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?


Closet before


Closet before


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!
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.
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.

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.


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!

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.

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?

Posted from WordPress for Android


{June 1, 2013}   Sell the Garage

I know the right way to do a garage sale. A good garage sale is organized, efficient, and makes good money.

This is probably not one of those.

I need to empty the garage, though, so Grizzly can create his Man Cave ….

First of all, I’ve been pulling clothes, books, etc. for the past few weeks in preparation.  Could I find more things that need to find their way from my home to new ones? Darned Skippy!  But it’s been a really busy week. I may be a stay-at-home mama 10 weeks of the year but I’ve rarely been home. So not everything has made it into the garage sale.

Next, I really prefer to tag most items. I’m a total cheapskate and will often give things away for pennies on the dollar – but you need a starting place.  None of my stuff is tagged.

Space is a big deal.  Usually, Grizzly brings me two folding tables he sometimes uses for work but he has no clue where they might be right now.  Thankfully, Pioneer Woman’s card tables were at Camaro Girl’s house, left over from a long-ago bunco, and she brought them last night. (That’s love – putting the top down to load tables in leather seats!) And there is a big old’ truck parked right where I wanted to put stuff!

I like to start a garage sale with about $40 cash – $10 in fives, $10 in quarters, and $20 in ones. Grizzly has temporary custody of my debit card, so he brought a ten, two fives, some ones, and some quarters. Bless his heart. It’s thrown me for a loop.

With all that’s not working in this garage sale, I will just hope and pray some of my garage clears out, I make a little cash, and Crazymathlady unloads her excess apartment clutter.

I see a better garage sale coming later this summer.

How often do you do a garage sale? What tips can you share?

– Katie

{February 2, 2013}   One Drawer at a Time

As mommies, we learn to multi-task.  When my good friend Shanna (Independent Pampered Chef Consultant and the ingenious owner of Rolling Rehab, LLC – amazing physical therapy service!) calls me, I am 99.9% certain she is scrubbing a toilet.  She tells me chores are easier when combined with something pleasant.  And as mommies, we are fantastic at multi-tasking.

As a teacher, I’ve gotten even better at multi-tasking.  I can cram a sandwich down my throat while making parent phone calls during lunch duty guiding 11-14 year olds to the playing field as I plan next week’s lessons in a 25 minute period.

Today as I was scrubbing down countertops in preparation for tonight’s family get-together (resulting from my never-ending cheaptitude), I realized the kitchen drawers are a train wreck.  There are band-aids in with lighters, taper candles, and post-it pads in a drawer I thought was designated for dish cloths.  How, in my organizational quest, have I missed these hidey-holes?

Drawers can be both a blessing and a curse.  Great for storage, but they can quickly turn into black holes of wasted space!   My kitchen drawers suffer from “out of sight, out of mind.”  Time to re-think my organization plan.

Drawers are valuable real estate, just like any other storage area in the house.  Every drawer should have a purpose.  I thought mine did, but……

In my kitchen, I have 6 drawers, 5 of which are fully functional.  (My silverware drawer needs a face replacement, but that’s a Grizzly-do!)  The 2 drawers by the cook top are already designated.  One is full of silverware; the other has my cutting boards and other random cooking gadgets. On the other side of my galley-style kitchen, we have problems.  4 black holes are attracting every bit of junk under my kitchen counters.

My plan to de-junk those drawers is simple.  I love love love to talk on the phone.  Now when I call my bff, Jeepnmom, I will empty a drawer and sort through the miscellaneous crap.  Since we talk at least once a week, the drawers should be processed by March.  I like the pile method – put away, throw away, give away, and sell.  I have so many little baskets from my other re-purposing activities, this should work out well.  Once the drawers are de-cluttered, I can go back through and set purposes for each of them.

The more I think about it, the more enthusiastic I’m getting about this project.  I’ve considered purchasing drawer organizers from Lowe’s or the dollar stores, but my cheaptitude won’t allow it.  I have some boxes from ordering checks that I think would work well and I love clean tuna fish cans for organizing a drawer.  And the drawers are lined, but I’m thinking of sprucing the drawer liners up, too.  I have a laminator and tons of scrapbook paper, which would make them easily wipable.

So what is your next project?  What has inspired you this weekend?

~ Katie

et cetera
%d bloggers like this: