Home organization: Folding Plastic Bags

     Home organization: Folding Plastic Bags

     I never though so small things like plastic bags can have so big input to clutter.

     We always have plastic bags kept in the house.
     We always remain grocery plastics to use them - mainly for throwing the trash, and even buy purposely a set of plastics for bigger size trash bin. I find it's a mundane necessity and do not mind keeping them (though, I do plan to reduce the number of plastics kept).
     But I never thought they also can be organized!

    Just a little peek to the stock of plastics:

Home organization: Folding Plastic Bags

    Guess what’s inside the laundry basket below? Even there I used to keep plastics!

    The only way I kept them organized was that I kept them inside basket. Bring groceries home, open the basket cover, shove bags inside…oh, I'm gonna miss doing that.  A big trouble I realized that plastics take a lot of space when they are filled with air or knotted.

    Seriously, there are not so many of them on the picture, doesn't it look so? Well, I know it does not.  This pile used to occupy the entire big box!

Home organization: Folding Plastic Bags

     The woven basket on the first photo I used for keeping plastics was actually meant for keeping laundry, while laundry was kept in another basket cluttering our room entrance. Finally I decided to save the space, fold all plastics and keep them in available storage boxes, while laundry basket can be used as per its direct intention.

     I had to take all the bags out and start folding them. Well, it did take time. Only after 3 attempts of couple of hours each I managed to fold them all and store in the available boxes neatly. I think it will not be an issue to fold just several plastics after bringing them from grocery, but when a big pile accumulated – this is when I have to spend time improving my home organization. It's ok, I still was able to enjoy folding and at the same time watching something, let it count as part of my time spent useful. And now they take much less space, only 2 small boxes which I can put to available shelf. And basket is released!

     After folding is done, here is the result:

Home organization: Folding Plastic Bags

    Ok, not Pinterest result but I'm progressing! I was able to relocate all the laundry into released basket, throw another one and noticeably increase available space in the unit entrance where it’s all located. That’s great that simple folding availed additional space in the room which we can enjoy now. This is one more time when I realized that small items (just plastics bags, how much space can they take?) can have an input to the clutter and affect bigger picture.

How to Start Loving Housework?

     How to Start Loving Housework?

     It's not a universal guideline, but I just want to share what made me stop hating and start loving house work.

     I seriously used to hate it because I felt taking care of the house was too time consuming and exhausting. I'm working full time on weekdays and I hardly was able to do some housework only on Saturday morning when I had time. I tried to force myself to try doing something during weekdays as I felt our house is too messy, I tried to do some schedules and posted them for myself on display but was not able to stick to them and always have preference to other things instead of cleaning. I was explaining my lack of house care simply: I have no time as I have to work, after work I'm tired, and on weekends I need to have a rest before next working week.

     But once I realized two major things and it changed my mind. Now I rather enjoy taking care of the house. I just asked myself several questions and tried to find an answer:

  • What makes my housework so time consuming and exhausting?

     After some reading and reflecting I realized I cannot properly clean the house because it's very cluttered. Both me and my husband have tendency to store unnecessary things instead of discarding them. Got something unnecessary but in a good condition – put it to the shelf or storage box, but not throw. Over years we both accumulated so many belongings which we did not use but only kept, that there was no living space left. Everywhere where possible we had additional storage boxes, shelves and drawers were fully packed, and if we buy something, it was hard to find it good place to keep. If I decide to do a thorough cleaning, I would need to move lots of things around to reach all corners, what would be very hard so I never did. Every time I did just light cleaning around, but it was not enough. There was not much visual difference in the way house looked before and after the cleaning so I was not satisfied with results.

     Once I realized this, I launched big decluttering in the house. Step by step I check and discard surplus stash (pile of things at each session!), rearrange things that remain and enjoy seeing how much available space suddenly appear in our tiny unit. Unlike it was earlier, now I can't wait when I reach home and can proceed to that, purely because I'm able to see and enjoy results of house work.

  • Do I like our house’s surroundings? Do I enjoy being at home, am I able to relax and feel joy there?

     I started asking this question after I read a book “Spark Joy” by Marie Kondo (KonMari). This book became my decluttering guideline and inspiration, and I recommend it for everyone interested in decluttering and home organization. I see many references to her method regarding folding clothing, but actually her method is way more deeper. Doing decluttering, we are not looking what to discard, but what to remain, only the things we need and love, which we enjoy to use and see around. Filling the house with things what you love will give you feel of comfort, enjoy and confidence. First this idea seemed weird for me until I tried and felt the result. Enjoying your dinner from the plate you love, cooking at the kitchen with cooking utensils making you enjoy, resting in the bed with your favorite beddings. Once house is filled only with things we love, we will start enjoying it and enjoy taking care or it.

     Once I tried this, I really started loving to be at home, and taking care of it does not seem to be so hard anymore. I wish everyone who does not enjoy housework to find their enjoy in it, and instead of coping start loving.

Decluttering & House Organizing: Increasing Life Success Chances?

Decluttering & House Organizing: Increasing Life Success Chances?

     For me it’s looks that ability to organize your own house is a sign that person is probably successful in life or has high potential to it. There are a few reasons what make me think like this, and I will be very happy to know your ideas about it.

     Thing is to have your house organized on a regular basis requires a number of qualities. Qualities I’m talking about are typically also required for building successful career, profitable business and even are very helpful in home and family life.

     None of the skills we have – especially professional skills - are given, we have to learn and practice them to achieve the result. That’s why I believe that whatever helps us to practice relevant skills will help us to get success in other areas where those skills are required as well.

     House organizing is a skill which being practiced by housewives for years. And I noticed there are a few qualities necessary for successful running the house, not different from running successful career.

  • Organizing house requires self-discipline

     One of the major things I realized needed for the house to be organized is to keep everything in its proper place. And firstly, everything must have it’s assigned place. I used not to care about this previously and ended up having a really messy house with things scattered in various storages. After realizing this housekeeping mistake, I started to group all things into categories and assigning dedicated places for storing each category and sticking to returning things to their dedicated places after use. This arrangement was one of the hardest in my house works as required proper planning to find the most appropriate location for each item. I’m still in progress with making this arrangement and can say it does require a lot of self-discipline for the novice to stick to that until it becomes a habit.

  • Ability to take decisions

     Particularly talking about house decluttering (since this is the subject of my blog and this blog post), I have to take a lot of decisions what things I need and intend to use, and what I do not have to keep any longer. Sometimes it takes for me a few rounds to confirm if I’m going to discard one or another thing being kept with no use sometimes for years.

     Running the house in general requires many-many more decision taking which I do not discuss in this blog post just to stick to the subject. But I’m sure each housewife can come up with her own long list how many decisions she has to take every day starting from planning meals to planning big purchases and family events.

  • Readiness for learning and experimenting

     Organizing the house requires lots of learning and experimenting. There are lots of hacks and tricks which each housewife has in her arsenal (learnt and tested on her own experience or from other sources) to run the house successfully.

  • Ability to find decisions that work

     Purpose of all the learning and experimenting is actually to find solutions which give the best results, allow to save time or budget and etc., in other words to find a way to organize the house the most effectively.

     In fact all these qualities are necessary for career, business and family life. If organizing the house allows to develop these qualities, I believe it will help in other aspects too.

     So this is the relation which I see between seemingly unrelated items. And in your turn please let me know your opinion. Does ability to run a house help you in other life aspects? Please feel free to comment below!

How to Find Time for Housework When You Work Full-Time?

How to Find Time for Housework When You Work Full-Time?

     This is the question I’m trying to figure out an answer. Main difficulty I face with combining full-time working and taking care of the house is not just limited time, but being tired by the end of the day when I reach home after work.

     On weekdays I usually reach the house around 7pm, while cooking and having dinner takes another hour. I become free only by 8pm, and this time I’m usually so tired that I hardly have energy or wish to do any housework. So I end up putting it off to the weekend and either spend the weekend with housework or delay it further.

     Surely house will not look nice and well maintained with this approach. So I decided I must focus on learning how to make my house life and work life get along.

     There are a few little tips I worked out to care of the house at working days:

  • Trying to attend small issue immediately

I call small issues the one which required not more than 5-10 mins to do. Usually it’s short cleaning works which arise daily.

  • Do one big thing a day

So “big thing” for me is anything taking over 10 mins. Those are more major cleaning and decluttering works I have to do regularly. If thing is really “too big” and will take too long, I try to spilt into smaller 10-30mins sessions if possible (for example, decluttering shelf by shelf in the wardrobe at different days instead of single longer declutter session). At the moment I’m doing a big decluttering in the house, so I try to declutter or arrange a least something s day to let my works progress.

  • Schedule house works

This is further to a “big thing a day” rule, I have to schedule what day I’m going to do what. Today I’m going to arrange my skincare shelf, tomorrow will do some shoe cleaning, next day is laundry day. I noticed that when I schedule house works, I do not procrastinate those which I do not like to do. When I do not have any schedule, I give preference to house work which either I like more or will be easier to do, leaving more difficult work suspended.

  • Do not exhaust yourself

     After a long working day I’m already pretty tired, so if I really do not feel doing anything but rest, I just do so. Forcing myself doing something and becoming exhausted only gives bad association with house work, and this is definitely not encouraging to love home life.

     After all said, I have to accept my house is far not perfect. But sticking to regular schedule on working days allows me to free up some time on weekends, and I can enjoy my spare time rather than spending all the weekend at home with no rest.

 

Why Would I Like to Run a House Like Hotel

Why Would I Like to Run a House Like Hotel

     The idea of running home like hotel I just heard from one of my favorite bloggers Jennifer Scott. Jennifer is experienced mother, housewife, she is blogging about fine living and has written a series of best-selling books from "Madam Chic" collection. Idea she has shared resonated with my own thinking and I'm pondering how it can be developed further and applied to life.

     Both me and my husband really do like hotels when we stay there during vacation. I personally enjoy hotel rooms being tidy, organised, looking simple yet nice. For me even inexpensive neat hotel rooms are charming.

     My interesting experience that recently I changed our home beddings to quality beautiful new set. My husband’s first exclamation was: “Wow, like in hotel!” It was the first time when I made connection of a good looking house with good hotel.

     Good hotel room is tidy, clean, smells fresh, and surely there is no clutter there (at least when we just check in:-)). I really would like my house to be like that. But wonder how to achieve it? Simply need to understand what exactly you like in hotel arrangements. There are a few features attractive for me:

  • Hotels are not cluttered

     Hotel room has limited number of storage, usually built-in or furniture drawers.

     What I realized is tidy house is not the one neatly packing all (including unnecessary) stuff but the one which does not have it. Cluttered house, does not matter how clean it is, does not look tidy. Keeping too much stuff makes taking care of the house more difficult, cleaning takes longer time, arranging things becomes challenging. Decluttering is the first thing I find necessary to focus on to make home look neat like good hotel room.

  • Hotels get everything scheduled

     You know exact timing when hotel serves meal, what exactly will be served, what is the cleaning time and so on. I find scheduling is important not only at work but also in regular home life. Scheduled weekly menus, fixed meal time, cleaning time – all that things will help to stay organised and save time while having everything ready. I realise the need to practice it in the house and would like to develop it into a habit.

  • Good hotel rooms look stylish

     Not necessarily they have expensive furniture but all is well-chosen, planned out and looks like a complete picture without unnecessary furniture items. Dominating design color, matching room accessories like paintings or flowers. Nothing redundant or overdone.

  • Feeling of ease

     This is the main reason why we like hotels. Surely, we come for vacation and have rest in hotels, no wonder it makes us relaxed. But at home we also have a rest from work and running errands, so it's not less important to make a feel of ease at home. Everyone has different ways to become relaxed – for some it's relaxing music, for some – particular fragrances, for some – particular colors. For me personally rest is associated with light color room design complemented with colourful flowers, and natural silence with no music or no working TV/radio. All together it gives me feel of tranquility. And yes, this is what I usually experience and enjoy in hotels.

     Those are my favorite hotel room features what I would like to implement in the house. What are your favorite ones and do you manage to establish them in the house? Please let me know in the comments section, I will be very interested to read!

 

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

     Among all the stuff in the house I have special relations with clothing:-) I really like clothing and like dealing with it! I like to dress up and have 3 different wardrobes for different purposes: for the office, for weekend and housewear. No wonder it takes space and challenges my creativity how to keep all that stuff.

     This way of clothing folding I learnt from the book “Spark Joy” (by Marie Kondo). For me this method was very useful and helped to save more space inside drawers, so I want to share it here. This is particularly good for the clothing which doesn’t get wrinkled and doesn’t need ironing. If it does, I find it's still more convenient to store it on hangers.

     Idea of this folding method is to fold clothing into small rectangle which can be stored in upright position. It will help to save the space and allow more convenient arrangement in the drawer. I will show how I folded a short-sleeve top and long sleeve blouse. T-shirts, dresses, skirts and pants can be folded exactly the same way, into rectangles.

  • Folding a Short-Sleeve Top

     
     First I place a top to some surface and smooth it with the palm.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

     
     Next, folding edges of the garment towards the centre, this is to achieve rectangle shape. Folding the right side first...

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

     
     ...and do the same for the left side. Now it pretty looks like rectangle.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

     
     Then I fold this rectangle lengthwise, it looks like a long narrow piece now. 

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

     
     Fold this piece into half but leave a little gap at the edge (not fully reaching the edge).

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

     
     Folding it again into half or in thirds.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

          After folding is done, I make a “stand upright” test. If I intent to keep clothing in upright position, it has to be able to stand without support. If folded garment is able to stand, it will stand in the drawer too without falling and creating mess.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

  • Folding Long-Sleeve Blouse

     The same way I fold long-sleeve garment. I will picture it to show how I dealt with long sleeves.

          
     We start with the same step, smoothing blouse on flat surface.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

         
     First folding the edge from the right to the left (it's just how I did with my folding, it can start with another side too if convenient).

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

          
     Long sleeve goes beyond the garment edge, so I just fold it back to the right.

     

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

          
     Long sleeve is still beyond garment edge so I fold it one more time downwards.

          
     Now do the same to the left side. Fold it towards the right.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

          
          Fold the sleeve back to the left.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

          
          Fold the pertruding portion of sleeve one more time, to the right. Now blouse is folded into a rectangle. 

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

    Here I folded the rectangle lengthwise.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

          
     Folding again into half.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

         
     And folding into thirds.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

          
     Now upright standing test. That’s it, folded tops are able to stand!

     

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

Can all the clothing be folded in this way?

     Here need to add that KonMari folding is suitable not for all types of clothing. If it’s made of a very thin delicate material, it will not keep the shape and will not be able to stand upright. I think it’s better to keep this type of garment on hangers.

     If clothing is made of a thick material, it will be very bulky when folded and also will not be able to stand upright. It will be more convenient to keep that clothing flat.

When folding is done:

 

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

 

     I folded a few more garments and now put them into the drawer to see the effect. I’m really glad that this method of folding allows to see what’s inside the drawer from the first glance. I just find it’s more convenient than when I stored clothing flat and also it looks tidier.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

 

Home Organization: Space Saving Folding

Home Organization: Space Saving Folding

     Mundane things also can be incredible! This is exactly what I feel now. And reason is funnily mundane – I just learnt a space saving way to fold clothing! You know, I'm suffering from limited space in the house, so this finding makes me so happy:-)

     Recently I have done a Bedding Closet organization. At that time I simply folded clothing flat and put one on the top of another in the drawer. You can see previous result on the right photo. This is what I see in the stores, and it looks quite neat there so for me it was a synonym of the top tidiness.

   But today I happened to read a book Spark Joy and found a more convenient way of folding. I recommend this book to those who also feels need in decluttering and home organization. I’m just at the beginning of the book, but already managed to learn useful tips.

Home Organization: Space Saving Folding

 

     Idea is clothing is folded into rectangles and stored in upright position. So I took out all the house clothing from the drawer, refolded them and returned back. This is the photo of result:

Home Organization: Space Saving Folding

I noticed two significant advantages of storing clothing in upright position:

  • Visual convenience

     Once I open a drawer, I see from the first glance what’s inside. It makes it easier to select what I want to take, and easier to take it out. I do not have to dig inside, what I had to do when I stored clothing flat. And when I take one thing, others remain undisturbed and neat in their places.

  • Space saving

     I noticed clothing takes less space when I store them upright. Previously there was no remaining space in the drawer, but now there was some. I even was able to add there a bathrobe previously kept in another drawer. I feel more comfortable to store same category items together, so I happily added a piece not fitted in earlier arrangement.

This is how drawer looks from outside (top drawer):

Home Organization: Space Saving Folding

     I find it’s neater than it was from outside too.

     I still have to practice my folding skills, overtime it will became more tidier and faster, but even now I can see result is better than original so I will stick to storing upright where possible.

     If you have other tips how to fold and store clothing to share, please do so! It will be very interesting to try.

     If someone is interested, I can post a pic how to fold clothing with this method, please let me know! (P.S. already posted, please check the post Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method))

 

Home Organization: Organizing Bedding Closet

Home Organization: Organizing Bedding Closet

Home Organization: Organizing Bedding Closet

     Bedding closet that we have is very limited with space. This is just 3 drawers closet located inside the built-in wardrobe closet. Because of limited space I have to choose what things I really need to keep, otherwise will not be able to fit all.

     All the things stored inside the closet are related to housewear and sleeping purposes. Each drawer I decided to assign storing things of only one purpose, different for each drawer. I think I just will be easier for me to remember where I keep what and easier to maintain it organized.

How I'm organizing:

     Top drawer is assigned to storing clothing worn inside the house: sleepwear dresses, house dresses and housewear. Any time I need some house clothing, I will know where to find it.

     Second drawer will be for keeping beddings, whether it’s bed sheets or pillow cases. I’m yet to decide whether all of them need to be kept.

     You know, recently I was trying to declutter some of the beddings and realized I feel so sentimental about them.

Home Organization: Organizing Bedding Closet

Home Organization: Organizing Bedding Closet

     

     Even though some I really do not need or some are so old and even torn in some places, don’t know why it still sticks to my heart. I just sort them out separately to see how is it going if they are not around.

     In the bottom drawer I put all towels. Kitchen towels I grouped at one side and bathroom towels on the other. I also had to sort out all the towels and discard some old kitchen ones.

     All that items consumed the entire closet space. Major things it hasn’t managed to fit are lingerie, hosiery and handkerchiefs. For them I purposely bought a box which I have placed on the top of the closet. I find it reasonable to keep this kind of things inside the wardrobe, anyway I do not have other choices so have to learn how to use limited unit space effectively.

     At the moment I'm not quite sure, maybe this is not the perfect arrangement, but just the one I came up with by the moment. I will see whether I will be able to maintain it with minimum efforts (the main purpose of my entire decluttering and home organization works!) or need to work out some other solution.

 

 

Home Organization: Organizing Bedding Closet

 

Home Organization: Organizing Cupboard

Home Organization: Organizing Cupboard

     In our house there are 3 main reasons why clutter occurs:

1. because we keep unnecessary things;
2. because we  keep unnecessary things;
3. because we keep unnecessary things.

     To be serious, it also happens when some things do not have specifically assigned place. Or when I fail to return things I just used to assigned place.

     Each of them (or mix of them) will usually end up with a pile of things on my desk, cupboard or wherever.

     So far in my declutter works I’m trying to resolve keeping of the things I do not need, but actually keeping needed things in their proper dedicated places is not less important.

     That’s why today I spend some time not discarding but organizing my bed&desk cupboard.

     Cupboard is located just in between the working desk and bed. Just for convenience I’m trying to keep things near the places where they are most needed. If I’m working at the desk, I need relevant stationery nearby so I keep it in the cupboard. While I also have to keep in the same cupboard some things I usually use before going to bed (like my hand cream, face mist, tissue paper).

     Since space is limited, I put in the cupboard only most needed things for both purposes. I used to keep more than that, as long as cupboard drawer can fit... until realized I don’t have to keep them all here. All other unrelated items are going to other places purposely assigned just to them, permanently or temporary at this moment.

      So the top drawer is shared by stationary for working desk and most necessary beauty items for bed time, located at opposite sides of the drawer. So far I find it convenient, but maybe over time I will come up with better idea? Let’s try and see.

Home Organization: Organizing Cupboard

Home Organization: Organizing Cupboard

     

     Bottom drawer of the cupboard is assigned to electronics related items: chargers, power bank, portable keyboard, USB desk lamp. Only those items which again I either need nearby during working at the desk or night time (like phone charger, for example).

     On the top of the cupboard I will permanently keep only some artificial flowers and mobile devices. I use them so often that don’t want to keep enclosed anywhere.

     Hope this arrangement of cupboard content will meet it’s purpose, I want to have most necessary things near the place they are needed. I will test it for a few days and see if it’s convenient enough or need to make any improvement.