Today I want to answer some of YOUR Organization questions that are stopping you from having the home you love!
Big thanks to our sponsor The Organized Home where you can ask questions about organizing YOUR house, as well as getting ideas and doing the things to organize your home.
In this episode
Where to take things you don’t need (and you don’t want it to go to the dump)
How to move into a new home and be organized
How to get your family to help organize
Our episode on going to couples therapy.
How to decide where things go and help others put it away.
Using masking tape to put labels on bins
Remembering there are no rules
Other things that might interest you
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other household tips podcasts:
[00:00:00.130] – Hilary Erickson
Hey guys, welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today on episode 138, I am answering your organization questions. I asked on social media and in my organizing group, and you guys gave me some good ones so I can’t wait to untangle it.
[00:00:23.070] – Hilary Erickson
Hi, I’m Hilary Erickson, the curly head behind the Pulling Curls Podcast. We untangle pregnancy, parenting, home, and even travel. We know there’s no right answer for every family, but hopefully we can spark some ideas that will work for yours. Life’s tangled just like my hair.
[00:00:45.910] – Hilary Erickson
Hey guys, before we get started, go ahead and subscribe. This podcast has so much good information. Even if you’re not interested in the pregnancy ones, you can totally skip those even if you’re subscribed and just listen to the family ones. I think you love it. So subscribe on your favorite podcast player and bonus karma when you leave a podcast review over there as well. Thank you.
[00:01:03.930] – Hilary Erickson
So I just like answering you guys’ questions on the podcast. I’m going to try and make that like a regular thing. Today we are answering organizing questions that I got. So let’s jump right in my first one. Here’s the question. My biggest stumbling block is I am ready to purge. I just don’t want to take to the dump. I probably have thousands of dollars of craft supplies if that’s you raise your hand. I know there’s a lot of you out there scrapbook, painting, sewing, wreath making, and more. I also have boxes and boxes of clothes to donate to our local store and it isn’t taking donations at this time.
[00:01:31.610] – Hilary Erickson
What do I do? So I’m guessing that that was like during COVID when I asked this Washington and hopefully places are taking donations. It’s just up to you what you want to do. A lot of times I end up just making the choice to throw it away. Now, if you had a big group of something like that, you could consider asking a local elementary school if they’re interested in it. The Boys and Girls Club, the library. You could ask call any of those places and see if they’re interested in it. I definitely do feel better about purging when I know that it’s going to a good home. But I also really feel good about purging when it just gets out of my house. So everybody has to make the choice that works for them. But those are some places you can consider for craft stuff. If you just have one or two things and I can’t send them to Goodwill, although usually I can, I will just throw them away. I don’t feel proud about it. But is it different to take up room in the landfill in my house? I don’t know. I should take responsibility for it.
[00:02:24.380] – Hilary Erickson
And when you do toss a lot of stuff like that, make a vow that you’re going to make a change because you’re not going to buy all those craft supplies and those kind of different things, like you’re ready to make a change. So I think that’s a really common question and a one time Chuck just vowed to not make it happen again. Right?
[00:02:41.170] – Hilary Erickson
Do you ever just feel like it’s unfair that some people can have company over at a moment’s notice? Their house is just super easy to clean up and they can relax on the couch with Netflix while you feel like you always have things to do around your house. That can totally be you. The Organized Home is all new in 2021. We’re talking about decluttering, zones, organization systems that actually work. We’ve got assignments and challenges. I hope you’ll join us. You can use coupon code UNTANGLED. Look for the Organized Home link in the show notes.
[00:03:11.050] – Hilary Erickson
Next question. She says, I really struggle for when I finish cleaning and decluttering and I look around and feel so discouraged with all the stuff everywhere, it looks like I haven’t cleaned it all. At that point, I lose desire and I feel overwhelmed by it all. I do understand everything should have its place and I totally agree. But that’s not the case around here. Hopefully one day it will click and I’ll figure it out. I also like the thought of filling some trash bags and being done with it. Just like I said before. Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with throwing things away and moving on with your life. That’s what the dump is there for. Clearly we can’t fill our entire planet with trash, but if it’s not stuff you’re using, get it out of your house. That’s the first thing. There’s absolutely no reason that it needs to be there. See, if a friend needs it, send it to Goodwill. Send it to a place that could use it. I’ve already mentioned some places before. Yeah, get it out of the house. And also while you’re doing that, make the vow that you’re done shopping for things like that.
