Organizing can be this way: You start with a desire to make something better and more efficient. You get started on that single task, but then you find that one thing leads to another, and suddenly you’re going on an unexpected journey around your home or office. Sound familiar?
The interconnectedness of the seemingly disparate parts that make up workable and efficient systems is among the many features I love about the organizing process. It takes you places, it helps you discover things, and it lets you improvise along the way. There are no “rights” or “wrongs” but what works for you, the individual. The process can be overwhelming and a complete diversion that ends in a larger sense of disarray than you could ever have imagined. I’ve been there. Who knew that giving laundry day a lift would provide one such voyage.
I had gotten tired of temporarily removing clothes from hangers already in use in order to hang items to dry on the shower rod in the bathroom. The time had come for a dedicated fleet of laundry hangers, and this little project added a spring in my step. Finally, I had a reason to purchase cardboard hangers! Yes, you read that right. Cardboard hangers. Ever since reading about Ditto Hangers earlier this year and then sitting down to chat with the company’s awesome founder/CEO, Gary Barker, in their Oakland, CA headquarters, I’ve been quietly singing the praises of this product.
My rationale went like this: by trading out a handful of plastic hangers for their cardboard counterparts, I would achieve my mission with some happy benefits. You see, these cardboard hangers take up half the space of their plastic counterparts. (See the photo to the left that shows 10 cardboard hangers hanging next to five plastic hangers.) For someone like me who lives in a closet-deficient flat in an historic 1887 Victorian home, this was akin to hitting a spatial jackpot. With these sturdy yet svelte 100% recycled content hanging devices, my clothes would gain more breathing room, and they would no longer slide from their perch and onto the floor. I got to support one of my favorite companies (something I seldom say about companies in general) by purchasing a product that is truly sustainable and was designed and created for all the right reasons. But where does the fridge come in? Patience…
So all that shuffling of clothes in the closet led to the rediscovery of a tension rod that had been taken out of commission. I quickly realized it extended long enough to be installed perpendicular to the uppermost clothing rod. Within moments, the plastic hangers re-deployed for the laundry had home all their own!
Admiring my new creation and arrangement, I took a moment to step back and take in the closet as a whole. That’s when I noticed an underused void beneath a shelving unit that houses shoes. “Hmmm,” I thought, “This could be an excellent place for some of the wine bottles that have begun to outgrow their home in the kitchen.” Before I knew it, I was sorting bottles of wine. Fine wines with corks were moved to fill the void on the floor of the closet. It’s the darkest and coolest place in the apartment, so it made the most sense. Wines which will be used more quickly or have screw tops were queued on the lower shelf of the main pantry. Look at that: a completely empty shelf where the jumble of wines once resided. Not empty for long!
What happened next could seem like a mild nightmare to some, but the reality was this reorganization endeavor was taking place at 7am on a week day. Morning sunshine was the friend looking over my shoulder as I worked, lighting the way to a destination as of yet unknown. In my world, this was a lightly caffeinated dream!
Before I knew it, I was on the kitchen floor moving canned foods (of both the literal can and jarred varieties) from one shelf to another. Then it was time to shuffle baking dishes and serving platters, the rice cooker, and pitchers until done to near perfection. I hope you follow this: then the contents of the shelf below the shelf that once held the wines moved up to the former wine shelf. Batteries, tools, tapes and the like no longer required deep squatting to access them.
Back to standing, somehow my reflexes had me removing bottles of cooking oils and vinegars from the wall cupboard directly above the aforementioned shelves. Here was my opportunity to employ a new and smaller bamboo Lazy Susan that I’d been searching high and low for to replace its plastic counterpart in said cupboard. A little more tweaking and prioritizing of items, and then the kitchen was better than I ever thought it could become.
Wait! It was almost complete. There was now the issue of a decommissioned Lazy Susan. There was only one place – one last cupboard – in the entire house I could turn to: the refrigerator. The destination for my rotating friend was a lower shelf where infrequently used and often buried to the point of having to be dug out items dwelled. Among these were curry and miso paste, peanut butter and sauerkraut. The space in front of the Lazy Susan is deep enough to accommodate containers of foods with a limited shelf-life, like yogurts or leftovers, that I don’t want to be accidentally lost in the depths of the fridge. It’s easy enough to move a temporary item to spin my way to what’s behind it.
Suddenly, the sun was shining brighter on this dizzying turn of unexpected events. After an hour and a half, nary a lingering thing needed a home or a purpose. I could now go on with the day!