Monday, February 18, 2013

Closet Organization: Easy Wrapping Paper Storage

I mentioned in my last post that I am on a spring cleaning/organizing/nesting kick right now.  It's amazing how much unneeded junk you find in your house once you start going through closets, drawers and cabinets.  I can't believe how much space we have been wasting just from storing old papers, empty boxes, broken stuff, and stuff we haven't used since we got married (nearly 8 years ago!) Anyway, once you sort out what you actually need from the junk, it can be fun to get everything organized and put away neatly.  One thing I still needed to keep in my hallway closet was wrapping paper.  But my wrapping paper collection looked a little something like this:
The rolls kept falling on the floor and getting tangled up and/or smashed by other things in the closet (usually the vacuum cleaner).  I did have a large plastic wrapping paper organizer, but the wrapping paper never fit in it very well, plus it took up a LOT of space.  So I came up with this genius (if I do say so myself) idea to keep my wrapping paper neatly organized in the same place, and it takes up only inches of space:

I just measured the side of my closet and bought 2 inexpensive tension rods which are easily installed with no nails or screws.  Now all of my wrapping paper is in one place.  It will stay neatly on one side of the closet and won't get in the way of anything else.  And there is room for plenty more, so I can stock up the next time there's an end-of-season sale.  I was pretty proud of myself for thinking of it!  You could also store wrapping paper the same way on the closet ceiling.  Anyway, I am making some good progress on my hallway closet.  It's not completely finished yet, but it's close.  I forgot to take "before" pictures to show how far it's come, but I will still share the "after" pictures when I'm done. ;)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Organizing the Never Ending Mail Pile

Wow... has it really been 2 months since I've posted?  Sorry about that... I guess I'll chalk it up to the winter blahs, some unexpected events, and the fact that I was in my first trimester of pregnancy.  Yep, we are expecting #2 this August!  Now that I'm safely in my second trimester, the nesting instincts are starting to set in, and I have been doing a lot of organizing and cleaning.  I have been trying to clear out our spare bedroom, which will of course be the baby's bedroom.  What I have found out about clearing out one room is that you end up having to clean out and reorganize the entire house, just to make room for the extra stuff from that one room.  So, one thing leads to another, and the entire house gets cleaned and reorganized.
This organizing project is not directly related to clearing out the baby's room, but it's something I think most of us struggle with: the never ending mail/paper pile.  I have tried to get this under control for years and I always fail.
(This is not all of it)
First I tried the file cabinet method.  I bought a file cabinet with the intent of filing away each piece of mail/paper immediately.  Well, that never happened.  Then I got this smaller, desktop sized file box thinking I could just keep the important paperwork in there.

This worked slightly better, but I found that if I put something important in there that needed to be dealt with (like a bill) I would forget about it.  Out of sight, out of mind.  So I accepted that the mail pile was something that I definitely needed.  But then, I found that even within the mail pile, things were getting lost and forgotten.  And I knew that there had to be a better way of organizing it so that it didn't look so messy.  So, I implemented two things:
One, I started using binder clips so that I could put like things together.  For example, I clipped all of my bills together.  If I get another one, I can just add it to the rest.  That way, none of them get lost and I will have all of them together where I can see them and not forget about them.  I also clipped all of our tax paperwork together, all of my daughter's preschool papers together, etc.  You get the idea.
Two, I put what was left of the pile in this basket that I already had.  It is just the right size to hold the mail pile, and it also holds it upright so I can easily go through it and see what is there.
So I am hoping that this method will work well for me and that I can keep up with it.  It certainly seems easier and more doable.  How do you control your mail pile?  I would love to hear in the comments below...