My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #733: Another Organization Day

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 06-15-2012 12:20 PM 7430 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 732: The Much-Needed Day Trip Part 733 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 734: Much to Do Today »

With all the new storage boxes that we acquired the other day shopping, it was inevitable that what would follow would be an organizational session. Many people comment on how we are able to keep so organized running a business from our small place. Even Ellen (who is notorious for being neat) said something to me when we stopped there on our way home. She had said that her and Cindy (her daughter) were talking about us the other day and were both amazed that we are able to keep things so clean and neat while doing (of all things) woodworking in our home.

As our neighbor Lee was helping us unload our stuff from the car, he also made a comment as to how it always seemed to him that we are bringing stuff in here, yet it never looks cluttered. I told him that when we do finally choose to move from here, it will in all probability be like a clown car at a circus, where we will be bringing box after box after box of things out. We probably will have enough to fill up three full sized moving vans.

But in all seriousness, the key to keeping things in order and organized is keeping a check on what you really need to hang on to and letting go of what you don’t. What people don’t see is the large amount of things that we do discard of when we don’t need them (or give them away to people who will use them). Fortunately, we live in a place where there are three families in residence. Little do our neighbors know that our landlord is here very little, so her garbage is minimal and that Lee takes most of his garbage to the dock where he works to dispose of. On those garbage days when the curb is full, it is a pretty safe bet to say that about 90% of what is out there is ours.

I knew that a huge cleaning session was in store for me yesterday. Keith went to Bernie’s early and by the time he arrived there Bernie had already cut about half of the wood into the 10” x 10” squares we needed for scroll sawing. Much to my surprise, he was home before lunch, and he decided to begin using his new storage boxes and reorganizing all of the tools, fasteners and related things that we have here. This included cleaning out closets and cabinets and filling up those little trays and getting rid of things that we don’t need or use.

I knew that I wouldn’t be exempt from this project. If I didn’t participate with him, there were chances that some of the stuff that I needed would be moved or discarded. While Keith isn’t what I would call ‘callous’ about throwing stuff out, he is far more eager to do so than I am, and if I didn’t keep a careful watch, I would find myself in the future looking for an item that was long gone.

With most men, they say that the way to their heart is by cooking. With Keith, I have discovered that the way to make him really happy is by using four little words – “Let’s throw this out.”

Keith is always in a good mood when cleaning. As I watched him sort screws, parts and pieces, he looked bright and chipper and happy. It is kind of fun to watch. All that new storage space and the chance to consolidate everything into neat little packages or containers! The sun was shining and his world was filled with joy!

Now, I tease, but I truly am happy that he is like that. It is much better to live in a clean environment than one that is full of clutter. I have never been a hoarder, but I have from time to time hung onto some things that in all probability I would never use. Having Keith around has made me more aware of what I am keeping and what I need to let go of and I do think that the overall results is great.

I must admit that I do get somewhat annoyed sometimes when his zest for cleaning creeps too far into my territory. After all, we both have things we feel are important to us and sometimes we don’t understand why something that seems so mundane to one person is so important to the other. Over the years though, we have come to know better and are gentle and respectful when approaching the other with the possibility of discarding something that belongs to the other. It is a fine tightrope we walk with each other though and there are still time when one or the other of us will teeter and nearly fall into the abyss of being labeled as insensitive to the other. Usually though, we have learned the dance enough to know how to approach the other when requesting removal of a particular item and we are able to make our feelings known without upsetting the other. It is all part of the process.

By late afternoon, several of the containers were filled up. As expected, several were also left empty, leaving room for future acquisitions and supplies without having to repeat the entire process. In the end, we were able to move some stuff out, put some things into storage and give some things away. It was a good day.

I have a few pictures of where we decided to put the storage book boxes. The first couple went under Keith’s computer monitor.

Prior to this, he had some loose papers setting there, as well as the remote from his TV and an extra mouse he used for games. While it wasn’t really an eyesore, it looks much neater with the book boxes there instead.

Another place where we put several of them was in the corner of the kitchen counter:

This was a real improvement, as it seemed to be our favorite place for our ‘work in progress’ projects and the ones that we were waiting to ship to the magazine or photograph ourselves for the patterns. It had become a constant small pile of clutter and besides collecting dust, it just looked messy. Now we are able to store these little loose items inside the book boxes and we are also able to keep them clean and orderly. We feel it is a good improvement.

The final picture today is of the suitcase box that we acquired. We decided to put it on the top of the large cabinet we built last year:

It is a good use of empty space and I think it will be a great place to keep some packaging supplies that I will be using for my kits. I recently purchased several hundred ziploc bags to package the pattern kits in and that would be the perfect place to store them. They will be handy, but out of the way and won’t take up valuable real estate in the closet where we would prefer to keep things that we use less.

All in all it was a good day. I caught up on my email too and I worked on doing some changes on my article and also on the pattern packets. It feels great to have all the new things settled into the place, and now there are several EMPTY shelves in our closets that we can put things in the future. I will take more photographs as we finish things up.

So it is time to get to work for me. I had written this blog once and was about half way through and somehow it got lost in cyberspace. You may get two posts if you are subscribing and I apologize for that. It was quite irritating to lose it, but Keith looked in his email and had not received it so hopefully it will not double post. I suppose that is expected sometimes with so many people here on Lumberjocks. In any case, it put me a bit behind and I had to try to remember what I wrote and do it over.

