So, another thing that was a real inspiration on my quest to take back control of my home was a lady I found on Pinterest. Her name is Alejandra Costello from Now, I have looked at and watched tons and I mean TONS of organizing videos, read the articles etc... Nothing clicked for me. I mean, you look and think, "ya, that looks very nice, but it's not practical. There is nothing I use daily in there". They seem to empty a room and take almost everything you use and need out and replace it with decorative pretty little things and there you go, the room looks beautiful....but it's not very practical. I needed/wanted something that could look really good but also be practical and versatile. Then I came across Alejandra! Besides being absolutely adorable herself, she was PRACTICAL! She fused my love of bright colors with practical and for the most part, cheap solutions that work! She also sells a program that helps you get to the root of the problem and teaches you how to keep your hard work up once you have accomplished it all. Often times I watch the videos over and over just to find my motivation again. You really can't help but be motivated after one of her videos. Also, when something doesn't necessarily apply to an area you have, it may spur your thoughts to an area you do have. Or if you can’t do it exactly the way she does, you can easily come up with a way to set up a similar system in your home. The point is, you adjust and then readjust to make it what you need, like and will use. She is very big on that and I think that is part of what draws me to her.Some ideas I have gotten from her that have made a huge impact is her mail center. See her video here: http://www.alejandra.tv/blog/2012/05/video-how-to-organize-your-mail-in-the-home-office/ I adjusted some of the categories to fit my things better, and I used plastic drawers instead of her Elfa shelf system.
I have learned, the greatest joy of organizing your stuff is how it looks afterwards. If it looks good, you really want to keep it looking good, because it makes you feel good. As I said earlier, I love color! I have learned to add color to a lot of my organizing because it encourages me to look at it, to keep it up. I use different colored dry erase markers on our boards, I use different highlighters to check things off my to do list. Once I start seeing those colored lines on the page, I want to see more, so I work hard to get them on there. I know each colored line represents accomplishment! When you purchase Alejandra’s program, you get check lists and goal sheets and charts to use. They are all colorful. Now if you are computer savy and you can make your own, try to add a lot of color. It just does something for a person.In another video, she suggest using colorful small post it notes for a “goal” board. http://www.alejandra.tv/blog/2012/11/video-office-organization-planning-projects/I did not buy the one she uses, I already had a large dry erase board but I kept changing what I used it for. I have since turned it into my goal board. I have different categories than she has obviously. Right now my categories are OUTSIDE, these are goals I want to get done outside, such as paint the fence, clean the patio, etc… Next is SCHOOL. We homeschool so I have goals such as researching some fieldtrips, making report cards. Etc… Then I have To Buy, As we things pop up I need to add to my list, I put them on there, (this is kind of a cheat, it allows me to move post its to the “done” section more frequently!, but it motivates me, so there you go). Next my largest section is PINTEREST. This has several ideas I want to try in the near future. Then we have FUN. These are family “bucket list” goals if you will for this year, such as go camping, go visit family in Illinois etc.. . Never get so busy you forget to have fun. Then lastly I have HOME. On there I have bigger projects that I wouldn’t do on a daily basis, such as painting a room. None of the things listed on here are things I would do daily. Most are things that once it’s done, it’s done, I may do it again, but not for awhile. Finally, there is a DONE column. As you complete these goals, you move them over to the done section. The whole board is one big visual for us to see how much we have to do, but yet also be able to see how much we have accomplished. Each column has a different color and so the “done” column looks more like a rainbow of colors! Which I enjoy. The post it’s make it easy to add and take away. This has been a very fun way to make and keep goals.
Since organizing and minimizing, I have totally changed how I look at purchases I make. I used to buy things I liked, simply because I liked them. But then I get home and don’t know what to do with them and I certainly didn’t have a place for them. That is why I had to get rid of so much stuff that was still practically new. Now, before I buy something, I think about it. What will I use this for? Do I have a place for it? In order to follow the one in one out rule, what am I willing to give up and get rid of in order to bring this in? If we really start to ask ourselves these questions before we buy something, we would start spending less and loving what we have more. I would rather have a closet with a few clothes that I love to wear than a closet full of clothes that I hate on me. The same is said for our homes. It’s is better to have a few things that we love and feel good about our house. Than have a house cluttered with things we thought we would use we thought we liked but we don’t and so it’s more a house full of guilt and regret. I really stop and think through the purchase, envision it in my home, envision using it. This helps me make smarter choices and if I can’t decide, I put it down and know I can come back and buy it later if I still think about it and can’t get it out of my mind. This helps prevent impulse shopping. A lot of my purchases I got rid of during the great purge as I call it, were things I bought on impulse.
ADJUST THEN RE-ADJUST
Just because something is not working doesn’t mean you give up all together. You just keep trying different ideas until one does work. Think about your end goal for that area. Consider HOW you use that area. What do you NEED to get out of that area. Then build on it. For example, I bought 4 smaller dry erase boards at the beginning of our homeschool year. My intentions were to put their daily assignments on one for each of them, and any notes to them on the others. Ya that was just not how we worked. A different area I was struggling in, was remembering what I had planned for supper that night. So I used one board to start listing the weekly menu on. I can not quickly glance over and see what I had planned and if it’s not going to work, I can see a list of other ideas I had on there to make and switch them around. Plus it helped keep everyone from asking me, what’s for dinner. I am not using any of the boards for what I intended, but I am making them work for something I NEEDED. Which bring me to another idea, if you are in need of something, shop your house. Is there something you already have that could/would serve the purpose you need. If something I use to organize things does not work out, I still keep the item. I have a section in the basement for plastic totes and such. So if the need arises I can look through all that and see if I already have something that can work instead of going out and buying new. This is something I learned from Alejandra as well. Some things you can try and leave the tags on and take back, but others if you have had for awhile and decide there is a better way to do it, you don’t have to get rid of it, just put it away or think about where the item might be helpful. Keep your eyes and mind both open. You would be surprised at the ideas you can find and come up with if you think outside of the box.
Below are some of my before and after pictures of our craft/schoool room/ office. It was always such a mess. These pictures were taken right after Christmas so it was an extra mess. How could I have any clear thoughts in a room like this... well, I didn't!