SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks











I love the concept of an organized life.  I have a bookshelf full of how-to organize and how-to declutter.  In theory, it creates a sense of peace.

I’m not so hot at the application!

Most of what I’ve read on organizing and decluttering goes room by room.  Well, that means I get a room nice and neat while the rest of the House of Cheaptitude is a hot mess.  My bedroom, for instance, usually looks like it’s been ravaged by Hurricane Mama.

On Pinterest lately, I’ve seen a lot about a “Konmari Method.” Apparently, Marie Kondo is a professional organizer with a ginormous waiting list for her services in Japan, and she’s written a bestseller about her method.  She details the order of decluttering, even giving instructions on how to fold and store your clothes.

Have I read her book yet? Naw.  It’s got a waiting list at my local SoBo library and I’m certainly too cheap to purchase it.

My takeaway from other blogs and articles, however, is that you gather your crap target items in one central area.  Instead of room by room, you do categories – in a hurry!  And category #1 is clothes.  You take everything out, physically touch every single thing down to your socks, and ask ” Does this Spark Joy?”. If not, it needs to leave.

Can my drawers really spark joy?  I mean, my super dee duper VS bras spark lots of joy for me.  But for real?  Everything else I put on is for function and to be a law-abiding citizen.

But with the kitchen and living room straight (and I’m still mentally blocking lesson plans!), I need a project.  So this seems to fit.

I’m not sure why clothing is the first category. Using this method, you put all of your clothing in one place (I keep reading “floor” but I have a queen-size bed and aversion to laundry!). Please keep in mind, I have 3 baskets in the family room waiting to be put up, but since those are clothes I wear all the time, it makes sense that I won’t declutter them. Right?

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Closet before


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Closet before


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Closet before

So my closet is obviously overstuffed. Not only do I rarely get rid of clothes I purchase, my mom has sent a bunch of clothes when she worked at Coldwater Creek (for Monkey #2, but they fit me!), and I have a ton of hand-me-downs from family and Pioneer Woman. Many items are too big and need to be altered but time/Cheaptitude keeps them hanging out in the closet.

There’s also crap a lot of stuff that belongs elsewhere, to be dealt with later.

I did not realize just how much clothing was on my side of the closet until I saw this mess on my bed!
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I share closet space with Grizz and had this much on my own! And I broke a rule of the strategy, choosing to ignore shoes and accessories for right now. This was literally just clothing.

My dresser (which I don’t share was not much better.
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The top needs clearing, sorting, etc. The drawers were all closing (recall the 3 baskets in the family room?) and all of the clothes were in their proper pieces of real estate, but…decluttering was definitely in order.
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See the pretty striped bin? Bed, Bath & Beyond, from Aunt Janice for Christmas. I have 2 that size. Until this point, they have both been overflowing with tightly rolled spirit shirts for school. Who needs that many tees? There are maybe 36 Fridays in a school year and I always wear an 8th grade or Yearbook shirt. Cheaptitude at its worst, I suppose.

The worst part is I also had 2 full drawers brimming with other tees and knit tops. Plus my top middle drawer is full of tanks. Oy!

Once I unloaded all of my clothes onto the bed, I started the process of touching each piece and asking if they sparked joy. OK, not really. But I did cull 8 grocery sacks of clothes to donate, added to my T-shirt quilt pile, and filled a bag to be altered. The donation bags traveled straight to the trunk of the pimpmobile before I could second guess myself. The other items that weren’t going straight back to the dresser or closet were relocated as not to be in my way.

The Konmari method is very specific about how to fold and hang your clothes once you’ve removed the joyless stuff. I went to my good friend Google and found a YouTube video so that I could fold and file my clothes. Tees and tanks are still the bulk, so I tackled those first.

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Spirit shirts


Now my spirit shirts are easy to locate and take up only a bin and a half. I feel like I fit more rolled, but that lent itself to a bit of a mess, honestly. I can locate my options more easily. The extra bin has several non-work t-shirts now, which frees dresser space!
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Loving the semi empty T-shirt drawer!


