SOCIAL STUDIES This Week, The World is Getting Messy Maria A Hernandez

Sometimes, I look at my closet and I just get overwhelmed.

The amount of stuff that I have is absolutely ridiculous. I have no idea how to make sense of it all. There’s clothes, shoes, purses, backpacks, a  mini Christmas tree, DVDs, a plastic bin full of summer clothes and that’s just what I can see from my computer desk. Like I said, I get overwhelmed by it. So much so that I’ve been ignoring the growing mess in my room for the past week. I figure it will magically go away by itself. I sincerely hope that my home came with a house elf that I have no knowledge of, yet.

Ugh. I am so bad at getting organized! I wish that I could afford one of those professional organizers that come into your house and just get rid of everything you don’t need. Le sigh. I guess that since that is not happening anytime soon, I should at least try to sort my mess out. That’s what adults do. Clearly, I am still on my way to becoming a full-functioning adult.

Here are some of my theories on a messy (I really should say messier) world:

1. The environment. We’ve already made a pretty big mess out of that one, but without any sort of clean-up…OH MY GOD. I can already see the 3 foot long rats (I apologize for the visual).

2. Hoarders would be a reality in (sorry) real-life…what I’m trying to say is: a common thing. Eeek! As a side note: that show terrifies me. I’m not a squeamish person, but Hoarders has made me gag. One word: meat locker (again, sorry for that).

3. On the upside, we wouldn’t have to pay taxes for things like garbage pick-up. There has to be a silver-lining to this, and I’m grasping.

4. The more I think about a dirty the world, the more freaked out I get. I’ve been in labs with syringes and nasty chemicals. Can you imagine if all that stuff wasn’t properly disposed of?! We’d all be dead.

Aaaah! No, I’m going to get myself together. I can manage to organize a few clothes. I don’t want to end up on Hoarders you guys (trust me, the potential is there)! Don’t get me wrong, I have my limits. I don’t leave food or anything that can spoil in my room. Do any of you have good ideas for organizing a closet? I’m in a constant battle with mine, and I’d like to know about others’ organizational skills. I am lacking in the organization department.

Image via EtiquetteBaby

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  1. Getting organized is easy. Staying organized is a battle. My system instead: Dirty clothes go on the floor (the biggest shelf in the house). Clean clothes go in a ball in my laundry basket. If they get wrinkly then spray with water throw them in the dryer for 5 minutes. Who has time for all this other craziness?

  2. I organized my clothes first by season and then by color… that way I always know where to put stuff away once it’s clean, instead of just stashing it where available. It is veeeery simple advice, but it is a start. Good luck! =)

  3. These ideas are genius! I’m going to try them all! Over the weekend I was able to make some sort of order out of my closet, but I’m planning on a major overhaul. For some reason that quote, “A disorganized life is the sign of a disorganized mind” always haunts me. Basically, I see a lot of throwing out/donating clothes, a label maker, plastic bins and other organizational tools in my future. Thank you!

  4. I used to change out clothes seasonly and then I got bed bugs and was told by the exterminator that clothes under the bed in the giant suitcase I bought to bring shit to nyc with me and haven’t used since is NOT an option. I somehow managed to squeeze all clothes into drawers and closet. Then my last boss gave me the simplest most wonderful advice ever for hanging clothes and I would hang as much as possible for this to work.
    1. With all clothes clean and in your closet, face the hook out towards you. As you start to wear things you can turn the hanger the right way. At the end of the year, what you haven’t worn needs to go. My exceptions are cocktail dresses and interview suit clothes, etc that need to come out every now and again. I personally realized that I don’t wear any sweaters that have wool in them because they drive my crazy with itchiness. Gone! While I loved that vest when I bought it in 2006, it hasn’t been worn in years. Gone! Those pants NEVER fit right. Gone! It really works.
    2. Trash any clothing item with unintentional tears or stains. You will never wear these out in public. Is it your super soft at home tshirt? Then go to old navy and replace it with a brand new $7 tshirt without stains and holes.
    3. Fix anything that needs hemming/repaired. If your aren’t willing to fix it, you won’t wear it.

    I am paired down, wear what I have and have room for the things that I fall in love with!

