Ever have that feeling that you are being buried alive by stuff?!?! Clutter gives me straight up anxiety. To me, there is not much that feels better than walking into my house and seeing clean, tidy, uncluttered spaces. Needless to say, I don’t get to experience this euphoria very often these days. I literally feel like everywhere I turn there is clutter: toys, pieces of toys, crafts, school papers, junk mail, legit mail, odds and ends that don’t have a home, and the list goes on. I try, but I can’t get a freaking grip. I try to tackle one thing here and there, and get so overwhelmed that I don’t know where to start. It leaves me feeling stifled, smothered, unmotivated, uninspired, irritable, and overall disorganized in life. I feel like how the hell can I sit down and concentrate or try to be inspired, or keep track of 5 kids schedules going to 3 different schools and all of their activities, when I look around and all I see is shit. Everywhere. My brain needs order!!
I finally said enough is enough last week, and spent 13 hours straight going through our house JUST organizing and decluttering. Side note, but the bigger the house, the more shit you fill it with. Just sayin’. I didn’t get to tackle every room or closet, but I knocked out the biggest pains in my ass. The kitchen island, the pantry, and the office. To say our beautiful, white stone kitchen island was cluttered is an enormous understatement. I mean, it looked like something out of a TLC hoarders episode- no joke. And with the most random things too, seriously. It was a dumping spot for all things important and irrelevant. I had a big, long, beautiful decorative silver bowl that I liked to keep on the island, but it became a holding tank for freaking everything. Bowl: GONE. I went through all of the papers on the island. Pertinent school papers with a timeline got pinned to the fridge- front and center. (I will find a better solution for this but for now those items need to be in our faces so that we remember). I searched the house to find 5 square fabric storage bins- #Ikea style- and lined them up in the hallway- one for each kid. I got rid of broken or unnecessary knick knacks, and the rest I dropped in whoever’s bin the item belonged to. This bin system has really saved my sanity. It has allowed me to quickly tidy up the downstairs of the house, and organize kids stuff without having to haul my ass upstairs to get an LOL doll and a microphone to its rightful owner’s bedroom. Once a week I have the kids take their bins upstairs to their rooms, put their stuff away, and then bring the empty bin back down. Piece of cake. I am also going to find a better spot for these bins that is out of my eyesight, but for now they live in the hallway/archway/against the wall/ whatever you want to call it.
On to the pantry. Up till now, the pantry has been kind of an organized mess. I hired an organizer a while back, who implemented a basket system to merchandise all of our non-perishables. She wanted plastic but I went with a combo of pewter, silver, and gold baskets of varying sizes, all from #target and #walmart. Visually, this is a lot more appealing when everything is in baskets. The only problem is that is wasn’t really working as well as I would have hoped because I didn’t do it myself and organize it to suit our needs and lifestyle. So, I used the system that our organizer came up with, and tailored it myself to suit our needs as a family. BOOM! Soooo much easier to actually follow and keep up with. This type of organization in the pantry lets you see super quickly what you have, what you are missing, and what you can come up with for school lunches, snacks, and other meals. I’m not going to front; with 5 kids we rely heavier than I would prefer on packaged snacks, but you need to keep your sanity somehow. But we cook most of our meals from scratch with quality ingredients! So for example I have a basket dedicated to the items to make home made pasta sauce, one for home made soup ingredients, one for school lunch snacks, one for rice items, one for pasta, baking flours, baking items, oils, vinegars, breakfast cereals, etc.
I think a pantry is a personal space and is unique to every household. So if you take the time to organize it how it suits you best, it will make your life so much easier. And please, just get yourself the baskets. You'll thank me later! And don't forget- the key to being successful at keeping your spaces decluttered once you have your systems in place, is to stay on top of it a little bit every day! Good luck organizers!!