I was wrapping up my “Get Organized, Stay Organized” class on Saturday afternoon and asking if anyone had questions. One woman spoke up, “What do you think about California Closets?”
Now if you have not heard of them, or it isn’t patently obvious, California Closets is a company that makes organizing solutions for closets and pantries.
“Mmmm,” I said, “Not so much a fan. I mean, yes, they make wonderfully organized areas…but they are pricey.” The woman nodded and laughed, as did others. I went on to clarify, “My goal as a professional organizer is to see that you get as organized as possible, while incorporating real solutions in your house, without having to pay through the nose.”
The irony of “organizing solutions” does not fail to strike me. First we are trained to consume, literally trained, a ‘go hunt for deals’ mentality, and then, when our crap threatens to overwhelm us, someone else comes along and sells us crap to store our crap in. The irony, the irony! It’s literally crap on top of more crap!
Irony aside, when you have too much stuff, you need to find/create places to put it. I will use another entry to make suggestions on how to reduce that pile into what REALLY should be kept and instead focus this entry on what to do with what you are keeping.
My family has been recycling for a while now, and that recycling, the act of sorting the tin, plastic, glass, and aluminum from what had previously gone to landfill is a vision I firmly have in mind when I urge you to reuse, repurpose and recycle.
Call them the three R’s.
Say you go out on a hot day and exercise, and purchase a bottle of Gatorade. Drink it down, rinse it out, and cut the top half of the bottle off and put it in the recycle. The bottom half can be a seat for a toilet brush, or it might hold makeup brushes in your medicine cabinet or pins or buttons in your craft area.
Keep your shoes clean and free from dust by putting them inside of their shoeboxes (or another shoebox) and labeling the outside with a description.
Naturalizer Brown leather pumps with 3 inch heel
Or you can take a picture of each pair of shoes, pick up the prints and tape them to the outside end of the box for easy storage.
When my maternal grandmother passed away in 2001, I quickly realized how much of an impact her thriftiness had on me. Not just that, her storage solutions were immaculate, beautiful things. Old beach bottles cut down to hold sundries underneath the bathroom sink, a cut down quart milk carton wrapped in leftover wallpaper proudly held her makeup (and matched with the decor).
She had grown up in the Depression and hated to waste anything. Coffee cans, empty and clean, lined shelves in the basement, waiting to be re-purposed.
I have taken her example to heart. Everything still goes to the recycle bins, which are located in a neat little row outside of our kitchen in the garage. I consider them ‘potential supplies’ and pick from them when I have a need.
Tin cans are used to start seedlings in the early spring. 2-liter plastic bottles often come in handy for watering remote areas of the yard (just poke a couple of small holes in the bottle, fill up the bottle with water and partially bury it near the plant that needs water, it will slowly seep into the soil).
Even furniture can be reused and repurposed. I get the RSS feed from DesignSponge and it is full of daily ideas that include re-making tired old furniture into kitchsy, storage solutions. Take a look here at one of their recent re-purposing projects. And another is here.
No matter how you go about recycling, reusing and repurposing…have fun. There are so many things we can do with the items already in our house (or available for free on curbs) to better organize ourselves. Don’t be afraid to pull out a saw, a hammer, and some cast-off cans of paint or wallpaper remnants. What you will end up with will be uniquely yours, and far more personable than any humdrum purchased ‘organizing solution’.
I write in about twelve blogs…as I can or as inspiration hits…
Check them out for more on becoming more green, dealing with parenting/homeschool/life/career issues and more…
Gardening & Cooking: The Deadly Nightshade
Living Green: Rediscover Permaculture
Life/Career Change: Coaching Through Thought and Action