25th Hour Organizing

"Because 24 Just Isn't Enough"

Don’t Buy Organizing “Solutions” – Instead Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle January 31, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christine @ 7:02 am

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 seepĀ  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

Parenting & Homeschooling: Positive and Effective Parenting The Homeschooling Advocate

Living Green: Rediscover Permaculture

Life/Career Change: Coaching Through Thought and Action


Organized Exercise January 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christine @ 4:39 pm

This post comes to you straight from my treadmill – in fact I’m typing as I walk a steady 2.3 mph.

It’s the beginning of the year and how many of us have vowed to get in shape, lose those love handles, and start eating healthier? Plenty, I’m sure, including me.

A couple of weeks ago I was walking on the treadmill, contemplating my “to-do’s” and itching to get started on them. Instead, I found myself frustrated and desperate to be done with “this whole exercise thing.”

That’s when a very clear vision hit – I had seen it months ago on Instructables.com, where someone had added a keyboard table to their treadmill. I looked at the setup and I could see it – laptop sitting to the side of the treadmill on the chest freezer, external keyboard and mouse on the ‘table’ that would rest on the treadmill handlebars, and the external monitor hanging at eye level on the wall.

It was perfect. I also knew it would help me cut down on my inefficiency when sitting at the computer (I tend to go on tangents, check Facebook and the newsfeeds obsessively) and, the best yet, I could increase my blog posts. Now that I have twelve different blogs to maintain, I need all the help, and the time I can find!

My wonderful, attentive and supportive husband (Hi sweetheart, happy birthday!) was kind enough to humor me and the setup is in place. My aching wrists and fingers have informed me that the keyboard table will need to be raised by 6-8 inches to be more ergonomically viable, but other than that, life is perfect. (Update 1/27/11 – done and this is the new picture at top)

This is day two of my exercise regimen and I just looked down at the clock to realize, to my dismay, that I must finish this post in less than six minutes. I’ve been walking, and researching, and surfing, and blogging for over 54 minutes now!

So the setup is not difficult. Use an old computer that takes time to boot up, or use a laptop that has a wireless connection to the internet. I highly recommend that you have at the very least a external keyboard and mouse. The laptop could sit on a shelf above the treadmill on a wall, but trying to just use the built-in keyboard could be problematic.

My treadmill is here in the basement, near our washer and dryer. I placed all of my workout clothes here on top of the dryer, shirts in one pile, pants in another, with the workout socks in between. My tennis shoes sit here next to the treadmill.

In the morning, at the ungodly hour of 5 am, you will find me here. I get up out of bed, do a weigh-in, come downstairs and pull on my work out clothes and get to exercising and surfing and writing.

When my hour is up I pull off the clothes, add them to the pile waiting to be cleaned, and often start a load, transfer the clothes over or even take a dryer full of clean clothes up to be sorted and folded and put away.

In other words, in one hour I manage to:

  • Get my daily dose of entertainment
  • Post in my blogs and lurk on Facebook
  • Research stuff (I was looking up MYO lip balm recipes today)
  • Exercise for a full HOUR, which currently burns in excess of 450 calories
  • Get the laundry done

How awesome is that?

I’m now at 65 minutes of exercise, so I’ll close with pictures of my setup. Happy Organizing!

Here was the original setup my husband cobbled together for me…