Friday, February 5, 2010

Simplicity- Step Five

My next simplicity step is one that I have been doing for years, and I am sure many of you do it as well. Organize/purge on a cycle.

When I was teaching, I would go through my room (when I was single) or house (once I was married) twice a year. The first was during Christmas break, and the second was during the summer (my two big breaks). I would go through my closets, drawers, and under my bed (I used it for storage of hope chest items), toss what was unusable, give away or sell items that were in good condition but I would not be using again, and keep only what I needed. For some, twice a year is all that is necessary. However, a husband, toddler, and bigger house later, I am finding that cycle organizing is what works for me. So exactly what is that?

For me cycle organizing means that I start at one end of the house and begin the organizing/purging process one drawer/closet/cabinet/container at a time. By the time I make it all the way around the house, it has been about two or three months and I begin the process all over again. For me, this method keeps things from having a chance to build up around us. It also makes the next cycle of organizing and cleaning out easier because fewer things have had a chance to accumulate.

Those of you who have small children know that they outgrow clothing sometimes in about three months. It is nice to be able to go through Addie's drawers and cycle out the smaller sizes and cycle in the bigger sizes so I never have to worry about what to dress her in. Toys are also great to cycle in and out. By cycling toys, Addie always has something new-to-her to play with and her toys get plenty of use. As she outgrows items, they are either sent to Goodwill or saved for Baby number 2 (thinking ahead...nothing more :).

Also because of the cycle, my cabinets, closets, and drawers stay neater and doing a quick purge is always possible. It also keeps me aware of what I have, so buying doubles rarely happens.

There are many ways to organize and purge your space. Some people find that doing an enitre room in one day and having their house cleaned out in a week is the way to go. More power to you! Others, like me, do things a little at a time. My reasons for organizing a little more slowly is the fact that I have a toddler. I can't very well clean out a room and expect her to keep herself occupied for the day. However, while she is sitting in her high chair drinking her milk after lunch, I can go through a cabinet or drawer in the kitchen to just spruce it up, clean it out, or toss some unnecessaries. While we are watching a Veggie Tales episode, I can go through a coffee table drawer or cabinet in the entertainment center to check up on things. While we are playing in her room, I can run through her closet quickly (she loves when I pull things out of there that she doesn't usually get to play with). I always put at least one cabinet/drawer/closet/container to organize on my list of things to do for the day.

I'm working on my closet right now. I've spent the week organizing and tossing some clothes on the racks (Brian worked on his side of the closet the other day), now I'm working on the floor. I love walking into my closet and seeing my clothes all hanging in color coordinated rows (weird, I know, but Brian is like that, too!).

I would encourage you to clean out one drawer or cabinet today. It can be a craft drawer, clothing drawer, bathroom drawer, bathroom cabinet, kitchen cabinet, or (dare I say!) junk drawer. Have a blast!

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