My clutter problem areas

September 25, 2014

I’ve finally been tackling some my problems areas over the past couple of weeks. Not my hips and stomach – but the ones in the house. ;) I’ve let the house go just a little lately – I’ve been so focused on the reno that everything else kind of falls apart. Well, I mean, we aren’t living in filth or anything – but I don’t keep up with clutter well when I’m distracted by DIY projects.

There comes a point when I’m done with it though. Like D.O.N.E. You know it’s serious when the caps come out. So I’ve been working on small projects here and there just to make me feel better.

Our garage, along with my car and our kitchen island, are just spots I don’t keep up with. They are perpetual messes. I’ve tried to change my ways and have gotten a little better with age, but not much.

The garage is worst of them all – after a summer of working on projects it is an absolute disaster. Thing is, we always park in there – so no matter how bad it is we make room for the cars, so that’s something. We may have to jump over things to get to them, but we can park inside!

My work bench had become an absolute PIT:

disaster area

I can’t believe I show you some of these pictures – but I always want to share the real stuff with the pretty. I’m normal. Well maybe not, but close.

But I had that spot looking GREAT after about an hour of concentrated clean up:

DIY work bench

I’m gonna be honest here – a few of those things were chucked into the other side of the garage – that’s also a disaster. I really would have just put it away, but we can’t really walk through that part right now…cause it’s a disaster. Baby steps. (For the easy DIY instructions on how to make that work bench go here.)

I have talked for YEARS about trying to get a better handle on the paper that comes into our house. I’m just a piler – it’s me and I refuse to fight it any longer. I pile it up for a couple few weeks and then tackle it all at once:

The basket is now mostly empty again:

My goal is to sit down once a week to address everything in the basket – we’ll see if that happens. Snort.

My favorite organizational project of the past couple weeks is this one though. Listen carefully when you look at it – you’ll hear angels singing:

organizing small tools

Do you hear them??

I picked up this little organizer from the hardware store about, oh I don’t know – six months ago? Yeah. 

My little bits of DIY things have been floating around everywhere up till now. I’ve kept some in tackle boxes:

tackle box for screws and nails

Which is actually a great solution if you only need a nail or screw occasionally. They aren’t big enough to hold the number of pieces I have though.

Mama needed something bigger and better. This thing is amaaaaazing:

organizing small things

I sat down and sorted everything and was in absolute heaven. I’m not kidding, I kept saying “This is amazing” out loud every few minutes. I would worry I was running out of little drawers and then I’d realize I had a ton more and I’d say “This is amazing!” again. I’d find random little things that I just had a few of and there would be a spot just for them. It was a beautiful time.

It was made even better by my BFF the label maker:

label printer

I mean, this is a must. All that organization is worthless if you’re going to have to pull out eleventy billion drawers to find one little thing.

I rediscovered all kinds of little doodads that I love. Tons of my favorite anchors that I didn’t realize I had:

best anchors wire holders

You just screw them in instead of drilling a hole in the wall first – so easy! And those jobbies on the right are great for corralling cords behind furniture. Cause you know how much I hate cords.

It was GLORIOUS! Whoo hoo! Now I just need to decide where I’m going to keep my little organizer – you can hang it so I’m thinking maybe in our utility closet. That way I don’t have to go out to the garage for every little thing.

I tell you what – a little decluttering and organization makes a girl feel good! I say it all the time but even focusing on small areas will make you feel so accomplished. If the clutter is overwhelming in your house set your sights on one problem area at a time. Set the timer if you need to and just go after it in little bits so you don’t get frustrated.

What’s your worst problem area? Areas? Overall our house stays clean and picked up…most of the time. But there are spots that I let get out of control way too often.

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  1. Those are my favorite anchors too!! So so so much easier! You know you're a little weird when you get excited about anchors :) Yay for organizing- doing little tasks in between the giant ones always helps me keep momentum!

    Madeline @

  2. I love it when you post pictures of "real life." It always helps me realize that NO ONE has a perfectly clean and organized house all the time, and that's OK. Our kitchen island is really big, and is the worst magnet for clutter. Drives me crazy! Addressing it several times a week helps, though.

  3. My garage looks like your garage's long lost twin. :) Glad you kept it real...especially saying that things may be on the other side of the garage in the after pic.

  4. My favorite drawer is the "no idea" drawer! Keeping it real!!

  5. I need to do that with all of my boyfriends odds and ends. Right now there's a big plastic tub stuffed with extra screws and what not in my kitchen!


  6. My worst problem area is the laundry closet. I let stuff pile up on top of the dryer and then have to reach through it all just to turn it on. That and the shoe mountain near our garage door. Ugh, I loathe it! I had been keeping on top of it all and nobody visited. Then I had two weeks of family members travelling, illness and other disasters and this area became a bomb site just in time for some neighbourhood kids' parents to drop over. :| (I actually watched Hoarding: Buried Alive yesterday to try and motivate myself to get it done yet again.... true story.... also, it worked..)

