The Trickle Down Theory of Organization

When I first began the organizational challenge with Home Depot, I was completely overwhelmed. Everything was such a mess that it was hard to know where to start. So, the hubby and I sat down to make a list of our problem areas before we hit the hardware store.

Basically, we wrote a list of rooms in our house. Clearly, that wasn’t going to help us much. I decided to start at the beginning — aiming for an organized entryway.

We updated and reorganized our cubby system and added a 2nd wreath hanger to better control the backpack problem. It looked good! Except for one thing…

The shoes.

Oh, the shoes. The entryway was a hot mess of shoes, kicked off in a hurry as we walk in the door. And, it wasn’t just the kids either. The hubby and I were just as bad. So, shoes became our next project.

The problem is the shoes were all supposed to be stored upstairs in our closets. Which makes sense — until no one carries them upstairs. The hubby has insisted for years that his shoes be kept downstairs, and it became clear that he might have a point.

Not only are they are put away more regularly, but they’re more easily accessible when you need to leave quickly. Otherwise, we all tend to wear whatever shoes are handy — instead of what is most appropriate for the weather, outfit or activity.

So, we moved an over-the-door shoe rack from our closet to the downstairs closet. Which freed up some space in our own closet. That’s when I realized that I had kind of a hot mess going in there, too. We started sorting the crap that had piled up on the shelves above our clothing rod — and ended up with an entire 8′ shelf completely empty.

We’ve moved our bathroom stockpile totes to the shelves — it keeps it more visible, so I know what we have when I’m making a shopping list. And, now I have an empty cabinet in the bathroom. I haven’t decided what to do with it yet, because I got distracted by the laundry problem that also dominates the closet.

There were laundry baskets full of clean clothes, mismatched socks, and ironing. There were overflowing hampers. And, it had expanded from the closet, to the bedroom, to the hallway in front of the washer & dryer. It was time to take a serious look at our laundry room organization. Or, lack thereof.

What we had the most of was the girls’ clothes. Outgrown clothes, clean clothes, pajama bottoms waiting for tops, swimsuit tops waiting for bottoms — it’s clearly a system that wasn’t working for us so we had to get to the root of the problem. The girls don’t have enough space in their shared room to put their clothes away properly.

And, that’s the story of how my organized entry project became an upstairs remodel.

The girls are getting a different bedroom — with a walk-in closet. But, their bed doesn’t fit in the toy room. So, the teen is moving into the toy room, the younger girls are moving into her old room, and the toy room will be reinvented in the girls’ current room.

Moral of the story? Home organization is intertwined. Find the root of the mess and start there. Momentum and organization will trickle to the rest of the house. Also, it’s probably easier if you just leave a girl’s shoes alone.

Just ask the guy who’s now helping to paint, purge, and rearrange in a full out 3-room makeover.

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

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More from Heather:
Receipt Storage & Organization
The Hidden Cost of Disorganization

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