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(Futile?) Attempts at Organization
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(Futile?) Attempts at Organization

After finishing mom’s cardigan last week, my attempts at working on a project (either Mimi’s cardi or Kris’s sweater) have proven short-lived…

This past week, I had to seize on the unique and truly extraordinary mood that struck me – one that comes about as rare as a blue moon – to clean, organize, and arrange my home.  Yes, yes.  I know.  I organize, categorize, and arrange for a living - but at home is a different story all together.

It was precipitated by a long-held hope for a new dining room set.  Before we were married (~2000), Kris and I were very fortunate to find a very nice (and affordable) used dining room set in the classified section.  We didn’t have a house yet (ahem, we were still in college) but we liked this enough to get it, and luckily, we were able to store it in Kris’s parents’ house until we bought our house in December 2001.  The set served us well for many years, and it was quite nice – but the time came when we (okay, I) wanted something smaller and simpler – easier to get around, and more suited to our style.

 Dining Room

I believe that if you have the space, you will fill it with things that you don’t need and will never use.  So, I cut down my space – specifically in the china cabinet – and filled a dozen bags and boxes with “said” things and made the long overdue trip to the thrift store.  What catharsis! 

Table and Chairs 

Capturing this moment on film proves that it happened – before the table is piled with books, knits, random paperwork.  Or can I attempt to keep it this way? 

The funny thing is, once you start organizing (at least, once I start) it is hard to stop.  Striking while the iron is hot, and all of that stuff.  So, I rolled with it.  Next on to the pantry! 

I buy lots of items in bulk – it just makes sense with our diet, and in theory, it is supposed to reduce the amount of paper and plastic waste.  That is, if you don’t let all the plastic bags that you used to transport your grains to you home take over your pantry… but now…

Contain Yourself... 

I maintained while I contained!  And look how pretty the lentils and wild rice are in these glass jars!  (They were at Target and were reasonably priced. They had three sizes available.)  And the real plus is that I asked the cashier at my market, and I can take these containers in to the market for refills – they will weigh them beforehand and I can fill it, and they will charge me the difference.  Saving plastic bags and the hassle!  Perfect!  Filling these containers with my grains, seeds, legumes, nuts, and dried fruit brought a great sense of contentment.  I gazed lovingly inside my pantry for a good 20 minutes after filling them up.  *sigh*

…and when you are on that train, you don’t get off…

Next up, my crafty bookshelf. Oy.  A mess indeed.  Major cleanup was necessary. 

I have to say that I really do love the way that the knitting community supports these amazingly talented people within our ranks, and that there is such a market for great patterns that can be downloaded immediately after Reorganization:  Knitting Books purchase as a PDF.  It is beautifully convenient.  The not-so-convenient part is the hole in the technology though… I don’t like to print off this pattern and  use more energy and paper – but it is also not too convenient (or comfortable) to knit in front of my computer so that I can look at a pattern.  I guess a laptop is the best way to solve this problem… does anyone else deal with this? 

So, what all of this means is that I have a lot of paper patterns that I have printed off the computer over the years – ideally, I would love to hole punch them and stick them in binders – and maybe that is the next step.  In the meantime, I just arranged them with all of my books and magazines.  The bookshelf allowed enough space for my books that are taller than 9-inches, and enough room for my back issues of Interweave Knits (+ Knitscene), and Vogue Knitting (+ Knit.1 and KnitSimple) and the yarn company pamphlet books from Berroco, Patons, Jo Sharp, Dale of Norway, Classic Elite, Rowan, and Lopi. 

This exercise in organizing my knitting and craft books made me realize that I never need to buy another book or magazine or pattern in my life. I have *plenty* of inspiration from these sources to keep me busy for the rest of my time on this earth… but then I saw Bonne Marie’s new Mondo Cable Cardi… hence the (futile?) attempts in my title to this post.  Yeah, fall is the hardest time for me – and I suspect for many of you too.  These designers sure know how to up the ante for the fall collections – they get me every year.

Of course, there is more to be done – much more!  and I am planning to do so soon - but it sure does feel nice to have some parts cleaned up and out. Simplified and minimized, at least for the time being.  :)

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58 Responses

  1. Jenn

    great job! I love the picture of your pantry.

    See that new Vogue Knitting? The one on your shelf? I’m in it :-) Well, not ME but my products. Just had to tell you that.


  2. Rachel

    Love this post about organization! I’m on the same kick too. I think it always hits me in the fall for some reason (rather than spring which I think is more typical). I really like the jars you chose for your grains…I’ve been looking for something similar but haven’t found any cheap enough!

    I hear you on the printed patterns. For ones that I already had, I put them in sleeves in a 3-ring notebook and organized them by type. But lately I’ve just downloaded them onto the computer into a special folder to only be printed if I actually start to knit them. I, of course, accumulate way more patterns than I have time to knit so this saves on space and paper. And I can find them very easily that way.

  3. nova

    Your spaces look great, Lolly. I print out the patterns once I have decided to actually knit them (as in, I have the needles and yarn and I am about to cast on). I like the portability of the printed pattern. When done, I file it (I used to use binders; but, I have a bias for files for whatever reason!).

  4. Linda

    I love organising and tidying! I pop my patterns in a binder if I print them off but some are left just in the computer until I ever get around to them.

  5. Denise

    After seeing your post here and your shelf full of magazines, it inspired me to organize mine! OMG I didn’t realize I had so many books and magazines. Like you, I will never have to buy another knitting pattern again…… but I probably will!!! :-)

  6. jayaycee

    If I had your gorgeous, newly-organized pantry, I would stand there and lovingly smile at it all day long. Glad to see someone else has an entire bookshelf of knitting books and magazines. I have a large binder with sections that I fill with sheet protectors and patterns printed. I also like to make photocopies of the pattern I’m using so I can easily throw it in my knitting bag or hold it on my lap while working. Much easier than carrying/juggling the whole book. I also use painter’s tape or masking tape to mark my row on the pattern since I can stick and restick it to the sheet protector as I move down the page.

  7. courtney

    I love how the lentils and rice looks…beautiful! :) We store ours that way too, but our canisters don’t look as neat and tidy (and colorful) as yours. :)
    I always print one copy of a pattern when I get it online, and then I put it into a binder. I have three binders that are separated by sweaters, accessories, and baby things. The accessories one is the most full because of socks. :)

  8. Emily

    Like jillian and kristin I often find myself being unable to avoid printing patterns, and in those cases I try to protect them in binders full of punched sleeves. I have a binder full of ‘things in progress’, one of ‘things to do’, one of ‘small patterns I knit a lot’ and one of ‘things I’ve finished’. A great advantage to those sleeves is that I can tuck my swatches into them – makes the ‘finished’ and ‘in progress’ great fun to flip through!

    Instructions on blogs and websites (non-pdf) I sometimes just knit from my blackberry screen. It’s easy, right there, usually with me anyway, and requires no paper. I borrowed a tiny Nokia computer (slightly larger than an iPhone) from a friend and found that was great for pdf patterns.

    When I simply can’t avoid printing something I print it ’4-up’ – 4 pdf pages per side of one printed page. My eyes are good enough that I can still read the pattern, but the entire thing folds up nicely into the same ziplock the project is in. I print anything with a tiny-hard-to-read-chart in 2-up, and I print charted-only shawls fullsize.

    For very very simple patterns I just copy the instructions out onto an index card and tuck that in. I love this because it gives me a chance to read through the pattern fully before I start. I know I should do that anyway, but I often don’t.

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