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Great Organizing Ideas

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We all want magical, quick, simple ideas to get our stuff in order, but instant order out of chaos just doesn’t happen. We DO have some ideas to get you started, though! Once you get rolling, you’ll find that organizing not only gets EASIER, but you actually start to enjoy the process of gaining a bit of control in this busy world. You’ll also free up time and mind space. (Credits for photos in this post are listed on each photo.)

1. Think Like a Business

Look at how businesses organize their space, whether they are an office, store, or restaurant. Look where traffic flows, and what type of fixtures, storage, and furniture they’re using. You’ll find some interesting ideas that can be adjusted to work in your home, too!
Our first tiny tip: use organizers in every drawer. Even cheap kitchen utensil trays can keep cosmetics, art supplies, or a child’s items easier to find. Ice cube trays make great earring or bead organizers. Rummaging through a messy drawer to find what you need wastes time. There are ways to organize (read “save time”) all over your home!

organized drawer  first aid tubs
Rethink the placement or style of your furniture – a new arrangement or style of furniture can improve traffic flow and save cleaning time. Taller legs on a couch means you can clean easily underneath. Because of my back issues, most of our larger pieces are on casters to make them easier to move for cleaning or my frequent re-arranging. Do what works for YOU, and remember that furnishings don’t have to be expensive to work!
I needed a larger surface for my studio worktable – something light and portable so I could re-configure my studio space as needed –  and I was on a tight budget. We set a cheap hollow-core door on a 2 x 4 framework, stained it, stapled fabric over the open areas, and attached casters. Cheap, easy, and it looks super cool in my studio/tiki bar! BTW, the barrel seat/covers can come off so the barrels can be used for storage, too!

door desk   work space

2. Checklists

The best way to keep your house clean is with a checklist. Period. In our hectic lives, it is easier to handle a few small tasks a day instead of waiting to do it ALL on your day off. Even when tired, I can clean a toilet before I crash and burn for the night. Here is a page with a whole BUNCH of great printable cleaning lists to get you started: http://www.sarahtitus.com/2015/10/10/the-best-free-printable-cleaning-checklists/
When our house was for sale, we created a “go mode” list of cleaning tasks to do immediately when we got a call for a house showing. We would have never remembered half of the items without the list, and this meant the house would be spotless without worrying about forgetting something. Lists mean you don’t have to think about tasks – you just DO them. Brain freedom…and more time to CREATE!

ocean mandala adult coloring book(Want to keep these helpful posts coming? Then check out my latest adult coloring book, “Ocean Rhythms”: full of ocean mandalas in my etsy shop. There are two coloring books to choose from, lots of hand painted decor, and so much more for your home!)

 

3. Make It Easy For Others

Are there always bits and pieces of everyone’s lives strewn about your living areas? Find a space for a shelving unit or a book case, and give each person a basket (or two) in the shelves. When things get too cluttered in the room, toss everyone’s stuff in the baskets (or make them do it). For little ones, set a kitchen timer and make a game out of having them fill their basket! Having a place nearby for each person to stow items in a hurry makes it much more plausible for them to actually DO it. Occasionally, those baskets can be taken to their respective rooms and emptied, because, face it, they WILL overflow.

 storage cubbystorage bins

4. FAT Organizing

When I was an admin, my boss introduced me to “FAT” organizing, which is an acronym for“File, Act, or Toss”. The stack of papers on my desk decreased dramatically when I started using this method. When mail is opened at home, you either FILE important papers, PAY (act) the bill, or RECYCLE (toss) the junk. If you read a magazine, file favorite pics, articles, or recipes in a binder, and then toss the magazine. Getting a handle on all the paper in your home may take some time, but by tackling one pile at a time, it will get done! Keep only the paper that is legally necessary for taxes, insurance, medical, etc. Sort sentimental items and store them together.

piles of paper

5. Collections

Everyone collects SOMETHING, be it shells, rocks, books, fabric scraps, yarn, craft supplies, colored pencils, or bellybutton lint. Time for some semblance of order! Collections are better displayed as a group instead of spread around the house, and they look best in similar containers, so get creative and start fresh! Transparent bins on a shelf are great, because even if NOT labeled, you can see the contents. Dollar stores are great for cheap and colorful storage ideas. Shadow boxes are a great way to store and display sentimental items (or fossils, or feathers, or ticket stubs), and a grouping of them hung together are wonderful conversation starters.

