I consider myself a fairly organized person. I have a strict policy of "a place for everything, and everything in its place." The issue is that any cupboard or drawer that DOESN'T have a designated purpose tends to become a dumping ground, in my house. I have three cupboards above my sink that I don't really need for anything kitchen related. One of them has been designated for cook books, and an assortment of office supplies as we have no office space.
The double cupboard beside it looks organized to the untrained eye. There are six labeled baskets containing everything from "Outdoor Stuff" (sunscreen, bug spray, flash lights, etc) to "Dog Stuff" (refills for poop bags, combs, clippers, etc.) to "Electronics" (mainly chargers that we don't use on a regular basis.) My issue is that, in time, it becomes so cluttered, and I find myself having to reorganize it at least a few times a year.
Furthermore, we have a FOURTH cupboard that is just pure chaos at all times. I have three corner cupboards, and hate them. If we ever re-do our kitchen, I will completely eliminate them. The one cupboard has gone through many tranformations - everything from a board game cupboard, to a craft cupboard, to a spill-off pantry for emergency water and extra juice boxes when we hit a big sale...to just a flat out dumping ground where everything gets shoved when I'm cleaning up in a hurry.
So how do I begin to tackle these areas?? I have noticed that every area of my home that has a designated purpose stays fairly organized. But these areas that I rarely need to access just become a giant mess that needs to be torn apart a few times a year.
When even labled baskets aren't working, I know i'm failing, somewhere!
What kind of disorganization is happening? Are random non-outdoor items getting thrown into the "Outdoor Stuff" bin? Or is the bin just a tangled mess? Do you need more bins, more specific labels for your bins, or maybe a bin with built-in dividers?
One suggestion I do have -- label one box "Donate" and dump it at Goodwill once a month... plus encourage your family to throw things out that are not salvageable. I find a lot of the things that clutter up our junk baskets/drawers are things that we really don't need or outright trash.
A lot of the things in the drawers are things we use so infrequently that I question if we need to keep them, at all! Ideally, I'd like to downsize our "crap drawers" to only one cupboard. But I don't know if that's realistic. Maybe I'll take a weekend and just ruthlessly throw most of it into the donate bin and see what I'm left with. Do we really need 4 bottles of sunscreen? The kids used to have to EACH provide a bottle to daycare, but that's not the case anymore. Do we really need a basket of dog grooming supplies for a dog that we take to be groomed because he's such a pain in the butt? Probably not. I have a basket labled "stationary", which houses all of the surplus pencils and erasers and stuff I need to send to school. But a note home at the end of the year showed that the school has a pretty healthy budget this year and will be providing EVERYTHING to the kids that they need.....so I guess that can go.
I hang onto these things "just in case" I need them, and that's SO not me. My rule tends to be "if I wouldn't replace it after a fire, do I really need it, now?" So maybe I need to tackle the cupboards with that mentality. I have TWELVE cook books. And I have not cracked open a single one. I use the internet for recipes. Why do I have twelve cook books hogging valuable space? Honestly?
I would use the rule of thumb that if you don't use it regularly, it doesn't have sentimental value, and you could replace it pretty readily if you did need it, you might as well get rid of it. The drawback is then if you DO need some item that you don't use very often, you typically have to go out and buy it, so it depends on if you prize having any old random thing you might need, or having your possessions stripped down to what you use. I got rid of all my white-out because I basically never used it, and then I needed some the other day. My husband had a bottle kicking around, but otherwise I would have had to go buy some, which is just a hazard of this approach (and it might also vary based on your budget, tolerance for running out and buying little items, how close you live to the store, etc.)
Once school starts, maybe you should take everything out of the junk cupboard, and not put anything back in for a couple of weeks. Try to find new homes for things that make sense (outside stuff by the back door, dog stuff in a closet). Put the cookbooks in a box.
Maybe you can rearrange the rest of the cupboards to fill the space, so you don't pile it up with junk again.
You may find there are some things that you really want there - so make a basket. I agree with the PP that suggested dividers to help organize what's in the baskets.
Good luck! Can you take before and after pics for us?
My twin sons leave for college in 3 days, and I am looking forward to doing a LOT of decluttering when they are gone!
If the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.
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