Organize Your Thoughts: Mindset

One of the keys to being able to organize yourself is your mindset.

An organized mindset is not required to get started if you are able to bring in a professional to do the job, but if you’re doing it yourself, it will be the difference between detached spaces of organization and truly feeling that your spaces are organized.

What is the mindset and how do you achieve it?

The mindset is a picture, an accurate vision of what you want to accomplish.

Note that I said accurate vision.  This means that you cannot look at a Martha Stewart photo log and presume that your home or your space is going to mimic that scene.

Your vision of organization must be realistically set to meet your personal life, your personal style, your personal decor.

Hone Your Vision

Take a good look at your style.
  • Clean lines, color coordinated, symmetrical design;
  • Simple design, mixed but muted color palettes, mixed textiles and patterns;
  • Fun and funky, surprise color combos, mixed architectural scales and designs.

These are three very general styles to help find your fit.  Feel free to find some crossover between them.  This will help you visualize your big picture goal.

Take a good look at your schedule.
  • What is your standard routine?
  • Do you have a routine?
  • Which parts of the schedule work and why?
  • What things are not working well?  Why not?

Simply organizing your physical parts and pieces will not automatically fix habits and schedules that are broken.  Take a good honest look at what really works well in your daily routine and pinpoint what makes that work.  How do you incorporate that working piece into other areas of your home?

For the things that are not working, dig into the reason.  If you’re running late every day because you can’t find your keys, or the shoes to match your outfit, you have a pattern to fix.  You need to establish a home for the things you have and make certain you set yourself into a routine of placing those items in their home every time you finish using them.

Take a good look at your available space.
  • Do you have a lot of storage space?
  • Could you turn unused space into storage space?
  • Could you opt for furniture that doubles as storage?

Be realistic.  Your floor plan is not likely to change.  Your budget is not likely to change.  What options exist for the current items at hand?

Figure out which storage method fits you.
  • Detailed and precise – silverware sets separated, colored glassware separated, hair doodads separated by color then by bobby pins and hair-clips and barrettes
  • Sorted by type – silverware sets mixed but separated by formal or casual use, plastic ware separate from glassware, hair doodads separated by ties and headbands and clips
  • Sorted by need – silverware sets stored all together, plastic and glassware stored in one space, hair doodads stored in one space

Know your storage style.  If you like things split out by the finest details, a large catch-all bin is not going to work for you.  On the other hand, if you’re not concerned with finite separation, but more concerned with being able to have a good space, medium and large storage bins are going to be your method.

Lock in and set that picture.

See your style in relation to your space.

Imagine the fun and funky small bins in a drawer to contain those hair doodads.

Picture your matched set of bowls on a shelf to contain those hair doodads.

Find your picture.

Put your picture into your mindset.

Visualize that picture you’ve locked down.  Know that the cute little organizing whatzit for spices that spins and looks so nice is not going to practically fit your routine.  A basket to store purchased spice bottles will better fit the time you can put into maintaining your organization.

Know that the large matching bins might be a good value, but you’re really looking for a smaller version for that space or item you want to store.  Do you get the mindset?

Don’t purchase a bulky armoire to hold a collection of 5 CDs in a 500 sq ft apartment.  Capiche?

Seriously.  Take that visualized organization mindset wherever you go.  Use it as your template when you’re shopping.  Use it as your reference when confronted with adding another item into your schedule.

If you can, make a picture of your floor plan and highlight the spaces that are not working and write on the back of the picture what sort of items are in that space and what you might use to corral them.

You can do it!  It’s all about having the mindset.

Dreamin’ Girl

Super Sunday

Another Super Bowl, another Sunday, another game day.  I might feel differently if it were a team I liked… nah, not much different.  I can’t fool myself.

It was a productive day.  Hubby announced early that he was going to town around noon to do some shopping, which meant that I could dig in and get the living area deep cleaned while he was gone!  I strategized that I could do work upstairs in the meantime, so was free to work on things I’ve put off.

First things first – some Pandora to get the mood going, as I weeded the filing cabinet.  Then I started with the office closet.  I’d been meaning to tidy it up since our last visitors – bedding materials had been tossed in and were blocking the entryway.  I also wanted to take a good look at an old quilt that was beyond repair – I have some Pinterest ideas for it.

The bedding tidy was quick and easy.  Inspired, I also dug into the bathroom linen closet (where the primary bedding is stored) and found that I had stashed a few curtains and misc keepsake items there, along with another quilt that might be repaired.  I separated the embroidered items that were in good shape and split them by family line, for inheritance sake, and placed them into the cedar chest.  The items that were not in such good shape were added with the quilts to my new repair and salvage basket.

closet and bedding tidied

tidied linen closet

future project quilt and heirloom linen basket

future project spare clothing recycle

That led me to the master closet, where I found that I’ve been saving the past few (yes, sadly) sizes of clothing that I’ve outgrown.  Time to let go of those ‘fours’.  I sorted the items I could keep for Pinterest projects, the items that currently fit, and those that would fit if I lost 10 pounds or less and gave away the rest.

I finished just in time, as hubby announced he was jumping into the shower and would be ready for his haircut directly after.

Hubby left after his haircut, so I quickly got all of the furniture moved and the floors vacuumed, swept and mopped on the ground floor.  Just as the floors dried, hubby returned.

