Correspondence Chaos

July 22nd

Hi there! I don't close. I am gross.

I can’t handle clutter. I don’t like knickknacks or collections or piles of anything — with new-to-me books being the sole exception. (Okay, and maybe piles of cash.) I’m in tidying-mode this week — trying to clear out my studio of craft supplies that could find a better home, my closet of clothing that doesn’t fit, my bookshelves of items that will be better suited at the Tempe Library. Even Esme is off to a new home; my friend Sam will hopefully be putting her to use soon with Phoenix Copper Bikes.

Hello cards!

With this in mind, I tackled my paper supplies last night and reorganized my stationery. I jokingly refer to myself as the Correspondence Queen because chances are, if you get a new job, celebrate a birth, buy a new house or do something that just knocks my socks off, you will find a letter in your mailbox saying so within a few days. I love to write letters because I remain steadfast that going to the post and finding a handwritten note among the junk is joyous.

Feed me!

This file accordion provided the perfect way to clean up my rubber stamp box and give ready access to cards, envelopes, gift tags, stationery, scrapbooking paper, envelope templates, etc. I found some order in the previous correspondence chaos. I am thinking another accordion would work perfectly for sewing patterns.

Lookie! I'm full of pretty paper.

Next up: fabric scraps. I want to make a scrap quilt for some friends who are getting married this Fall. I need to go through the stack and decide what will and won’t work. I am going to put together some kits of left over supplies for my friends who are elementary school teachers.
I must say, taking inventory makes it much easier to use what you have. I don’t need to buy patterns, craft books, yarn or fabric for a long time. Now if my friend JoAnn would just stop sending me coupons to tempt me otherwise.
Do you have a great organizational technique that makes your life easier? I’ll randomly select a commenter to receive a collection of homemade cards. How’s that for a theme?

~K

Posted in
Correspondence, Domestic Art, Goals, Good to Great, Journal
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32 Responses

  1. Yeah for decluttering! I need to do more of it. I let stuff pile up without even realizing it until I can’t find anything and then have a fit and throw everything out.

    What does seem to work for me, with baby’s clothes and mine, books, music, etc. is going through the closet or shelf from left to right. I wear whatever is hanging at the left of my closet each day. When it’s washed, I put it on the right side. If I absolutely don’t want to wear it, or choose not to wear it because it’s missing a button etc. and I don’t want to fix it right then, then it goes in the giveaway pile. Same with the other “collections”. It’s handy with baby clothes – too small clothes get weeded out of the closet as part of the routine. Of course there are exceptions such as dressy dresses, but I keep those at one end of the closet and as dressy occasions come up, I use the same routine.

    And I definitely agree that taking inventory makes me never want to shop again (for a moment)!

  2. Ha ha. What a coincidence – I have a friend JoAnn too, and she lives right down the street. What a temptress! Thanks for the inspiration – decluttering is on my ongoing “list”. Always a challenge.

  3. Accordian file – great idea! I love to organize, which is good because it seems to be the job that’s never done.
    One thing I’ve done with my patterns is keep them in individual ziploc baggies. (quart size, I think) I can never cram all those tissue papers back into the little paper envelopes.

  4. Here are a few of my ideas: I started a notebook a few years ago and labeled it “Condo, Quilts and Crafts” and I put ideas I rip out of magazines/catalogs in sheet protectors and categories. This sounds basic, but I write birthdays in my calendar that I carry with me everyday so I can send cards/email. And, I have an antique shelf/cupboard and pie holder that I stack my fabric in so I can see what I have.

  5. Dear Kelli,

    I’m finally realizing that it’s much eaiser to deal with all the clutter by not bringing so much into my home in the first place, much easier said than done! but really i try to ask myself when contemplating something else i must have, what will i do with this, where will it go and do i really love it? this usually helps calm the gottahaveits. Also, instead of squirreling things away till i cant even remember what it is i have (i have a collecting/gathering problem!)I try to use up most of my found treasures in crafts that i then give away. Because really, what are we saving things for?!
    Your blog is really delighful Kelli, thanks for sharing!
    Lori

  6. Kelli what a great idea! Here is an idea for you to give your teacher friends. Make alphabet appliques with your extra fabric then make an alphabet quilt wallhanging for their classroom. Just an idea.

    Have a great day.

  7. Why does Esme need a new home or are you riding your triathalon bike to work?

    I use a embroidery thread container with a bunch of small partitions to house/organize my earrings and small jewelry. Works great and plus, the lid snaps on tightly!

