Continuing on with my self imposed office challenge I climbed the stairs early this fourth day mulling over the possibilities for the day. I considered various hot spots in the room and different overall organizational things I wanted to do. By the time I reached the top of the stairs I had decided today was the day I would organize the dreaded souvenir drawers!
If you follow all my blogs you know we are folks who like to travel and in those travels I collect ephemera (souvenirs) to scrapbook with at a later time. Well, as with everything else around here I am a true S.H.E (Sidetracked Home Executive) when it comes to that. So I have a set of plastic drawers that I cram those souvenirs in. It’s three deep drawers and all three are generally so packed I can barely open and close them. There is so much in fact that there are also bags sitting nearby of other items to “be filed”.
On top of this big cabinet there is also a much smaller drawer set that is suppose to be holding specialty scrapbook items, chalks, colored pencils and the like, but at this point I don’t even know what all is still in it.
My ds has also added things to the top of that. So today’s challenge. Clear that tower! Look out I am going in!
So I started from the top and started working my way down. I discovered much of the stuff on the top of the little set was artwork, projects (more to bag up like I did the previous day) and trash. That section went fairly quickly.
I was surprised to find most of the little set of drawers was empty---ahhh PRIME territory to store things in! I’ll fill those later as I sort other areas of the room I am certain.
The top drawer of the big set of drawers actually was fairly empty too—then why were there sacks of stuff sitting on the floor? Because the sacks had been taken out of the big drawer when I was trying to get to the marker brushes below it one day and I got sidetracked. Hmmm, first challenge. A better way to sort all those markers, chalks and such. Think, think, think…basement time!
Down to the first landing, down to the sunken living room, up to the second landing and down the basement steps to the first landing, then on to the basement floor I went.
I knew I needed something that was heavier than a plastic container, but not so heavy it would make the drawer hard to slide. I also knew it needed to be something that would not fall over easily.
I looked all around my stash of “stuff” down there, ruling out first one thing, then another. Finally my eyes fell on the tall baby food jars a friend had given me years ago to put jellies in. I had never used them for jelly, so there they sat gathering dust and taking up valuable shelf space.
After a visit with the dishwasher they became my new pencil and pen holders for in the big drawer. I sorted implements of my trade by type, ie: water color pencils, color pencils, brush markers, permanent markers etc. That way when I was doing a project I could just pull out the appropriate jar as I needed it.
One thing I ran into was my colored pencils were just a fraction of an inch too tall for the drawer, so they’ll go in my craft carousel on the table where my watercolor pencils already were for the same reason.
As I organized the jars by type and color I realized how much space I was going to have leftover. Looking around I wanted something seldom used to go behind the jars of the often used pens and brushes, but easy to access. I finally decided on a large Ziploc storage container/bowl to put my cords (gold, silver, red etc) in that I seldom use except around the holidays. This will not only keep those strings from rolling around and unraveling, but will provide back support for the jars in the drawer.
A second one was turned the opposite direction at the end of the first one. In this one I placed a package of washable markers that were too long to put in the jars, exacto knives , film cans of magnet buttons and similar other small seldom used items that I could get to as I need them. These I labeled so in the future I could grab just the right film can without having to open each one to see what was in it.
During that search my eyes also landed on a very large barrel of gel pens I purchased long ago. They have been taking up over a square foot of space on dh’s desk for the longest time because I had nowhere else to put them. A quick measurement showed I could put them in the drawer too! BONUS! Dh will be thrilled they are gone off his desk.
To help keep the jars from sliding and tipping over I lined the bottom of the drawer with some foam packing material that had came in a recent order we had received. Once again recycling and repurposing as I went.
By repurposing these items I had less to put in my non-burn (the packing material—wish I could find a place to recycle it). I gained that space in my soon to be food storage area with the removal of the jars. Plus the freeing up of that space on my husband’s desk. So it’s a major plus all the way around, and that was just basically one drawer.
I find this often happens as I am working the Princess Plan. While organizing one area I actually improve several other areas around the house and property. So with each progressive project the entire property improves more and more.
As I did this sorting I found more rubber stamps and punches, but there was still room for them in the shoe caddy so that didn’t create any problems. It was nice to be able to turn around and put them in without a second thought about what I was going to do with them.
I also found still more completed cards that needed filed. Again with that system already in place that was accomplished easily.
If you don’t already have tall glass baby food jars (do they even still sell baby food that way?) any scrounged jar of the right height and neck opening would work. Because I am constantly using jars for sorting items, splitting out large container purchases, infused water and storing leftovers I wash every jar that we empty in this house and store it. So I always seem to have the right size jar when an organizational project comes up. Once all my organization is complete I will recycle any non-essential jars to keep from having clutter there as well.
If your jar mouth is too wide to keep your pens upright one person on a list I’m on suggested using dried beans, rice or marbles in the bottom of the jar to keep the pencils in place. With the baby food jars I didn’t have that problem.
No packing material? Again trot over to Wal-Mart or your favorite Dollar Store and look in the shelf paper section. They sell some no slide rubber shelf liner by the rolls that I also use an abundance of in the camper. Since I am not worried about color for these in the cabinet out of sight type projects I always look for whatever color they may be closing out that week. Closeout discounts are not as good as free, but they are close.
While I had hoped to get that whole cabinet done today it soon became clear that because of several issues I would have to be satisfied with just the little drawer set being nearly empty and the top drawer now totally organized.
Guess I’ll work on the ephemera tomorrow.
Jan who took time away from the office today because she is trying to maintain a bit of clean in the rest of the house as she brings the office under control in OK