Have a great day today. It is Friday already and another beautiful day here in Canada. I hope it is good in your part of the world, too.

Have fun and do something creative!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

7 comments so far

View Roger's profile


20923 posts in 2772 days

#1 posted 06-15-2012 12:41 PM

Organize, then re-organize…. It’s a never ending battle. It doesn’t seem fun until you get everything where you want it, then, you can say, whew!! Wow, that’s a lotta stuff. So much of it, you will need for something sooner or later. Then later down the road, you/I/we will all be re-organizin again.. yup.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3159 days

#2 posted 06-15-2012 03:31 PM

We face the same problem, our house is 700 square foot for living space and 700 square foot for the workshop.
We still have a large amount of clutter leftover from our move last year from a much larger apartment. I can understand why people may be impressed with your ability to organize and keep clean because it is such a difficult thing for most of us to do. I throw tons of stuff away, or give it away a couple of times a year but am still buried alive in the things we are saving for one reason or another. I guess maybe I need Kieth, over here for a couple of weeks to straiten me out…:)

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 3689 days

#3 posted 06-15-2012 05:15 PM

Clutter is what is here now. I am re-arranging a small room in order to make a tool storage area and some cabinets. The whole house is messed up. Many of the items are from the family and growing-up days and carry lots of memories. Fortunately, I am single and can step over books and boxes and around carts and cans and paint brushes and plastic sheets, etc., and no one yells at me.

I have to re-qualify all this as “work in progress” and not let it “get to me”. Someday it will all be neat and tidy and improved. Thanks for sharing your clutter clearing insights.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View whit's profile


246 posts in 3945 days

#4 posted 06-15-2012 05:32 PM


Keith doesn’t by chance bottle that enthusiasm for cleaning and organizing, does he? :)


-- Even if to be nothing more than a bad example, everything serves a purpose. cippotus

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9222 posts in 2888 days

#5 posted 06-15-2012 06:10 PM

Good afternoon everyone! :)

Bob – My largest ‘downsizing’ to date was about eight years ago when I came here to Canada from Chicago. I had to fit everything I wanted to take here into a 4’ x 8’ trailer because that was the biggest that my Mustang could tow. The rest of the things I have had to go into a storage locker, which was about 10’ x 10’. It was HARD to do! There were many memories from the kids and my life there and boxes and boxes of magazines and books that I loved. There were many issues with immigrating here and I was only allowed a certain amount of things or else I would have to pay duties and taxes on them. Life was chaotic the first several years hear and I didn’t have the money to bring all my stuff. I was paying almost $200 a month for storage for about 4 years and when money was really tight and I was almost not able to make the payments, I almost lost everything. My dear friend asked me why I didn’t ask her to keep it in her large pole barn and I reluctantly agreed to. I didn’t want it to come between our friendship of so many years, but I really had no choice. She graciously moved everything from there to her place and some of it is still there now. Over the years, we weeded through everything and I have less than half of the stuff that I originally stored. Either I gave it away or it was ruined or not worth keeping anymore. Last year when I was in Chicago, we went through everything again and whittled it down even more. There is not much left there.

But it showed me that besides the sentimental stuff, there was very little I “needed” and couldn’t get by without. If I went for seven years without it and survived, how important was it for me to have it?

Keith has always been a ‘minimalist.’ When I first came here, I thought he just moved in, as there was little furniture and nothing on the counters. What was here was really nice, but there wasn’t extra stuff all over. There is something about being surrounded by space and not having the counters cluttered and all the drawers and closets full. In the 3+ years we have been together, we have met in the middle somewhat and our place is comfortable, but not over-filled. I do like it because when we saw all day in the kitchen, it is really easy to wipe everything down and the ‘dust catchers’ are few. It is amazing to see how you can get by with so much less than you think you can. We are both comfortable and happy in our environment. But it doesn’t just happen. Just like nurturing a flower garden, we need to keep up with this organization and adjust it to our needs. Now it is a way of life for both of us and a good one at that. I’ll admit I used to get a bit miffed when I saw things going in the trash or we were in the store and I was asked “what do you need that for?” but in the long run, it saved me lots of money because I don’t buy what I don’t (really) need and there is more time to do what I love to do. It is a good discipline to have.

Whit – I think his enthusiasm is contagious. Once we get in the swing of things, it is fun to see the stuff go. And the end results is a reward within itself. :)

I hope you all are ‘inspired’ by it too!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3272 days

#6 posted 06-16-2012 03:02 AM

a good , good post today, Ive been out and busy all day, and didn’t get to your post until tonight, i really agree with this and feel the best way for me to work the best, is to have things clean and organized, its a constant thing, and for me to work and clean…if i let things go to far, then it gets harder to work, as im searching and looking for a tool, and the same thing extends inside my home, so i enjoyed reading this tonight, and now shall collapse and go to sleep… much to do…and my body just wont do it all…....goodnight sheila…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9222 posts in 2888 days

#7 posted 06-16-2012 09:50 AM

Hi, Bob! I hope you had a good night. After seeing pictures of your shop, I realize that you keep things nice and in order. It certainly helps you to work on so many great things. I am glad my post inspires you too. Sometimes it makes all the difference in the world. :)

I hope you had a great and peaceful sleep! Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics