Monday, August 23, 2010

Gettin' Organized

Ever walk into a room in your house and suddenly think, "Good grief, what a mess!"

Not working out anymore.
Last week, I had to accept the fact that I was going to have to do something about my home office. It was cramped and unorganized, and my "storage system" was quickly outgrowing itself.

For a while, having a few boxes of inventory stacked one on top of the other worked. But as my inventory grew, so did my stacks until I had what looked like the Tower of Pisa leaning precariously atop a "shelf" of overturned Rubbermaid bins. If I wanted anything, I had to move dozens of boxes since what I wanted was usually on the bottom.

I was acquiring more supplies, more tools, and my office was starting to feel like a suffocating den of sadness.

So, this weekend I announced to my husband that I needed to do something about The Office Situation. It was time to bring in some shelves and take out some junk. Before I could move more stuff into the office, I had to find a new home for the stuff already in there. Being the sweetie that he is, Ken volunteered to clean out our loft upstairs to make room for a few things. Lots of things got thrown away - it was probably best that I was not involved in the cleaning up of the loft. After the loft was cleared, I removed from the office a chair whose only purpose was to hold my collection of stuffed animals. I also bagged up said stuffed animals and put them in the loft. I can be semi-ruthless when it comes to throwing things away, but I never can seem to throw out stuffed animals. One of the toughest things I had to do after Hurricane Ivan flooded our home in 2004 was leave a toxic sludge-smudged Love-A-Lot Care Bear behind to her lonesome demise.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
We picked up some wire shelves - on sale even! - and for under $100, I got two 6 foot x 3 foot shelving units and a six-cube shelf (which I'm going to use upstairs to organize my "shipping station").

I threw away things that had been hanging around the office for years. You know how it goes, you start going through things and you think, "Why did I save this? Whatever in the world made me think that, yes, I will need this again someday?" Into the trash it went.

There was one casualty. I broke a glass bottle of maple syrup all over the office carpet. How did I do that, and why did I have syrup in the office? Both good questions.

A few years ago, my husband brought home a bottle of syrup that was done up to resemble a bottle of Southern Comfort (only the syrup bottle was labeled "Northern Comfort"). Cute, right? So cute that I couldn't bear to use it. So, I displayed it. On a shelf. In the office. Which is carpeted.

While cleaning out the office, bang-shatter it went. The fallout radius was spectacular. And could I have spilled anything stickier and harder to clean up? I should have taken a photo of the spill, but I wanted to give my full attention to cussing, and I did not feel that I could do that and safely operate a camera at the same time.

Here I am, trying to not look sweaty and crazy.
I built the first shelving unit all by myself. It's not easy to assemble one of these alone. Especially when the shelves come in these double-glued, triple-thick corrugated Apocalypse-proof boxes that you have to rip apart like an animal.

The nice thing about these shelves is that the assembly is - in theory - fairly uncomplicated. Just clip the sleeves onto the pole and slip the shelves over the sleeves. The challenge is spacing the sleeves out evenly and having them not slip while securing the shelves. No tools required - although the manufacturer recommends having a rubber mallet handy to tap the shelves all the way into place. My hands are a little sore today because it turns out that an open palm is a poor substitute for a rubber mallet.

Ken came in just in time to help me put the shelves on the second unit. I held my breath as I stacked my soap boxes on the shelves, waiting for the whole thing to collapse like an accordian. No such thing happened, though, and it didn't come crashing down at 3 a.m. either (as most things that are going to come crashing down are wont to do).

I am happy with my shelves. The office is tidier and I feel like I have soooooo much space now. I wonder how long it will be before I'm going, "I don't have any room for anything anymore!" again?

Great success!

What are some of your favorite space-saving tips? Having more space is always a good thing, and I need all of it that I can get! How do you cope when you're long on stuff and short on space?