Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Company's coming? Organizing all this STUFF....

{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Gris}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}} Big hugs and welcome, darlin! I thought I would just post again, instead of answering each comment. I'm overdue for a post anyhow.

Organizing.... I think this might be a problem for a LOT of us "making" types, yanno? *looks around at the mess in here* lol, artist types seem to need to be able to SEE everything, have you noticed? So I have stacks and piles of stuff everywhere... because when I can't SEE it, when it's all tidily put away, I completely forget about it! I have been known in the past to buy things twice because I put the first one away and forgot all about it. *sheepish look* And when everything is put away, I can't seem to get started on making anything! I need to see my supplies in order to get inspired.

You can imagine this leaves a thrifter in a small space rather... um... floundering for organization. *now you know why there aren't many pics of the inside of my apartment, lol* Combine that with the recent grocery inflation, and I haven't got the money to buy the furniture to put everything away into, anyhow.

So what do you do when everything's a dusty mess (isn't it amazing how fast dust accumulates??) and someone is coming? Well, it depends on how much time you have. If you have a couple weeks, go to flylady.net for a plan that really works.

If you only have a day or two? Do what counts the most--clean the bathroom first. Clean the counter and mirror, scrub out the sink, clean the toilet, scrub the bathtub, then either vacuum the carpet or sweep the floor and take out the trash. Done! If your bathroom is small, you can do all that (even with tons of clutter) in less than an hour with good cleaning products. My bathtub is permanently rusty and so is my medicine cabinet, but then the building is 79 years old *shrugs* AND I am more disabled than I used to be, so I don't expect to be able to clean perfectly. If you're busy or you have health problems, you shouldn't expect that of yourself, either. Do it as well as you can and tell yourself "done is beautiful."

Then tackle the kitchen. Use a clean dishcloth and dishtowel, and get out clean potholders, too. Then start with the sink; clear it out, scrub it, fill it with hot soapy water and get the dishes done. It is AMAZING how much difference that makes! Of course, if you have a dishwasher, that's faster and easier--but in any case, get the sink empty and clean, with all your cooking pots washed. Then do the counters. Get them obviously clean, even if they're cluttered. Scrub up your stove top. (I always seem to have to use steel wool on mine; luckily it's old fashioned and not one of those glass topped stoves!) Tackle the fridge next; throw away anything that smells bad or is moldy. Vacuum, or sweep and wash up the floor. Done is beautiful.

Now, where will the company sleep? Make sure you have clean bedding and clean towels! Then--this is the hard part I bet, lol--figure out where to put everything you have stacked on that bed or sofa. Bet you're thinking the same thing I am, right? "If I knew where to put it, it wouldn't have landed on the bed to begin with!"

Remember the danger here, that whatever you put away, you will forget about--and get a permanent marker to label the boxes or tubs you are going to pack stuff into!! The best and easiest way to deal with the clutter is to put everything into under-the-bed tubs, and then just slide it under the bed. Voila! You're done! But if you have to, put the items in boxes, stack them in a corner of the room and throw a tablecloth over them. Now make the bed, dust the furniture, and vacuum or sweep the floor. Done is beautiful.

Your guest can now safely use the restroom (remember to buy toilet paper and more soap, if necessary), get cleaned up (ooops---wash that shower curtain if it's mildewed!), eat whatever you fix, and sleep. The rest of the house? Well if they're coming to see YOU, they won't care about the house. If you have time to dust, that's good; if you can vacuum up the dog hair that's good; if you can make your stacks of stuff tidy that's good---but there are only so many hours in a day and an artist needs to be making art more than she needs to be cleaning.

After the company is gone? If you have the money, buy the kind of furniture that makes storage easy. I like those clear plastic dressers, china cabinets or bookshelves with glass fronts, clear underbed tubs on wheels--anything that corrals loose items, keeps the dust out, and still lets me see what I have. If I have to use cardboard boxes, it works best to label them. I've been known in the past to sponge paint boxes, then decoupage them with magazine or calendar illustrations, fancy napkins, printed tissue paper, or greeting cards. Once they're varnished they hold up nicely and at least they don't look like I'm ready to move at a moment's notice.

I've also noticed that some things don't need to be out. For instance, if I have my crochet pattern books out where I can see them, I can put the thread and yarn away in a dustproof box and I still get inspired by looking at the books.

Paper is best put away, also, not just because of dust but also because it's fragile, easily marred by dogs, cats, or simple bad luck. A dresser drawer works great for storing paper, but plastic tubs work too.

If you're short on money and need secure petproof storage, find out which of your friends or family members buy cat litter in buckets. They're easily washed out and hold a surprising amount of stuff. I have two in my bathroom, the clear ones from Tidy Cat, to hold sanitary supplies and extra toilet paper. They aren't pretty--their labels are printed on and I never did get around to sewing covers for them--but they are totally cat-and-dogproof, plus dustproof.

If you have storage space like a garage or a storage shed, you can look around for old desks, which are usually cheap if not free. They hold loads of stuff, and if the bottom one is sturdy, you can stack them and put boxes or tubs in the empty center space. Or, if you can find two the same height, you can use them as the ends of a big worktable made from plywood or from an old door. You can stack small bookshelves on them to make a hutch, too... not exactly a china cabinet, lol, but it works great for storage all the same.

If you have an extra end table or night stand, you can stack small bookshelves or plastic dressers on top for more storage. They work the same way on a low dresser.

If you find a dresser in the trash that is missing a drawer or two, you can use a couple layers of cardboard to make shelves and then slide baskets in. If the drawer guides are missing, you can make shelves out of yardsticks (check in the hardware store's paint department) cut to the right size and staple-gunned in--or you can use fewer yardsticks and make supports for the cardboard shelves, which is what I've done temporarily. My cardboard? Boxes from the post office that I haven't used to mail things yet--double duty, shelves for my craft supplies plus storage for the boxes themselves, which after all had to live SOMEWHERE. *grin* The backs of used art tablets would work too, especially the bigger ones.

Where to find free furniture? If you live near any apartment complexes, check the driveways and trash areas every month; people throw amazing things away when they move! Watch your street when it's time for bulk trash pickup, too, and also drive past big yard sales after they close. Also let your friends and family know that you're in the market for desks, bookshelves, plastic dressers, whatever it might be that they're willing to pass on for storage.

When I recognized how much furniture is available cheaply or for free, I decided that I didn't want to take anything that wasn't made of solid wood rather than plastic or pressboard. I've still got my eyes open for glass-fronted media cabinets--GREAT for paper!!--bookshelves, china cabinets, etc. Until I find them, I'll be happily using the bookshelves a friend gave me, and plotting and planning how to rearrange the furniture once more to make the place work better.

1 comment:

  1. Wow....woman...you are amazing, I can't believe all the ideas you've resurrected in me, because I used to plan these things, now I just give up and pile things up...Thanks soooo much for all the time you spent typing all this. May I share it with others?
    Thanks again dear Cath


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