You know the phrase, "Physician, heal thyself"?
The same can be applied to professional organizers.
Yes, I have some kick-ass organized area in my house that I have worked on, invested time, energy, and money into, and they look and function great. I'm really proud of my home office and my pantry, and will show you those spaces someday in their entirety.
But I also have some spaces that have been a thorn in my side since we moved into this house five and a half years ago. And I will be showing you those areas, too, in all of their messed-up glory, as well as the ways I will finally tackle them in 2016 and make them Pretty Neat.
So I thought I would start off by revealing to you and the Internet the true nemesis of my organized house: my Pile.
My Pile is in my kitchen, in a cute little corner next to the fridge, mostly hidden from public view, that serves as my Command Center. Well, that's what Pinterest calls it. It's the area where I have my paper planner that tells us where to go each day, mail, catalogs, papers, cell phones and iPads, invitations, receipts, school information, coupons, financial papers, medical papers, etc, etc, etc.
And I admit it: I'm a piler. That is clearly my natural tendency in life of how to deal with papers and things I can't forget about but can put off for a few days. Some people are pilers, some are pinners (up on a bulletin board), some are filers (into a highly complex filing system), and some people are scatterers (their papers are scattered into different rooms and places and drawers).
So most of the time my pile looks pretty messy. Sometimes, like in the photo above when I am putting together a major holiday for my three children, it looks atrocious.
But sometimes I set aside 30-40 minutes and go to work on the Pile and it ends up looking like this:
Ahhhhhhhh. Much better.
The clear stand-up file holder (from The Container Store) is something I set up a few years ago and has been revolutionary for me in keeping things UN-piled. I have labelled folders in there for each kid about school, magazines, long-term planning (code word for vacation planning when I don't want the kids to know what we're thinking about), to file (mostly financial staements and EOBs for doctor appointments), action (papers I'm actively doing something with), coupons (including 23,000 Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons), general receipts, house receipts, petty cash (it has an envelope with some cash for when we're going out to dinner or doing a family activity), Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, house ideas, and in the back, a folder for the current year's taxes (charitable giving receipts).
The white binder standing up houses all of our gift cards in plastic pages meant to hold baseball cards. I write in dry erase marker the person's name at the bottom of the page and the gift cards on that page belong to that person. Ones that don't fit into the baseball card slots go into the front pocket of the binder. This has been really helpful at visually organizing all the gift cards the five of us have (and keeping it clear which gift card belongs to whom).
(Please ignore my photo-covered side of the fridge and my highly sophisicated banking chip clip. It's an area on the list to clear up in 2016.)
The black charging station is from Pottery Barn and houses all our charging wires. In the bottom drawer I have thank you notes, stamps, and return address labels.
But even with these good systems, things get piled into The Pile. And the only solution is to sit down and look at each piece; sort, purge, and put away each scrap of paper into it's proper place. It's a time investment.
So I invite you to follow along with me as I use 2016 to Organize Thyself. I am really excited about addressing some of these problem areas in my own house and showing you what great solutions are out there to make both your home and my home Pretty Neat. :)
1. Command Centers are a great thing, if they are set up for how your family functions.
2. Even professional organizers get messy. :)
3. There is no perfect system that magically makes clutter and papers go away. The very un-Pinteresty truth is that being organized takes a time investment. Even if you set up a Command Center, you have to use it and sort, purge and file. Once that becomes a habit, you're golden!