Time to prep for the big game.  I tossed the partially frozen chicken legs in the crock and turned it on high.  This is the recipe I used, with slight modifications.

I also got a package of beef smokies into a small crock with some Curley’s bbq sauce, then whipped up this quick batch of chocolate chip dip:


Time to wash the dishes – they didn’t get done on Shabbat, so there were plenty to do.  I haven’t washed many dishes lately – hubby has been doing them most of the time.  Consequently, I spent a little extra time wiping down the faucets and shining them up, and scouring the stainless steel to get rid of the stains.  Details, details.

The game was almost ready to start, so I chopped up the celery and sliced up some local cheese.  We also have leftover salsa from the local restaurant, so we’ll have that too.

hot legs, bleu cheese and salsa

Ah, what’s better than easy finger foods for supper for a change.  :)

red beer and leftover snacks

‘Til next time…

Dreamin’ Girl

Basic Organization Outline


NOTE:  P4s – here it is – this is your guide.  Take it and run and get organized!  Please come back and share your successes with us.

This is the structure we’ll follow.  Read it through and mentally prepare yourself.  Bookmark the page because we’re going to follow these basics for every single space we organize.

Organizing, especially whole home organization, is a very intense process – it will be almost as unsettling as the process of moving to another home. The following facts and tips will help to prepare you for the tasks you are about to undertake.

Important Tip:  It’s best to tackle one area of the home at a time. Think about which areas are causing you the most problems and start with them – reference your first task and make a list.

NOTE: I recommend that you only focus on one room a month or even every two months, so that you can adjust and refine the area you’ve organized before moving to the next area. Also, plan to spend two full days for each room you organize8 hours each day fully dedicated to the process (two motivated people can handle the job in one 8-hour day).

Prior to the start of the organizing process, you will need to assign a “holding” location for all items that will be labeled least used. These items will be sorted at the end of your home organization project, so plan for it to be long-term storage space if you’re working on your whole home.

Determine your target area – the space/room which most needs your attention – you’ve done this with your list.

Find your work area – an area large enough to temporarily contain all of the items you are going to remove and sort from your target area.

Now you are ready to begin the process of organizing. For each targeted area of organization (each item on your list), you will do the following:

1 –  Assemble three boxes and a trash receptacle. The boxes are for:

      • Relocate – least used items for this space, future sort projects to determine where and if they belong
      • Relocate – often used, but boxed to move to more efficient location(s)
      • Give Away – find pleasure in parting with this box
      • Trash

2 –  Assign imaginary “rooms” in your work area (from above – a cleared space large enough for the contents of your target space) for your following categories:

      • Return to target area – it’s a keeper and it belongs here
      • Relocate to other areas of the home more appropriate for items – it would function much better in another space
      • Relocate to “holding” area for final sort – you need more time to consider how to categorize these items
      • Give away – to your favorite source
      • Trash – yep, kick that crap to the curb

3 –  All items in the target area will be removed – sorting by the above categories and quick-sorting all items returning to the target area by item type as you go. This is a quick sort and will be refined during the final steps.

4 –  Make quick decisions on your items – be realistic:

      • do you really need this item?
      • will this item be better used by someone else?
      • why are you keeping this item which holds negative emotions?
      • has this item seen better days?
      • can this item be very easily and affordably replaced should you ever find the need for it (speaking of those things we keep around just in case we ever need them)?

5 –  Once all items are removed from target area, quickly clean target area

6 –  Assign locations for items which will return to target area. Think this out a bit – put your most used items in the most easily/comfortably accessed locations. Those things that don’t get used as often can be placed into less easily accessed spaces.

For instance, in a bedroom, those pretty perfume bottles might be best kept in a fancy tray on top of your dresser, while your nail polish accessories would be better kept in a travel suitcase tucked into the closet.  Think things through in similar manner.

7 –  Move your chosen (and hopefully greatly reduced) items to target area

8 –  Use temporary labels to help all family members adjust to new item locations

9 –  Quickly move those “Relocate – Often Used” box/items to their new proper and most applicable locations/rooms

10 –  Store those “Relocate – Least Used” box/items in your assigned “holding” location

11 –  You’ve done it!  Pat yourself on the back.  Sit down and admire your newly organized space.

Important tip:  Remember to give yourself time to adjust, and to get used to maintaining your newly organized space – and maintenance means that everything has its assigned space and everything must return to its place.  Start your routine and stick with it to keep this space organized.

The change will be unsettling for at least a few weeks as you and your family adjust to the newly organized areas. An oft-repeated organizing theory: It takes 21 days to learn a new habit. So be prepared for the habit of being organized to take several weeks to become “natural” – stick to it, you can do it!

Move on to the next space when you are ready – saving that “holding” location for the last. Be ruthless when you get to the “holding” location – and remember that these items could be using up valuable space and keeping you emotionally bound to material objects.


You are well on your way. As you maintain your organized areas, keep these tips in mind:

    1. Incoming should equal Outgoing (with the exception of food items).
    2. Make a game of it – buy something new – purge something old.
    3. Remember to keep your most used items within reach – utilize your spaces to best suit your needs.
    4. There is always room for improvement. Regular maintenance and custom fitting for life changes is recommended. This is best accomplished with the help of a motivational friend – and can be reciprocated.


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