Wednesday, May 19, 2010

organizing for the right brain

i've come to the realization that my home will never look like this.

let's face it. creative people have messy homes. now before you start protesting, i didn't say dirty, i said messy. you know it's true. i love looking at photos of cabinets with neatly labeled boxes all in a row, and i think, "that's so lovely. i'm going to do that in my house".



nice try.

the reality of it is, organizing for a right brainer isn't that simple. i mean, if you think about it, it makes can't be both a creative free spirit and anal retentive.

don't get me wrong...i yearn for those neatly labeled boxes. and files. and drawer organizers. i long for the day that someone will ask me where the fingernail clippers are, and i'll respond, "i know just the place!" many days it feels i will forever be doomed to spending half an hour every single morning looking for a clean pair of socks, or ending up with a dozen nail files because i buy one every time i can't find any of the 5 i know i already have.

but it's not hopeless. here are some solutions to sorting, storing and displaying your possessions that will work for you, my fellow right brainer :)

1. keepsakes/ephemera
everyone has them. to the untrained eye, it may look like trash, but to you, that tattered piece of paper so faded you can't read the ink anymore means something. ticket stubs, photos, wine bottle corks, and sea shells from your trip to the beach 5 years ago generally end up in a junk drawer somewhere, only to be seen once every few years. and only because you were digging around for that other flashlight battery that seems to have walked off. if they are so dear to your heart that you've kept them all these years, then why are they tucked away in a drawer? here are some simple ways of displaying these items that both free up some drawer space and create a remarkable showpiece for your home office, kitchen, or living area.

glass jars, hollowed out books and a cork board are beautiful ways of displaying pretty things. think of this display as being over your desk or a mid century modern side board.

these poloroid photo walls make my eyes so happy.

2. jewelry
if you're anything like me, when it comes to jewelry, you generally end up leaving the house without any because a) you can't untangle the giant mass of necklaces that have somehow magically intertwined themselves together b) you can't find the match to that damn earring or c) you have no idea what you even have in stock because you get an overwhelming sense of anxiety by just glancing at the hodge podge of costume jewelry overflowing from your jewelry box. this need not be anymore. here are some ideas that i find helpful and use in my own home when it comes to storing jewelry.

here's how to achieve this storage solution: 1. check out hobby lobby's damaged frames section way in the back by the frame counter. you can find some pretty rad frames that are marked 90% because they might have a dent or a chip. you can either choose to keep it as is, or paint it like i did mine. 2. cut a piece of foam board to the same dimensions as the inset of your frame. 3. either cover the foam board with cork or fabric. 4. wedge into the back inset and voila! use stick pins to fasten your items. :)

i also have a small bowl that i keep all of my rings in and i'm hoping to get my hands on a small pair of deer antlers to hang necklaces on :)

3. the kitchen
some folks are blessed with spacious kitchens and lots and lots of cabinetry. i, however, am not. my kitchen is the smallest of small. it makes cooking a breeze, because i can reach the fridge, the sink and the stove all by standing in the center of the kitchen, but when it comes to storage my kitchen gets a big ol' stamp of disapproval. this is where creative thinking needs to kick into gear - think outside the box. if you have limited cabinet space, try storing your prettier dishes on the counter top. baskets are a good way to organize recipe books and produce. decorative mixing bowls can serve has a holding area for things you grab regularly, and glass jars with a dymo label can store things like flour, sugar and pasta. here are a few (bad quality) photos of some of the things i do in my kitchen to alleviate the pains of minimal closed storage.

here i used a bamboo shelf that i bought at walmart for like, $5. on top is my anthro sugar bowl and tea cup, some of my late grandmothers dessert plates, and my most very favorite [aqua] pyrex bowl. below, i use another mixing bowl to store clothespins (used to secure bags of chips and frozen foods) and a basket that i regularly keep bread or produce in.

right now, it's being used to store some red potatoes :)

pretty mixing bowls are good for so many things other than mixing. i use this set of bowls to store things like eggs and onions and other regularly used food items in my fridge.

the basket on the left is perfect for storing the many food and recipe magazines i've collected, and the top of the microwave serves as a nice place to both store and display one of my sets of dishes.

4. lists, lists and more lists
lists are essential for any person, whether right brained or left. but for the right brained, i think they're even more so. those of us who fall into that category are generally a bit...scattered. but what good is a list if you don't look at it? if you're anything like me, once something is out of sight, it's completely out of mind. for years, i've loved making lists, but could never figure out why they didn't help me. it wasn't until recently that i realized, "duh. it's because it gets shoved in my purse or tucked away in a drawer and i forget about it!" make things visible. whether it be a list of goals, groceries or grateful dead albums you want to get on vinyl, never underestimate the wonder and practicality of chalkboard paint. it's affordable, oh-so-cool and comes in a ton of different colors other than the traditional green or black. for me, a giant (and by giant i mean 3 ft by 5ft) chalkboard wall calendar in my kitchen did the trick. (DIY coming later this month). it's a place that i see every single morning, and afternoon, and evening, and it's the perfect in-your-face way for me to keep up with deadlines, projects, work schedules and more. here are some other ways that chalkboard paint can be both a useful and funky addition to your home decor.

i love the look of the floor to ceiling green chalkboard walls in this rustic kitchen.

the inset of a pantry door is an ideal place to keep up with messages, phone numbers or your social calendar

whoever had the idea to paint a globe is a genius in my book. how creative!

betcha didn't know you could paint your appliances, did ya? you should definitely do a bit of research first, but with the right primer, you can paint your refrigerator like the homeowner in the photo above did. what a unique way to keep track of your grocery list!

along with chalkboard paint, similar companies also make white board paint (that you can write on with dry erase markers!) and magnetic primer (so that your chalkboard wall can be a magnet board as well!) i've never tried the dry erase paint, but as far as the magnetic paint goes, i suggest doubling the amount of coats the can recommends so your magnetic bond between wall and magnet will be strong enough. i learned from experience. :)

you see? just because you've spent the last 20 years living out of piles, doesn't mean that organizing your home has to be a daunting task. just know what works for you and go for it. i'd love to see what you guys come up with! send me a link so i can check out your awesome right brained organizational skills :)


(click on photos for credit. otherwise, photos were found via google or are my own)


Carol Anne said...

I so needed this post! I am the worst with organizing. Thanks for the tips!! I will definitely have to put some of these ideas to use :)

Anonymous said...

i love love love this.
the whole time i was saying "ya ya thats me, ya!"

boots said...

im swooning over the chalk board kitchen and the Polaroid wall. amazing.

Stephanie said...

Yay, some organizing tips that might actually work for me!

Han said...

I so agree about the creative people having messy houses - I have one patch in my room that I can actually call my spot and it's a bomb site! lol.

I love the fridge/blackboard it's engenius (Sp?)

Anonymous said...

question! the owl on your cork board! i have that same necklace, did yours break too? mine did like a week after i bought it :(

Heidi pumpkin pie said...

this is the best post ever! I have gotten so overwhelmed organizing my craft room! I've been organizing it for a year! then when I resigned my lease all I could think about was my damn craft room being a wreck for another year. I've started some piles so that each day I go through them and trash what I don't need then make a pile of "left overs" and repeat. till hopefully 1 day there will only be 1 pile to go through :)

I also found that bulletin boards are great. they secure some of my favorite treasures and I get to do color schemes, rearrange items on them, and it's off the floor or out of a box.

You saved me with that jewelry frame!