Over the last few weeks I have been setting up a brand new gluten-free project with a good friend of mine. This has meant that I have been working flat-out and probably far too much. (I’m pretty sure getting to bed at 2am for weeks is a baaaaad thing…) As you might imagine, other parts of my life have taken a back seat and this weekend, I was feeling a bit worse for wear.
OK, I’ll confess, I was totally feeling sorry for myself. This weekend was one of the biggest blogging conferences in London and lots of wonderful new friends that I’ve made were tweeting all about it as it was happening. To say that I wanted to be there with them would be no small understatement. I started having the blogging equivalent of a 2-yr-old-tantrum. I started telling myself all sorts of crazy things, like, “maybe I’m not actually a ‘real’ blogger”, “my blog obviously isn’t good enough”, and “maybe I should just give up and do something else.” (Are you starting to see what craziness sleep-deprivation brings?) Yes, I ACTUALLY considered quitting. (At the very same time that my other blogging project was listed on one of the top London chef’s website!) Yes, I know…bonkers…
What I realized, (besides the fact that I need more sleep), is that my physical space was all cluttered and totally getting in the way. There were little projects all around the house that were starting to scream at me. The first was the bookcase in my daughters’ room. This bookcase is the first thing that you see when you look in their door and it has been a source of distress for me for ages. I’ve nagged them to within an inch of their life to tidy it up. They had a stab at it a few times, but it never seemed to quite get finished and I was adamant that I wasn’t going to go in and fix it for them if they only gave a half-hearted attempt. (I’m a hard-a**, I know…) I asked them, once again, to tidy it up yesterday. My reluctant 7 yr old made all kinds of excuses and eventually just started doing other things to try to avoid doing it. My 5 year old decided she would have a go at it by herself (bless her little heart). The whole situation was just making me so crazy that I went downstairs, turned on some classic 80’s tunes and started furiously cleaning the kitchen. (Clearly the bookcase was screaming so loudly that I had to drown it out.)
My husband saw how distressed I was getting and went up to see what he could do to aid the effort. A few minutes later, he came back down and told me, “the girls are too frustrated because there isn’t actually enough space on the allocated shelves for their books. There is no way they can do what you’re asking them to, even if they want to.” After a few minutes, I had the answer. They had three tubs on the bottom shelf that house their ridiculously large collection of bags and purses. (I’m not kidding, I think between the three of them, they have about 25-30 bags.) Anyway, we have a changing table that I now use as toy storage downstairs. This has three wicker baskets that have been holding various hats, gloves and shoes that they have grown out of that I’ve been saying we need to sort through for months and months. I’ve also been saying that I’d like to get some baskets to tidy up the games and puzzles that have been on the top of their bookcase for about the same amount of time. So, I decided that the bag storage boxes would come down, which would free up a book shelf for the overflow books. The wicker baskets went up, with the biggest one being used for the games and puzzles and as a bonus, their Barbies and Polly Pockets (which I used to find everywhere that you can imagine) fit perfectly into the two smaller baskets. What a result! Just by moving a few things around and thinking a bit creatively, I solved FIVE organizing hot-spots that have been haunting me for months! Here is the bookcase as it looks now:
This victory spurned me on and I was now a girl on a mission. I tidied and re-organized their accent shelves and gave proper ‘homes’ to various jewellery and nicknacks. Finally, I cleaned their dollhouse, to which they had unceremoniously added stickers as roof shingles. (!) Here are some more pictures:
Once all of this was done, I could finally get back to writing. I felt like I had accomplished A LOT and the organized atmosphere meant my mind was clear too. (Suddenly, I wasn’t a failure anymore and I loved my blogs again :)) Isn’t it funny how something completely un-related (organizing and cleaning your house) can make such a big difference to the actual task (writing)?
The next thing I’m going to tell you is probably going to cement my reputation as an ‘Organizing-Binger’. (I’m not an all-the-time junkie, but when I get going, I go for it!)
At 1am, when all ‘normal’ (or at least sensible) bloggers are getting their rest and dreaming of their next post, there was one…tiny…little…niggling…thing….still….calling…my…name…
It was the girls’ hair drawer. Let me remind you that I have 3 girls between the ages of 3 and 7 yrs old. I have hair accessories coming out of places that aren’t polite to say! Their hair drawer has been another hot-spot for me and I decided to do a little research for creative ideas to deal with it. Then I’d go to bed, honest. Really. 😉
The main problem I was having was with their headbands (or as they are called in England, ‘Alice-bands’). For the purposes of this article, I counted them. They have 22. They were completely taking over the drawer I set up for their hair accessories and it was impossible to find anything in the mornings, when I need to be quick and NOT STRESSED. It didn’t take long with the help of my good friend, Google, to find lots of fun and interesting ideas for storing them. Most of them involved some sort of hardware stuck into a wall, which I didn’t want to do. THEN….I found it…the cutest idea…AND…it’s a re-purposing idea, which I LOVE!
So, basically, what you do is get a towel (or two depending on how big and thick they are), roll them up until the headbands fit snugly around them and hey, presto, you have hairband storage that also protects their shape! I knew exactly which towels I wanted to use too. My grandmother, who passed away two years ago had left me with some towels when she visited us. My grandmother was sentimental and never got rid of anything. (I think it was something to do with her generation, but even she admitted that she took it to a new level.) Anyway, the towels she gave me were towels that were mine when I was younger and used to spend weekends and holidays at her house! As you can imagine, they were a bit thin, and I wanted to keep them, but didn’t want to use them. This was such a perfect solution because the towels can be used gently and I’m reminded of her every time I open that drawer to do the girls’ hair. I can also remind them of her when they do the same. I love it!
For the record, I also re-purposed a container for cotton-swabs which now holds their hair clips, a plastic container originally for baby food which now holds elastic hair bands (hair bobbles in England) and a cardboard toilet tube for scrunchies (I’ll be on the lookout for a more permanent solution for this one).
All in all, I think it has been a fantastic organizing weekend, and here I am, writing this post…so I’ve got my mo-jo back 🙂
I’ll take it!
How about you? Do you have any great organizing triumphs you’d like to share? We’d all love to hear so that you can give someone else their mo-jo back too! Leave a comment and let us know.