Jan 6, 2012

A place (and space) for everything

By Leah Ashton

I'm not normally one for new year's resolutions - or at least none that I remember past February. But 2012 feels different: the start of something new, a fresh chapter in my life. I begin this year as two things I wasn't at the beginning of 2011 - a published author, and a wife. Both exciting, wonderful, life changing things.

But, I spent a lot of last year feeling rather overwhelmed, and while a lot of fabulous stuff happened, I really don't want to feel quite that stressed again! So this year I want to better manage my time, and my life, so that I make space for all that is important to me: my family, my friends, my writing and my day job.

Sounds easy, right? (*crickets chirping*)

So, I've decided to start small: and organise my house.

My first plan of attack has been our bedroom. We bought a new bedroom suite that was delivered a few weeks ago, and I decided that I would put nothing into our beautiful new chests of drawers unless it was worthy of such gorgeous furniture - and it had to fit (we had way too many clothes)! If not, it went in the bin or the donate box.

Then I decided that everything needed a place - hats, shoes I only wear on special occasions, that kind of thing. So I bought six cane baskets, laminated some pretty labels - and wah-lah! Instant organisation:

My pretty new baskets and their labels :)
Now I've just got the rest of my house to go...

I'd love to hear your organisation and storage tips - can you help me find a place for everything in my house? And meanwhile, I'll keep working on creating space for the special things in my life that are far more important than hats and shoes :)

Happy New Year! I wish you a fabulous, and well organised, 2012 :)



  1. Leah, I love your baskets - I have a rather nice collection of the same ones myself! I have them in my office with files and "stuff" in them! I hadn't thought about using them in a wardrobe like that... mmm some new plans swirling in my brain for organisation!

    I'd like to be more organised! Your idea about only letting things that fit find a place in your fab new drawers is excellent. I've been fairly ruthless with my clothes recently - I was ending up with way too much in the "good for gardening" drawer... and it's not like I'm *that* keen a gardener!

    The hardest clothes to part with are my shopping mistakes - the things that are gorgeous and I can't resist but aren't really quite right for me because of the colour or the style... Got a few of those in my drawers. Not tooooo many because I've become much more disciplined about those impulse buys now.

    Sharon Archer

  2. Hmm, I'm guessing the kind of organising tips you're after, Leah, don't fall in the open-the-cupboard-door-a crack-throw-item-in-and-close-door-very-quickly-and-hold-breath-that-door-holds group.

    I'll be reading the suggestions closely while hoping some of your good example rubs off. :-)

  3. Hi Leah - well done on the organising and am sure you'll do a fab job with the rest of the house.

    I'm an organiser and found that it is a constant job - it never seems to end!

    Being ruthless is great - if you haven't used/ worn something in 2 years, it's unlikely you ever will (unless it's something really special) - either bin or donate it :)

    Love your new boxes and gorgeous tags!

    Wishing you a very happy new year x

  4. Oh Sharon, you are so right about the shopping mistakes! I have a gorgeous pair of boots that are just slightly too small and I just can't throw them out! I'm also working on my husband and his massive 'work out' shirt collection of tatty t-shirts :-)

  5. Michelle, that has been my previous version of organisation! I am a messy person, so this is a big step for me :-)

  6. Joanne, I am not at all surprised you are an organiser, you are so neat! Yes, I was very excited to find a $20 laminator, I'll be making lots of labels now :-)

  7. I'm very impressed by your baskets and labels, Leah!! I like to be organised but I don't have any tips -- it's very much a work in progress!

  8. Leah, good for you and your decluttering!! My dh is a bit of a hoarder; you should see our garage...
    My tip is: if you don't need it/use it, throw it away. Sometimes it's hard. My mother gave me an organ yeeeaaarrs ago when one of the kids was learning piano. It was her pride and joy (not that she ever learned to play!) As soon as we moved it to our house, it blew up. Paid to have it fixed. Blew up again. It still looked like new, but it will never ever be used. Mum says it okay to chuck it.
    In today's world, there just too much "stuff".

