I SIMPLY do not know what has possessed me recently, but I am on overdrive trying to organise my house. I suspect its down to the fact that little or no organising has been done over the last six months while my ladies were all at home with me. I barely kept on top of the constant tidying as they moved from room to room playing havoc, or playing with toys, whatever way you want to look at it!
Now that they are out from under my feet for a few hours in the day, I have gone into ‘tidy house, tidy head’ mode and, in all honesty, I find arranging and sorting so cathartic.
I go on an organising bender maybe once a year, clearing out presses, wardrobes or closets that have moved into the zone where you must move quickly to close them for fear everything will topple out.
I have discovered there is a process to organising too and it is important to recognise the steps so you can battle through.
Initially, you are full of enthusiasm, tearing out pots, pans, packets of food nestled away for months, clothes that don’t fit anymore and cleaning products that are empty and have somehow found their way back home. The hardest part is the middle, when everything is out on the floor but your initial enthusiasm has waned, you just want to sit down with a cup of tea and hope someone will appear to finish the job. However, once you have your cup of tea that second wind kicks in and you are on the home straight. There is nothing as satisfying as walking into a room where everything has a place and it’s easy to get at.
If you have children like me, sometimes organising can seem pointless. Cleaning a playroom, for example, is about as pointless as an ashtray on a motorbike. I have found though that there are areas you can tackle that will stay organised and there are a few things you can do to make it remain so.
I have tackled all my kitchen presses and fridge lately and so far, it’s actually functioning so much better than is used to. I find containers are so useful in presses, you can separate out into groups and you fit a lot more, neatly, into a container than you would if you just placed things on a shelf. Clear ones are probably best so you can see what you have — in rural North Cork the best I could find were solid plastic but I have the added benefit of having a Cricut machine which cuts out beautiful vinyl labels.
I’ve almost labelled everything in the house, bar the husband and children, although I mix their names up so much on a daily basis I’m considering labelling them before I lose my mind!
Take for example the fridge; categorising and containing things like cheeses, lunch meats, fruit, and condiments has meant we can fit so much more in there without packets of ham falling out on top of us. I measured the fridge and I bought containers that fit perfectly, so it means that packets of grapes, strawberries, and blueberries are also decanted into containers that fit and the overall result is a much cleaner, streamlined, easy to use fridge with a lot less soggy fruit.
I have done something similar in my other presses, it just makes it so much easier to find things (and return them!). I am aware it might sound so trivial organising a fridge or a press, but it makes so much sense and just makes life at busy times, for example in the morning when there are several pairs of hands pulling at food for breakfast and lunches, so much easier.
Some of you might be familiar with Marie Kondo, she is nothing short of a guru when it comes to sorting and organising. To be honest, some of what she teaches can be a bit intense but like a lot of things, you take from it what works for you and your life and run with that.
She has a useful method of folding clothes (google it, there are endless tutorials!) and I do find her method absolutely fantastic. I will not lie, it does not last long in my two and three year old ladies’ rooms, but with a little effort I can stay on top of it. It means you can fit so much more in a drawer and you can see at a glance what you have to choose from.
I also find it great for clothes in shelves, I used to stack things like trousers but they would topple out or I constantly just picked the top few pairs to wear. Now I roll all my trousers and stack them on top of each other in a way that they are easy to see, easy to take out and easy to return. It’s just one more little pocket in the day where life is organised and easier, even if it’s just a few seconds of peace amidst the chaos of life with four small kids.
* Eimear writes a weekly Parenting and Lifestyle Column in WoW! every week.