February Organizing Update

Marian ParsonsDecorating, Organizing38 Comments

I haven’t had the time to work an entire day on one big project, like the playroom or storage room, but I’ve been spending pockets of time here and there on cabinets and drawers.  These are tasks I can complete in a few minutes and one little space usually leads to another.  I’ll have several spaces cleaned out within an hour or two.

Late last week, to work on the dressers and cabinets in the living room.  None of the spaces are too bad, so I knew it wouldn’t take long.  I got the candle drawer cleaned out and organized and I even collected all of our matchboxes in one place!  I think we have enough to last a while…

candle drawer | organizing | miss mustard seed

The battery drawer probably took the most time, because I decided to gather and organize charging cables and plugs from around the house to live in the other half of the drawer.  Up until this point, extra charging cables were spread all over the house and it seemed like a good time to get them all in one place to 1.) know how many we have and 2.) to be able to easily find a cord or plug when we need one.

battery & charging drawer | organizing | miss mustard seed

Fortunately, I had some extra organizing bins in our storage room, so I was able to arrange everything neatly in the drawer…

battery & charging drawer | organizing | miss mustard seed

I also finally cleaned out my hoard of Apple product boxes.  I don’t know why I feel like I need to keep them, but I got them out of the drawer and used the ones I could for organization, and recycled the rest.  I only kept the boxes for the phones we currently use in case we want to sell them in the future (if you trade them into Apple, you do not need the box.)  They are small boxes, so I was able to keep them in a stack in the corner of this battery/charging drawer.

I have always kept my batteries, separated by type, in little storage containers in a drawer.  When I shared that on Instagram Stories, I received dozens of messages about batteries catching fire if they aren’t stored properly.  This is particularly an issue with 9v batteries, but I had never even heard of that!  I have always kept my batteries all willy-nilly in a container without incident.  So, I used what I had on hand to get them organized in a safer way.  Now, none of the ends are touching.  (We’ll see how the boys do with keeping them this way!)

battery & charging drawer | organizing | miss mustard seed

A few people asked why we have so many batteries!  First of all, Calvin is type 1 diabetic and some of his gear takes batteries.  We always want to have a healthy supply of AAs on hand for that reason.  Aside from that, I buy batteries in bulk and I just restocked, so we have more than usual.

After cleaning out this dresser, the two bottom drawers are empty!

I used to like to fill every cabinet and drawer in the house, making the most of every inch of storage, but in recent years, I’ve come to appreciate empty space.  Having too much stuff packed in behind closed doors stresses me out.  I’m afraid I won’t be able to mentally keep track of where everything is.

cat in empty drawer | organizing | miss mustard seed

antique dresser | manet berte morisot portrait mater copy | miss mustard seed

I also cleaned out the hutch where we keep school and craft supplies.  I ended up pitching a lot of old activity books and such since the boys are uninterested now they are older.  Now we can easily see the colored pencils, scissors, glues, etc. as well as empty notebooks and colored papers for projects.

school supplies | antique hutch | organizing | miss mustard seed

Cleaning out that cabinet led to cleaning out the hutch in my office.  Several charging cables were hidden under here, too, so I put those in the battery/charging drawer, pulled out any camera charging cables to put with my photography stuff, and made sure all of the computer equipment cables were together and neat.

office supplies | organizing | miss mustard seed

I also threw away any business cards and shipping labels that were out of date.

office supplies | organizing | miss mustard seed

And I freed up a bin for my fabric samples, which were just resting loosely on a shelf.  There is so much more space in both cabinets now and things are easier to find.

After a morning of organizing, I went into my studio to do some painting.  I felt like I was in a good organizing groove, though, so I did one more drawer.  I already cleaned out the large ribbon spools in this drawer, because they were too big and the drawer was overstuffed.  I gathered all of the ribbon spools from around the house and put them together in a little cabinet in the sewing room.  I just kept twine, rag ribbon, and some small spools of woven ribbon in this drawer.

twine spools | organizing | miss mustard seed

I used some iPad boxes to organize the twine.  I have so much because I used to buy it wholesale to resell at events.  I also used it on my tags, so I have a lot leftover from those days.  I’ll work through it all eventually!