  9. Hmmm.... this has got me thinking. Because I'm not very organised. My wardrobe is filled with clothes never to be worn again, my office has randomly placed little piles of paper and thingymajigs. I put it down to my Sagittarian nature. But I like the idea of those little baskets. Time to make a resolution I think :)Great post Leah.

  10. I love containers, especially with lids. You can stack then. I love labels too. Square is better than round if going for storage boxes & baskets etc. I also like different coloured containers for things. It's easy to find the right one quickly.

  11. Hey Leah

    Ahhh can you please come over and do mine once yours is done?

    I guess being honest I go through phases when my house is organised, and then when its not. Just depends whats going on around me, but I do find that when its all over the place, I get the rats eventually and do the BIG cleanup and sort, usually starting with finding my desk first!

    Great idea with the baskets - and they look so romantic too!

    Bye 4 now

  12. Leah, I love to be organised, and in some areas of my life I'm *very* organised, but my wardrobe is not one of those areas, lol.

    Actually, I have the same problem as Sharon (with her too many "good for gardening" clothes) and your husband (with all his workout shirts). I keep the old clothes for gardening etc, but end up with far too many and they choke my shelves...

    I think I've had a light bulb moment. Thanks, Leah!

  13. My other half is a chronic hoarder and so there is not an inch in my house, shed or garage that's not bulging with his "it's not crap!" crap. The only rule I've had any luck enforcing is the one that keeps all that stuff behind closed doors but even now I have timber under my sofa, old foldachairs behidn another, generator parts under the bed...

    So I have had to learn to be very thrifty and brave re: getting rid of stuff becuase there simply isn't room for *me* to keep anything of mine.

    A few things really helped me:

    1. Rule: something new comes, something old has to go. This works with kids and toys for a reason. It makes you really think about what you buy when you have to chuck something you love to make room for it.

    2. Howards storage World triple-clothes-hangers. You can hang three pairs of pants in the space it takes for one.

    3. IKEA floor to ceiling bookshelves. Pricey when you do the whole room, but OMG the difference it made using all that empty wall space as storage space. Awesome in the office.

    4. IKEA upright bathroom cabinet. Again, makes use of all that empty wall space. Lots of clever sliding drawers for jewellery, makeup, medicines etc.

    My virgo sensibilities love order and over time it really breaks me down to have to live in chaos. Short-term: no probs. Long-term: weeping.


  14. Emily, I've also loved the *idea* of organisation... just haven't quite been able to execute it :)

  15. Wow, Robyn - I can totally see why you'd be conflicted over the organ! I like throwing things out, but I don't do it anywhere near often enough. I have no idea how we have so much "stuff" - it just seems to multiply!

  16. Helen, I'm a Sagittarian too, and so is my husband! Maybe that is it :)

  17. Marybelle, I definitely think I need more containers. I seem to be good once I do have a defined place for everything, I've managed to maintain an organised linen cupboard and bathroom vanity for years as everything has a place to go... can see a trip to the shops coming up :)

  18. Tina, I used the font and ribbon from my wedding invitations, so I reckon they are quite romantic labels, too :) Glad you like them!

    Also, I reckon by the time I finish organising my house, I'll have to start again, so sorry - don't reckon I'll be able to squeeze your place in :)

  19. Rachel, I am shocked! I am imagined you to have an immaculate wardrobe :) Now, go throw out those gardening shirts, you'll feel so good!

  20. Yay, thank you for the tips, Nikki! I love your office, and plan something similar for mine. Do you remember what the name of your Ikea bookcases were?

    And I had no idea about triple-coathangers. Will need to go get some, our freshly culled wardrobe is still a bit "full" for my liking :)

    I'll work on the first rule, that will be a HUGE change for me! I think I'll start with clothes, first. Things like books I just couldn't do it :)