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Dawn Damalas Meehan is a single mom living in Orlando with her six children, ages 17 to 6. She's the author of Because I Said So and You'll Lose the Baby Weight (and Other Lies About Pregnancy and Childbirth). When she's not blogging, she can be found playing chauffeur, getting buried under a mountain of laundry, or explaining to her kids why they can't have an indoor Slip 'N Slide or a pet squirrel.

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Getting Organized One Room at a Time

By Dawn Damalas Meehan |

When I was a small kid, I was a slob.  When I was an older kid, I was a slob.  When I was a teen, I gave the word “slob” new meaning.  When I was a young adult, I was still fairly slobbish.  When I had kids, however, that all changed.

Before I got divorced and moved to Florida with my kids, we all lived in a small house in Chicagoland.  I mean – SMALL.  Our family of eight somehow managed to share an 1100 square foot house without killing each other.  I know that’s probably more people in less space than most of you can imagine.

Because space was at a premium back then, I got to be an expert at organizing.  Gone were the days of letting something, anything lie around and collect dust.  If it didn’t serve a purpose, it didn’t have a spot in my house.  I regularly went through and purged any unnecessary items cluttering up my house.  We donated bags of clothes, toys, and household goods often.  What was left was organized to make the most of the limited space we had.

Now, I actually LOVE organizing!  I get a little thrill cleaning and arranging things to make the best use of space.  There are so many things in my life that I can’t control.  There’s nothing I can do when my car breaks down or I need to go to the hospital.  But I love the control I feel when I get the clutter cleaned up and everything in my home is nice and neat.  It’s no coincidence that the more chaos and misfortune there is in my life, the cleaner my house is.

Florida houses are weird.  Most don’t have a coat closet when you walk in the door, so we were a little at a loss as to where we should keep our shoes when we moved here.  Below are the BEFORE and AFTER pictures of our entryway.  Now we have a functional and attractive solution to our shoe problem!

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Getting organized one room at a time

BEFORE

Seven people times three pairs of shoes per person = one giant mess that I tripped over every day! This didn't say "Welcome to our home!" This said, "We live in a giant pit of nastiness and there are probably creatures and half-eaten food buried under those shoes.

A big thanks to The Home Depot for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

Want to read more from Dawn? Get her books Because I Said So (and other tales from a less-than-perfect parent) and You’ll Lose the Baby Weight (and other lies about pregnancy and childbirth) here!

Join Dawn on Facebook where lizards run rampant.

If you liked this, here are some more favorites from Dawn.

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About Dawn Damalas Meehan

dawn-damalas-meehan

Dawn Damalas Meehan

Dawn Damalas Meehan is a single mom living in Orlando with her six children, ages 17 to 6. She's the author of Because I Said So and You'll Lose the Baby Weight (and Other Lies About Pregnancy and Childbirth). Read bio and latest posts → Read Dawn's latest posts →

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11 thoughts on “Getting Organized One Room at a Time

  1. Missi says:

    Love it Dawn!! Especially the frame. I wish I liked to organize. I try & can’t find anything once I’m done. The one thing I try hard to do is keep up with mail. Open ASAP, shred, & sort. That helps my countertops.

  2. BearHugg says:

    Will you do my place please! I will let you throw out whatever you want! ;) Kudos to Babble for the changes to the slide show function. Much much better!

  3. Penny says:

    Looks great! Maybe while you are in the hospital you can look online for other cool ways to organize when you get home? (just a thought)

  4. Julie says:

    I love it! I love to organize too and this is a great idea!

  5. zig says:

    i love your shoe idea. i needed a new way to deal with all my kids shoes.

  6. Kristine says:

    Great solution for the shoes Dawn. Heres a funny story. My son is 15 and we will usually have a bunch of teenage boys spending the night. When we go to bed we take their shoes and put them in our bedroom so they don’t sneek out at night. Of course this only works in the winter time :)

  7. Vanessa says:

    Oh it looks great Dawn! You did an awesome job on that. :)

  8. Janice Croze says:

    I love all the changes you made to your closet, and you are SO right! Up until we have kids, we are all slobs of some type–haha.

  9. Lauren says:

    Ihaveashoeorganizerinmyfrontentryway,butIlovethatthisonedoublesasseatingforputtingonyourshoesandalsohidesthemawayinlittlebins.genius!

  10. DadCAMP says:

    The bench is a no brainer, right? It’s an easy solution to manage, but adding the hooks and pictures is what pops it. Great suggestion!

  11. Casi says:

    This is a great piece you found — what a keeper! It instantly looks SO much better and I love the little bench. Great suggestions!

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