag with the schedule for upcoming classes, the brochure for the Fall Decorating class, and a Benjamin Moore summer paint swatch packet. It was very cute and fun!

While I don't think I can do justice to the thoroughness of the class, a few of my favorite tips are highlighted below. I should point out that these are my interpretations of what was said, and not a Pottery Barn-approved message (and they certainly did not sponsor this post--darn it!).

1. A little time spent figuring out how you are going to use the space (pre-planning) will save you lots of time, money, and frustration in the long run.

2. Determine what kind of storage you need before you go shopping. 

3. Buying lots of baskets (even pricey cute Pottery Barn baskets) does not equal organizing.

4. Take measurements of the space (drawer, closet shelf, etc.) so you can buy the right size basket, bin, whatever.

5. Choose a monochromatic color scheme if you want your "display" (clothing, towels, sheets) to look catalog-perfect. 

6. Make a diagram or take photos of holiday displays you really like so they can be re-created year after year. 

7. Label your stuff. Whether you use a professional label maker or just a note stuck to a Rubbermaid bin with masking tape, it will help you figure out later what is inside all those boxes in your basement. 

Note: Chelsea's mom (I have a feeling I am going to be using that expression A LOT) actually has inventoried lists of what is inside all of her basement boxes. Which reminds me of the episode of Will & Grace where the gang travels to Will's childhood home, and get stuck in his mom's attic. Played by the incomparably lovely Blythe Danner, Will's mom had the most organized storage I have ever seen. Every box was the same size, shape, and color, and they were ALL labeled. It was heaven! 

Anyway, I went into yesterday's class hoping to get some new ideas for organizing paperwork. This area of our kitchen is designated as the home office. The land line (I am so old school!) is here; the pencils; phone books; and our bulletin board. Craft supplies for the kids are in one side of the cabinet below.

As you can see, it can also be a bit of a dumping ground. (This photo is titled "eyesore" in my online folder, just so you know). Getting it under control is important for my peace of mind: I can see this mess from the sofa when I'm trying to relax. It's also on the edge of the kitchen nearest our dining area, and can be used as a serving area if we entertain.

And with school starting in three weeks, the heat is on! Just buying the classroom supplies for my first- and fourth-graders this weekend required focus and concentration.

Recently I bought these four keepsake boxes from Michaels. I love the designs and they were in the clearance bin for less than $2 apiece. I bought two starfish boxes and two octopus boxes. I didn't have a good plan for where to use them, but figured the size, look, and price were good enough to justify the purchase.

Voila! The solution to our paper problem is to stack these four boxes on the corner of the cabinet. They can be labeled with each of our names. The boxes are catchalls for the papers and other items that get jumbled into a messy pile.

As an aside, as much as I adore organizing, I don't think I ever want to sort LEGOs by color. Do you?? God bless IHeart Organizing and all the moms like her. I honestly felt like I was being a good mom by not vacuuming up stray LEGO pieces. The parenting/organizing bar has been raised...  :)


  1. Carrie, I love that you posted this. I was going to write you and request that you do a post on organizing because I feel like I can't even decorate until I find a way to organize. I would love for this to be an ongoing theme! Thanks for a great post.

    1. Thank you so much, Beth! I LOVE that suggestion. I've been toying with the idea of creating a schedule for posts. I will definitely incorporate one day for organizing.

  2. My whole house is a dumping ground - kind of like your "eyesore" picture! Great ideas - I think I need to do a big purge and then put the ideas into practice.

    1. I know the feeling, Sara! It makes it so much easier to keep up with it, though, when things have place. Let me know if you want company when you do your purge and/or put things back together. I've been missing you!

  3. I liked your tips for home decoration. These are really effective. Please do share some more guidelines over it.


Thanks so much for commenting! I love to read what you have to say. ~Carrie


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