A Virtual Organizing Party

The cookie sheet cabinet will be one of the first places to tackle

My house needs a good, thorough organizing.

I knew it before, but after seeing Sue Smith Moak’s photos (Sue writes the Rockinrsranch blog),  that she shared on our Living Large Facebook page yesterday, which showed how neatly even her closets are organized, I hung my head in shame.

A couple of weeks ago, Dale and I found some see-thru plastic containers with a good seal at one of the Big Box hardware stores and we purchased six of them so I could begin organizing the basement of The Belle Writer’s Studio.

I store some canned goods, as well as other things I use in the kitchen that will not fit into the house there and it is a disaster. Most of the stuff lives in cardboard boxes that were moved here from the city and I end up having to go through these boxes looking for what I need. Other items are moldy and need to be tossed (this happened before we put in our dehumidifier down there).

I still haven’t gotten down there yet. While it isn’t as hot down there, it is still pretty toasty with no air in the basement and I’m going to wait to tackle that and the large storage building when it cools off.

Now, back to the house. I know for many, you will need to get kids back into school within the next month. It is also too hot in much of the country to do much else outside, so this is the perfect time of the year for an organizing party.

Each week, I will focus on a different room of Our Little House and you might want to play along as well. After all, it’s much more fun doing chores when you know someone else is doing them too, even if it is virtually.

We can use the forum to share organizational tips and report progress. To help motivate, I’ve come up with at least a couple of giveaways to correspond to different rooms of the house. Check back here each Thursday for those.

In the meantime, here’s what I did this week to prepare for the challenge.

  1. I made a list of everything that needs to be done in each room of the house to help organize.
  2. Made a list of what to do each week, so I am not overwhelmed looking at the entire house. (We’ll be starting in the kitchen, so if you want to make your own list and compare it with my kitchen list next week and maybe give any tips you have on organizing the kitchen, that would be great!)

Now, we just need to set aside a couple of hours each weekend to accomplish our tasks. Are you with us? Go!



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46 Responses

  1. Connie says:

    I’m in! I need this badly. We have moved into a 800 sq ft home and as potential hoarders we need to figure out what in the world we are doing, and what is it we REALLY need! No one needs as much STUFF as we have!

  2. Laura says:

    Perfect timing, Kerri! We moved most of the households for the cabin in, over this past month. So, it’s been a process of dividing the (already) thin amount of stuff that we possessed between cabin and townhouse. Still, in that process, I found drawers with things that just needed to be tossed or donated. I guess a husband’s 7 month deployment will do that to a gal and her house! 🙂 I’m actually going through my 2 Rubbermaids of Fall/Christmas decorations tomorrow. Of course, that’s such a small amount but I’m dividing with the cabin.. Enjoying reading what everyone else is doing!

  3. Sheryl M says:

    I’m in too! Even if I don’t post ideas, I’m going to read all the tips. I wish it had started this week. I need lots of ideas on how to get organized with less space.

  4. Donna Hull says:

    What a clever idea – a virtual organizing party. I’ll be checking in regularly because I can always use the tips. I’m a bit messy.

  5. I really need to organize my laundry room/dry storage area. It is a disaster!

  6. Todd says:

    We took the first step…we had a very large garage sale and sold a lot of “stuff” yesterday. My wife was ruthless and said if we haven’t used it for a year, we probably won’t use it, ever. So needless to say, we cleaned out a lot of books, CD’s, Disney VHS tapes, furniture, knick knacks our kids can definitely live without (they’re all grownup now) and actually made abou $200!

    This is all in preparation for our move (Oregon or Colorado, not quite sure yet) from Nebraska to a house with 3,000+ finished living space to something significantly smaller. I really appreciate this community as we prepare to simplify our lives and make it a priority to live in house that we enjoy and allows us to be much more self sufficient. Kerri, you have a great community here and I look forward to learning more about small house living.

    • Kerri says:

      So glad you joined us, Todd! That’s great about the sale. Making some dough off of stuff you aren’t using is a great side benefit! Look forward to your input as we move forward with the organizing party!

  7. Merr says:

    What a terrific idea. You should brand this and get the word out as much as possible, Kerri! It’s kind of a unifying project, one that we can all relate to.

  8. Carl says:

    I love it. Coult me in!

  9. Kerry Dexter says:

    sharing ideas on this is a great thought, Kerri, glad you’ve come up with it. I’ve two major writing projects just now so not sure how much I’ll join in, but I live in a small space already and it could stand the work.

    • Kerri says:

      As you know, Kerry, I’m working on a major project myself. I won’t be able to bear down and finish this in a couple of days or a week. I will need to do just a little each day when I’m typically wasting time doing something else.

  10. Irene says:

    Kerri, Will you come visit and help me start? I get so emotionally attached to the old things—and have a hard time decluttering. It’s also hard to make the time to do something you don’t really relish doing 🙂

    I need to downsize and the “stuff” is one of the biggest obstacles!

    Best, Irene

    • Kerri says:

      Ha, Irene! I wish I could come over and help you. Maybe I should make this a side business! 🙂 Good luck. I’m told you should start with just one corner or cabinet and try to be ruthless. If it doesn’t have a function or you do not absolutely love it, toss it!