I watched two YouTube videos and still cannot “file” my jeans or drawers properly. I gave it the old college try and it’ll work for now. Because the underwear drawer is so flipping neat now, I needed to create a divider. Use what’s on hand, right? I happened to have an old shoebox left over from Monkey #2’s much smaller feet. I could go purchase something cute, but I’m the only one who sees it, and it’s just not necessary.
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Neat and organized drawers drawer 😉


I felt really accomplished by the time I finished re-loading my dresser. With it being a league night, I just hung stuff back in the closet and didn’t really organize it. That’s tentatively on my list for tomorrow. I also didn’t take after pics of everything yet, but it was so great to pull clothes out today! Most of what I still have I actually love. As I folded the three baskets this afternoon, I added to my next donation pile. Laundry is going to be so much easier now!

I’m so excited to declutter the monkeys and Grizz next….

Have you tried the Konmari method? What are your thoughts?

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{January 5, 2013}   Organization: Orphaned Socks

Round basket mandelette

 

The other day I discovered a blog that addressed one of my big time-sucks:  Mt. Washmore.  I’ve started involving the monkeys in the laundry process and am proud to say they collected a hamper-full of clothes today during a ten-minute tidy and they sorted the entire mess themselves.  Monkey 1 now knows where the laundry soap is located and how to operate the washer.  He also knows how to transfer a load to the dryer.  This shaves about fifteen minutes off my chores already.

 

This lady’s blog addressed some other laundry simplification strategies.  For example, after drying, she stacks clothes according to their final destination before folding.  Too cool.  And in her laundry room, she has one of those plastic drawer set-ups and uses two of the drawers for sock orphans.  I love this idea but I am space-challenged in my utility room.

 

Enter waste-not, want-not, use what you got!

 

For a few years, I have thrown socks into a pretty wicker basket while processing laundry.  Then, once a week, usually on a Sunday while catching up on my DVR shows, I sort socks and the orphans return to the basket.  That evening, socks are in some semblance of order, by color, or style, or what grey is on the foot (toe and heel, whole bottom, none).  Unfortunately, the monkeys scavenge the basket through the week, not caring if their socks match exactly, and it’s a mess by the time I get back to it.

 

It’s not working.

 

I’m about to try something new with my orphaned socks.  Instead of the one wicker basket sitting in the middle of my living room, I have two medium-sized utility baskets.  One will be for white socks and one for all the others.  My plan is to stick these in my repurposed hall closet.  When I’m putting towels and linens away, I can pull these out and situate socks.

 

I guess it’s still not ideal, but at least it’s a little more organized.

 

Do you have a Mt. Washmore monster?  How do you tame it?

 

~ Katie

 

 



{January 4, 2013}   Cleaning Out My Closet

I hate cleaning my closet. Which explains why it looked like this till 3:30 today:

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And my stupid phone died before I took pictures of the bottom. Horrible!

According to my organizing books and a good Google search, I realized there is no one best way to organize a closet. So, with my DH due home within an hour or so, I completely emptied the closet. Not just shoes and apparel. Oh, no, I found half-finished projects, scrapbook pages, old lesson plans, as well as two sticker books I’d gotten for the monkeys the year Toy Story 3 came out.  Not good.

The thing is, I got brand new bedroom furniture this summer. I kept my room SPOTLESS till September-ish. I just kind of forgot the closet. Oops.

I decided the most important thing was to determine the purpose for that piece of real estate. Obviously,  clothing storage. And it needed to be readily accessible. The layout pretty much stinks, but I am really good at making lemons into lemonade. Till Monkey 1 goes to college and his room becomes my closet.  But I digress.

Part of the problem with my closet has been that it is way overstuffed. Every piece of clothing that came out of my closet was tried on.  Some things I’ve never worn (hand-me-downs or “great” buys), some things I’ve not worn in years, and some things just didn’t fit at all.  Now, pants for work I’ve invested a good deal of money since starting to teach and I will just get a lot of those altered if possible.  But blouses that are too short for my 5’11 frame, shoes that are not comfortable or are not functional for any function, dresses that I never should have worn all hit the Goodwill bag.

I left Grizzly’s clothes alone after a quick re-organize.  He’s not the clothes-horse he was when we met, just a shoe-whore now.