  5. Plastic bins. I’m all about plastic bins and labels. And down-sizing. To down-size properly you have to change the mentality from “What Can I Bear To Part With” to “What Can I Not Live Without”. With the first mentality, you box/hang/store/stash things that you like or have sentimental attachment to. With the second, you get rid of those things because you become aware that they are essentially just clutter. As you give them a long, heart-wrenching fairwell, just remind them (and yourself) that telling them goodbye means you’re making lots of room for new “hellos”. And also, if you donate that stuff, it will find a new, loving home!

    I think I should let you know, I am an OCD organizer. The main rooms of my house may be covered in laundry, baby toys, and arts and crafts supplies, but step into a closet or storage area of my house and you see walls and shelves full of plastic-contained, individually-labelled bliss. (And normally, it’s also color-sorted)

    If you are having trouble getting started, push all your clutter into one big pile. Make your bed. That way you have some surface area to get started sorting. Designate different areas for different things. I’m not sure what categories might make sense for you, but when organizing my personal closet, my piles are generally “Stuff to Keep”, “Stuff to Trash”, “Stuff to Donate”, “Stuff to Store” and “Stuff that-has-big-holes-or-is-missing-a-button-but-I-love-it-and-might-be-able-mend-it”. Then start compartmentalizing. Bag/box “donate”, “trash”, “mend” stuff. Put these in appropriate places (donations in car so you can drop them when convenient, trash in garbage can, mendables near a sewing machine or in their own basket in laundry room). Now that you have freed up some sorting space, decide appropiate new categories for “store” and “keep” stuff. Maybe your storage includes a mixture of mementos and gifts…sort, box, label. Stash neatly in closet. Do the same thing for your keep pile…and while you’re at it, take a look in your closet for effective ways of putting things back in. There are so many great options for organizing.
    You can use hanger dividers and separate your clothing by occasion (semi-formal, work clothes, going out clothes, etc) or (and this is how I do it) separate pants, shirts, long sleeves, dresses, jackets/sweaters. In each category, have sub-categories. With shirts, start out with t-shirts, daily wear, dress shirts. Same thing for long sleeves. Dresses, go from strapless, to spaghetti strap, to medium sleeve, etc. OR you can do what I did in high school (which was mostly for aesthetic appeal)…hang jeans and skirts together, then put everything else in ROY G. BIV order….I really loved that big fabric rainbow. {teenage nostalgia}

    Anyway, this is an eternity or two long so I will wrap it up, but once you sort your hanging clothes I think it’s time to look into storage solutions. You will want to consider installing shelves, coat hooks, etc. I don’t know what variety of items you store in your closet, but normally it’s the accessories that cause the clutter, mainly because you don’t have a designated area for them. Depending on the size and shape of you closet, come up with solutions for shoe storage, hanging belts, scarves, purses, etc, and whatever else you might have.

    Two of my biggest tips for ANY girl…Keep TWO laundry baskets….one for dirty clothes, and one for stashing clean clothes (and their hangers) for when you are on one of your desperate, last minute wardrobe change binges. That way you don’t end up washing clean clothes. Just toss them in the clean bin, and hang them back up when you get home. SECOND…keep a similar bin in or around the closet. This is a miscellaneous bin for things that you just don’t know what to do with…like earmuffs. I never know what to do with earmuffs. When you have time, you can find a home for these items or if they are the hopeless type, they can stay living in that bin. (Just don’t let it get so full that it overflows or becomes impossible to find things in…)

    That’s my advice for getting organized. My advice for STAYING organized is the same thing that every 1950′s sitcom mom told her kids a dozen times… “A place for everything and everything in it’s place”. When an item becomes “clutter” it’s because it has no home. Give it a home where it can live when you aren’t using it. Designate some drawers or cabinets in your home as “clutter only” areas, where miscellaneous lonely items go to play. This way, things that you only have in single or moderate amounts have a place to be. (Think the junk drawer in your kitchen).

    Happy organizing!!

  6. You just articulated exactly what’s been on my mind the past two weeks — well maybe year. I used to be the most organized person you’d ever seen, and now my tiny apartment makes me want to pull my hair out. So much stuff everywhere! I’m about to move to New York in August, where my apartment will be even tinier, so I’m starting the very slow and agonizing process of purging some of my stuff.

    So, less stuff = more organized closet (and life)? That’s what they say, anyway. But I’ll have to see if this is actually what happens.