Time to Get Organized - The Ribbon in My Journal

Time to Get Organized

Phyllis Inspiration 31 Comments

January has always been a month where simplifying and reorganizing is on my mind. I don’t know if I long for quiet, simple surroundings after the wonder and excitement of the holidays or if I realize my home is in need of its annual face lift.

I read somewhere (wish I could recite the source) that a beautiful home is an organized home right down to the drawers and the cabinets. In Alexandra Stoddard’s book Living a Beautiful Life, she states “By creating beauty and order where you live and work you will be controlling the private hours of your life. Home, especially, is one area of existence where you can have control.” My dear friend is telling me that I need to get my work and home organized, and then the beauty of my surroundings will come through.

She is right! As bad as I hate to tackle projects I have pushed back, I must start this New Year by taking one thing at a time and creating beauty in the places I live: my office and my home. As I write this, I am looking around my office and thinking this is hopeless. I realize that I don’t like to discard anything as I might find another use for it later. But later never comes for some of these choice items!

One of my dear friends told me to always buy white linens, and then you can keep them looking pristine. Alexandra reminds us to put a flower in your home and on your desk to bring a touch of color to your surroundings. Our office and areas where we work are just as important as our living rooms. So today I am going to do a little something every day to create beautiful places in my home and office.

How do you stay organized?

Southern Home Winter 2016

Comments 31

  1. We had a refinance done a couple of week’s ago I purchased 6 plastic boxes, to put all the extra stuff in. I have put them in storage and in 6 month’s I will pull one out a week go through and purge, purge, purge. I have been able to donate so much by doing this.

  2. So glad to hear that I’m not the only one who keeps everything for “one of these days.” Problem is, for most things I’ve kept it would take a long time to find them once the day arrived that I actually needed to use them. My husband says it would be easier and take up less space were I to just go buy whatever I needed when I needed it. Problem is, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to find just what I wanted at that point in time and would regret having gotten rid of what I’d kept that would have been perfect for “one of these days.” Not sure where my thought processes came from on this issue, but I bet they could be traced back to my grandmother who went through the depression. I spent a lot of time with her when I was growing up, and she kept everything!


    1. Great idea….I agree……we certainly won’t take anything with us when we depart this earth. Give it to somebody to enjoy now.

    2. A wise person once said that when our time comes and it will for all of us, that the only thing we can take with us is what we have given.

  4. What a timely post! Organization and simplicity create an ordered home. I cut back on the clutter and avoid hoarding things I really don’t need when I reorganize my home. Here’s a little story that illustrates my point. I recently updated my master bathroom colors. I selected a soft grey and white color scheme, and the white cabinets needed a new coat of white paint. After emptying out my cabinets, I realized I had collected a lot of hair and beauty products. I filled two shopping bags with my deals and great finds! When the contractors finished, I organized my cabinets using rope baskets and my everyday beauty products. It is so nice to see exactly what I need!

  5. My favorite organization tool….a label gun. I label everything Christmas so that it all goes back in the same way it came out. Everything is in a pretty box on chrome shelves in the “exercise room”. I also label pantry items to keep up with expiration dates, and the same with condiments in the fridge. I clean the fridge out and wipe it down with vinegar at the beginning of each month. Closets? Hahaha! Talk to me another time on that subject. My car is clean and organized….that’s not true. But my purse is truly organized because it is small and holds only essentials which has been such a wonderful change from the madness of searching for anything in a large tote. Don’t need to carry everything to run daily errands, I have learned. Good luck to all who are attempting this earthly necessity. The good news? There are no drawers and closets in heaven!

  6. I too have a small apartment like you Ann H. I came from a bigger house with a lot of furniture and lots of just about everything! I was lucky enough to have a helper to pack up my house, and this girl gave me the best advice ever… As we were packing she said to me may I ask why you have so many salad spinners? I said for different size salads! She said keep the large one and give the other away to someone, no need to have two… In amazement I thought for a second and said that she was absolutely right! That went for a lot of my belongings, she also said do not save and put away special items just for guests, use them for everyday and enjoy them! So right now in my life I think three times before purchasing unless I have to replace something in my wardrobe or my kitchen… I also enjoy my special serving pieces that were tucked away for special occasions, when you live in a small apartment you must decide what is really important and what is just extra stuff you really do not need… I also learned from my experience that when you are free of clutter you can think so much better and life really should be simpler even if you have a large home.
    I’am in the process of some very serious cleaning because after the holiday my home needs some extra attention!

    1. Denise, you are absolutely right. After a certain age every day is a special occasion. I am using my treasures now because I deserve them. So do you. After all, tomorrow I could be on my deathbed and I would have missed the pleasures I anticipated when I carefully wrapped those lovely things in tissue paper.

  7. The first thing I do is reduce the clutter……anything you haven’t use or worn for over a year goes. Sometimes just sharing with a friend about a project you’ve put off doing is an encouragement to do it……….

  8. Thanks to everyone for all your encouragement! Being recently retired I have been taking baby steps to get our big, empty-nester home organized. It’s taking a long time, but for the first time in years, I can really clean as I organize so that I feel accomplishment when I’ve completed a bedroom, room, or area. Painstaking, but sooo worth it. I needed to hear all of your wonderful words of wisdom and encouragement today!

    Blessings to all!

