Wednesday, January 8, 2014

organization, part one

There are days when my house overwhelms me.  With four boys at home all day, every day, if I don't stay on top of clutter and messes, my house would be overcome with it all.  I know they get tired of me "harping" on them all the time, but what they will hopefully realize someday, is how hard I worked to make a spot for everything.

For instance, shoes go outside.  When they land where they're supposed to land, they can either go on one of two racks or in a hanging bag between the two.  (Do NOT come over here looking in my garage.  It's a mess a lot of days, until either Todd or I get sick of it and we make them clean up.  It's full of bikes and outdoor equipment and sports paraphernalia.  Please don't think that I'm complaining, that is not my intention.  I thank God all the time that He has blessed us with a house that has a garage that I am able to park inside.  Ask the boys if you don't believe me, or my mom-in-love or my dad...they've all witnessed me thanking the Lord for just that!)

I'm going to warn you that I'm going be posting pictures on here that might make your eyeballs hurt.  My home is in no way perfect, but it is very "lived in", before (or if ever) that was a style.  We have a lot of kids and adequate space, but with all their consuming of food and such, we shop in bulk and that presents the problem we have of storage.

I have friends who have asked me about organization and I thought I would do a "series" of posts on here on that topic.  I'm starting in my laundry room.

First off, it is teeny tiny, and I have tried several times to enlarge it.  (That is code for: I have hit the wall several times with my Suburban.  The left wall that you're about to see is right where I park in the garage.)  And I thought it was a good idea to paint this room several years ago, but I made a horrid mistake in the color choice and the finish of the paint and I never finished.  I need to do that now.  I should have done it ages ago.  (Please remember something I'm trying to be better at, and that is that I'm trying to keep it real on here.)

Okay.  Deep breath.  Here comes the first picture.

Are you horrified?  It's so small that the laundry baskets have to go where they are in this picture so that I can have room to sort the clothes.  Our trash can has to stay in this room because we have an old dog who loves to eat trash, some of which is totally unmentionable on here.  On a positive note, I am so blessed to have this laundry room!  And a washer and dry that work.  Just a little weird fact about me, when I stay on top of laundry, I love doing it.  I especially love folding clothes.  :)

On top of the dryer is our "catch all".  Every home has a spot like this, and I chose for ours to be here.  It's out of sight from the kitchen counters, and at least it's all contained in a cute basket.  There's also a movie that needs to be returned to the neighbors and a railroad spike that needs to be taken upstairs.  Oh, and trash bags that come in such a huge box that I have to store it where it is in this picture.


Next picture:

I mentioned that we're low on space.  I like to keep my purse stored where I can easily grab it and go, and I also change purses in the kitchen when the season calls for it.  (Now that you know this about me, please do not come and rob me.  You can have my purse if you want it, you just won't find tons of money inside!)  I store my purses and other odds and ends on this peg rack: dog leashes or collars, plastic grocery bags, camp name tags, a shirt that needs to be get the picture.

Are you still reading?  I haven't scared you away?

Okay, picture number three:

On the back of the door that leads into my kitchen is this: a laundry bag for dirty clothes when we go camping, a reusable grocery sack, aprons and a feather duster, apparently.  I forgot that was there.  I use these items (fairly) often, and by having a designated space for them, I can grab them quickly at any given moment.

Moving on, now.

This is pretty clean, for my dryer.  It was so full of stuff during the holidays that you couldn't even start the dryer without having to reach or claw your way through something.  (See?  I told you, my home is not perfect!)

I have one more, then I'll be done for tonight:

A long time ago, I decided that if I was going to spend so much time in such a small area that I needed something happy and cheerful to look at.  What better thing could that be, than pictures of my kids?  I haven't had the heart to pull them down or change them, but they make me smile and I just can't force myself to do remove them.

I also posted a couple of Bible verses that I love...the one in Philippians about being content no matter the circumstance that I posted during that time when I thought I was going to be getting new, pretty front-loaders, but instead Todd fixed the old ones for about $50.  And there's the verse in Matthew about seeking God first, then all these things will be added to you.  When I seek Him first, I seek other things less and less.  I don't need new, pretty front-loaders or even the shiny new top-loaders.  I am blessed with what I have and I am so fortunate to have such a handy husband.  God has gifted him in that area, and he has saved us thousands of dollars during our seventeen years of being married.

This washer and dryer is set number three for us.  We bought a set after we got married and they didn't last.  My mom gave us a set and eventually those wore out, and these are from my sister Lisa.  I gladly take and accept hand-me-downs.  Even if we had the money for new, I don't know that we would buy new.  I pray all the time that God makes me a good steward of my time and my money, and I really try to stick to that.

Well that and the fact that Dave Ramsey corrupted me years ago.  ;)  He didn't really, he just changed our way of thinking about finances.

Inside the cabinets are laundry detergent and dryer sheets, vases for flowers, light bulbs, sunscreen and bug spray and our camp radios that we take with us when we go camping.  I really, really, really try hard to keep everything put away and the surfaces free of clutter.  I detest clutter and when I have it, I just want to start throwing things away.  I am actually guilty of doing just that.

I'll be doing some more posts like this one, one area of my home at a time.  I think the next area I'll be talking about is our bedroom and closet.  That's always the last place I care about, because all we do in there is sleep.  It often gets neglected when cleaning day comes and our closet is small for a master bedroom closet, so it gets really messy, really fast.  That's why I spent THREE HOURS in ours yesterday.  I am not even kidding.

I hope the pictures haven't terrified you.  If I was totally honest, I will admit that even though things appear clutter free, we still have a ton of junk.  We don't use a lot of it and my goal is solve that problem this year.  I started yesterday in our bedroom closet.  I had five or six bags full of shoes and clothes to donate, just from our closet alone.  The boys' closets are really good right now, and the one that's in the room Graham and Drew used to share.  Remember that day a few months ago when I spent like four hours in their cleaning out?  I have a slight obsession.  My goals include cleaning out the playroom closet (horror of all horrors), the linen closet in the boys bathroom, the tornado closet downstairs and eventually, our attic.  Our attic gives me nightmares.

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog.  I hope your tomorrow is wonderful!  We're excited to be starting back to our homeschool's going to be a long day, but I can't wait.  I have no idea whether I'll be up for posting tomorrow, so I thought I would get this one out of the way.

Love to all!


  1. I always love organization posts! I am excited to see all the great ideas you share! I am in the process of going through each area of our house and organizing/purging. Feels good! :)

  2. I do, too, and my tips are not anything difficult. Just what's worked for me, a busy mom of a bunch of kids, who always has extras around! ;) I figure if I can do these things, anybody can. I don't have tons of time, either, so I try to take one area at a time. I will tell you that tomorrow, my kitchen cabinets (one of them) is getting a makeover. It's making me crazy. I think the key is to just take one small area at a time~makes you feel so productive and that motivates you to keep going!


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