Managing a Hectic Life
Do your days fly by in one hectic blur like mine? There are days that seem impossibly full, but I love every minute of my life. If not for family and friends, work and relationships, shopping and chores, there would be no joy. Like the concentrated look on your child's face when she's the only thing between the soccer ball and the goal; your eight-year-old son squatting stealthily at the edge of a pond sneaking up on a frog; or the magical moment of watching your grandson break through for enough yards to gain another first down. Moments of pure joy. But to fully appreciate that joy there needs to be a little balance. Some time just for you in that hectic schedule. Time for the gym or a book or a walk on the beach, time for shopping or a movie. Lunch with your best friend.
The toughest part of having a hectic day, at least for me, is keeping the space around me organized. It gets away from you one moment at a time, one bit of clutter at a time, until it nags at you to do something about it. But it can be so hard to find the time amid all the responsibilities thrust at you in a day. Some things need to wait, and clutter has that ability like nothing else. Clutter will wait forever for you do address it. Until it gets to the point where you don't know where to begin. It invades that time you need for yourself with nagging guilt. Clutter can be overwhelming---it's the greatest enemy of peace of mind or free time ever devised.
While there are all sorts of tips on organizing your life and de-cluttering, tips aimed at developing skills and habits that are supposed to stave off the degrading spiral into organizational chaos, it all seems irrelevant if you have no place to put the damn stuff. And creating that organized space requires patience and planning.
At our house it's been an ongoing project for seven years. In our long term remodeling plans we tackle one room at a time. And as we plan how we want to redo that room, an evaluation of storage is always a high priority. One important fact we've discovered in this process is that wall space is often more important than floor space in creating an organized room. So that even if you make a room smaller by framing in a closet or laundry room, the end result is less clutter and more open space in the new room!
Here are some examples of how we've attacked the clutter as we redo rooms in our small fixer-upper:
- Living Room: The room was originally 20 feet long x 15 feet wide. We partitioned off 6 feet to create a laundry/pantry room, a small foyer, and a built-in alcove for entertainment center and bookshelves.
- Mudroom: The mudroom we added on was small, but the project include a six foot long coat closet with baskets for hats and gloves, a dedicated shoe closet for seasonal X-country boots, hiking shoes, sneakers, etc. and a bench for putting on shoes.
- Foyer: A built-in drawer unit keeps more hats, scarves, etc, dog leash, games, and you name it, all conveniently at your fingertips.
- Laundry/Pantry: Cupboards, counter top, and roll-out bins for pet food on one wall, and shelves for folded linens, and cabinet for laundry supplies on the other wall.
- Dining: We added built-in shelves under the bay window for storage, and a small utility closet for brooms, household tools, and games.
- Guest room/den: A built-in wall unit with drawers for hobby supplies and shelves for books and photos.
- Master bedroom: Like many older homes the closet space was limited in the BR so we framed an eight-foot reach-in closet by stealing two feet from the dining room.
- Three Season Porch: We knocked the wall down and added a fireplace creating a large family room with a game area, TV, built-ins with shelves, drawers and cubbies for toys, games, and blankets to keep the room clutter-free.
Look for solutions room by room by defining your greatest storage challenge for that room. Establish priorities and the scope of the job will not overwhelm you.