September 26, 2007

Keeping House, Keeping Life, and Finding a Place for the Mail

record mail holder

I have a bit of a confession to make. Please put down any coffeecake you may be nibbling or tea you may be sipping and take a seat; I don’t want anyone to choke, spray, or fall over with surprise and, alright, disgust. You ready?

I am a slob.

That’s right, the mistress of Pink of Perfection with its pretty photographs and clean design (Sebastian’s doing) is a downright mess. Somewhere in my personal development, certain lessons just weren’t cemented: Hang up your clothes. Wash all the dishes before you got to bed. Put the dirty clothes in the hamper. Don’t get me wrong: I want to be totally together. Who doesn’t? I want to look polished and turned out and come home to an apartment that looks like it should be in a design magazine. Who wouldn’t? But the truth of the matter is that I have to clear off surfaces before we can take tidy looking pictures without mail or half-drunk glasses of wine in the background, and I am someone who pretty much looks like she just tumbled out of bed all the time. I justify all this by calling myself earthy, rather than messy, our apartment lived-in, rather than a disaster, and my hair tousled, rather than just, well, unbrushed.

Much as I try to resist it, though, adulthood is nigh. I should probably be dressing more the part at work (who knew sundresses weren’t “professional”?) and not losing important things like, oh, jury duty summons and passports. I want to have an organized home. Even my horoscope is telling me it’s time.

So who’s advice would you take for organizing? Maybe someone who is having to work at it, and actually following her own advice. Now that nesting season is upon us, it’s time for me to get my nest into shape.

POP Tips for Purging and Organizing

  • I firmly believe weekends are for fun, not filing. On the weeknights when you have an extra bit of energy, set the timer for 30 minutes to spend cleaning up. And when the buzzer goes, stop. It’s actually kind of astounding how much you can get done in half an hour.
  • If it’s clothes and housewares you have an overabundance of, take them to a thrift shop that will give you a receipt for your goods — it’s tax-deductible! If you know you’re just going to let the things sit in bags for weeks on end until you make it to the Salvation Army (paging Sarah McColl), drop them in a clothes deposit box. Keep your eyes peeled, as there is probably one in your neighborhood.
  • Sometimes it’s hard to part with sentimental items that don’t fit or never wear, like a dress you still totally love or a necklace you’re mom gave you. Two options: place this stuff in a bag under your bed. If you forget, it’s probably time to say goodbye. Another idea is to hand it over on “extended loan” to a friend. It’s not totally out of your life for good (you could always get it back if you want), but it’s also not jammed in your closet or jewelry box. Be real about sentimentality. I am a total sap, and attach a lot of feelings and nostalgia to items. But when it’s the feeling that I love and cherish and not the item, I have to remind myself to let the thing go and hang on to the feeling.
  • Set a bar. I have clothes that make me feel like an absolute million bucks: they are comfy, chic, sexy, and I love them. And then there’s the rest of my wardrobe. I’m gonna get rid of everything that doesn’t make me feel absolutely unstoppable. Isn’t life too short to feel short of fabulous, yes? And then if you have suddenly one great skirt instead of nine okay ones, wear it a couple of times a week. Isn’t that what the French do?
  • Have a place for things. Right now, a problem in my house is that there’s no set place for the mail. Therefore, it winds up on the coffee table, on the floor, on the dining room table, and on both Sebastian’s desk and mine. This is no way to keep things straight. With no room for an entry hall table, in fact, with no entry hall at all, I made this mail slot to hang on the wall from some old albums I wasn’t listening to anymore. It functional and crafty and pretty cool, too.

record mail holder

Record Album Mail Organizer
What You’ll Need

an old record
an oven
a cookie sheet
a bowl

Turn your oven up to 200 degrees F. Place an overturned bowl on a cookie sheet and center your record on the bowl. Place in oven for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, check to see how malleable the vinyl has become. If the record has totally flopped downwards towards the cookie sheet, take it out of the oven. If not, leave in for another minute and check again. When the vinyl can be shaped with ease, remove from oven and bend one 1/3 of the record toward the center to make a lopsided taco shape. Then lay the record flat on the cookie sheet and put a plate in between the folded sides of the record (like the taco filling, if you will), so the record will flop over a bit more. Put in oven for another minute or two. Remove, let cool, and hang on wall however you like. May I suggest making use of that handy hole for a nail?

record mail holder

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  • Suzy: I’m not shocked to hear you’re a slob. Many creative, interesting people with full lives indeed are. (Can you tell I am less than orderly myself?) I say, people who are obsessed with organizing, cleaning, and colour-coding are simply boring and sadly uninitiated in the art of living. Yay mess! Here’s to the Pink of IMperfection!
    10 years ago

