Monday, October 26, 2009

Let's Talk Organizing

I have mentioned in passing about one of the classes I took called Organizing 101. This through simply 101, a web site run by Aby Garvey and her husband Jay.

Well, I have to admit first and foremost, that I love to organize things. However, I am a Cancer so this means that although I cherish my home and enjoy "making a nice home", I tend to have very messy hidden areas. Well, this also holds true for my personality - on the outside, I may seem like a goal-oriented A-type, but on the inside, I am more like a flustered mass of confusion who has many good intentions. I like the outside of me better.

Anyway, back on track here. Last Xmas, Shannon gave me the book "The Organized & Inspired Scrapbooker, co-written by Aby Garvey & Wendy Smedley. Great book! I read it over New Year's and by the end of January, I had a perfectly organized and revamped Scrapbooking corner. It is holding up very well thanks to the new habits I developed because of that book. So, I kept Aby Garvey on my watch-list, knowing she worked as a professional organizer, and in August, I noticed she was offering a freebie course through her web site.

It was a one-week course all about decluttering, and the basic idea was to de-clutter for 15 minutes a day and then report your progress to the forum. You could also put before & after photos in the gallery.

It was great because Aby was involved on the forum every day, giving encouragement, advice & answering questions about what to throw out and what to keep.

It was here that I began to tackle my walk-in closet. At that time, I was calling it "the walk-in closet disaster zone from hell." I couldn't even walk into it much less get anything out of it. I also went after my fridge, the veranda, and several other areas of my house. I had done a big de-cluttering about a year ago, so some areas were not so bad. But, you would be surprised that within one year, some areas can get really cluttered up again. It is mainly a case of things not being put back where they belong, things not really having a home to go to, and things not being thrown out even though they should be.

After this class, I signed up for her Organizing 101 class. This is a 6-week course where she releases one lesson per week and we are supposed to participate in the forum each day to report our progress on de-cluttering & on our organizing projects. The gallery had a spot for before & after photos, containers, & labeling ideas.

I know what you are thinking. Why would someone need to take a 6 week course on line to teach them how to organize their house?

I can't even begin to tell you how much I learned in this class. I got so many great ideas from Aby & from other students in the course. The forum provides a positive atmosphere for feedback, encouragement & advice. I think that when women are trying to get control of their own homes, they often feel alone, but this forum provides a way for people to share their feelings about throwing stuff out, starting over, making new homes for their items, pride over all their progress, etc....even if no one in their family cares or notices it.

I have to tell you though that my husband did notice the changes! And, he was very happy to see all the labels I made. And, I think many of Aby's students had the same experience...our family members were noticing! But, just having the forum was so want to do something because you can go and report it on the forum that night. That kind of thing works for me!



As part of the class, we were to choose one small organizing project and then follow Aby's process for paring down and organizing it. I did the top drawer of my file cabinet which sits under my computer desk. I also included my computer desk in the project. What a difference containers make!

Then, she encourages students to continue doing small organizing projects around their house using this process until we are satisfied.

While the class was still going on, I worked on organizing "the walk-in closet disaster zone from hell." The walk-in closet got a new name. It is now called a storage room and it looks very neat and tidy.

Midway through.


I also worked on my kitchen cupboards, the kids' room and the Command Center. I will explain more about that later. The kids' room is an ongoing project because I still have some stuff to do in there that will have to wait until Dec or Jan.

                                      Command Center - Midway through
The Command Center is the place in the house where all information is filtered in and out. It is also the place to keep stuff that people take with them when they go out - cell phones, ipods, watches, etc. Most importantly, it houses the family calendar, shopping lists, a binder for important information, etc. This too is an ongoing project, but in this class, I worked on decluttering it and re-organizing it a bit in preparation for my next simplify 101 class.

I am hooked on simplify 101, so I decided to sign up for her next class, "Paper Clutter."

Some of you may know that I had a huge Paper clutter mountain in my house about 2 years ago and then finally found a way to dig myself out of the mountain. I took on this mammoth project while I was on maternity leave with Ailin and had it under control by the time I returned to work. I even wrote an article about it for the AFWJ Journal.

Even though my backlog papers are under control, and I have some systems in place which keep me out of out danger paper mountain, I still felt I needed tweaking to help control the inflow of paper.

The PC class is going well, but we are only half way through. My main focus is to create the Command Center and to also create some systems for controlling inflow. So far so good.

I very highly recommend simply 101 if you are looking to organize your house and/or paper. I took these classes because I want to have a smooth-running house by the time I go back to work in April, so my goal for finishing all the projects on my Master List is set for March 15th. I am making a little progress every day.

In January, Aby is offering a class about goals which I do plan to take. Currently, she has a class about getting ready for the holidays.

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