Tuesday, December 1, 2009

9 Organizing Mom's House - Part 1

So YAY for my first official "away from home" organizing trip!  For my mom's birthday this year, one of the gifts I had given her was my organizational services for a day (or for like EVER since she IS my mom!).  When I arrived this last Saturday, she gave me two options.  Either help her remove her wallpaper border in her bedroom, or organize her bathroom and linen closet.  Of course, I chose where my passion lays, organization!

So, for a quick breakdown of the project:

Client Bio: My mom!  Living alone with her hubby and furry friends.  A self proclaimed "pack rat" as many in our family are.  What does that mean?  That my family members are the sweetest around, and they like their stuffLuckily I got a different gene!

Budget:  We ran to the dollar store quick after lunch that day, and I grabbed 6 bins and baskets totaling $6.00!  Since lunch was the beginning to our day, I hadn't really had an opportunity to analyze the current storage needs, so I picked up two types of containers that are very versatile.  Three small plastic lidded bins and three white wire mesh baskets.  That's all I had to work with, and whatever else I could find around the homestead.

Time:  Start to finish the project took approximately 5 hours.

Lesson's Learned:  To take better before and after pictures.  I remembered after I had already removed everything from most cupboards and cabinets to take "Before" pictures.  I also took Before and After pictures from different locations in the room, and I should have taken them from the exact same spots.

What I did:
I started by emptying out years and years worth of toiletries, first aid products and linens from the linen closet and all bathroom cupboards, drawers and counter tops.  I placed them together in piles in a large area and I sat right in the middle of it all, with garbage bags in tow!


I then told my mom to have a seat while I did the dirty work.  I picked through the piles and had my mom answer a series of questions regarding many of the items.  The most important question to ask when sorting is, When was the last time you used this?  If the answer is anything over 3-6 months ago, goodbye!  Other questions such as, Will you REALLY ever use this again?  What purpose does this have for you?  Take me through your typical morning, what items do you use daily?  Which do you use less frequently?

Once we had all the essential items remaining, I grabbed a tub of disinfecting wipes and wiped down EVERYTHING getting put back.

Next, the bathroom got a good scrub down as well, all ready for the items to be placed back inside!

I started with the linen closet.  The biggest achievement?  Giving her a whole large empty shelf to refill in the future! (We do have a plan for it, vs letting it build up with new clutter!)  The top shelf was used for health and bath objects stored in boxes, that are used less frequently, only as needed.  The next shelf was devoted to folded bedding and the following solely for bath towels.  The lower shelf was used for ALL the extra bathroom products, that are not as part of their daily routine.  A box was used to coral all extra shampoo and hair products, another was used for hold lotions and tanning products.  There is a basket for travel size toiletries that can be used for guests or to grab from when packing up for a weekend away.  There is also a basket for all the toiletry replacement items that were bought as extras or backup (tubes of toothpaste, cleanser, deodorant, etc...), that they can utilize as their own little store when they run out of something.  Last, but not least, a basket to house the 20+ floss dispensers that were located throughout the process!

Next I went to the bathroom (haha, to the room to organize goof!).  Under the sink was a breeze.  I just put a little basket under there to hold cleaning rags, sponges and gloves, right next to their cleaning products.


Next I cleaned up the counter, putting all their cologne and perfume bottles on a single tray.  I rolled up some washcloths in an accessible basket, placed all soaps in a dish and leaving out only the important daily use items.  Make-up drawer caddy was removed and everything was given a proper home.



 Everything in each drawer was given a basket or storage bin.  Each drawer had a specific purpose:
  • Drawer 1:  Hair Brushes, Combs and Hair Ties
  • Drawer 2:  Hair "Scrunchies", Headbands and Clips
  • Drawer 3:  Curling Irons and Hair Dryer
  • Drawer 4:  Makeup
  • Drawer 5:  Facial Cleansing Materials
  • Drawer 6: Located right next to the bathroom seat, a drawer full of TP.  It is what it is folks!
A Before Example:

An After Example:

 And finally the medicine cabinet was completely paired down to only the daily necessities, one for him and one for her:

And that's that!  A nice little Saturday afternoon and $6.00 got them a completely reorganized space, which should be easy to maintain going forward!

What they said two days later....

"Thank you Thank you!  I am so happy that I feel like the Grinch when his heart grew two sized too big!"
"Thank you so much!  It feels like a new house, and I am falling in love with it all over again!"


  1. wow good job, i wish my mother-in-law would let me come and do her bathrooms. she has way too much stuff and keeps buying more because she doenst know what she has or where she has it!

  2. It looks good and the organization and ideals behind it are wonderful. I was once young and a super organizer, obsessive really, and loved organizing my home and office - and every place I came in contact with.

    I became disabled ten years ago and I am now older. I want everything organized and in tip top condition. Reality is I physically can't do it and I am older and don't have the strength or stamina to do it. My husband doesn't either. He comes home exhausted from work and does what he can.

    I don't have a daughter to help me and I don't have anyone to help me with this. There are a lot of disabled and a lot of aging baby boomers and older that need help. Not because we don't know any better, not because we don't want things better, not because we don't want things organized. I talked to a "professional organizer" to help me and to do what I needed her to do was going to be over $1,000 a day! I tried to enlist university students who could use the help and was told I would have to do all the employment stuff.

    This is an area of ministry that churches and community groups could do to help a growing number of people who need help.

    Also, you have to realize that people may have memory and cognitive issues, etc. that can affect whether they remember if they bought whatever item over and over. I know people of all ages who do that.

  3. Wow! My Mom died in February, and I am needing to spend some serious time at their house organizing it. So much clutter and disorganization. She had so much stuff packed into drawers in the bedrooms that they didn't have room for their clothes! I never thought about going to the dollar store for storage items. I am an only child, so when Dad goes, there will be a nightmare trying to find things and get the house emptied out if I don't work on it now. However, I'm two hours away, so it's not a matter of just dropping by. *sigh* But it's something I really need to do, and this post reminds me of that and is a good guide for how I might start.

  4. You should try these in the Linen Closet http://www.target.com/p/SEDONA-BEIGE-SHELF-DIVDR-MG-SEDONA/-/A-13743070#?lnk=sc_qi_detailbutton

  5. I was a born organizer as a child. I loved to clean house and organize not only my things, but the whole house. Unfortunately, something happened along the way and the thrill died in me. Now with a family of my own, I sit in chaos and clutter. I really need to get my act together, because I'm not getting younger and I don't want to end up a hoarder like my parents. Thanks for your blog, it's inspiring.

  6. What a loving daughter you are. Stay non-critical and she will be open to your help!

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  8. I have an organizing question for u: I don't have any drawer's in my bathroom and I had a sink w/ a cupboard underneath it but it is open on both sides of the sink (air space). Is there anything u could reccomend? Can u give me ur email address so I can email u a photo?


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