Category Archives: home organization

Quick Zone Organization

Song Lyric of the Day:

I threw your shit into a bag and pushed it down the stairs / I crashed my car into the bridge / I don’t care, I love it / I don’t care

Icona Pop / “I Love It

I used to be super organized, like Monica Geller organized. I sorted mail as soon as I got it. I could see the top of my desk. Everything was neat, orderly, and in its place. Then I got older. I got busier. And now I’m mom to an energetic toddler (like there’s any other kind, right?) whose hobbies including following me everywhere. I even have a secret closet of shame (my home office closet), just like Monica. So in order to not go insane when the house gets too cluttered and disorganized, I’ve started tackling little zones one at a time. That way I can restore order and get organized without getting overwhelmed. I can also still keep an eye on Coraline (assuming Rich isn’t around or she just wants to “help” me) since I’m working on a small area. And since I’m tackling small areas, it doesn’t take a lot of time to get each spot tidied up. Over the last few months, I’ve organized some former wastelands of kitchen cabinets, the dining room buffet and china cabinet, and bookcases, among other areas. I can even see the top of my desk again! Which is nothing short of a miracle, believe me.

One of my more recent zone organization projects was this disaster of an open-front kitchen cabinet:


We did not use this space well at all.

The counter area directly underneath was also not much better.


See how the bread is shoved to the back wall? If it’s not, our dog Troubadour will eat that whole loaf.

I actually kind of liked the corner on the other end of the counter where our collection of Food Network Magazines lived. But then one day it all escaped being soaked by water by oh, a centimeter or so because the file boxes were directly next to the kitchen sink. They had to be moved after that.


The magazine collection lived in one of our appliance garages.

One night after we put Coraline to bed, I got motivated to finally tackle these trouble spots because they were not only eyesores, they weren’t terribly practical or making the best use of the space available.

I removed a shelf from the open-front cabinet to make room for the rest of our cookbooks, several or which were stored in a cabinet (which I also later organized).


Cookbooks within reach

I then moved our magazine collection to underneath the cookbooks, where they wouldn’t be in any danger of getting soaked by water. I also finally tackled the pile of clutter (mostly my doing, I admit) that was growing by the day.


Now I can look at this area of the kitchen without wanting to scream.

Voila!: A couple of zones organized, and it took less than an hour. Now I just need to work on not re-cluttering that counter space …


Filed under home, home improvement, home organization, organization

The Home Library

Song Lyric of the Day:

Build a story in my head / It was love before we met / Happy, with my idea with you
Rich and I finally decided to start sharing pics of our new house. We held off on doing so since we were superstitious that our A-frame wouldn’t sell. Well, months later with nary a nibble on the A-frame we’ve pretty much decided screw that, and here we are.
When we moved into our new house about six months ago, my dad commented that it would take Coraline about 40 years to read through all the books we had. See, moving day was when my and Rich’s love of books bit us in the ass — there were countless boxes packed full of books all over the place. Well, we’ve only added to our collection since then, trading in used books for new titles at McKay, buying new ones at Borders or Barnes & Noble, or receiving books as gifts (always a win-win situation). Fortunately, our new house has built-in bookcases, something I used to fantasize about having. Of course, once I had them, I started obsessively thinking about how to arrange and organize our books. Would I move the fiction hardcovers out of my office? Put my children’s books downstairs? Mix nonfiction with reference? What should take the shelves of honor in the living room? So many decisions, so many damn books. (See, this is what happens when you are either 1) a librarian or 2) spent years working in retail bookstores like I did). First, I had to make heads or tails of the stacks of book boxes everywhere.

Far end of the living room.
More boxes in the dining room. Not pictured: the book boxes all over the rest of the house, including the ones that filled Coraline’s then-empty room.
Then I had to decide which bookcases would house which books. I ultimately decided that the bookcases with the taller adjustable shelves, at the dining room end of the living room, would house oversized art, home decorating, and home improvement books. The bookcases flanking the TV cabinet with shorter, adjustable shelves would be home to nonfiction, trade paperback fiction, young adult, and children’s picture books. Hardcover fiction would stay in my office, while art instruction/technique books would move down to Rich’s office. These decisions came after I changed my mind about 50 times, including rearranging everything and bugging Rich for his opinion I don’t know how many times. Before I could start organizing books, however, I had to clear the shelves of all the stuff we’d thrown on them when we first unpacked; that process alone took days.
The bookcases flanking the TV cabinet.
Caleb slinks by the still-in-the-works bookcase organization project in my office on his way to the sunroom.
The bookcases at the dining room end of the living room; the right bookcase is the one I started on first.

Closeup of my first efforts at organizing the art books.

First pass on the art books, with coffee table and home improvement books on the bottom shelves; these books ultimately all ended up on the left bookcase.

Regardless of Rich’s suggestions, I alphabetized the children’s books instead of arranging them based on size. Him making such a crazy suggestion shows that he 1) doesn’t know me at all or 2) knows me pretty damn well and that such a suggestion would drive me crazy. Which it did.

My finished children’s book bookcases, with young adult on the left, picture books on the right. Keep in mind all of Coraline’s books are still in her room.

Closeup of the picture books. That’s Coraline’s nursery video monitor on the second shelf.

The fiction hardcover books in my office. I’m still not done sorthing them.

The bookcases to the left of the TV cabinet. The bottom shelves on each side are still in the works and hold currently unsorted books.
Now you have some (undoubtedly) scary insight into how I get when I go on an organizational bender, particularly how I deal with sorting books. Want to know what’s really scary? I still have a whole bookcase on the dining room end to fill. Bwahahahaha!

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Filed under books, home, home organization, organization, personal