Archive for the ‘Organization’ Category

Self Organization

I am a messy person. My “stuff” for the most part has no discernible system, but I know where everything is and can find it withing ten seconds. I have never been a particularly organized person. I admire those who have everything organized, in perfect boxes, labelled. Oh, it looks just wonderful.

A wonderfully organized pantry

Photo from Just Be Splendid on Tumblr (Image originally from Country Living)

And I have all these high goals for organizing. I think “I can do that! I’ll just head to The Container Store and I can have something just like that!” But then I get to The Container Store and the prices blow me right back out the door again. So no perfectly organized, labelled, matching stuff for me. Plus I don’t have enough room for a pantry anyway!

Even if my house can’t be perfectly organized, I feel like my brain needs to be. For me, writing things down is the best way to make myself remember something. If I need to drive somewhere unfamiliar, I don’t print out the Google Map. Instead I go to Google Maps and hand write the directions. It just makes them stick better. The same is true for grocery and “to-do” lists. I can only remember six to eight items without writing them down. And “to-do” lists? Forget it. If I don’t write them down, nothing gets done. For me, writing a list creates a tangible expectation for myself. Even with writing things down, I’m far from perfect, but I hold myself far more accountable when I have that list staring me in the face.

For a long time, I used a simple list pad for my grocery lists and for my “to-do” lists. The magnetic pad would hang on the fridge and I or Joe would add to it as we ran low on things. This worked well, except for when it was time to go shopping. The flimsy paper was always fighting me. I would accidentally poke through the paper with a pencil or pen; balancing it was always a challenge; and adding things to it? That never went smoothly. A planner would work, but doesn’t really fit with my lifestyle as of right now–I have no use for scheduling my time in hour blocks. So in came my new favorite thing:

Beautiful, isn't it?

Oh yes, my organization notebook. Seriously, it is the best ever! It is only 5×7″ so it fits in my purse. Its covers are plastic. It has three pockets to hold stuff. It’s spiral bound, so it can be folded back on itself to make writing easier, but the spiral is covered so it doesn’t snag on anything. It has a pen loop for my favorite pens in the whole world so I am not constantly digging through my purse for them. I love this thing “Oprah’s Favorite Things” style. I use a simple binder clip to mark what page I’m on, and I date each page as needed. Plus it’s in purple, my favorite color. What more could I want? It has really changed the tenor of my days for the better. Silly, right? But it keeps me so better organized, makes me feel so much more accomplished at the end of the day, and it makes it so much easier to point out all I did that day to Joe. Hey, it works for me!


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We have a lot of DVDs. Joe and I both enjoy supporting the movies and television programs we enjoy by “voting with our dollars” as it were. And to be honest, the siren song of the $5 movie sections at big-box stores constantly tempts us to pick up even some mediocre flicks. Which is all well and good until you see what our collection has looked like for a while now:

Before: Oh the Humanity!

Yes, that is a full-sized bookshelf packed to the gills with DVDs. Some are two deep, others are stacked on top of one another. Not a pretty sight. You can see at the top that I sewed up a little curtain out of bed sheets and used a tension rod to hide the messiness within. But after a while I just couldn’t take it any more, and insisted that we find a new way to organize our disks.

Now, oddly enough, Joe and I are both alphabetization fanatics, so much so that even that disaster up there is organized alphabetically. So we needed to find a solution that would reduce the space our DVDs took up, and also allowed us to maintain our alphabetizing solution. We considered purchasing a binder-style DVD case, like this, but upon further examination, we discovered that very few of them have movable pages, which meant that any future additions to our collection would result in a full-blown reorganization every time. Definitely a no-go. Then we thought that if we subdivided our entire collection by genre, then only the genre would need to be reorganized. With up to 8 DVDs per page, this still would be a daunting task.

Thus, when we found this amazing case, we were totally sold. Because the DVDs would essentially be contained in hanging folders, if we added a new DVD to the collection, it could simply be slipped into its own folder and placed alphabetically within its genre. Plus it was only $30!

But organizing the case was not as easy as just pulling the disks out of their plastic cases and shoving them into folders. No, I am super picky, and wanted to maintain at least a portion of the cover art. So I literally spent an entire day with my trusty paper cutter and stack upon stack of DVDs, removing the paper cover art, and cutting it down to approximately 4.5 x 4.5″ squares so it would fit in the folders. I tried to maintain the titles as best as possible in this undertaking. Two disks and two pieces of cover art fit into each double sided “hanging folder.”

One file folder with cover art and disk

I also picked up some Post-It brand “Durable Hanging File Folder Tabs” to delineate the different genres of movies. Because the top of the case has some extra room to it, the file tabs do not get crinkled when the case is closed.

Genre file tabs. If you're curious, our DVDs are subdivided into the genres of: Action, Comedy, Drama, Family, Horror, Musical, Rom-Com, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and Teen Flicks. It works for us

I am quite proud of the final result. It certainly tidied things up and cut down on the total “real estate” taken up by our collection. As you can see, we opted not to debox our television shows, or our “fancier” DVDs, like the Special Edition sets of “The Lord of the Rings.” It just made more sense for us to keep those as-is.

After: Oh so much better!

And those few cases on top? Those are the beginning of our Blu-Ray collection (Uh-oh!)

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