I wound loose woven ribbon around old clothespins and coraled them in another iPad box with small balls of yarn.

ribbon and yarn | organizing | miss mustard seed

Look at all of that glorious empty space!

crafting supplies | organizing | miss mustard seed

I have entire cabinets in the living room that are empty, so I’m planning on moving some stuff from the garage and laundry room there, so it’s easier to access and makes better use of this storage space.  It’ll be nice to have all of our household supplies in that one cabinet – extra cabinet hardware, furniture pads/slides, plate hangers/stands, etc.

built-in cabinets | organizing | miss mustard seed

I ended up with a bunch of empty bins along the way.  In my studio closet, I was able to downsize some stuff from three bins into one!

This is another reason why it’s a good idea to wait to buy bins until you’re done sorting and purging.  You might end up having what you need already.  The no-spend February is forcing me to wait when I might’ve felt like I needed to run out and buy more bins.  In the end, I probably will have bins leftover.

organizing | miss mustard seed

As I shared yesterday, I took a load to the thrift store, gave a few things away to friends, and have thrown away several bags of trash.  So far, I’m making good progress doing just a little bit each day.

organizing | miss mustard seed

How’s your organizing coming along?

February Organizing Update

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38 Comments on “February Organizing Update”

  1. I lost track of your page and am happily back following. There is an ad that comes up that blocks content. I can’t seem to get rid of it so I only see part of your posts. Not sure if I am the only one. Frustrating. There must be something in the air with all the organizing folks seem to be doing. I have hit heavy on it too.

    1. Taria, I get around this problem by clicking on the two “AAs” at the left edge of the URL field, then click on “Show Reader View.” Then you can see all of Marian’s great content without all the ads and pop-ups. It’s the only way I can view her site.

      1. Thank you, Susan, for that great Tip! I believe it will be life changing! I love reading Marian’s posts, but the ads on many of my favorite pages have been getting worse all the time.
        Reader view…who knew?

      2. Thank you so much Susan, i have been very frustrated by the same problem. Now problem is solved. All i have to do is remember!

    2. Yes! I’m so sorry about this ad and it’s driving me nuts, too. It is not supposed to be doing that and I have notified my ad network about it. I need to check with them again to get it removed.

      1. Marion, I took Susan’s advice and things are a lot easier to see. Appreciate your page and want to see it all!

    3. I have an ad blocker installed on my PC so don’t see the adverts, but just viewed the page in a different browser – wow, so many adverts & most unrelated to the content that really detract from the more serene experience of the site. I know it’s a way for web owners to make money, but in my opinion as a web designer very damaging to the brand of a web site when the adverts don’t relate to the content & appear all over the place, especially if they load slower & make the page jump as you are viewing it. I prefer the ad blocker so I see all the page content that should be there as some of it is of interest, but filters out all the annoying & often ugly adverts.

      1. Julie, I understand that ads can be annoying at times, but they are how websites make money. In the case of this site, it is a part of my salary and how I’m able to offer the content for free. If everyone blocked the ads, I wouldn’t get paid and wouldn’t be able to spend all of the time I do creating content for this site.

        As far as the content of the ads, the ads that you’re seeing are generated by a combination of your own search history (or those of shared computers/devices) and the content written on this site. If there isn’t a match, then it pulls ads that might be of peripheral interest to each specific reader.

    4. Very inspiring to get organized! How did you end up storing your ribbon? I’ve tried several things like hanging them on a rod and putting them in spools into a small container but they always seem difficult to corral.

      1. They are just stacked on a shelf in a small cabinet as of now. I’ll probably end up putting them in a plastic bin so they don’t get dusty and I can line them up a little bit better. It would be nice if all of the spools were the same size!