More ideas for collections/multiples: fabric can be wrapped around small pieces of cardboard and stored on a shelf like books; use a laundry bag for a collection of sport balls; I use spice racks found at thrift stores for my paint bottles; we have a stack of six sticker-covered flea market trunks in the basement for holiday decorations. This is the tip of the iceberg…just think outside the box for collection storage.

shell collection   fabric storage

6. Make Cleaning Easier

Laundry: Pull empty hangers from closets on laundry day and hang them in the laundry room. Keep your laundry supplies within arms reach of the washer, in the order you use them. Hang or fold clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer. Set the clothes in the room they belong in, and have each person put them away at bedtime.
Cleaning: Instead of hauling supplies from bathroom to bathroom, have a set of disinfectant, soft scrub, window cleaner, paper towels, toilet cleaner and brush, etc, in each bathroom. Also, clean “on the run”! It is quick and easy to grab the window cleaner and wipe the mirror as you finish up your morning rituals, and super quick to squirt some cleaner in the toilet and give it a swish every few days than to go find the cleaning supplies and make it a chore on the weekend. Find more ways to clean “on the run” and you won’t have to find time to clean the whole bathroom at once.

cleaning supplies

7. Entry Organization

Use a small bench with storage space in it (even a repainted toy chest with some bins inside will work) to store frequently-used items that are generally dropped at the door: umbrellas, dog leashes, rain boots, gloves, shopping bags. Install hooks on the wall for each person so coats don’t end up on door handles. Also, if you have a closet near the entry, keep a broom and dustpan in the closet so you can sweep up incoming dirt frequently. Living in Virginia with all the red clay, entry sweeping is a frequent activity, as much as it was dealing with Florida sand. You want your entry to be welcoming and clean, not in disarray and chaos.

entryway storage and organization

8. Get It Out Of Your Head!

Being overwhelmed leads to procrastination and forgetfulness. With technology, we can set alarms on our phones for appointments, anniversaries, classes, and birthdays (take a few hours and input at least your family birthdays into your phone calendar). You can also set alarms for monthly chores, too. Less to remember!
I set alarms for important dates a day ahead as well as the day of in case I need to grab a present or make other event-oriented plans.
I’m a “hard copy” person, and benefit greatly from a daily journal that includes future to-dos, projects, lists, goals, and everything I need in one place. It’s called Bullet Journaling (http://bulletjournal.com/), though my version is more lie “BB” journaling, as it is a bare-bones version. You can tweak the system to whatever you need for YOUR life, or make up your own style…get as creative or utilitarian with your journal as you’d like. Everyone I know who has tried the system likes it.) Get all those little post-its and slips of paper off your cupboard door, out of your purse, and into one little book. Getting to-do’s and appointments OUT OF YOUR HEAD and into your phone or in a book means you’ll have more brain space for happy, creative, problem-solving, superhero stuff!

9. Clothes

Seriously, we all have too many clothes. JohnnyV and I occasionally take everything out of the closet, throw it on the bed, and do a “slash and burn”. If it doesn’t fit or can’t be altered, then out it goes (donated or sold). Stained: out. Beyond repair: out. We do keep a few sentimental items, but there is a limit. How many destination t-shirts are in your closet that your rarely, if ever, wear? If you just can’t part with them, have a blanket or quilt made. (I’ve made a few out of t-shirts, and even made a king size quilt out of my Hawaiian shirts!)

