I'm lazy. There, I said it!
They say that "necessity is the mother of invention", but my cleverest organizing ideas are born out of pure laziness. The truth is that the reason my home is so organized is because I'm just too darned lazy to live in clutter. I will literally spend hours organizing one cabinet in just such a manner as to never have to lift something up in order to get something else out. I clean out my closets very regularly because I figured out a long time ago that the less stuff I have, the greater percentage of that stuff can occupy the prime real estate in my home. The more stuff occupies prime real estate, the easier it is for me to find it and put it away. Laziness... the secret key to an organized home. Who knew?
I may have mentioned this before, but I am a huge Pinterest addict. I spend most of the time I save from not having to look for stuff and lift stuff on surfing Pinterest for new ideas on how to be even more organized and efficient. It's pretty pathetic, I know, but I really enjoy seeing all the clever ideas people come up with for storing things in non-conventional, super-accessible ways. Using a cupcake stand to store tiny craft embellishments without having to open any containers... stuffed animals hung conveniently on the wall in a mounted planter where they won't fall out easily and have to be picked up... pocket shoe organizers for holding the entire contents of a cabinet where you can see it all at once and not have to move anything...Brilliant!
But there's danger lurking among the boards, too. In the pictures, the cabinets always look so nice and neat and orderly with their matching containers and coordinating labels. It can be a little intoxicating and make you forget yourself a little. Before you know it, the quest for efficiency can turn into a Martha Stewart Living nightmare. I recently saw a photo that made me shiver. A professional organizer had helped someone organize their linen closet and attached beautiful labels indicating the sheet size to each sheet set using safety pins. Say what?!! Oh, it looked gorgeous, but it failed the laziness test immediately. Who on earth is going to un-pin and re-pin those labels every time the sheets are used or put away?!!! Not me!
Never underestimate the power of the slightest inconvenience to prevent you from doing something you don't want to do anyway. If your drawers and closets are too full, you won't put things away, so you may as well just pile everything up on the tables and chairs instead, because that's where they're going to end up anyway. Closet door broken? Sock drawer stuck? Can't reach that top shelf? Maybe it isn't such a coincidence that the things that live there never made it back home last time you finished using them. Take a good look at your biggest pain points and ask yourself why they are so painful. Dig deep down into your subconscious and identify the problem. Nine times out of ten, it's because of some minor obstacle you've tolerated (or haven't) for too long without even acknowledging its existence.
Let Martha keep her matching hang tags and adorable zippered pouches. She's got a whole TV crew to put stuff away for her! Lazy works just fine for me. In fact, I'd even say "It's a good thing".
You'd think her stint in the big house might have put the domestic goddess back in touch with mere mortals like us, but a quick perusal of organizing tips on her website indicates otherwise. So I've taken the liberty of modifying some of her ideas to appeal to people like me who have limited time, money, and--to put it bluntly--patience for her hoity-toity bullcrap.
Martha says: Make a handy canvas tote with lots of pockets by sewing a carpenter's nail apron... (she lost me at "sewing")
EasyPeasyLiving says: Buy a gardening tote. They have lots of pockets and often come in cute patterns.
Martha says: Create cute little calendar labels for your freezer bags out of my adorable clip-art files that will use up most of the ink in your printer cartridge. This way you will know by when you must consume the contents.
EasyPeasyLiving says: Write the date by when you should consume the contents right on the bag with a sharpie.
Martha says: Laminate a "To Do Before I Go On Vacation" list on card stock, punch with eyelet puncher and attach with decorative ribbon to your luggage so you don't forget to do anything before you go away. Laminating means you can re-use the card next time you go on vacation.
EasyPeasyLiving says: Tape your handwritten "To Do" list to the front door so that you see it before you walk out the door instead of when you are checking your luggage at the airport. By the next time you are lucky enough to get away, you are sure to have a completely different set of tasks to do before you go.
Martha says: Spend a little time creating stylish organizing tools that you can show off to all your friends. All those superficial little details will let them know you care about impressing them. It's a good thing.
EasyPeasyLiving says: Spend the time and mental energy you save by being more organized on enjoying and laughing with your friends. It lets them know you care about them. It's the real thing.
Valerie Sheridan is a professional organizer, wife, mother of two, and Founder/Owner of EasyPeasy Living.