  7. My worst area is my office/guest bedroom......I am buried in paper in the office. Just can't seem to find a good way to organize my stuff. I also have my bill pay station (same as the office) and I pay my dad's bills. I can keep a handle on his stuff...I have 2 boxes for him but the rest is a mess.

  8. I love your "no idea" drawer! Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Also, you have a pencil sharpener in your garage! I haven't seen one of those in YEARS.

    I'm a piler too. My kitchen counter is where magazines, mail, flyers, receipts, and whatever else end up, and I do the same thing you do. Pile for weeks (or months) and then one day go through it all when I can't take it any more. I wish I had a better solution, but for now it is what it is...

  9. I love it, my garage is a total disaster, so I really need to tackle that.

  10. Haha!! I laughed out loud at your "no idea" label. And your problem areas are my exact problem areas too. No matter how many times I tell myself I'm taking care of the mail / school papers every I don't and then it's overwhelming. Oh well someday!

  11. I know what you mean. On a whim, I cleaned out my car earlier today. It has been a disaster zone for weeks! Took me all of ten minutes (which is embarrassing considering how long I let it look like that) and I feel so good about it:) Go you!

  12. My favorite drawer was the "no idea" one because ain't it the truth. We all have 'em.

    The worst place in my house is by far the office. It's like Carol Anne's room in there. You open the door and ghouls scream at you and things are floating in the air. Not pretty.

  13. You have just inspired me! Our garage is a big mess at the moment and really needs some organization! We are in Florida and keep waiting for the cooler weather to tackle that next (kind of cooler day) we are doing it! :-)

  14. Thanks for keeping it real girlfriend. I sorted all our "nuts and bolts" the same way a little over a year changer!!

  15. I love the way you organized all the little nails and miscellaneous items. I'm afraid at my house most drawer would be labeled "MISC." because I have no idea what to call lots of the stuff that my husband insists on keeping. Great job!
    Bertie DeWane

  16. I would like to say that your work bench shocked me, but I think mine is worse! ;)

  17. I love those anchors! I wish I had discovered them before I tackled my bathroom reno. They would have been a huge help! I love that organizer. My Mom had one like that in our garage when I was a kid. I loved looking through all the drawers at the gadgets and doohickeys lol.

  18. I love that you're keeping it real.

  19. I'm a piler too! I'm always so envious of people who have magazine-picture perfect homes and my garage is definitely a problem area....amongst many others! You have totally inspired me as I have the same if only I could locate it....:).
    (Thanks for adding me as a sponsor too!)

  20. I read an organizational book that said you should only touch something once. So for magazines coming in the door, I take straight to magazine bin. Otherwise it gets piled up with the mail, etc. It's a hard habit to make but it sure makes you think why you are just moving stuff around instead of dealing with it in the first place. :)

  21. Real life hits me between the eyes tomorrow as we tackle our garage too. Ugh. It's such a mess. BUT, it is encouraging to see your neat little bench all straightened out and organized. My DH has his work bench out there and we have our leather works bench out there (holster business) and we're putting a DIY bench out there for me to have for the upcoming winter months, which are many here in Wisconsin! So, wish me God speed as we tackle the monster in the garage! Thanks for the encouragement!

  22. Believe it or not, I have over 30 bins of hardware ( ) and I've got 3 different label makers I couldn't live without (when I can get them back from DH). The hardware is just what we use for aircraft repair, though. Household hardware is in a drawer and 3 tool boxes. In my office I use file cabinets and stacks of clear file trays. I even have almost a square foot of clear space on my desk (the cats knock everything off there so they can sit by the window). (Sigh)

  23. a tip for help with paper... I put a paper shredder and recycle bin in the garage. That's where I enter my house. The paper shredder is the kind that will shred 15 sheets at a time, so I can put credit card offers, etc. in there without having to open them. I shred all the credit card offers and toss all the unneeded envelopes, junk mail, etc. before I even come in the house. It makes my to-do pile smaller, so it doesn't look so overwhelming. Also, I'm more likely to shred things right away because i don't have to open them or sort them into smaller groups of pages.

  24. Haha I did actually lol at the work bench before shot. But the after..ahhh.
    And the hardware organizer! Swoon! And another out loud laugh at "no idea". I would have to alphabetize my little drawers though, if I had some. And I too might have plenty o' drawers labeled: whatchamacallits, doodads, doohickeys, whatnots, & thingamajigs.
    Some day.

  25. Ha! I bought the same screw organizer (I have that post in draft mode). lol Anyway, I love it. Yes, the angels sang and the sun beamed down on my organized paradise. Why did I wait so long to do this? Seriously, sometimes it really is the little things that make such a huge impact and life easier. :) Heck, I may need to get another organizer. Love your label maker!

  26. awesome organizer..

  27. Hi Sarah- Let me know if you'd like help tackling the paper strings attached. I'm an organizer that doesn't believe in the OHIO (only handle it once) rule :D


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