  8. I’m so happy that you write letters. I thought I was the only one. I love a good note. I try to buy stationary as a gift for myself when I’m visiting new places. My fave so far is from my trip to Rome last Spring…handmade and beautiful.

  9. When organizing, be conscious of natural tendencies, like, for example, if you like to have your car keys in the kitchen, don’t place a hook for them by the door leading to the garage. I found that to be the most important thing to keep in mind. That concept applies to anything else to do with organization, including the types of containers used.

  10. dude, what’s organization? hah!

    i arrange my clothes on the bar in my closet by color so i can find what i want to wear. i have a two-drawer filing cabinet in my office that has my yarn. top drawer is random ends that i use for making squares for afghans. bottom drawer is novelty yarn i use to make scarves for charities.

    i have an “inspiration notebook” where i keep magazine tearouts.

    as for the rest of it, there’s not much organization yet. i’m slowly working on it, and finding that more often than not, instead of organizing it i get rid of it. decluttering is the new organization. or pink. i haven’t decided yet.

    and i’m so jealous of your ability to coorespond so well. i always want to be that gal, but never quite get it handled.

  11. I’m in de-cluttering mode too. I already have a big bag of clothes to donate. I have a ways to go though in de-cluttering my craft room, closet and rid of extraneous knick-knacks.

  12. You know JoAnn??? She’s great isn’t she?? LOL! Well since I am a mom of a toddler, I have all these plastic baby food containers. I wash them out and put my buttons, snaps, pins, beads, etc. in them. They are see through so i can see what’s in them and don’t have to open every container to find what I’m looking for!

  13. I love plastic tubs and filing folders. Plus, binders are great for storing recipes and other ideas torn from magazines. For recipes, I tend to tear out way more than I ever try, so every once in a while I have to weed them out.

    Yesterday I uncluttered my computer files and bookmarks – tons of recipes (yes again), knitting patterns, crafty inspiration and tutorials. There was way to much to deal with and I was overwhelmed instead of inspired πŸ™‚

  14. Now that’s a nice little idea, there. I have all my cards and stuff shoved in a box, but it drives me nuts. Actually, I need to give most of them away and start over; there’s probably a reason I haven’t used some of those cards in the last 5 years!

    When I keep up with it, I feel oh-so-organized when I can flip through my binder of patterns and tutorials. I stick everything, including the various template pieces, in sheet protectors and it works really well. Also looks a lot neater than the box stuffed with loose papers and crumpled pattern envelopes. (It would seem that I’d stop using the box method, wouldn’t it?)

  15. I have NO organization tips to share. My idea of organization is never throwing anything away so I can find it later when I decide I need it. Terrible system.

    I really liked reading all the ideas, though, and my favorite is the one about pulling clothes from one side of the closet and putting the clean ones on the other. That’s fantastic!

  16. I have a three-tiered basket system on the wall just inside the front door for mail: his, hers, and “shred.” We have a recycling basket just below it. This way the only mail that goes up to the office, is the stuff that we need for bills. Junk gets sorted into the recycle basket and shred basket immediately, and what’s left goes in our own baskets(handwritten treasures, magazine subscriptions, etc.) This has greatly decluttered our living spaces. Makes it easy to tell when to shred and dump recycling, too.

    Also I love those file folders!! We use them to store our yearly paperwork. After 7 years, I just recycle them (after shredding the 7-year-old bills and receipts). We keep VIP (very important paperwork) in a separate file – house stuff, TH’s first marriage/divorce paperwork, etc.- so there’s no mistake about what to shred. This method saved our butts when it came time to finance our house and show tax, paystub, etc. paperwork from the past ump-teen years. I knew exactly where it all was and had it gathered in 15 minutes.

    Yay organization! Yay using what you have! Yay de-clutter!

  17. do you have time to pop up here and sort my stuff out…….LOL

    Gill from Canada

  18. I’ve seriously curtailed my thrift shopping. Down to once a month or so. Just because I find a treasure or something that’s a great bargain doesn’t mean it has to come home with me. Whenever I shop, thrifting or otherwise, I try to go through my selections with an objective eye before I head to the checkstand. If I don’t have to have it, I try not to buy it.