[00:03:56.860] – Hilary Erickson
Right? But a lot of times you pick just a small spot to organize in. And I think a lot of it is feeling proud about that small spot that you got done. So even though the room looks like a tornado hit it, aka my daughter’s room, you can still feel really good about the drawer or the cabinet area that you organize and how good it is and how effective that system is and try and just ignore the rest and just feel good about the thing that you got done today. And then tomorrow you pick a new area to hit. So don’t feel discouraged by all the elephant that you need to eat. Be really glad that you took the bites that you did today and tomorrow you can take more bites and really make a difference. And when you’re creating systems that really work and therefore the things that you want to keep, then slowly but surely the things that you want to take care of will find their way into those systems and the things that you don’t and aren’t important to you will find their way out of the house. But sometimes it takes a little extra effort or deciding what’s right for you if it needs to go to Goodwill or the trash.
[00:04:50.290] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, here’s a really good one. How can I help my family learn to put things back where they got them? Right? Anybody else? First off, you need to be aware that kids just don’t naturally do that. And so while it’s easy to be like everyone should put things away where they got them, it just doesn’t have to come naturally to kids. Things you can do is to put labels clear bins so that they see everything else that’s in there. I see a lot of people who have these cute little Wicker baskets. Those would not work with my kids because they need to see what’s in there. The more clear things for kids, I think, the better labels. And then also calling them back time and time again to be like, hey, who was going to put this away? That’s what I say, especially to my older kids. And they kind of look at me guiltily because essentially they think I’m going to put it away because I’m their servant. But I just asked them who they thought was going to put it away. And so slowly they are getting a little bit better about it, but even I’m not so good about it.
[00:05:42.760] – Hilary Erickson
And so you have to show some grace and be willing to sometimes clean up after other people, which totally sucks. But asking them who they thought was going to put it away, I think is a really good question, because if your kids are older, they realize that you shouldn’t be cleaning up after them, I hope. And if they are thinking that you’re going to clean up after them, then that’s another problem. So labels clear bins and then asking them to come back and put it away and ask them who they thought was going to put away. Is there a ferry that puts the milk back in the fridge? Yeah, fridge stuff really bugs me, but I get it. Same for cleaning up after themselves. Like somebody will make eggs on the stove and just leave me the pan. Oh, drives me crazy. I’m here with you. If you’re with us, tell us on Instagram. The next one is, what steps did you take when you moved into your new home so you were organized from day one? First off, I think that might be a bit of a mess, unless you built like a custom home and you knew where you wanted everything to go.
[00:06:28.950] – Hilary Erickson
But my last move, we bought the house and we’re in the house within 25 days. And we didn’t live by the house. So I hadn’t come and measured and made a plan. I was just like, now it’s time to put away the kitchen. I will say that when I move into a house, one of my biggest goals is to make sure that I put everything away in one room every day. So we’ll tackle the entire kitchen in one day. Then we’ll go to the bedrooms in one day. Actually, I think we did the bedrooms first because at least our bedroom, because it just felt so nice to have a bedroom to come into. And also the bedroom is less hard to unpack than the kitchen. But I think I tackled the kitchen on the second day. And a lot of times I just put stuff away in the same place that we had it at our old house because I knew I would be able to find it. Like, I would just think, Where should this be? And I would think, well, it was here in my old house. And so I would go look there, and then I’ve just enhanced the system the longer that we’ve lived here.
[00:07:21.290] – Hilary Erickson
Also, we moved from very different climates. So the things that I needed in Arizona were not the things that I needed close at hand when we lived in the Bay Area. So a lot of things change, and you’re just not aware of all those things right when you move there. So give yourself some grace.
