What Goes Around Comes Around

This post is probably not what you think.  And I apologize if you have a Justin Timberlake song stuck in your head right now.  No wait, I don’t apologize for that.  #JTimmsForever

This post is about me and my sudden, border-line insane attempts to organize, de-clutter, and de-stress my life.  Please tell me I’m not alone in this??  Oh but I won’t delve into the details about how I (more often than I would like to admit) start crying about the piles of junk mail and lego pieces and papers from my son’s preschool and random crap that my husband and I have held onto since seventh grade.  I promise I won’t delve into that.

Instead, I’m going to take this emotional roller coaster on a positive spin and share with you a super-simple, yet not- always-so-obvious, solution for my lack of organization.  And so, in the name of all things hand-me-down, garage-sale, and re-purpose, I present to you:  what goes around comes around.

Raise your hand if you have ever looked around your room and thought to yourself, why do I own that piece of furniture/that item?  We all (I think) have that space in our house, that catch-all space that seems to serve no other purpose than to attract useless items and never put them in their place (aka the trash).  But have you ever taken those thoughts one step further, and asked the question where would this piece of furniture/this item work BETTER for me/my family?  This one is the deciding factor.  If this piece of furniture serves absolutely no purpose in your home, then it is time to say adios and head on over to the Salvation Army (if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll note that I’ve been there a few times in the past week with carloads full of stuff to drop off).

However, if you can picture this item in a better place in your home, a place where it can serve its intended purpose, then you have mastered the art of making what goes around come around, in your home.  And this is exactly what I did in my house this weekend.

The problem area:  My Office

office2When we moved into our house four years ago, I was SO EXCITED to have an office all to myself.  A big, spacious room just waiting to be filled with bookshelves, filing cabinets, and paperwork.  Lots and lots of paperwork.  Well, as it turns out, I did fill it up with all of these items, but the room itself never became fully functioning for me.  As we welcomed two more babies into our family, and I went from not working, to working one part time job, to working three or four part time jobs, my home office became less and less of a necessity.  Until this past year.  When I left my job to work full time from home on the Iowa City Moms Blog (and other projects), I was immediately overwhelmed at the state of my “office”.  Remember when we talked about the piece of furniture that becomes the catch-all?  Well, this entire room had become the catch-all.  Seriously, do you see a desk under there??!


office1Despite the horrendous state of the desk, that was not the item I had a problem with.  After all, the desk (when cleaned off), did quite well at serving its purpose.  But this little bookshelf, this cute little bookshelf that I picked up at a garage sale for $15, was doing nothing but sitting over there collecting dust and looking cute.  I never filled it with paperwork because it was too cute (sigh), and so I put my little knickknacks and journals in it and instead piled the paperwork on the floor next to it (as seen in the below photo).  But alas, cute little bookshelf, it was time to go.  And so I asked the question, will this piece serve a purpose somewhere else?  And the answer, after a long chain of moving furniture around, was yes.  We moved the bookshelf to our room (where it can be cute and can display my jewelry, knickknacks, journals, and the like), we moved the current shelf in our room to the sun porch, and we sent the little Noah’s Ark table from the porch (not serving a bit of its purpose) to our church, where it will get plenty of use and our kids will still see it and use it!


office3But then there was one more thing to do:  fill the space in the office.  And fill it with something useful for my work-from-home projects.  Cue my mom (as always).  As her company (a retail chain) recently closed its doors, they just so happened to be selling a lot of their fixtures from the stores.  She called me with the news that she had snagged one of the accessory displays for a steal of a deal (that’s how we roll), and I was thrilled.  At first I wanted to use it for the kids toys in the basement, but then I realized it was just the piece I needed in my office!

The only problem?  Those bins are completely see-through.  And who wants to look through the plexi-glass at a mess of file folders, papers, and post-it notes??  My quick DIY fix came on a whim last weekend:  cover the front of the bins with cardstock, and label each one with the particular project I am working on at the moment.  Perfect. This piece would now be the perfect addition to my office.  Not only can I replace the cardstock when I need to change things, but these bins are removable (meaning, when I go to an event and need everything in the bin, I just pick it up and carry it to my car).  Brilliant, I tell you.  Brilliant.  Now, all I have to do is sort through the stacks and stacks of papers to get them in the right bins!

office4 office5

And so there you have it.  In your household (just like in mine), when something isn’t feeling right, or life is feeling completely disorganized (which I am sure it will again in a few days), you just look around and take a moment to re-evaluate your home and how it is working for you.  As Oprah always says, your home should “rise up to meet you” when you enter the doors.  Now, as moms of little ones, I realize that our house cannot live up to Oprah’s standards entirely at this moment in our lives, but we can do our best to make it work for our lives.  If there are some small changes that could help ease your days, think about doing them today.  And before you head to the store to buy a new piece of furniture, first take a look around the other rooms in your house, because you never know when something might “come back around”…

{If you still have the JT song in your head, why not just head on over to YouTube and listen to it while you re-evaluate the current state of your household?  Those beautiful blue eyes are sure to brighten up anyone’s Tuesday, no matter how high the stack of papers on your desk has become.}

Sara and her husband Matt (sweethearts since they were just 16) got married in 2007, and since then have welcomed four beautiful children (Sam in 2008, Cooper in 2010, Nora in 2012, and Adam James in December 2015). A born-and-raised Iowan, Sara received both her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees (in Spanish Literature) from the University of Iowa. She's still teaching Spanish wherever and whenever she can, but her true passion is owning Iowa City Moms and building this community alongside her amazing team. Sara is also the Community Engagement Coordinator for City Mom Collective, and the owner of Cowork Collective downtown Iowa City. Common denominator in all of these jobs: community, community, community.


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