Aren't decluttering and reorganizing 2 separate issues?

marie26January 29, 2006

I read teaghansmama's introduction which prompted this question. I've decluttered my house but still have a problem keeping those items in cupboards organized. What steps or products should I be looking into to help change my behavior? Sometimes, I feel that I am my own worst enemy because I won't put something away exactly where it belongs on a shelf and just put it on the shelf haphazardly instead.

Is there hope for me?

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They are two separate issues: declutteirng is to get rid of unused and unusable items.

Organizing is re-arranging what's left so it's close to where you need it.

Look at where things are used, and where you are storing them ... does it make sense to move some things?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2006 at 5:05PM
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I agree decluttering & organizing are two separate issues, the former needing resolution before the latter.

However, IF its important to you (and it is to me) that *a* place be found for item(s) and they be returned to said place, then you are your own worst enemy if you are not going to follow your own system.

Frankly it seems to me a waste of time creating a system you aren't going to follow. LOL!!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2006 at 10:32PM
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It depends.

Let's look at a casserole dish as an example. And let's say mine stack on the bottom left shelf of the lower kitchen cupboard.

When you go to put yours back, is there a "hole" in the cupboard where it goes, so it's easy to put back?

If there is, and you put it on the top right shelf instead, you're your own worst enemy.

If there is not a spot for it, your cupboards are too crowded.

On the other hand, if your cupboards are decluttered and there is plenty of space, does it really matter which shelf the casserole dish goes on?

A creature of habit--I can find anything in the dark, LOL.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 5:17AM
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Julie, I think you are right. I have barely enough room in my most used, easy to get to cupboards. That's probably why it's hard to put things back exactly where they belong because I'd have to move things out of the way constantly. If I owned the house, I'd splurge for pull-out shelves but I don't have that option here. Also, the top cupboards are very shallow and I'm too short to really use the top of the 3 shelves.

I am using a wire rack for the dishes so that I can put each of the 3 sizes on each of its shelves. I need to look into more organizing items for the top cabinets. Any suggestions?

Is there a roll-out system for the bottom cabinets that I don't have to screw into the wood?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 10:44AM
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I think they're separate issues, but closely linked.

You can have an organized home that's very cluttered--that's me, actually. Most of the things I truly need on a daily to monthly (and sometimes beyond) basis, have a home. I can find them. I can get to them when I need them. That's organized.

But I've also got too much stuff sitting around the house. Things I don't use (or that other people in my home own but don't use).

Then there's you, it sounds, w/ much less extraneous stuff, but perhaps not all of it as easily accessed when needed.

Unfort., your organizing solutions are going to be pretty individual. Some ideas frm the rest of us can help, but it's hard to tell which ones.

Some stuff to ponder:

-is stuff stored near where you use it?
This might cue you to move things from one cabinet to another--if you're always getting up and walking somewhere to get a tissue, you need to move the tissues to near that chair.
Sometimes this leads to counterintuitive storage--I keep my pantyhose in the nightstand, bcs I sit on the bed to put them on. I keep my bill-paying box in the DR, bs I use the DR table.

-are there tasks that mean you have to walk all over to get the stuff you need? (me and paying bills, for example, until recently--stamps in one drawer, trash can somewhere else, check a third place, pens somewhere else, envelopes another place)
This might lead you to creating little "capsules"--a bill-paying box for me, or a baking center in the kitchen, or a "writing notes to the teacher" center in the dining room.

-is there stuff that falls down, gets jumbled, gets shoved over so it's hard to get to?
This could lead you to drawer organizers, baskets inside kitchen cabinets to hold spices, shelf dividers to keep stacks of sweaters from falling over, etc.

Do you often have to pick up one thing to get to -another? plastic bins in stacks, perhaps?
This might lead you to closer shelf spacing, or to drawers instead of bins, or something. Which might mean it' easier to get the stuff you use.

And if you don't put stuff back in the spot you pick for it, why not? First, be sure there's a "hole" in its right spot, as Julie says.

Second, each time you are tempted to just shove it in the cabinet, ask yourself, "which is harder: putting it in the right spot, or looking for it later?"

Also, make things easy to put away, even if it's harder to get them out.

If you won't put it in the place you've designated, maybe that's a cue you should reconsider where you're storing it.

Another thing you might do to get yourself to put stuff int he right spot is, label the spot.

