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Want to Organize Your Home? Come to the Library!

October 11, 2013 | Claire | Comments (1)

I think my home could easily be in the running for the most disorganized houses in Toronto.  We're a family of four who fill a small house to the max.  We have lots of interests, we have lots of stuff to support those interests, and we lose everything we own at some point or another (we usually find it again, just not when we're looking for it).  When you look at our bookshelves, instead of seeing something like this:

Or even like this:


 You're more likely to see something like this (only bigger.  Much, much bigger.):


I could go on and on and on (our front entrance with the wall hooks collapsing with the weight of all the coats and backpacks piled on, for example, or the dining table perpetually covered in papers and overflow cds) but I think you get the idea.  Some of our stuff doesn't even have a designated place to go--so you can imagine how easy cleaning up is (not!).  I've decided to put a stop to this chaotic way of living.  And I've turned to library books for advice and inspiration.

 Martha Stewart was a pioneer in the art of home organization.  Her book, Good Things for Organizing, came out in 2001 and hasn't really dated that much;  it could serve as a template for many more recent books.  However, as my mother pointed out to me, it's easy to organize your sheets when you have all that cupboard space to do it in. Martha's book, I think, is an early example of something that has recently been termed org porn (don't google it),  that is, an impossible, titillating fantasy of what your house could look like, if only you had lots more space, a million bucks to spend on supplies and a very fancy labelling machine.



Other good examples of "org porn" I've been sampling are Better Homes and Gardens Organize Your Home:  Clutter Cures for Every Room:

And Real Simple:  The Organized Home:


I drink this stuff up.  Both of these books are filled with gorgeous inspirational shots of homes which are not just organized, but styled.   Wicker baskets are lined with lovely fabric before they are elegantly labelled and filled with their designated objects.  Everything is colour co-ordinated.  And nothing is crammed into tight spaces--it all has room to breathe. Here's the kind of thing I'm talking about:


It's all lovely, but it's a big leap from where I am to where this (fictitious) homeowner's at.  I've started my journey towards organization in a more practical way--I bought sturdy see-through acrylic stackable boxes for my pantry (I made three trips to the store), new skinny no-slip velvet hangers for my daughter's clothing-stuffed closet (this created a significant amount of new closet space),  and clear plastic bins of various sizes to control stuff like under-the-sink cleaning supplies and all the sneakers and slippers kicking around in our front hall.  Here are some ideas that have stuck with me as I make my way through more organizing books, magazines and websites:

  • you can't organize clutter (get ready to let go of what you no longer use)
  • designate a basket in your home for library books to be returned (brilliant!)
  • do it in chunks--organize one thing at a time
  • use pinterest to keep track of your organizing ideas
  • no matter what anyone says, organizing a complicated thing like a family home is not easy. Give yourself a lot of time, and get your family on board if you can.

Here are some of the other sources I have looked at (or are on my to-be-read pile):

        Shelf   Clutter2      Clutter3


Clutter5    Clutter8    Clutter6

Clutter4   Clutter7   Storage


What are your favourite books/websites/sources for home organization ideas?  Have any good tips to share?