25th Hour Organizing

"Because 24 Just Isn't Enough"

Make Every Step Count January 29, 2010

Filed under: General Organizing — Christine @ 7:09 am

I talk about Economy of Movement in my organizing classes. In a nutshell, EoM is about making every step count.

I was reminded of this over the past two days. I have owned a housecleaning business for the past five years. My next-door neighbor just started her own housecleaning business with her sister-in-law and she’s been calling for advice. “How long should a cleaning take? What should I charge? Should I bill it out by the hour or as a set fee? How can we be more efficient?”

Cleaning a house, especially if you are doing it for a living, is a fine example of wanting to make every step count.

But honestly, if you could add an extra hour to your day by employing the use of EoM, what more could you get done or accomplish in your day? Imagine what you could do with an extra hour or two!

Economy of Movement is simple and complicated at the same time. To be successful at it, you simply need to be more aware as you move through your day. Let me give you an example:

Example: As you drive in your car, you look over and see a fast food bag on the floor, some dirty napkins strewn around, and other items that need to be thrown away along with some little figurines that belong in your daughter’s room. At the next red light, lean over and grab the bag and fill it full of trash. Pick up the little figurines and place them in your purse. (obviously, keep an eye on the light so that it doesn’t change while you are oblivious to it!) When you arrive home, grab the bag full of trash, your purse, and run past the mailbox. When you enter your house, drop the mail and any receipts from your purse (maybe the fast food receipt) into the Mail/Receipts bucket, hang up your coat, put away your purse after handing the figurines to your child, and toss the trash into the kitchen wastebasket.

Results: You have managed to keep all of your mail and financial records in one place (the Mail/Receipts bucket). Your coat and purse are put away. Your car is tidy and well-organized and it no longer has little figurines rolling around in it. Tomorrow, when you get back into it and are rushing to drop your child off at daycare/school, she’ll have a place to put her feet and you will feel less stressed without the clutter and garbage.

Economy of Movement can be as simple as taking that used or dirty dish from a snack in bed the night before with you as you walk towards the kitchen to make yourself coffee. Coffee takes a moment to brew and since you are right there, why not tidy the kitchen up? Load or unload the dishwasher. As you run the water it heats and you can use it to wet a dishrag and wipe down the counters or one of the shelves in the refrigerator. Just as the coffee finish burbling into the carafe you have a reasonably clean kitchen. It isn’t perfect, but then, not many kitchens are.

These are just a few examples of making every step count. Think about your life, become aware of your patterns, and come up with ways in which you can reduce your clutter in a few less steps. Make every step count!!!!

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Organized Remodeling January 25, 2010

Filed under: Remodeling — Christine @ 8:10 am

For years I have wanted to transform an antique dresser into a sink. Over a year ago, after hearing me talk of it far too many times, my mother donated a dresser for the cause. It was lovely and it had a nice mirror that attached to the back.

I had set my sights on the hall bathroom and decided a complete ‘redo’ was in order. I would repaint the walls, and I wanted my husband Dave to install some nice tile instead of the ugly linoleum currently in the space.

A couple of weeks ago we visited the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store and found the perfect floor tiles, just $1 per square foot. This purchase got the gears moving and before long I had located a lovely glass vessel sink on eBay and a tall bronze faucet to go with it.

We sat down yesterday and began to plan it out, including what jobs each of us would be responsible for.

  1. Clear out the bathroom entirely – all knickknacks, etc (me)
  2. Remove the ugly sink cabinet and install shut off valves so we could turn the water back on (Dave)
  3. Demo the rest of the flooring and remove the toilet (Dave and me)
  4. Clean up (me)

We began at around 6pm and finished at 10pm. We also outlined the next steps we needed to take:

  1. Replace section of floor that has rotted (Dave)
  2. Patch all nail holes, remove old wallpaper from behind toilet, and prep walls and ceiling for painting. (me)
  3. Seal the dresser top with an epoxy solution (so that there will not be any water damage and the rest of the dresser with a marine varnish. (me and Dave)
  4. Paint walls and ceiling (me)
  5. Alter dresser by drilling holes for the sink and faucet and altering the drawers beneath to accommodate plumbing. (Dave)
  6. Lay tile and grout (Dave)
  7. Install dresser sink and bolt to wall (me and Dave)
  8. Finish out with new molding and touch up paint. (me and Dave)
  9. Move everything back into the closet organizing and labeling as I go. (me)

It seems like a lot of work and well, honestly it is. But in the end, I estimate we will have spent about $400 and have a lovely bathroom in place of the old, well-worn one.

I am a huge fan of do-it-yourself projects. They save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars and you learn handy, needed skills. Keep in mind the following before you begin a project:

  • Have a clearly defined vision
  • Be prepared for setbacks (like the rotted flooring we found!)
  • List out the steps you will need to take from start to finish and assign each member a task that fits their strengths. (Mine is obviously organizing and planning, but I will also be cooking meals and be available to Dave when he needs someone to run back and forth)
  • Keep track of your expenses (this helps you add it up in the end and realize just how much it really costs and how much you have saved).
  • Have a first aid kit handy
  • Have other arrangements (sleeping, bathing etc.) in case the project takes longer than you thought it would.
  • When frustrated – don’t give up and abandon the project. Work it through, consult experts, and finish it with a professional’s help if the work is too much for you.
  • Be ready to roll with the punches!

The last one is especially relevant for us. In January 2007, I talked my husband into taking a week-long vacation and installing a tile floor in our kitchen. I know, I know, that is wrong on so many levels! He obviously loves me because he actually agreed to do it. This was our first tiling experience and it would have been difficult enough except that the day we took everything apart (this included removing the stove and placing it on the back porch) our microwave died, leaving us with no way to cook food!

There is only so much takeout and sandwiches and cold cereal a person can eat before all they can think of is being able to cook their meals on a stove again. It was an incredibly difficult week for us, especially since we had a newborn who I’m sure was convinced she had been abandoned or left to be raised by the dogs.

We were so ‘under the gun to get it done’ that we rushed things and just three years later the grout is cracked and pitted and disintegrating. That’s next on Dave’s “to do” list. And this time, we will take the time to do it right!

So remember…

  • Take your time to plan it out
  • Make a list of all the materials you will need
  • List out the steps to take to complete the job from start to finish
  • Plan for hiccups and delays

Stay tuned…pictures and updates to follow!