hawaiian shirt quilt

10. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

The adage is true. Items hidden in a closet or drawer are most likely never seen or used, and you are probably hanging on to items you no longer need. I’m NOT talking about your tennis racket or your sleeping bag that you just keep out of sight until next use. I’m talking about old trophies from your bowling team, programs from shows you’re seen, seed catalogs from years past, or old magazines. If you really have a sentimental attachment to those programs, bind them and put them on a shelf for all to enjoy. But if you’re just holding on to the trophies to remind yourself of the good ol’ days, then perhaps take a photo of them to frame in a shadow box along with some other old tidbits, and display it where you will see and enjoy the memories. If you never see it, what’s the point of keeping it?

memorial shadow box

11. Bonus: the best way to clean any room.

It’s a HUGE undertaking, but we actually enjoyed doing this task in our old storage shed in Florida before we moved. As you take every item from the room (or garage, or basement), you put it in one of three piles: “Keep,” “Throw Away,” or “Donate/Sell.” THEN, put things back in order, with items you will use the most near at hand and items which are used less neatly stowed away. With only three categories and a ruthless attitude, you can pare down the square footage of the items you’ve accumulated over time quite quickly (plus make a few bucks when you sell items). If you’re moving, it’s actually helpful to do this again after you are settled in your new place. You’ll find that some of the items you just HAD to keep at your last home now no longer serve you. Buh bye!

how to simplify

REMEMBER: getting organized is not a one-time event. You don’t fly through the house and, with the waving of the Organization Fairy’s wand, suddenly live a care-free, sparkling hearth and home life. Staying organized is a way of life, and if you take baby steps now to get started, you’ll be surprised by how much mind space you can free up, and you’ll also enjoy more free time. Yes, more FREE TIME! And free time is something we can ALL use to do more of the things we love!

EDIT: CONTEST HAS ENDED. This month’s GIVEAWAY is for a hand-painted “Secrets” box. A pretty place to store tiny treasures, this stash box looks like a book!

january 2017 giveaway

Be sure to subscribe and leave a comment letting everyone know how YOU stay organized and you’ll be entered to win the Secrets box!
Eclectic Dawn

Gifts and Goals

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Endings Are Beginnings: Goals

There’s ALWAYS a HUGE flurry of activity in November and December, trying to finish up final projects and commissions of the year, doing sales/shows, and prepping shipments, along with my own household holiday “stuff”. 102 cloverI am thrilled to have completed ALL of my 2016 business goals, considering that my husband was bedridden for over two months and in the hospital for almost a week.  An ocean themed coloring book was created, 100+ bowls painted, and diorama “Daydream” boxes put together, among other things. An odd item on my personal list was to find 100 four-leaf clovers in 2016. I found #100 in October, and ended at 102 (unless I find another before New Year’s)!

tabledoneGoals give you focus, and reaching goals leaves room for more learning experiences! Breaking big goals into bite-sized pieces helps you accomplish what you set out to do (learn, create, grow, build, accomplish). For example, painting a whole dining set with 6 chairs is a HUGE undertaking, so we broke it into steps which made the project less daunting. We removed the seats and cleaned the chairs. Cleaned the table. Sanded rough spots. And so on. You can’t do it all at once. Baby steps.

Comment and tell me about something YOU’D like to do in 2017! Not an unattainable New Year’s Resolution (ugh…), but something that you really WANT to do! Not something you feel you HAVE to do (that’s a whole different subject)! Think about what makes you say, “YES”!

ocean coloring bookThe Making Of An Adult Coloring Book

Producing “My Mother’s Garden” adult coloring book (last year) meant labor-intensive sketching from garden photos, scanning the sketches, cleaning up the scans, and then laying it all out the book format. It took a long time! My latest adult coloring book, “Ocean Rhythms,” was done on my laptop in just under 50 hours (including creating the art and finding suitable quotes and ocean facts for each page). The mandalas I was creating needed to be more precise than my hand-drawing skills could produce, and building them in CorelDRAW was the best way for me to accomplish the task.