  9. January is always a great time to start getting organized — as I put away Christmas decorations I put a list of what’s in there on the top of each box — and I thought, “Hey! I can do that with my kitchen cupboards, too — the ones that reach way back and have lots of room for storage.” So I plan to make a list of “What’s In Here” to put inside each cupboard door and maybe this year I can avoid the “now where did I put the ???” and instead know just where it is!
    As I was sorting through my Mom’s things after she passed away I found a note in her handwriting that says, “Do not allow your stuff to own you — you own your stuff”, so I am trying to remember and live by that. Each day is a new day to try and to begin again!!! Thanks, Phyllis, for your always encouraging messages!!!

  10. The beginning of this year had me taking books to the library, two armloads of clothes to a charity shop and boxes of miscellaneous items to Goodwill, but……..still more things to sort through, organize and donate!

  11. Yes it is that season to renew,recycle and reorganize. Alexandra Stoddard’s books are very well worn as I rethink my home’s functions for 2016…just rereading her articles promotes serenity and a desire to try something new….Flowers,candles and books are a given when I complete a procrastinated task!
    So enjoy your blog…thank you once again for inspiration an d encouragement.

  12. Sadly, I did not inherit my mother’s organizing gene! I find that once I organize things like dishes, pots, etc. I am good for awhile. On the surface, everything looks great but open a closet or cupboard and yikes!I have ongoing problems with paper…bills, letters, stationary etc.clothes in drawers and my pantry.Help!

    1. Check out Marie Kondo’s books on uncluttering. Also Barb Tako has written a wonderful book on organizing. All available through Amazon.

  13. We bought a house with 4 bedrooms, my husband, semi-retired realtor has a office, I finally have a room of my own. Office/sewing room. Now to get organize. I work for 38yrs, so I have always wanted a desk, I love flowers around the home n now I will have plants in my office. I now have a reading corner with a nice chair, bookshelves, desk in the middle of room, other side my sewing rooms. Of course my doggies too have a bed so they can enjoy my room too. I haven’t paint yet, but purple will be my colors. I bought purple shades, purple curtains already. Now for organize all of others rest of the house!!!!!!

  14. A flower on your desk! I’ve never thought of that and how wonderful it sounds. We have a small flower shop in our town and I am going to make it a practice to run in and get one perfect flower whenever I want to. Thank you so much. My goal for this year is to organize every inch of my home. Am on the third cupboard in my laundry room now.

  15. Organizing for me is a constant process and I am tackling this one area at a time. Just yesterday I was going to make a bedskirt. All my sewing materials are in a beautiful footed container that I inherited from Mother-all except my sewing machine manual. When I need to change my bobin, I depend on that manual. It should have been with all the sewing stuff but it was TOO important to put in the right place. I broke one of my steadfast rules. It is simpler and time saving to put things back where they belong when you are finished with them. The search began. Sometimes I have to learn the same lesson over and over.

    I organized my Southern Lady magazines in a special way. I have a beautiful wood tray that will hold two side by side and about eight deep. I organized them by seasons. Beautiful on my bedroom ottoman! I plan to buy a beautiful basket for the books I keep next to my bed instead of stacking them on my side table. I believe an uncluttered life makes for a more relaxing and peaceful one. And yes yes yes to fresh flowers and candles. Little treats for our soul. I am so thankful that my husband likes all these things. Happy organizing to all!

  16. Minimalism is key for me. I live in a small apartment that can be easily overwhelmed by too much stuff. I keep only those items that are truly useful and/or truly meaningful or beautiful to me. I avoid buying anything new unless I have a space for it and it can serve many uses. I have only one set of tableware to serve up to eight. My mother needed to replace her everyday flatware so I gave her mine and now I use my grandmother’s silver daily since we wash dishes by hand anyway. I loved the pattern and even though it’s a bit old fashioned, it’s still sleek enough to go with my more modern dishes, plus it reminds me of her.

    I do try to add fresh flowers. Right now I have some eucalyptus in my bath and bedroom to help the air seem fresher while the windows are shut tight. I can’t wait until hyacinth are available!

  17. “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Did my mother ever drive home that piece of sage advice! Managing a home of five children, she practiced it and set a wonderful example. Our home was one of tranquility and order. I am so thankful. I am at my most productive state when I have those same feelings today. I am like you; each new year challenges me to get as organized as I can. Thank you for reminding us that we are in this freeing task together. Happy sorting!

  18. I’m so glad you referenced Alexandra Stoddard, for those who may not have read any of her works. Give yourself a lasting gift folks and purchase the book mentioned above. Plus she’s written many other life enhancing books!!!!.
    (nice gifts for friends and not just about getting organized)

    I have the curse of “saving” things that I might use later or have “meaning” somehow……..and even in my 70’s, cannot implement the concept of letting go. Friends say organizing is so liberating, but will I ever know that feeling? Perhaps………. Keeping it all is not serving me well either. Baby steps maybe?

    This is the first time I’ve ever written a comment…….but so enjoy “Ribbon” and reading notes from others!!!

      1. I too have all of her books and re-read them as often as I can. She also posts a wonderful monthly newsletter – check out her website.

  19. I too always have an immense desire to get more organized at the beginning of each year. Last year I completely redid my small office, down to each drawer and closet space. Running my French antique business out of this small space made it a necessity, I was brutal in sorting through those ” things I might need one day” and donated boxes and boxes.

    I invested in bins, beautiful storage boxes and magazine files. It was a big undertaking, but now each day is a joy in the office. And, I always have fresh flowers or an orchid on my desk to bring me joy, and I know where every thing is, down to a single length of ribbon. Good luck, friend, it actually takes much less time than we fear, and the result will be so worth it!

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