This week, I have been on an organizing kick. It all started thanks to Pinterest (that is a blog entry for another day). One of my pins last week was about organizing your "medicine cabinet". Now I put that in quotes because back in the day, a medicine cabinet was typically something that hung in your bathroom. In the pin, the "medicine cabinet" was an actual kitchen cabinet with everything from children's medicines, to first aid products, to sunscreen, to regular medicines. In my house, it consists of two full and two partial shelves of STUFF. Yes, the dreaded STUFF. It was a constant jumble, despite some half-hearted attempts to tidy it up. However, I was constantly being asked, "Do we have _____________?"
Ultimately, I followed the pin to the originator's blog, A Bowl Full of Lemons. It was my idea of heaven. Lots of great ideas for organizing your life. Something that I often pine to do, but lack the motivation or am totally overwhelmed by. What I found attractive about this blog, was she broke down a project into manageable pieces to deal with the dreaded STUFF.
My first step, was to go buy containers. She showed a selection of sizes that complemented each other in stacking. So I went and made my first purchase of the day. Yes, you read that right "first purchase". This project involved four trips to the store to buy containers, more containers, return correct lids. First lesson learned, next time I would perhaps lean towards buying too many, that if need be, can be returned. The time wasted going back and forth to the store, made the project longer than it needed to be.
Now to tackle the actual dreaded STUFF. I set up containers and started sorting. Beside the sorting area, was the trash can. If it was out of date, it got tossed. If it was partially used and there were more than one partially used, it was combined. If it was something that we bought, was within date, but never likely to be used, it was placed in a bag to be donated to the local church food pantry, that also supplies toiletries to their clients. One of the things that made me really crazy was the number of small tubes of toothpaste floating around, you know the kind that the dentist gives you. So those got a special container on the bathroom counter, with a note saying, "Please use these up before using a full-size tube. Love, Mum".
The final step was getting out my label maker and labeling the containers according to what they were for. Most of the labels are straightforward: Pain Relievers, Sunscreen, Supplements, Soap, Deodorant, Oral Health. But I also had a little bit of fun with this phase of the project. There are two boxes, one labeled Tummy and one labeled Tushy. We had two boxes of first aid products. The top box has a selection of band-aids, antibiotic creams, and the more common things you would need treatment for. The bottom box has ace bandages and items you might need, but not as often as a band-aid. I had initially labeled them both First Aid, until my husband said that the top one should be First Aid, and the bottom one, labeled Second Aid. Again, I decided to make it a bit fun for the searcher.
I will admit, I was so pleased with the results, that I open the
closet door just to admire my efforts. The rest of the STUFF in the closet still needs serious
attention, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.