mandala creationAfter laying out a blank page to the correct size and format for publication, I chose five or six creatures and a tiny decorative motif for each mandala. I started with the center, created a circle, and then aligned objects (sharks, fish, starfish, whales, turtles, etc) along the path of the circle varying the numbers in each piece. Increasing the size of the circular path, I added more creatures in various configurations. Some of the pages are distinctly Hawaiian (in fact, I used Hawaiian petroglyphs in some of the pieces), and each mandala has a main focus, whether shells, deep sea, sharks, or turtles. It was a very interesting learning process as I got my hands on some tools in Corel that I’ve never used before. I’ll admit that it still is a very unusual but pleasant, feeling to color in a book that came from my brain and hands!

ARTIST’S PICK: 10 Beautiful Gifts

dolphin dioramaHere are some of my top picks from the store (at this moment). Clicking on each will take you to the product in the shop. 1) The “Daydream” diorama boxes with beach scenes are my absolute favorite…and I have some gnome dioramas, too! Dive into a magical world when you open the lid…this Pacific dolphin swimming near shore makes me smile every time I open the lid!

2, 3) I still have a wonderful selection of 35″ square hand-dyed Kaleidoscope silk scarves. Some of them look like stained glass windows, and all of them have glorious colors! And in the same sort of design vein, the Ocean Rhythms adult coloring book fulfills that need to “color all the things”.

silk scarf     mandala sample
4, 5) Hand-painted ornaments for the bird lovers and turtle lovers! Birds and turtles are cute, but add a Santa hat, and they are super adorable!

painted ornamentspainted bird ornaments

6, 7, 8, 9, 10) Unusual new pieces: a realistic three-toed sloth, a fiery mandala bowl with “lava” dripping on the edge, a tiny peacock feather ring bowl, a yarn bowl with a nest inside (the other two yarn bowls sold immediately), and a whimsical jewelry tray (or trinket tray) filled with pretty swirls of pink, white, and black.

1539 sloth bowl  volcano mandala bowl    tiny peacock feather bowl  bird nest yarn bowljewelry tray trinket tray

So there you have it! Pretty things, an adult coloring book project, a gift sale, 102 four-leaf clovers, and GOALS! 😀
Remember, the completion of goals leaves room for new goals, new projects, and a chance to learn new skills, and I hope that you are looking forward to 2017’s gifts with the anticipation of a child. Let me know what you’re dreaming GOING TO ACCOMPLISH in 2017!
And finally, congratulations to Brenda Woodington for winning the last Giveaway! We’ll do another Giveaway in January!

THANK YOU! Thank you so much for your incredible support this year! It meant so much to John and me (and he is doing MUCH better now). Until next time, have a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year, no matter how you celebrate!

Eclectic Dawn

October Art Worktable

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Happy Halloween Week!
EDIT: CONTEST HAS ENDED. Time for our October (2016) Art GIVEAWAY!

Giveaway Info

Here’s your chance to win not one, but TWO of our handpainted trinket trays! These two piece are done in a simple aboriginal style in red and aqua — perfect little pretties in which to stow jewelry, change, keys, or to set on a table for a spot of color!

Toct-wiphat photo shows what my work table in the Kukui Lagoon studio looked like yesterday! When I’m on a roll, I ROLL! I’m happily up to my elbows in bowls, so I’m painting, painting, painting! New pieces will be listed in my etsy shop late tomorrow, including some tiny diorama boxes that I just finished (soooo magical!), the aged faux book boxes, and other goodies.

How will you be spending YOUR Halloween?

zombelly

Zombie Bellydancer

Do you dress up for the trick-or-treaters? Do you shut the lights off and eat the candy yourself? How many pumpkins did you carve? Do you go all-out with decorating inside and out, or do you just put up a few things indoors?

And special thanks to all who attended our BOO-TIFUL THINGS sale on Saturday!
Love and creative energy to you,
Eclectic Dawn

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