Friday, June 24, 2011

Getting Organized

In the midst of fun decorating projects - the majority of which, I think, will end up being for das bebe - I've come to a realisation. We've just moved in and we aren't entirely unpacked. Shocking thing to suddenly remember, right? A stunning observation full of intellectual depth and cunning insight. Okay, I'm being entirely sarcastic, but the point was brought home last night.

The Husband had an appointment to go visit a family in our congregation last night. It meant coming home (all lovely and sweaty, mmm...), running into the shower, getting changed, inhaling dinner, pulling up driving directions, and running out the door. Unfortunately, that last step couldn't be completed until we'd turned the apartment upside-down looking for some spare change for an object lesson for our friends' kids.

Neither of us could remember which box we'd dumped the jar of loose change. We looked in the nursery, in the boxes in our closet (there are a lot of those), and finally all around the living room. It was in a random Duchy Originals tin that we found the stash of pennies and Euro coins (do they even have names for those coins?).

(That's the stuff in our closet. I promise, that's an improvement. Half of this stuff was on the nursery floor earlier this week.)

Anyway, the whole penny-hunting fiasco really brought home the point that some serious organizational work is most definitely in order. And since it's the end of the week, and I feel lazy, so I've decided that the starting point will be the smallest organizational project I can find: label-making.

As you can see, we have lots of magazine holders for various and sundry pieces of music and important (and not important) papers. They're pretty inoffensive as appearance goes, but they could use labels. That way, I can keep all of the untidy-looking papers facing the other way, but still know what's in each folder. And what does that mean? The wonderful combination of neatness and cuteness all for free. Yup. Because I don't have to buy the labels (we got them earlier to leave some for the new tenants of our old place to forward any straggling mail still going to the wrong house), or the ink, or new magazine holders. I do love free projects.

So, labels in hand, the first step is to find a fun font to print all of my labels with. And here's the best part: all the fonts I'm about to show you are absolutely confidential absolutely free. Have I said yet how much I love that word?

Those are some pretty snazzy fonts, if I do say so myself. And again, 100% no monies required.

Another tool, if you want to go that route, is to have pictures on your labels and then edit and caption them in picnik. The handy thing about this web-based application is that it's free. The downside to that is that most of its particularly cool features do require paying to get the subscription...but you can still use it to do up some pretty nice labels or pictures or DIY artwork in just the free version.

The fun cartoon characters are "stickers" that picnik gives you to decorate your pictures. Though I admit, my personal favourites are the ones called "Whimsy Trees" which look all retro-revival and mod.

If only those were in the free version.

Anyway, whatever labels you get (we had some inexpensive store-brand versions) should have an automatic template for Word (or Adobe) that you can find on the Interwebz. A short 2-minute search got me to our template...and it was free. (I wonder how many times I can use that word in this post...) So, off I went to word to test out a few fonts (and some sneakily cropped Whimsy Trees from the above Google Image Search result...).

Simples. All that's left now is to print the stickers and make sure that all the magazine holders are organized accordingly. I like this idea because, aside from being easy and free, it also ends up looking a lot neater (at least in my case) than hand-written labels. I don't do very well with straight lines.

Pretty soon, though, I'll graduate from my respite in label-making and move back to bigger things. I still need some nice baskets and other containers to organize the remaining junk that doesn't fit in our closet. Either Ikea-style coloured cardboard boxes or nice lined wicker affairs would do best. They tidy things away no better than any other box, but they do it so much more stylishly. And, as Oscar Wilde said, "in matters of true importance, style - not sincerity - is the vital thing." Oh Oscar, how right you are.

For more tips on the actual organizing of your junk, I humbly submit to the authority of Young House Love...again.

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