Saturday, June 11, 2011

Space and Time

When you have an area that is over-crowded and messy- and you just can't get it organised- it's time to move some of the contents out. Whether it be a cupboard, a drawer, the kitchen, the garage- the same rule applies. If it's too crowded, something has to go. Now it's up to you to decide if you want to donate the 'things that have to go', give them to a friend, or store them somewhere else in the house. The third choice here is a little risky- do you have another area in the house or garage that you can store extra items in?

Basically, when I am organising one of my own cupboards that is too full, I go through item by item deciding if I really want that item or if it can go. Sometimes it can feel really liberating letting certain things go. Especially if it's going to a good home. For example, in the kitchen, extra toasters and kettles will always find a welcome home with a young person moving into their first flat. Or extra linen/blankets are always wanted in charity shops, especially in this bizarre time of natural disasters all over the world. It's a good feeling to know that at the same time as de-cluttering your home, you are also helping someone in need.

Back to the third option- should the item be stored somewhere else in the home? Do you have a top shelf up high somewhere not being used? I like to think of cupboards as a giant jigsaw puzzle. It's amazing how much can be stored somewhere, when items are placed exactly in the right way. It really helps having the right equipment too- cardboard boxes stacked can store a lot more in a space than merely having the items there on their own. Square or rectangle things fit better than free-flowing forms, usually.

Obviously for this option to be successful, you need to look at the items and decide which ones you use and need on a regular basis, and which you rarely or never use at all. I always only keep things I actually use, within arms reach. For example in my kitchen, I only have a couple of pots and pans in a deep drawer. I know that I only use these particular pots and pans daily. We do have other ones, but those are kept in the corner drawer that's harder to get to. It's a decent area of space down there, and perfect to store those items I rarely use. Perhaps I would need them once or twice a month. I know where they are, and it's not too difficult getting down there to reach them on the odd occasion.

This same rule applies all over the house. In my bathroom, I only keep a few make-up items that I use daily or weekly- one mascara, one face powder, one brown eye liner, one pink rouge, a few lip sticks and eye shadows. There's no need for me to over-crowd this one drawer with makeup I don't use regularly. But I don't want to throw the other makeup away. So I have a shoe-box of extras that I store in the spare bedroom (Peanut's bedroom-) in the cupboard. The box is labelled 'make-up'. I know it's there, for the odd occasion where I might feel like wearing blue eye shadow (!).

Extra makeup shoe box

I realise this may be very different in your situation. Shane and I don't have a lot of possessions- I guess in a way we are minimalists. I am always trying to simplify our life and I do this by ensuring I don't collect too many 'things' along the way. I try to live by the 'one in, one out' rule, with things such as shoes. When I occasionally buy a new pair of shoes, I know it's time to let go of an old pair I no longer wear. Especially as the area where I store my shoes is limited. Limited space = limited items that can live there.

Go through your house and garage slowly and take a good look around. In the garage, look up. Can you (or a Mr-) attach beams or poles along the ceiling and store long items such as ski's or bicycles rarely being used, up there? Can you put hooks on the wall to hang things from, or place a shelf extender on top of a bookcase? Usually it doesn't take long to find extra 'space' somewhere around the home. Just make sure if you do use cardboard boxes, to write on the front what you've placed in there. I always do this, either with a printed label or a thick black marker pen because I have a terrible memory. A few days afterwards I will have no idea what I put in that box up there on the top shelf.

It does take time to do this kind of work. Don't take on too much at one time- a little bit done here and there around the house will slowly but surely get your goals achieved. One drawer one weekend, or do the garage in your holidays taken off work. I always make sure to finish one job before tackling the next, otherwise things get messy and too overwhelming; and it can make you want to give up and sit down with a bottle or two of wine (in my case, in the pre-Peanut days!). Stay focused, keep that one job in mind, get it finished and reward yourself. Have a few days break before attempting the next task. There's no hurry.


  1. My pots and pans are stored in the exact same corner cupboard as yours :)

    Alas, I have no pull-out drawers - would LOVE some.

  2. I found you through "Down To Earth" and I'm glad I did! I really need organizing tips and you have inspired me to tackle my kitchen cupboards today (shudder). I do giggle though as knowing you are having your first baby shortly I can see that "nesting" urge in your writing. It hits us all as the countdown to birthing our babies begins. You are about to enter a new DISorganised future I guess, full of magic, learning and love. I feel so happy for you :)

  3. I really need to get myself organised. You have so many good ideas! I agree with 'Kate King' babies always bring about a level of DISorganisation. But your case Sarndra your level of disorganisation may not nearly be as much as mine. Julia

    P.S i thought your Wordless Wednesday post was good, i like the baskets there so simple and neat. who cares if your post somehow didnt conform with the WW rules, whatever they may be.

  4. Hi Sarndra,
    I found you from Rhonda's blog and I am loving seeing your projects and tips, after hearing about you over on DTE. Come check out my blog at if you are inclined, and I'm sending lots of good ju-ju for the birth of your wee one!

  5. Hi Ladies! Yes Kate I think you are right about my upcoming stage of disorganisation- I'm so excited about Peanut coming soon :-)