‘Tea for Two’ provides venue of ‘Organization 101’

Kathryn SwanJ-C Correspondent
‘Tea for Two’ provides venue of ‘Organization 101’

I was privileged Saturday to be the guest speaker for a remarkable group of Osage County women, the OHCE, an acronym for Osage County Home and Community Education, formerly known as Home Demonstration Clubs.

OHCE’s mission is to build better communities through education, leadership and service. Their efforts are enhanced and supported by the Oklahoma Cooperative Extensive Service. The Osage County OHCE is working hard to “educate” the public about the many benefits of belonging to their organization. Since public schools no longer offer “Home Economics,” the OHCE fills the void created by providing outstanding programs targeted at making the science of homemaking appealing to today’s fast-paced lifestyle.

Tables decorated with beautifully arranged veggie flowers welcomed guests to the tea party. Assorted teas, petite fours and other delectable goodies added to the ambiance. An eclectic mix of vintage tea cups created an inviting setting for the ladies, many of whom were properly attired in their tea party hats.

OSU Extension Educator Donna Robbins shared information about OHCE’s 80 years of history and service to Osage County communities which corresponded beautifully with the vintage photo display showcasing decades of activities.

Thanks to so many outstanding resources, especially HGTV, I was able to develop my “Organization 101” presentation which I would like to share with you today:

Are you overwhelmed thinking about how to get your entire house in order? It won’t happen overnight, or even in a week. The key to a more organized home isn’t just about tossing most of your stuff and stashing the rest in cute containers (although they do help when the time is right), it’s more about recognizing and replacing bad practices with better habits that’ll help you dig out from the mess on a daily basis.

The best part about the organizing process is that no matter what rooms you want to straighten up, the rules are essentially the same and involve a four- -step guide to get you started.

First, define your space. With a notebook in hand, sit down in each room and make notes while asking yourself these questions: How will the room be used by my family? Is it a shared family space for games, toys and movies? Or, is it an office for one or all? Be sure to account for all of the various activities because it will dictate what stays and what will get the boot when it comes time to sort the room’s contents.

What storage is available in the room? Does it have built-in shelves, drawers, cabinets, a closet, baskets, bins, a storage ottoman or coffee table with drawers? What needs to be stored in the room to support its use? What is your goal for the room? Does the furniture suit the room, or should it be rearranged or cleared out?

Next sort your stuff, tackling one room at a time. If that’s too overwhelming, narrow it down to one corner at a time. Then, begin the organizing process by sorting the items into four categories: KEEP items used on a regular basis. DONATE/SELL things you can do without. STORE sentimental things you want to hold onto but don’t need cluttering up your daily living space. TRASH/RECYCLE things that are no longer usable.

If you are worried about how to decide what should be tossed, consider this. If you need to spend more than 15 seconds thinking about what something is, or when you last used it or why you even have it, then you probably don’t need it.

Once you completed the sorting process, establish zones to maintain your organization. If you are forever losing your car keys, create a home for them by hanging hooks near the front door or consider an attractive box near the entry — whatever works for you. Try to establish a routine of always placing the keys in the designated spot.

Use well-labeled containers to create a storage system and let your family know where things are located. If space is at a premium, add shelves inside closets to make use of the vertical wall space. If you have small children, attach hooks at lower heights so they can hang up their jackets and bags. Adjustable shelving, such as a closet system, is ideal because it can be moved to accommodate various storage needs. Use plastic shoeboxes or plastic food storage containers to create kits for things such as sewing items, shoe repair and extension cords.

To help you avoid the inevitable moment when your organizing efforts begin to slide, consider these mental and physical strategies. Vividly imagine the good feeling you will get once the task is completed, focusing on the “I CAN DO THIS!”

Forget perfectionism. Just start and do your best – quit worrying about the small stuff. Get an accountability buddy to keep you on task along the way – even she isn’t physically with you, having someone to share your experience with makes it more enjoyable. Consider a “TO DO LIST” before you start your project, checking off each accomplishment. This is a great way to eliminate emotional clutter which can add to procrastination.

Do the hard parts first. Or, do the easy parts first. Whichever motivates you more is the one you should choose. Keep a progress log so you don’t lose sight of how much you’ve accomplished. Break your project into small, manageable chunks and create interim deadlines for yourself along the way. My best suggestion is to build in rewards for yourself as you finish each step or as you complete the project.

The next meeting of the Osage County OHCE will a June summer salad luncheon where members bring their favorite salads. and invite guests. The Sand Creek OCHE group will be hostesses and will provide drinks, desserts and tableware. OHCE spokesperson Dee Chambers said, “More information will be available in OSU Extension Educator Donna Robbins’ May newsletter and will be provided to the Journal Capital. Anyone wishing to be added to her mailing list can call her at 918-287-4170. We also invite anyone interested in learning more about OHCE to be guests at our meetings.”