  19. I roganize my clothes by style and color. All long sleeve shirts, all short sleeve, all pants, all skirts, etc.

  20. I am Ms. Chaos according to my husband and he’s probably right. I have so many hobbies and craft project going on at the same time that it’s hard to have any real order. I have a sewing room, a stained glass room and a pottery studio and they are all in trouble. I did clean the pottery studio last week and only other order I have is my wool. It’s in nice little zip lock bags stored on a shelf in my late mother’s bedroom. I guess that’s another room now in use for crafts…sigh…ciao Kelli, you are sooo good.

  21. I have matching large, rectangle wicker boxes with covers that I stack on top of each other (3). Each box has the appropriate “stuff” in it. When I am crafting, sewing, etc. the boxes are on the floor and open. When I am done, everthing goes back in its box and they get stacked. My space is a small cottage so this works well for me.

  22. I certainly understand wanting to deorganize and I do with my own things. However when you are married to a collector….well you can’t declutter him!

    Good ideas for organization. That’s the good side to being married to a collector. You learn very quickly to be organized!

    Good luck with your mission.

  23. Yeah, no. I’m am so not the person to ask about organisation. I’m lucky if I can find the right box. The only thing that is vaguely organised are my recipes, and pages pulled from magazines.

  24. I have a 2 inch, 3 ring binder with dividers for all the household bills, bank statements etc. It’s been super easy to keep all that mess organized, accessible and easily stored. I also keep one of those flat ‘student’ 3 hole punches stored in the binder. At the end of the year I can pop the papers into a manilla envelope for tax records and I’m ready for the next year!

  25. I’m the one who doens’t want to throw away anything, so I have my house full of all kinds of stuff. But at least once every 3 months (usually at season change)I try to put a little order in my closets and wardrobe. I usually succeed in doing it. Right now I’m doing the same at work, they are re-painting all the offices and this is a good time to get rid of old papers!

  26. My organizational technique? Marriage. My hubby is a highly organized man who can’t stand clutter! It works wonderfully well, except when he organizes my stuff and then forgets to tell me about it, leaving me to dig through all the tubs/folders/binders/etc. trying to find whatever it is I’m looking for πŸ™‚

  27. I NEED to organize.. I have piles of stuff. You’re a great inspirator though so maybe I’ll tackle those piles this week.

  28. I’ve organized all of my papers into one, big master file. Everything has its own folder, and they’re all arranged alphabetically with no subcategories. Rather than waste time and energy trying to remember if something is under “Utilities” then “T-Mobil,” or “Credit Cards” then “American Express,” or “Correspondence” then “Valerye,” I just go right to my file cabinet and know that my AmEx paperwork is in a folder among the A files, my letters from Valerye are among the V files, etc.

    Another thing: I don’t have any folders titled “Miscellaneous.” If it’s not worthy of its own folder, then it doesn’t need to be cluttering my life.

    And no archives, either. It’s ALL in my master file. When stuff is no longer needed, it gets recycled–not put somewhere else where it can get lost.

  29. Have you seen SouleMama’s free pattern for the “Gratitude Wrap”? It would be really cute in an African print with your cards..

  30. Not really an organizational idea but I organize my fabrics in a way that works for me. It usually starts out as yardage and is hung on hangers. Once I use it for something the leftovers get organized by :big pieces which get folded onto a shelf or put into a bin for donating to a church for an overseas sewing project, smaller but usable pieces go into a bin to be used in scrappy charity quilts and really tiny peices go into a bin to use as stuffing for dog beds at the local pound. In general it seems that my fabric moves relentlessly from hanger to shelf to bin to dog bed but the hangers never get emptied. Bad JoAnn!

  31. Tina in Duluth July 24, 2008

    Are we all friends with that bad girl, JoAnn? I had to see her yesterday, she has so much power over me!

    This summer I’ve begun the great freezer cleanout, now becoming an annual event. The freezer needed to be defrosted, but at the end of May it was filled to the brim. I’ve tried to plan meals around items from that and the kitchen freezer until all the frozen items can fit into the smaller freezer. I’ve also incorporated items from the pantry and have not allowed myself any big food shopping adventures. We’ve had some crazy food combos, but the family hasn’t complained. It feels good not to let the food we already have go to waste. This weekend will be the defrosting weekend, finally!

    In my craft room I have many unfinished projects. From time to time I go through and make myself complete or donate them before I allow myself to begin another project. That JoAnn!

  32. what an awesome idea. i am constantly in the clutter battle… moving was a good opportunity to sit back and really think about what systems are working and what aren’t. for now i’m going with these big red boxes from ikea that stack and look cute, but the problem is the pit that the box can become… this is such a good solution!
    xox

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