Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chaos Thwarted (a little bit)

It’s not putting too fine a point on things to say that my house is an utter wreck at the moment. Oh, it looks fine from the outside (well, okay, the windows need to be washed, but other than that…) but the inside looks like a bomb went off.

Multiple bombs actually.

Now, I’ll admit that even on my best day, I’m not Donna Reed. I don’t keep the place sparkling and have a 4-course meal on the table by 6 every night and prance around in a dress and pearls. But I’m not usually quite this slovenly, either.

However, with the events of the last year – the flood and my Dad’s illness and subsequent passing, I have just given up. It’s probably worth mentioning here (in my own defense) that the last time I did a major project and cleaned out and re-organized my entire office and spent an entire weekend doing it and was so proud of myself…the flood happened THE NEXT DAY.

I mean, come ON! Talk about de-motivating!

Not only do I (almost) not care any more, I just don’t seem to have the time or energy to tackle any of the 8 billion cleanup projects that are lying around waiting to get done.

Now, before you go calling the health department, I DO have a cleaning guy (yep, a guy). So, y’know, things are messy and cluttered, but not GROSS. He comes in every other Friday and does what I call “knocking the big chunks off.” In other words, he cleans the kitchen and the bathrooms and mops/vacuums all the floors.

Well, all the floors that he can get to.

Y’see, when the construction people came to the house to work on the flood damage, they had to empty out the close in my son’s room. Half of which was his stuff and the other half of which, was, well, stuff stuff. Like my wedding dress and memorabilia, some crap of my ex’s that I’d never gotten around to getting rid of, some craft stuff that overflowed from the studio, etc.

The workers ever so helpfully piled it all in the middle of the floor in the kid’s room. Where it’s been since March because I can’t put it back until they come back to finish the job in the closet which they can’t do until I pick the new carpet which I haven’t been able to do because everything I pick is either discontinued (thanks for telling me that AFTER I agonized for months over my selection) or else my mom rejects it (and since she owns half the house, she has the right to do that). Thanks, Mom.

They also had to empty out several of my many, many bookcases (I’m not just a bead addict, I’m a reading addict, too). They boxed up all the books, which was nice, except they piled all the boxes in the middle of the floor in my office/craft room/bead studio.

Again, can’t put the books back in the bookcase until the flooring gets done.

I guess with all that mess going on, it wasn’t too hard to just let some other piles start accruing as well. I’ve focused on getting myself and the kid out of bed every morning, fed and dressed, getting through the day, getting us fed again and washed and then going to bed. And then doing it all over again the next day.

And those simple things just seem to take a mighty effort these days…with not much energy left over for things like cleaning and organizing. Which, let’s face it, I was not the queen of to begin with.

But, I finally felt a glimmer of wanting to change that a while back so I bought some containers and the kid and I organized his Lego collection and got it put away. And thusly, I regained possession of my dining room table. And there was rejoicing in the empire.

Well, okay, *I* rejoiced. The kid, not so much.

Then, this past weekend, I managed to get up enough steam to grab some garbage bags and start bagging up some of the stuff that was in the middle of his bedroom floor to take to Goodwill. I can now actually walk from the doorway to his bed without tripping over anything.

Of course, 5 minutes after I did all that, he pulled out a buncha toys and the clear space disappeared again, but that’s HIS mess to clean up.

Because, as I was told later that day, I am a MEANIE.

I even managed to work a little on the pile in the middle of the office so that I could regain access to my “Bead Towers”:

Yep, my entire collection of beads (well, except for the stuff that’s in my room waiting to get put away and the stuff that’s on the couch downstairs that I’m currently working on) resides in these two towers.

Once I could get to the towers again, I realized what sad shape the contents were in (hey, I manage to get the beads back in the drawers…just not necessarily NEATLY put away in the drawers) and how much I’d really like to re-organize the whole thing and that maybe it would give me enough inspiration to finish off cleaning out and re-organizing that entire room.

Or maybe I just got distracted by all the shiny pretty things.

Either way, I found myself at the Container Store later that week in search of some nifty bead organization things. Which I found. Which I am now happily putting all my beads into.

But first, let’s take a look at my CURRENT system of organization:

Here’s what a drawer is SUPPOSED to look like. Seed beads and smaller beads are all in their labeled tubes and the tubes are inside their boxes. Larger strands and tubes of beads go in front. The only problem with this system is that things are TOO neatly put away. I have to go through every box to see everything I have. And then I have to remember which box a tube came from to put it back in the right spot which is why I usually just end up tossing them into the drawer.

Which results in this:

Now I have to look through all that mess AND the boxes to find what I want.

Then there are my specialty drawers for things like pearls or Swarovskis:

Obviously, the contents of this drawer have been well picked-through and not cleaned back up at all.

What’s my solution?

Ta Da! These are gray flocked jewelry organizers that come in these nifty trays with a clear, flexible pull-off lid.

