Taking Stock of Organizing Systems

Our kitchen renovation project is half way done, and I can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel. The plumbing and electrical systems are updated, new walls and trim are up, and the cabinets areinstalled. I’m already dreaming about where I’ll put the cookware and the dishes.

At this half-way point I decided to take stock of the project and how I thought living in a house without a kitchen would play out. Some of the organizing systems we set up were working…and some were not.

What works: school papers. The portable basket for my daughter’s school papers and family information binder easily moved into the dining room and keeps us on track. I go through the paper piles on the corner of the dining room table every day and sort, purge or file.

What hasn’t been working: shoes. Our shoes used to get kicked off and land in the hall closet, which is now being converted into a half bathroom. Without the use of the closet, the shoes have morphed into a mountain by the front door. At first we tried leaving just the pairs we were wearing by the door but that quickly fell apart.

The fix? My husband remembered that we had a shoe/boot shelf in the basement. He brought up the rack, tucked it behind the front door, and voila – instant organization. We each get a shelf: shoes that fit on the shelf can stay, otherwise they need to be put away. It’s not beautiful but highly functional as a temporary solution. (We’ll have a mudroom area once the new kitchen is done.)

My takeaways: 1) simple solutions, like the portable basket, work—and can be flexible in different spaces; 2) losing a closet is a major change and calls for creative thinking for a new system.

Don’t give up if your first organizing attempt doesn’t work as planned. Try, try again!