Monday, April 12, 2010

"The Cabinet"

Do you have one of these cabinets...It is the catch all place for all office supplies, phone books, papers of all kinds, markers, kids crafts, cords, electronics, etc. Usually it is around the area you handle the mail. For most it is in the kitchen near a desk...

I wanted to show one of my client's NEW, organized cabinet. Too bad I forgot to take a before picture so that you could see how full of papers and stuff it was - unrecognizable. But we all have something like it...somewhere. And even the most organized people out there have to consistently maintain this special cabinet.

This cabinet is great because it has adjustable shelves. If you look closely you will see that we put the black notebooks in a clear-ish magazine holder turned on its side so they wouldn't fall over. Most of the paper that was smashed in the cabinet was thrown out or moved to permanent files but the white binder with clear sheet protectors keeps important documents.

My client found the Clear AkroBins on the left at The Container Store. We labeled them for the various things she wanted to keep near her kitchen/desk area: markers, pencils, nail supplies, office supplies, money, postage, etc. The top shelf has four areas reserved for stationary, pet supplies, cameras/cords, and checks.

To start a project like this on your own use my organizing acronym "SPASM" to help...

  1. Pull out the things in your cabinet one by one and Sort them into piles. Use a sticky note to write each category name near the pile so you don't forget. You may have categories like crafts, paper, phone books, addresses, office supplies, etc.
  2. Purge each pile. Throw away, donate or recycle all that you can.
  3. Now Assign a home to each category. Do you want to keep it in this cabinet? This step is a little like a puzzle - figuring out how and where each item will fit into the cabinet. Try it different ways until you come up with a solution you like.
  4. Next, Set limits by using containers. Decide what kind of containers you need. Try items you have around the house - old Tupperware, cups for pencils, shoe boxes - just to see how it fits. Then you can search the stores or online to find just the right containers. Set limits with statements, too. Say, "I will only use this area for stationary (or pens, phone books, post-its). When it is full I will purge and donate some to make room for the new."
  5. Lastly, Maintain! This is key to continued organization. When you notice it is getting messy follow this acronym again. Maybe you will have to make some changes, add a new category or move a category to a different location.

Have fun! Send me before and after pictures of your project! Enjoy the results but don't waste too much time staring at your beautiful cabinet!!

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