Sunday, January 15, 2012

Organizing Projects

I absolutely love organizing things. I can spend more time on a storage bin aisle at the store than in an entire mall. I stand gazing and dreaming about the various things I could organize if I had this bin or that.

When I see someone leaving the store with a shopping cart filled with bins, I'm tempted to excitedly run up to them and ask what neat project they're working on. I always refrain but smile as I imagine the fun that awaits them back at home.
I know it's a little strange.

One of my favorite uses of storage bins is for our fold up clothes. Since we have moved so many times and had to fit in a variety of homes, it has been much easier to use storage bins as "drawers" under our beds than to find space for chests of drawers in each bedroom. It's also easier for the younger kids to put away their own clothes and keep them neat when their "drawers" are easily accessible. As an added benefit, instead of packing when we go on vacation, we simply snap the lids on our boxes, load them in the van, and go!

A couple of years ago I was at a new friend's house and as we toured her home she showed me the boys' playroom that had the most amazing system for organizing Legos that I had ever seen. The Lego pieces were separated into bins according to color or function. The mom commented on how much more her boys enjoyed their Legos once the organization had been done.

With 4 boys in our family, our Lego collection had grown to enormous proportions and was contained in several mega-bins. The boys spent as much time searching for the pieces they needed as they did actually building creations.

Inspired by my friend and motivated by my love of organizing, I challenged Sullivan and Harrison to a "Lego Organization." I figured it would take a couple of hours but it was much harder than I imagined. Before it was over, I was begging all the other family members to join us in the mission by taking a shift in what had become a Lego Land nightmare.

But once it was done, it looked great. Of course, the true test of any organizational project is time. If things don't maintain their organized state, the project is not a success. So, I'm happy to report that the Lego organization is celebrating it's 2 year birthday this month! My boys (and now even Sheridan) spend hours upon hours creating with their Legos. Thanks, Jackie, for introducing us to this great way of organizing everyone's favorite plastic building brick!

Our bins are the rolling type so the boys can move them to the middle of their floor when they're working on big creations. Some of the bins were purchased new but it's more exciting to find them at thrift stores for a fraction of the cost.


Another organization project was motivated by a lack of drawer space in the old farmhouse kitchen. Looking through a Country Living magazine one day, I saw an article about kitchen islands and noticed how terribly expensive they were: hundreds or even one thousand dollars! Studying the pictures closely, I realized how much some of the islands resembled old chests of drawers. I decided I'd put the piece of furniture on my "Thrift Store Search List."

You can imagine my excitement when I found this solid wood chest of drawers in a thrift store for about $30.

This mother hen was spying my project before I began working on it in the yard.

At first I didn't know what to do with the back that had writing on it and was not the same, nice wood as the front of the piece.

I spray painted everything except the top. One of the drawer knobs was missing so I switched them around a bit and bought two new pulls for the top drawers. The small drawers are great for serving utensils and the other drawers are deep enough for my frying pans, food processor, griddle, and popcorn popper - helping keep my kitchen counter tops a bit less cluttered.


I decided to paint the back with chalkboard paint. We put messages on it from time to time but when I first finished it, I made this fake menu for the week to demonstrate the new island's chalkboard feature that I knew would meet with scrutiny from my male family members who don't have any appreciation for these crafty projects of mine.

Making my pretend menu more believable, I wrote the verse from Proverbs, "She gets up while it is still dark and provides food for her family." We all snickered when a new friend happened to be visiting and he stared in amazement at the menu and said, "Whoa! I'm eating with y'all this week!"

This organizational project is celebrating its one year anniversary and continues to serve its purpose really well.

1 comment:

Lucy said...

Nice job making your own island for your kitchen Mrs. Alexander. Such a creative and thrifty idea!