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Organizing for the New Year!

Happy New Year, Gentle Readers!

Organizing, I know, is a pretty tried and true topic for New Year's posts, but, rather than ho-hum, I find that these sorts of articles inspire me anew. "It's a new year - let's straighten up the closet!" Or, "The pantry has become a wasteland! Let us purge, for we are not savages!"

So, with that in mind, I interviewed two of my favorite organizers, my Aunt Robin and my dear friend, Michelle, and I thought I would pass along their Words of Organizational Wisdom:

This is my Aunt Robin. Isn't she cute?

When I started asking her about organizing, Robin was quick to make clear that she does NOT buy cutesy containers to hold your crap. "I want you to get rid of stuff!"

Okay, so now we know the Robin Way.

Robin likes to start organizing (read:eliminating) in the kitchen because that's, generally, where the least sentimental possessions reside. Which makes a lot of sense; I'm not terribly close to any of my pots. Or pans. I do have a serious crush on pitchers, but we'll get to that later.

She advises that the Pantry is a big job, but a very satisfying one because when you remove all the foodstuffs that have expired, and the foods you tried, but didn't like, but are inexplicably hanging onto, you will have this new, roomier pantry, and that is a good feeling.

Check out how Robin organizes her spices!

Naturally, these are arranged alphabetically.

These adhesive strips are super strong and a great space saver. You can buy them on Amazon here. The price is reasonable enough that you can organize all of your spices like this.

I have an over-the-door rack that runs the length of the door. And my spices are stuck in there all higgeldy piggeldy, so my Plan for this week is to alphabatize because I spend a lot of minutes looking for certain spices, and no matter which spice I'm looking for, it's always the last one I pick up! Why, Lord, why?

I actually did a big Pantry Organize a while back when my friend, Michelle came to visit me. Meaning, she drove all the way to see me, I made her lunch, then sat back while she organized my pantry.

So, here's me and my Pantry of Despair. Lots of cutesy baskets to hold my crap.

And here's the after photo:

Ta-da and Voila!

I'm so glad I made Michelle dessert!

Like my Aunt, Michelle puts canned vegetables with the canned vegetables, the grains all live together, chocolate got its own basket because it kind of qualifies as a suburb in PantryLand.

My Aunt Robin was ahead of Marie Kondo when it comes to getting rid of books. Y'all, I just can't yet, but I do see the value in evaluating my bookshelves and asking myself if I'm really ever going to read that book again. Some books, the answer is yes, and others is no, so let's open up that space!

Another easy place to organize is linens, according to Robin. How many towels and sheets do you really use? Since we got a pool in our backyard, towels have been mulitiplying like rabbits in my bathroom closet, and I suspect I can get rid of some. I don't know why I'm prepared for all the neighborhood kids to come over all at once towel-less. Like, the poor dears will, what? freeze in August without a towel?

Clothes is a hard one for a lot of people. My mom and I used to joke that a lot of differently sized women live in our closet, and we're not ready to give up on any of them. Robin asks, "Do you need it? Do you love it? Do you really want it?"

I find that clothes takes me a while, so this is where Michelle's Quadrant Approach really comes into play.

This is me and Michelle on Pantry D Day.

Michelle discourages people from Organzing the Whole House. Or even the Whole Room. Not even the Whole Closet. "Let's start with a drawer this weekend," she says. "Or, one kid's shoes." I find this method helpful when I'm going through clothes or sentimental items - just a quadrant of the closet, or just this shelf. It's not overwhelming, and I ask Robin's questions: Do I need it? Do I love it? Do I really want it?

My conversation with Michelle started off with Organizing. And since Michelle is Organized, I asked what she does for New Year's Resolutions. I mean, if you're organized, what's left to do?

Michelle's family makes New Year's Resolutions/Goals, both individual and family - places they would like to visit, things to improve (this could be the house or themselves), experiences to experience. It can be something like, "this year we would like to take some bike rides together." By discussing it/writing it down, it becomes a plan in their minds, so when an open Saturday morning rolls around, they know what they want to do. A list of restaurants they want to try eliminates that whole exhausting conversation, "Where do you want to go? I don't care, where do you want to go? Here? Not there!" They can consult their List of Restaurants to Try. This feels like a profoundly different and still very doable way to go into the New Year.

Okay, that's our Organization Post. I hope you are inspired to tackle a new project, or at least, not so overwhelmed. We wish you a great first week of 2021!


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