Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Too much space? Not enough space? Organization is the key!

We’ve developed a few annoying habits these past few weeks with the excuse of ‘we’re in temporary accommodation’ or ‘it’s not home as such’ or ‘wait until we move and have our things’

We move into our new home in 2 sleeps and the desire to re establish our family’s way of doing things is increasing.  While home is where you lay your head, or home is where the heart is, it helps if you are laying your head on your own pillow on your own bed with your things around you.

This will be our 3rd new home in 5 years; DH’s and my 8th in eleven years (plus temp accommodation for several weeks between each international move) and I’d hate to count how many moves I’ve done before that. Suffice to say, we’re pretty good at it.

Whenever we move into a new home we think of the habits we’d like to change, or new things we’d like to do in the ‘new house’. Sometimes it works, sometimes not, but every new beginning must have some fanfare to it.

Have you heard of Peter Walsh? He's an Aussie making it big in the US, thanks to Oprah,  He’s a ‘space’ expert. He goes into people’s homes and delves into their psyche about why they are living like slobs, or horde things, or are just simply incredibly disorganized and then sets about showing them how to live neatly and happily ever after.

We are not horders or slobs, nor are we disorganized, but I have always LOVED ‘organizers’ and shops that specialize in storage ideas; Howards Storage, Ikea, Elfa, Tupperware, Décor to name a few.

A few things I’ve heard Peter say on his shows that have stuck with me are:
·      Move things ONCE. In other words, fold the washing and PUT IT AWAY where it belongs. So, I fold the washing and PUT IT AWAY not simply leave it where it was folded only to have to move it later.
·      MissM for example knows to put her toys back in their drawers or on the right shelf when finished for the day, not simply on her bedroom floor only to have to come back later and move them again into their rightful place.
·      Mail is opened, actioned, filed (into the filing cabinet OR ready for scanning) or put in recycling. DH has a habit of keeping everything in piles, even the envolopes the mail came in! As opposed to having unopened mail piling up on a counter top.
·      Have a ‘receiving/leaving’ area near the front door for the next day. Some of his ideas for families with lots of kids are fabulous!
·      Constantly check your utensils draw in the kitchen for items that don’t work, or you simply don’t use and get rid of them. We are tricked into buying all sorts of kitchen handy helpers but don’t actually use them when we get them home.
·      One of my personal favorites (tho I’m not sure it was one of Peters, think its my own) is to go thru the kids toys, books and clothes a month or so before their birthdays and Christmas, Chanukah. Anything they haven’t played with, or have outgrown, broken toys, incomplete puzzles should be donated to a local charity or school.
·      Peter has a facebook page, and a great website if you are interested in seeing what other great tips he has. Here's his basic "how to keep your house clutter free' tips.

  • Tackle messes one room at a time.
  • When you buy something new, practice the "in-out rule:" For every one new item, get rid of an old one.
  • Create intimacy in the master bedroom. Remember that improvements in one room can spread to the rest of the house.
  • Make cleaning up fun for your kids.
  • Create a vision for the room you're cleaning.
  • Teach your kids how to sort.
  • Use a hanger system to determine which clothes you wear most.
  • Ask yourself if you really need something. If you hesitate, you don't.
  • Establish a "magic triangle" in your kitchen between the stove, refrigerator and the sink. Keep the items you use most in that area.
  • Identify useful utensils with the cardboard box test

Friends who have visited our home will know how anal I can be, and most of the time our home is pretty tidy, tho there are small irksome habits we can kick. I don’t want a show home, just a tidy home. Maybe because we've downsized the need to be organised was a priority, or maybe I am more of a neat-freak than i thought.

Poor MissM hasn’t a chance in the world of ever being untidy. Even her Lego pieces are color co-ordinated into small plastic bags. All her Barbie paraphanalia are sorted into smaller boxes which fit into a drawer; books are placed in height order on her shelf and her memory table is full but tidy. If she doesn't grow up to be an organised person, she'll have loads to share with her shrink.

Our new home is HUGE and that in itself is a scary prospect. Having lived very well in a large 3-bedroom apartment in Japan for the past three years, and wishing for one or two more rooms this new home is full of promise.

At 5.30pm, Monday – Friday the lounge room was cleared of toys so that we could enjoy the lounge room as a family over dinner and into the evening. It drove me nuts to try to maneuver around Barbie’s, Lego pieces and ZuZu Pets and more.

The kitchen was very compact, with minimal bench space, but there was just enough of a corner to have paperwork, old photos, pieces of mail to be sent perched behind the fruit basket. It was all stuff I put there, and it drove me, and DH nuts.

DH’s home office was in an alcove in the master bedroom. For a neat freak, and some one who spends his waking moments on a laptop or iPhone, paper is something he’s not used to dealing with. PILES would accumulate, covering the desktop and then spilling onto the floor, despite a filing cabinet. Every few months he’d have an entire weekend scanning paperwork and filing it online and so reduce the piles on the floor.

In our new home, MissM will have her own playroom. She thinks cos it’s her playroom she never needs to tidy her toys again. Oh boy is she mistaken. I’m already lovin’ the fact that I can close the door and be none the wiser about what’s going on inside. Tho she will need to keep it tidy.

The kitchen has a HUGE corkboard on the main wall which means we can pin all types of notes, pictures, reminders etc on the wall, and NOT have papers lying around. There’s also lots and LOTS of drawers so I can pop stuff AWAY outta sight.

DH’s home office is enormous which probably means he has more floor space to spread out. Not sure we’ll conquer this one quickly.

We’re looking forward to being able to do homework at the kitchen table while dinner’s being cooked. Being able to have a lounge/sitting room and not a part time play room is going to be an indulgence for sure, tho we did have this kind of space in our home in Sydney before moving to Dublin.

I’m packing up the apartment in between writing this, and can’t wait til Friday morning when we pack the cars and MOVE.

The shipment arrives at 9am Monday. There’s 170-ish boxes plus furniture to be unpacked and put away.

The one suggestion from Peter Walsh that will be top of mind these next few years will be 'for every new thing that comes into the home, one must go out' otherwise we'll be in trouble with our next move.

With friendship

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