And here’s just a bit of my lampwork collection all happy in its new home:

These trays were a little pricier, but I wanted the soft interior to protect the lampwork.

For my less expensive and less delicate beads, I got these bathroom makeup organizer thingies:

Hard to see because they are clear, but the different size sections in the tray are great for putting tubes in one place and strands in another.

And here’s what one looks like filled:

This would be for my yellow/gold/orange/peach bead drawer – I organize by colors for the most part.

And here's my completely re-organized drawer. Old boxes are still in the back, but the "mess" in the front is now neatly contained. The great thing is I can fit 2-4 of these in each drawer because there's room to stack them on top of each other.

Bad part is that the gray flocked trays don't fit in any of my drawers, but that's okay, because once this is all done, I'm looking at getting another unit with longer drawers or perhaps shelves to accommodate the new containers because I like them so much.

And there you have it. Bead Organization by a (REFORMING) slob.



TesoriTrovati said...

Funny. But I think that bead addicts all have the same issues.
I found that the Snapware containers are so great. I keep all my things grouped by color or type of component, etc. They do reside in those annoying little baggies, but at least they are further classified in these boxes. The best part? If I want to be mobile I can snap apart the ones that I need to take with me and make a tower to travel with. Very handy. I like your solution...In my new house I will have the opportunity to build a studio from the ground up. I will keep these trays in mind! Enjoy the day! Erin

SueBeads said...

GREAT ideas and great job! BTW, we have about half of the 300 billion legos that exist in the world.

mairedodd said...

i, for one, am very happy for you... i actually have tears in my eyes because i get what it feels like to be so overwhelmed that putting one foot in front of the other can be an accomplishment (that and getting the dirty undergarments for the kids in the washing machine right before i go to bed and remembering to throw them in the dryer at 5:45 so that when my 13 yr old comes down and informs me that his underwear drawer is empty, i can say 'it's in the dryer.' phew!)... baby steps build to bigger steps - or paths through the rooms... best luck - and how about hardwood floors/fake wood instead? :0)

Kristen said...

Excellent job of reorganizing!! Good for you! It's always a hefty job, but it seems like you had additional stress cleaning up after a flood. I cleaned my office and sons rooms today too, took out a whole garbage bag of stuff from both places and it felt GREAT!! Happy creating in your new organized space! :)

EmandaJ said...

Hi KJ, Like you I live in C.H.O.A.S. ( would say "Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome). I admire your re-organizing efforts. I would much rather play with my beads or fabrics than clean or declutter any day. Hang in there!


SummersStudio said...

Bravo! I am impressed and I think I am gaining strength to finish my reorganizing job. This is exactly what I have been doing for the past couple of days. I am so relieved that I am not the only one who hasn't seen the top of the dining room table for a while. Actually in my case I haven't seen the floor beneath the table for a while either. And I love a good laugh KJ. Thanks!

Marie Cramp said...

You had me rollin. I totally get it!! I have 4 kids, so the hurricane has been through my house a few times. I hate cleaning!! and even more when I did not make the mess. I do however like organizing. I have started with some of my stuff, I sort my beads by kind. Semi-precious, pearls, turquoise, and if I have a lot of one kind it all goes in its own container in little compartments. My favorite is that all my "silver" stuff is by bins of toggles/clasps, beads, bead caps etc...For the findings, to have them super handy, one of those things with the gazillion drawers made for nails etc...
Well enough rambling :)


stregata said...

I hear ya, sister! It can be soooo overwhelming, when you don't know where to start! It can only be done one step at a time, one box at a time, one pile at at time. Hang in there!

Cindy said...

Wow..your bead organization turned out great (and what a beautiful bead stash!). Congrats on your 100 plus followers!

Ruralrose said...

talk about bead porn, mother of god you could have warned us, still breathing hard, so shiny, so many, shouldn't be so excited right no. total happiness would be mine, dishes in the sink or not, to have all my beads and findings put away - great post Silver - peace for all

Spirited Earth said...

this rings so true. i was reflecting this week, since hurricane Ike my house and studio have not gotten back to "normal", which is not always very organized but not this bad..and once it gets in that shape where does one begin to untangle that mess..
congratulations on getting started in sorting things out..
one thing i am doing ,as a bandaid, is to get larger "rubbermade" boxes and dump all the, not sure what to do with it ,mess into those with a general label and stack in the garage for later sorting..or tossing..

Leslie @ Bei Mondi said...

What great ideas! Wow! You have a lot of beads. :) So much gorgeous stuff to look at.

Janeen said...

How fantastic!! I sooo need to organize my beads, but have been lacking inspiration on how to accomplish it. With two little ones it's hard to go into a store and actually *think* about what works. Thanks so much for some direction.

kelleysbeads said...

I LOVE seeing the supplies and organization of a bead addict!