Put a sticker that says "green casserole" on the shelf where the casserole goes.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 11:57AM
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I am convinced that decluttering comes first and organizing and storing comes second. I have learned this through my own trial and error, mostly error. And cleaning comes last.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 12:59PM
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It is in the kitchen where I am having this problem. Where I am storing things makes sense in as far as making the kitchen functional. But my problem is that I don't have holes in the cupboards. For the time being, I think I will need to get some plastic bins or trays that I can organize into. I had done this in the bathroom and it is working relatively well there.

I don't think my problem is that I have too much stuff. The top cabinets are shallow except for the corner one which is hard to get anything out of the sides and back especially if there are items in the middle of a shelf. And thoughts on how to place things in a corner cabinet?

Thanks for the feedback. It's made me realize that holes are important. Hopefully, I'll get this all reorganized next weekend.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 1:25PM
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well, I think *some* organizing has to come first--I mean, if you need a place to put your keys, by all means, invent that place before you declutter the hall closet.

And if you know you need a place for hats and mittens, put a shoe-pocket organizer in the closet before you toss out extra coats, etc.

But I agree, it's silly to invent places and ways to store stuff you don't need. So, DO weed out the hats and mittens before you buy that shoe-pocket organizer, so you know how much.

Marie26, if you don't leave a "hole" behind in the cabinet when you take the casserole or measuring cup (or whatever) out, then you have too much stuff.

If you only have as much stuff as will fit (and maybe a teeny bit less), then when you take something out, you'll automatically leave a space (or "hole") behind. And it'll be almost the only place available for you to put the casserole back away when it's clean again.

So, if the casserole goes on that shelf, then when you take it out, nothing else should go in its "hole"--that's where labeling can come in handy, sometimes, bcs it'll remind you that the space is waiting for its owner to get back, so nothing else should "squat" in its spot.

Food might be a bit of a problem in terms of leaving a "hole" behind, bcs it's something that changes often (unlike tools and equipment, like bowls, graters, etc., which don't often get used up and shouldn't be replaced until they do, so no new stuff should be coming in very often).

So you may need to be a little fierce about:
-not buying more olive oil until you're 2 meals away from running out;
-not buying food you won't eat
-eating stuff up before you buy more
-facing up to the fact that you're not going to eat that stuff, and so throw it away.

I find the kitchen the easiest room to keep order in--things have a spot they go in, and when they come out, nothing takes their space until they get back. DH messes it up a bit, now that he's in the kitchen more, bcs he doesn't know where things "go," and can't be bothered to learn--I think he assumes it's some arcane "girl" thing. He can memorize all kinds of other stuff, but not which bowl goes where. He tries, sometimes, but he often misses.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 2:57PM
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As a test for what you truly need, you could take everything (EVERYTHING) out of the cupboards and put them in laundry baskets. Put things back in the cupboard as you use them and wash them. What you don't use by Valentine's Day, don't put back.

This will also give you the opportunity to figure out what fits in the top, shallow cupboards. If you're like me, everything is in the same place it was the day you moved in the house.

Talley Sue, my husband can't remember where things go in the kitchen either, and he does most of the cooking. Personally, I think he's just lazy... how can you take out a mixing bowl from a matched, nested set, and NOT know where it goes an hour later??? LOL

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 5:42PM
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I'm on the short side so only a few shelves are really useful to me. I have found that many of the kitchen items I had were just "habit" items.

I really need only a couple of mixing bowls. I would rather rinse one out and re-use it than not have enough space to store the item.

Definately, I believe decluttering comes first, but sometimes we think we need items and in reality we are just in the habit of having them. Nesting stuff drives me crazy, but when I have to do it, my limit is two item. Only two bowls or two pans will nest. Nothing more.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 6:34PM
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Marie, I don't know what your kitchen looks like, but I have a small kitchen with very limited shelving. We also rent, so there is nothing I can do about the shleves. It is an old (150 yr. old) farmhouse, and the shelves I think were made for canning. Therefore, most are only high enough for 1 15 oz can. So I don't buy a lot at once, and try to make sure I buy only what we will use. But even with all that, I don't have enough room in the kitchen for everything. So I store less used utensils and refills of food in a "pantry" - a set of shelves under a built in table in the office. I have another set of shelves in the office where we keep gallon jugs of drinking water. And for pans that only get used once in a very long while, shelves in a sort of garage/attic spare room off the office. I made a rack on the side of some cabinets in the kitchen to hang pans, and another rack over the stove to hang pots. Otherwise, I would have an avalanche of pots & pans every time I opened a cabinet. And, like everyone else said, make sure the things you have are actually things you use!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2006 at 9:28AM
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