  • bisbee: My guy collects vinyl & we often battle about the ever present pile o’mail. I’m pickin up some scratched albums at goodwill tonight to make em! THANKS!
    10 years ago

  • Sebastian: Oh crud the secret’s outta the bag! 😉
    10 years ago

  • deb: You’re too cute. I looked around our apartment this morning and sobbed to myself, omg it’s a STY. I mean, I used to be this ocd cleaning type, and Alex has thankfully saved me from that, but oh, how the mighty have fallen! Buying a exorbitantly expensive vacuum cleaner two weeks ago–shockingly–didn’t make vacuuming any more appealing. I vow to try at least one of your tips tonight.
    10 years ago

  • Sarah: I am always craving a simpler, quieter life. A friend of mine once said that objects make noise which, if you think about, makes so much sense. When you’re in a place that’s pretty sparse, like a hotel room or log cabin, it’s relaxing. So my focus is just about getting our place a little sparser, a little quieter if you will. Totally doable, right? Does anyone else have tips for decluttering? I’m all ears.
    10 years ago

  • Samantha: I love that “clean for 30 minutes” tip. My husband and I have been so busy lately that our apartment has turned into an absolute horror, and we’re going to have to spend our first free weekend in a while into a cleaning one; maybe once we have the place back in shape, we can use that “30 minute” tip to maintain the nice, clean environment!
    10 years ago

  • renee: great tips and a totally cute mail organizer!

    i’ve been trying to declutter and that timer tip is the perfect helper. the tough thing for me is to stay focused.

    it’s nice to know that there are so many other “lived in” spaces out there. we never really get to find that out in person because people are always tidying up before the guests arrive. i love blogs and confessions!
    10 years ago

  • Belle: Can I sign up somewhere? I am a totally messy person, too. My boyfriend can give comfort to Sebastien, if needed.
    10 years ago

  • Sarah: renee, that’s funny but true: everyone does always clean up before you come over, so as far as i know, EVERYONE’S apartment could look like mine.

    Belle, I loved looking at your Flickr page!
    10 years ago

  • Olivia: I am doing this project TODAY! I love it & I have the exsact same problem with the mail! You are not alone!
    10 years ago

  • Jaki: Sarah, you’ve got to know that admitting your slobbiness is only going to make your public love you more. I knew we had had some ‘kindred spirit’ thing happening when I first saw your site. The difference is (horror!) you’ve admitted the problem, and started to find solutions. I feel safer in the denial stage. But I do love the bent vinyl!
    10 years ago

  • Sarah: Making unsavory confessions about myself garners me more admirers?!? Get me drunk and soon enough, you’ll be head over heels. 😉
    10 years ago

  • Nicole: That is a flippin awesome idea!!
    10 years ago

  • Sarah: I just saved a couple of records from the trash and was wondering what to do with them when I found this awesome project! I experimented with a couple of different plates and bowls to get the right shape. I also smoothed out the curling edges with a spatula 🙂 I was chuckling at myself for wondering if my record was done cooking.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing the great idea!
    10 years ago

  • Eva: At my house we have what we call “the white thing” It is this unsightly hutch that my creative husband has wrapped black duct-tape around now that it’s falling apart. It is the catch-all by the front door, where our mail ends up. causes many tears. My husband says we need this hutch, i need to make something really cute to hang on the wall instead, to save our marriage. you’re so smart!
    10 years ago

  • Gemma: I am the slob in our house too. I want to be tidy and organised but everything just gets into a horrible mess and then I blitz clean it so it is all perfect but just don’t maintain it – maybe it’s time to try the 30 minute tip!
    10 years ago

  • Princess: A tip that was passed on to me that you might want to employ (as a fellow slob of sorts, I understand your pain!), is to never leave your apartment with out something leaving with you. Even if it is the recycling or a bag of trash. I keep a pile of things by the door, stuff to go to the Sally Ann, boxes to be taken to the local kindergarden, old newspapers, etc. and I never leave without something. Also, if I bring something into the apartment, I have to get rid of something. I am not at all at a point of being proud of my cleansliness, but we are getting there…..Good Luck, Princess
    10 years ago

  • Sarah: Princess, That is a really, super, excellent tip that I am going to start employing immediately. After a weekend of defunking the apartment, I’m ready to keep on making it nicer and nicer. Thank you!
    10 years ago

  • Sarah S: Oh thank goodness you are a slob. I was reading another post before this one and I wondered how on earth you do it all. I will sleep better tonight knowing that. Great 30min clean up tip.
    9 years ago

  • chrissy: I love your blog! Thanks for the detailed instructions!! You can also make another one, turn it around, drill little holes all over the record, and hang earrings from it. The mail slot works as a stand from behind. 😉7 years ago

  • Playing (with) my old vinyl records | A Ponytail Kind of Day: […] Record Album Mail Organizer using this tutorial… […]5 years ago

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