[00:07:34.930] – Hilary Erickson
Second of all, if it’s in your budget, buy some, especially in the kitchen, some like bins and things that are going to fit the things that you want to go in the drawers and maybe buy a lot of them and plan on returning a good number so that you can make organized drawers in the beginning. Another thing you could do is just put the things in the drawer and then plan to get bins once you have the money or the time. It’s so hard because I think when you move into a house, you are not well off. At least that’s been the case for us. We haven’t moved well. Our kids have been older, and we’ve made a little bit more money. But a lot of times when we’re moving in, it’s just kind of like bare bones because a lot of that money went to closing costs and stuff like that. So it really depends on your situation. But also, if you live close to the house, something that I’ve done before is sketch out everything and then try to be really mindful about what I want in each area. So you could sketch out the drawers and be like, in the top drawer, I want cooking utensils in the second drawer.
[00:08:25.220] – Hilary Erickson
I want less used cooking utensils, third drawer, big things, you know, and it really only needs to make sense to you. I see a lot of organizers on Instagram or TikTok saying, this is the way that you’re supposed to do it, but in reality, you’re just supposed to do it in a way that works. It doesn’t matter if they say that’s the way to do it. I don’t know who makes these organizing roles, but whatever works for you is the best way to do it now. Like, keeping spices away from your exact oven is probably the better way to do it. But again, you just want to make it work for you. So I don’t know if I really answer your question. Every time I’ve moved, it’s just been sheer chaos. First house that we bought, my baby was ten days old. Second house again, we moved from state to state in like 20 days. So sheer chaos. And don’t be afraid to reform systems, especially as your kids get older. You have different things that you want to use. Different appliances, especially in the kitchen, will make you have to reorganize. And then we had more money, so we were able to buy pull outs and things like that.
[00:09:15.770] – Hilary Erickson
So give yourself some grace. Okay, we got two more questions. What do you do when you look at a disaster of a house that you get completely overwhelmed? Totally have been there. What do you do when you get no cooperation? Well, okay, let’s answer that first one. What do you do when you’re just super overwhelmed? First off, you remind yourself that this is totally normal. Hilary totally gets overwhelmed. When I look at organizing projects, it’s just normal. So remind yourself that this is normal. This is the part where I feel overwhelmed, just like on the Friends episode and then dive in. Right. The other thing you can do is just take small bits at a time. Don’t feel like you have to organize your entire bookshelf, take one shelf at a time and start there. Right. And then it feels so good when you get that one shelf done and you’re going to feel so proud of yourself, you’re really going to want to move on to shelf number two. Okay, next part of this is what do you do when you get no cooperation from anyone else in the household, which I think is a really common issue.
[00:10:04.940] – Hilary Erickson
Right? I get a lot of people who email me about husbands who aren’t helping out. Again, the only thing you can do is start yourself. Right. And I always recommend start in an area that’s just kind of yours that you’re going to be able to keep clean. If it’s an area in your bedroom, your drawers, something like that, that you’re going to have a sanctuary of an organization that feels so good for you. And then you’re slowly just going to work through the rest of your house. And sometimes your partner is going to feel inspired and want to help you, and sometimes they’re not. And either way, you can’t make them want to have an organized house. All you can do is make sure that you’re organizing and it’s feeling good for you. So those are the things that I really recommend. If it’s kids, you really need to teach them how to organize. So try and make it fun and make sure that you’re doing it with them, though. Just say hey at least the first time. Don’t just say, hey, you need to organize your desk. You’re probably going to need to go in there and do it with them and make it fun, which is not fun that moms have to do that kind of a thing, but it’s just going to make it better in the long run.
[00:11:01.480] – Hilary Erickson
So try and make it fun. Put on some music, get them some fun bins at the dollar store, things like that, so you can help them organize, too. And if your spouse ever is like, hey, what can I do for you? Bring up organizing. Hey, could we defrost the freezer together, right? Sometimes that’s what we do on our date. We do a project together around the house. My husband and I garden together, and we find that really enjoyable. So sometimes we do projects around the house and sometimes that’s fun. And sometimes I do them on my own and sometimes he does them on his own. So, yeah, my advice is to do an area that can be organizing sanctuary. You have to take the lead, which is fine, because this is something you want, and clearly it’s not something that they really care about. And then you have to just be okay with it or maybe go to counseling. My husband and I check out the episode on marriage counseling. I’ll try and put that in the show notes, but sometimes some counseling helps remind them why it’s important to you. And because they love you, they’ll make it important to them.