  2. Since I’ve started knitting again I’ve hauled my yarn stash out of the basement, and decided to keep ALL the knitting stuff in the wooden crate that I use as a coffee table/ottoman. I’m also doing a no-spend February, so the only thing I’ve bought for the project is Ziplock bags. They come from the grocery store, so they don’t count, said I to myself.
    I had never found the best use for this crate, but I think this is it. The wool is accessible, sorted by weight and color, and completely dog-and-cat-proof. I’ve also vowed to use it up before I buy any more, so I won’t need more storage space later.
    The only potential problem is finding recipients. Anybody want a hat? Or an ear band?

    1. Aw, I love that you are offering them! You can contact your local hospital or see if there is a charity group that collects handmade hats for cancer patients, newborns, etc.

    2. Here’s an orgnization that is looking for “child size and adult size cancer beanies for our Superhero Bags & Chemo Boxes.” They will accept donations at:
      Lisa Backer
      Martin Truex Jr. Foundation
      156 Cayuga Drive
      Mooresville, NC 28117

      Local hospitals probably have the same kind of foundation that collects.

  3. My husband and I are planning on downsizing in the not-too-distant future so I have been cleaning out for weeks. Trips to Habitat and the dump have been the order of the day. I sometimes have trouble letting go of certain things but if I have to pay good money to move it to a new house I will have to be ruthless. Rather than ask “Do I love it?” ala Marie Kondo…I should ask “Do I want to pay to move it?”

    All those lovely empty drawer spaces…

    1. Yes, I did that when I moved to MN from PA. I got rid of tons of stuff that I loved, but I knew it probably wouldn’t work in our new house and/or it just wasn’t worth moving. Some things, like a grill, would be easier to just sell and buy a new one on the other side.

  4. I’ve always purged closets and cupboards regularly, since my daughters and I lived in a townhouse for 11 years. I’m in a bungalow now, but have kept up the practice. Now I’m giving items to my adult daughters that they’ve admired, because I’ve had them for a long time and it’s time for them to enjoy them. I’m hoping that when I downsize it won’t be too difficult if I keep this up.

  5. I’m working on things slowly. There are some thrift stores around us that have quit taking donations. It’s very frustrating! But like you I’m finding I have more storage bins after sorting through things.

  6. You suggestion to organize and get rid of unneeded items came when we are having weeks of rainy weather. I’m in SC and do not suffer from cold, gloomy days. Anyway, I’ve started on upstairs bedrooms that are seldom used and the closets have been collecting items for years. Thanks for inspiring me. I love that you are recycling small boxes to help with organizing. Sometimes they are the only items shallow enough to fit in drawers.

  7. Still working on Decluttering. I can’t believe how much I still have to purge as I do it every year. I do a finish February instead of a no spend February. Last year I finished a quilt that had been waiting for over 20 years to finish. It was a baby quilt for my son, now his baby boy has it.

  8. There’s something about January and February for me and getting things tidied up and organized. I’m more of a fall and winter clean + organize than spring. I’ve been sorting through recipes and organizing and throwing unused ones away. It feels so good!

  9. Have you considered using rechargeable batteries? They are pricier, but we found that we save a lot in the long run, because our kids are always using them and they know to charge them when they’re done.

    All your organizing makes me happy!

  10. You have inspired me to begin organizing and getting rid of “stuff”. The tip for getting rid of the blocking ads is extremely helpful, thank you Susan for that. I love your cat, my cat would be in that drawer too.

  11. Love the idea of a finish February! A great month to finish up all the partially done projects around the house….What a great feeling at the end of the month when you can see all that’s, well, finished…