Then I had to sort all of the stuff that had been crammed in the closet.  Movies and TV series that I kept in our closet so we could watch in our room (The Sopranos, One Tree Hill, The Godfather) all came out to the living room.  School stuff has just been set aside to be taken to my classroom.  Projects have moved to the hall closet to be finished, hopefully this weekend so I can complete that closet finally.  Extra pillowcases, blankets, etc. have been added to Mt. Washmore.

And this is what I ended up with after:

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Please excuse the glarish, fuzzy Droid pics. My DH and I have completely separate sides of the closet now.  Ok, he has one side and I have the rest, but I’m a girl so I can do that.  There is a hanging organizer at the back of the closet for my purse skirts and other accessories.  Stashed underneath and behind that are photo frames – I haven’t found another home for them yet. Above the organizer I have my dressy shoes and purses.  DH’s shoes are on the floor on his side, while my sneakers and slippers are on the floor on my side.  In an awkward corner of the shelf on my side  I have a box of baby keepsakes (cut down dramatically!) and Monkey 2’s very expensive Pooh Bear bank that her Grandma Cher gave her as a baby.  Also on the shelf on my side, I have folded all of my spirit t-shirts.  I used to hang them so they’d be easily accessible, but think this will work better, especially after I containerize them.

I think that covers all of it.  You’ll notice I haven’t got pictures of the rest of my room on here!  Work in progress.  Is it ideal?  Is it perfect?  Heavens no!  But it’s a lot more functional than it was.

I absolutely must give a shout-out to missscarlet88 because her blog inspired me to tackle my closet yesterday.  Left to my own devices, I’d have waited for a snow day.  And probably made jelly instead!

What projects will you tackle in this New Year?

~ Katie

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English: Monkeys in a barrel

The other night, cruising the web, I found a really neat blog (of course, I cannot for the life of me recall what it was!) that dealt with running a home more smoothly.  This lady has several children and she home schools them.  It sounds, from her blog, as though all of the kids help around the house.  The thing that caught my attention was LAUNDRY.

Laundry

Mt. Washmore can be overwhelming for anyone.  I just went foundation shopping with Perkilicious and she was saying that she really needed to wash laundry before we go back to work next week.  So laundry even qualifies as “single girl problems.”  With my family of four active individuals, laundry can quickly get out of hand and for sure takes a big chunk of my few free minutes.  Grizzly works in construction and changes clothes at least twice a day.  Summertime, 100+ degrees?  Forget about it.  The monkeys wear uniforms to school and often change when they get home.  Monkey 2 rolls around in the dirt with her four-legged bff, Jasmine. Laundry is never-ending at my house.

The blog I found had some neat strategies.  This lady’s kids process their own laundry!  They each have their own basket.  Each family member is assigned a laundry day.  They wash, dry, fold/hang and put their clothes away!  I think she helps the littlest monkeys.  How cool is that, though?

So yesterday I snatched Monkey 1 up by his ear and took him to the bathroom hamper.

“What are we doing in here?”

“I’m going to show you how to sort laundry,” I told him.

“Why do I need to know how to sort clothes?”

So much for buy-in.

I stood my ground, though.  He sorted his clothes from his sister’s and then separated lights from darks.  We moved on to the utility room and I showed him where I keep the laundry soap, how to measure it, and how to start the washer.  I explained to him that since we use powdered soap, we let the water run a little and start dissolving the soap before we add the clothes.  He needed a little help distributing things evenly, but he actually had a look of accomplishment on his face when we closed the lid!

Not so much when I told him it was time to dry his load of laundry.

“This is taking a long time,” he complained in that whiny twelve-year old voice I’ve come to know and love.  I told him that by shaking out the clothes and putting them neatly in the dryer, things would dry more quickly and not be quite so wrinkled.  He was less than impressed but continued to shake the clothes out.

By the time it was time to actually fold clothes and put them up, the monkeys were on their way out the door for their New Year’s date with Nana and the ladies and I was a little frustrated with the process myself.

Is my adventure in Monkey participation over?  Not by a long shot.  Monkey 1 knows his way around the washer now, with some guidance, and tomorrow is another day.  Even the little bit he knows now is a time-saver for me.  Next, we will work on folding, hanging, and putting away.  He won’t like it, but I imagine he’ll get it figured out.

Vintage Wicker Laundry Basket Large Oval No. 3



et cetera
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