[00:11:51.450] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, last part of this question is what kind of systems can be put in place to keep your sanity? For me, it’s really doling out each day and having an area for each day. So Mondays is the kitchen, Tuesdays is the bathroom, Wednesdays bedrooms. Thursdays is like office slash playroom. Fridays is our living room. So having those in place where I just have to focus on that area really helps. So that’s what I totally recommend. And it just helps keeps me sane and focused on just one area. Instead of feeling like I need to do my whole house every day, I just think, okay, it’s Wednesday, what do I need to organize in my bedroom? And today I think I’m going to pull out some sweaters and stuff that I’m just not wearing and not loving for my closet, just a low key, five minute task. And it really makes my closet easier to go through, but also isn’t overwhelming. So that’s my biggest tip there. Okay, final question. Homes for things. How do you label where things go help others, putting it back. We kind of already went over this, but labeling again, there’s so many organizers out there that are like, you have to have your label machine, guys.
[00:12:52.160] – Hilary Erickson
For a long time, I didn’t have the money for a label machine. Also, I didn’t really have the space. That was just like one more thing to organize. So I’m a big fan because it’s often there is to just take some masking tape and a Sharpie and throwing it on. That way, labels don’t have to look pretty. Yes, they’re nicer when they do. I have some really cute ones that I’ve made on my Cricket, by the way, I love my Cricut Joy for making labels. If you’re looking to make really cute labels, I have a Cricut Joy post that I’ll put in the Show Notes. So cute. But labels don’t have to be cute in order to be workable. So using masking tape, I also have Post It note strips. I think I got them in a store called Daiso in California, but it’s just like strips of Posted Notes. It’s paperbacked and Posted Notes stickiness, so those make for really easy on off again labels. Those are things you can use. So let’s review. And we’ve got the Cricut Joy that’s the most expensive. And we’ve got a label maker. They’re not that expensive.
[00:13:41.790] – Hilary Erickson
And there are some compact ones. The ones at Costco are not very compact, but there are some smaller ones. In fact, I’ve seen some label makers that you can type out the label on your smartphone and then the actual label maker is quite small. So those are awesome. And then masking tape or just writing on the bin with a Sharpie. I always recommend using masking tape, though, just in case you change that bin reasoning. You don’t feel like you have to block it out or stuff like that. So I love using washi or masking tape or painters tape and just writing the label on the bin and sticking it away. Remember, there are no rules except making it work for you. So stop thinking that the people you follow on Instagram have some secrets or magic or there’s some reasoning behind their rules. No, sometimes that rule is charging clients extra for extra bin. And sometimes those rules are like, seriously OCD issues, like when they’re like, twist every single can so you can see the label. Sure you can. But also, I’d probably rather spend some time watching Netflix than twisting every single can.
[00:14:36.230] – Hilary Erickson
So totally up to you. But those are my best tips for that. And again, like I talked about before, asking people who they thought was going to put it away when they leave something else, it’s just a little bit of shame. It’s fine, but they’re feeling the shame. You’re not putting the shame on them. It’s just a question. And don’t make them feel shameful. Just really, who did they think was going to put that away? I mean, I feel like we all feel like that at work too, when they put up a sign that says, Your mother doesn’t live here. And I’m kind of like your mom does live here, but she ain’t going to put away all your crap thank you. Anyway. Okay, that’s soapbox there. Anyway. I hope you guys enjoyed this episode.
[00:15:05.180] – Hilary Erickson
Next week’s episode is about if you can refuse exams in hospital. Really controversial issue, but if you’re not pregnant the next episode after that we’re talking about how to make things fun for moms during the summer. I think we spend a lot of time thinking about how to make things fun for our kids. But how do we make it fun for moms too? So we’re going to talk about that. Do not miss it.
[00:15:24.440] – Hilary Erickson
Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode. We know you have lots of options for your ears and we are glad that you chose us. We drop episodes weekly, and until next time, we hope you have a tangle free day.