    I am working on sorting and emptying a relative’s home as he passed away recently. He was a pack rat and not terribly organized but we are making progress. Many categories of things to sell, donate, recycle, and toss. Lots of old paperwork, vhs and beta tapes, cassettes and even 8 track music. Gave 700 old vinyl albums to one of his old friends. He collected mounted longhorns and I now have 23 sets on shelves awaiting auction along with 17 totes full of Canon cameras, lenses, etc., 15 turntables, 10 sets of stereo speakers, 9 TVs, 75 toy tractors, 47 boxes of books, and I haven’t even started boxing up th model railroad stuff or the R/C car stuff, or the rock polishing stuff. then there are the years worth of slides, prints, negatives and digital images to deal with as well as all the regular household stuff and all his clothes, shoes, coats, kitchen stuff, a billion half used cleaners, chargers, boxes, old electronics and chargers, over 200 keys to who knows what, all sprinkled with paper clips, small screws, wire nuts and coins.
    Then once the house is empty we move out to the two garages to start with tools and equipment and supplies for a mechanic, welder, woodworker, farmer, biker and racing enthusiast. And I’m sure I’m leaving things out. And this was after we rehomed his six cats!

    So keep in mind you aren’t just decluttering for yourself and your household. You are helping whomever is left behind when it is time to clear out your things. It is exhausting and extremely time consuming to go thru so much stuff! We have given ourselves 3 months to get it done and have high hopes of being able to get back to our own projects by April 1. I am not complaining; I loved my relative and having him in my life was more than worth the trouble of going thru his things. That’s why I need to sort them, treat them with respect. But I do wish he had tried a little harder to edit and organize them.

    1. And a partridge in a pear tree! Your post made me snicker to myself! I’m slowly working on clearing out my lifetime of collecting so my kids don’t have to.

  12. I love your daily blogs. They are so motivating and encouraging! And, like you mentioned, it only takes a few minutes to go and organize a drawer. So when I saw you organize your batteries, I just hopped up and in a few minutes one more kitchen drawer where we keep batteries was cleaned out! Oh, the trash that had accumulated! Thank you.

  13. Marian, Your organization is wonderful, but my question is, where did you buy those beautiful cream and blue drapes? If there still out there somewhere online, I’d love to find that pattern! Thanks!

  14. Thank you Marian for the encouraging push through these February challenges. And thank you Susan for the wonderful computer tip!

  15. I absolutely Love the way you wrap your ribbon on the clothes pins, that’s soooo cute!!
    I must admit I had visions of tiny, Marian Parsons originals on the backside of all those business cards!

  16. Seeing stacked and organized supplies makes me feel happy, even if I get to enjoy organization vicariously.

    Wrapping ribbon on old fashioned clothes pins, in Christmas colours, mixed with larger rolls is a nice decorative touch for Christmas decor. Double use, storage and seasonal display.


  17. Yay, you! I thought I was the only one who felt anxious with all the drawers and shelves full. I don’t like to be responsible for all that stuff anymore. It is such a good feeling to ‘know’ what you have and where it is. Thank you for all the tips. Good for us all.

  18. I need to get busier. I lost my organizing groove and you have helped inspire me to keep at it little by little.

    I am happy for you – it’s just so good for one’s soul and a better way to live.

  19. Oh!!! wait before you throw away those business cards…… I too had outdated ones that I started to throw away. Then I thought they could be good for something. I use them for bookmarks ( books I am reading and OR reminders in craft crochet/sewing books), use like post it notes, sticking a cute note in a lunch pail, small grocery lists, making notes onto a pattern for sewing or crochet…the list is endless. You would be surprised how often you could use a small size of paper that is a bit thicker!!!!

  20. What do you do about thread storage? Seems my spools multiply when I’m sleeping!
    Also wrestling with ribbon and fabric storage as well.

    1. I have them in a little medicine cabinet above my sewing desk, but I need to fit it to suit storing spools of thread a little bit better. I bought a wooden spool holder and I’m going to cut it to fit. We’ll see how that goes!

    2. Rhonda, I use this thread case. I think I bought mine at Joanne Fabrics, but found same one on all stitch.com (about $15): “48 Madeira Thread Spool Plastic Storage Case.” Spools fit in spaces on both sides, snaps tightly shut, and has a carrying handle. Keeps dust out. Not beautiful to look at like Marian’s cabinet though! Her storage solutions are always pretty and often vintage, which I love.

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