  11. Sue Moak says:

    Kerri, It helps to be retired! And a tiny bit obsessive. 🙂
    I’ve spent all day organizing something that no one but me will ever see. I scanned all my photos a while back and got rid of all but the most cherished hard copies. But I had a lot of photos on the computer, mostly from my iPhone, that had never been moved to the right folder so I could find them. It takes a lot longer than it should and I am going to be glad to be through with this chore!
    One thing I did on collections was to just keep one or two of the items I liked best if I couldn’t part with all of them. It’s always good to make the kids take things too, then they can toss them out! I sold on ebay also and garage or yard sales are great too. It’s exciting to see someone else take the things you loved and use them or just appreciate them.
    We bought the plastic boxes like you did and everything seems so much neater in those. We bought a few at a time and eventually replaced all the cardboard boxes. I like the clear plastic ones so you don’t forget what’s in them. Since I store in an outside storage building I would like to get a couple of the watertight ones that the Container Store has to keep some of my fabric holiday items in. It’s dry where we are, so we don’t have a problem with mildew. One plus to a drought prone climate.
    Love that you are doing this series; can’t wait to see what tips everyone has!

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks for your tips, Sue! Yes, I imagine being retired helps. 🙂 I’m beginning the process today in the kitchen. Full update on Thursday.

  12. Jan says:

    I am going to do this too. But, what do you do with your collectibles? Tea cups, stuffed animals, figurines? I have acquired way too much of all of the above. Help please!!

    • Kerri says:

      If you have antiques and collectibles, have you thought of selling them as a collection, Jan? Stuffed animals can go to the Salvation Army or children’s hospitals. Or, if they’re collectible, put them on eBay? I had an estate sale for my mother when we moved her to senior living and sold a lot of her collections together. It got rid of them faster, although they probably would have brought higher money if sold separately. Do you have family that might be interested in some of it?

      • Jan says:

        donation sounds like the best idea, because no one wants my tea cup collection or stuffed animals either. I have so much stuff to get rid of. Dont know why I ever bought any of it. Thanks for responding to me Kerri. Jan

        • Kerri says:

          Don’t worry, Jan, most of us have been through or are going through the buyer’s remorse with the “stuff’.” Another idea for the tea cups – if there is a tea room or something, they may want to have some of those for their decor.

  13. Hope says:

    I did “a cleaning” a while ago but think there’s a bit more that can either “go” or be re-organized. Count me in……

  14. Sheryl says:

    I just did a major clean- out, since we put our house on the market. But once we sell, I’ll definitely need another go- round!

  15. Lisa says:

    Perfectly timed challenge Kerri!

  16. Roxanne says:

    I had big plans at the beginning of summer to do this too, but it just hasn’t happened. I’d be afraid to make a list … it’d be so long.

  17. Carol says:

    I’m definitely in! I’ve started on my garage and my schedule is to work a minimum of one hour a day in there. So far, it’s been easy. Throwing away papers and trash. Now comes the hard part, deciding what to keep, what to donate and what to trash. I really need to organize my second bedroom, it’s become a catch all and I can’t find anything. This should be fun!! With 35 months until our move to our little house, I’ve got a lot to do!

    • Kerri says:

      I know you’re counting those months down, Carol! It’s getting closer….Check in weekly on your progress. 🙂

  18. Freth says:

    My closet and drawers haven’t been that neat since I was in military Basic Training … but that was just a temporary situation.

    Although I have gotten rid of quite a lot when we downsized from 1800 sq ft to 386 sq ft dwelling. I’m sure there is more that I could get rid of.

    Altho the thing I run into is my wife saying, “If everything goes to heck, we’ll need that.” Which means we have to store all those plastic bags you get every time you go shopping. We can’t totally get rid of all the paper bound books. (what do you read when there is no electricity and the batteries are dead?) What about the cattle watering tank out on the porch that she wants converted into a tub to soak in? The extra case of Mac_n_Cheese, all the tax documents that we need to save for 7 years, etc.

    I’ll commit to thinning my closet and cleaning out from under the bunk bed. ok. :-}

  19. CJB says:

    the hall closet is a danger to the family and needs to be organized. I am in!
    I was already getting ready for this!
    Had a young adult move out of the house – so accumulated those old unopened clutter boxes into one room with the intent of cleaning them out! Have already found things we forgot we had. 🙂 I am in for one tote a day – and right now there are… 12

  20. Theresa says:

    I’m in! I need to do a whole house de-clutter. I don’t live in a tiny house, it’s about 1500 sq ft, but still need to use my space more efficiently.

    • Kerri says:

      Great, Theresa! Make your list! It doesn’t matter if you life in a small, medium or large house. I think we accumulate to fit the space, so we all need to declutter at times!

  21. Barbara says:

    I can’t wait! I have a Tiny Cottage that I moved into last year. I downsized quite a lot before I moved but find that I need help getting what I brought with me organized on a long-term basis. I will soak it up like a little SC sponge!!

  22. Alexandra says:

    I am not good at this type of thing, so I look forward to the tips proposed by others. I am making plans to take my hubby to his home country of Sweden next summer for three weeks, and rent out the whole B&B during that time. So I will need to store everything away, and cannot use my regular junk room, since people will be sleeping there!

    • Kerri says:

      Oh, how exciting, Alexandra! I’m really looking forward to this as well. It will not only keep me on task, but hopefully, we’ll all learn more tips to keep it organized.