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    Think Mary Poppins!

    This is the fourth, and probably final, entry on organization.  Well, the final entry in this series.  I am not one to exhaust a subject over the course of a few posts.  Or discussions.  Or letters, email messages, phone conversations; or an afternoon chitchat over a cup of tea.  If you have missed the previous entries on this subject, you can find them here:  Organize Your Life; Where to Begin?; Out of Sight, Out of Mind. You can find any of my earlier posts by scrolling down through each journal page, or searching through the Archives on the bottom right.  They are in chronological order, beginning with the most recent posts.

    Do you remember the scene in Mary Poppins where the children’s bedroom tidied itself, and they sang the delightful, “A Spoonful of Sugar”?  Clothes put themselves on hangers and folded themselves into drawers.  Toys took their rightful places in toy chests and on shelves.  “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and, snap!  The job’s a game…”  Where, oh where, is this wonderful nanny when you need her?  Not to make light of the work involved in straightening a disheveled room, but you can almost have this same precision and light workload.  The magical room had no problem putting itself back together (aside from the presence of Mary Poppins) because everything went right to the place where it belonged.

    When you remind your kids to tidy their room, or ask them to do something with that pile of books and magazines, do they know what to do?  Do they say to themselves, “Okay, take the magazines to the basket, and place the books back on the shelf (in some sort of order?)”?  Do they automatically know that the Legos go in the Lego buckets, the puzzles go on the bottom shelf, or that the CD’s belong next to the DVDs?  What does “put it away”, “take care of it”, or “that is not where that belongs” mean in your household?  It’s hardly fair or practical to put your family into a tizzy during an all-room cleaning spree by loading their arms full of items that have no real home.  Whew, that was a mouthful!  From the middle of the living room floor to the floor in the back corner of a closet does not organization make.

    What about those small items that roll around, jumble up, and usually can’t be found when needed?  We all use the occasional paper clip.  Nails, rubber bands, hair clasps, and corks are in most homes.  Catchall drawers are practical, but how long does it take to put your hands on the knife sharpener?

    Now that you have cleaned out your room, or chest, and have stored your storables, thrown away the trash, and donated the donatables; what will you do with the liveables?  Here are some more practical suggestions for keeping your things contained, managed, and within easy reach.

    Even though it has been said before, a repeat is always good - like items belong together.  All magazines in the same place, socks for each family member have their own space, kitchen gadgets and utensils belong…in the kitchen.  Within easy reach and contained (no countertop piles).  So, here is where neat, cute, and clever comes into play. 

    Grandma’s sewing basket is more than just a keepsake, it can be used to contain or organize just about anything (even sewing items - tada!).  Use those empty containers, of all varieties and sizes, don’t just let them sit empty.  Luggage, bags, baskets, bowls, tins, and my previously mentioned antique ammunition boxes. 

    If you don’t have enough shelf space for all your books, then stack them in interesting ways and make them a corner conversation piece - spines out, criss-crossed,  big and little.  Don’t just regular stack them any old place.  Another option is to make small pyramid stacks under end tables or on coffee tables.  Use them as part of your decor and then they have a permanent place.  Oh, and have your neat bookmarks out somewhere.  Let them stand in interesting tins, or a beautiful glass vase.

    Within drawers and cabinets, small items can be held inside bowls or unused plastic ware.  Lovely gift boxes are handier for more than just gift giving; they look great stacked inside cabinets and on closet shelves.  No one else will know that contained within are office supplies, ribbon, shotgun shells, or cake recipes.

    Great aunt’s powder tin, your in-law’s planter that was destined for the yard sale, your favorite mug that is now cracked - if you have it, and intend to keep it, use it.  File folders, expanding file folders, covered shoeboxes, silverware organizers, vases, jars, cleaned out candleholders - be creative and then feel good about your great storage ideas.

    How do you manage and contain the tangibles of your life?