The Organization Project

I mentioned in my post about New Years goals that organizing my doll stuff was a priority.  It’s something that has been bugging me for a while.  I don’t consider myself an OCD person, but I do like things to be organized.  I hate having to dig to find something, I hate having to move a million things to get to one thing and I had reached the point where I was concerned about safety–either tripping over an item or having it fall on a foot or something.

I did a lot of thinking about the best way to handle my organization needs.  I have a lot, but not tons of doll stuff.  I don’t have unlimited storage space.  And I wanted to protect my investment.  Regardless of whether I buy it from American Girl or at a thrift store, there is a monetary investment in all of these things, and I wanted to make sure that they don’t get broken, damaged or dirty.  Thinking cap time!

I have to thank Brandy over at Doll Diaries for the inspiration to move forward with this project.  She had a lot of great ideas in this particular post:    While I didn’t use her exact system, it was a great kick start for the many ideas I had in my mind.

Off to Dollar Tree!  I started out with 8 of these containers.  They cost only $1 each making them very affordable.  They are the size of a shoe box, they stack nicely and they aren’t super heavy.  The ones I purchased are clear with white tops.

boxAt this point I started sorting out all of the little odds and ends I had into categories.  I didn’t get very far when I realized I needed more boxes, so I made another trip to Dollar Tree and bought 8 more!

Another issue I had was with larger items.  All of the pieces for the bakery were in one large storage box, the camping equipment in another, and items I have been accumulating for a moveable doll bedroom in a third.  Plus a bunch of other stuff.  The problem was that they were stacked, one on another, so if I needed something from one of them, I had to move things around.  Inevitably, what I needed was usually in one of the boxes on the bottom.  It also made cleaning a hassle as well, vacuuming was a nightmare.  After more thinking, I came up with another idea, and headed to Walmart to make another purchase:

drawer This drawer cart was only $17.88, and fit in the backseat of the car.  I started by going through the stack of boxes and stuff I had and put the largest items in first, fitting the smaller pieces around them.  When I was done, the boxes were gone, and I had a nicely organized collection of furniture/accessories.  YES!  Plus with the wheels on the bottom, it would be easy to move for cleaning.

I’m not going to lie, organizing all of my stuff took close to 2 days, working on it in between doing laundry, cooking meals, etc.  But it was totally worth it.  When I was all finished I was not only pleased with the outcome, but relieved that it was done.  There was one thing left to do though–label it all!  I wanted to make it super easy to find things.  As I joked to my husband, I wanted it so easy that even he could find something if I gave him a label name.  In Word I typed in all of the names for the different drawers/containers.  After printing it, I laminated the printed area with packing tape, both front and back. (I always have tons of packing tape around.)  I cut them out with my paper cutter, then using double faced tape, attached the labels to the drawers and containers.

So, are you ready to see what it looks like???

storage 4
Hi Samantha, we see you peeking from on top of the vanity!

The nice part is that 8 of the storage bins fit nicely on the top of the rolling cart, leaving a bit of room for a couple of pieces that I didn’t want to put in a drawer.
storage 2A close up of the labels.

storage 3

The other 8 bins went on top of another storage cart I already had which holds most of the doll clothing. I don’t store dresses in here, I have another system for those which I’ll share another time, I’m still tweaking it. This cart came from Target, I don’t often see them with the two smaller drawers in place of the large top drawer. It works great for clothing organization though, and because I’ve been using it for a while, I don’t have the drawers on it labeled. 😉

The piece of furniture behind these has some stuff sitting on it (Samantha, two boxes, salon chair), I eventually hope to have it out of there and put a small set of shelves in that spot.  I would like to get shelves big enough to put all the items I currently have sitting on the top of the rolling carts on, but that’s going to be done later.  I have encountered one slight problem, if you put too many heavy items in the large rolling carts, sometimes the wheels pop out!  This isn’t the first time I’ve had this issue with this style of cart, so it wasn’t a surprise to me.  If it continues, I may have to remove the weight from the top by moving the small bins.  This is one of those situations where plastic parts in everything doesn’t necessarily work well.

For around $35, I organized all of my little goodies.  The cart the clothing is in was around $20 if I remember correctly, so for $55, everything had a place!  Was it worth it?  ABSOLUTELY!  It will be so much easier when I get ready to do a shoot to find the accessories I need for it, and when I’m done, super simple to put them away.  Goal achieved!


20 thoughts on “The Organization Project

  1. Wonderful job!! I, too like having things organized…it makes the hobby seem less frazzling! I really like your method. I have walked by these rolling organizers before, but I think I will have to get one as it would be nice to have everything in one place. 🙂

    • I think having things organized also helps with deciding whether or not to purchase something as you can see what you have much easier. As I was sorting, I came across stuff that I’d forgot about, eeek!

  2. I love this! I have to tell you though that I laughed out loud when I saw it. I just purchased two more underbed boxes (I have 6 full already) and 5 PAX shelves in a effort to organize (which I still can’t do until all the fire damage is taken care of in my daughter’s house because she’s staying with me). I started out organizing shoes with embroidery floss suitcases and quickly realized I needed something bigger so I bought a cart like you did but with something like seven drawers which, you guessed it, are already full.

    I’ve put myself on a buying restriction. Bad mommy.

    I have to also put it out there that I am really enjoying adding things to instead of buying them. It’s like collecting by proxy. Plus the feature that lets you see how much you spent on your own collection makes me feel very poor. It’s a good tool for me to combat spending.

    I think I need to have a Virtual Yardsale once I get a real chance to organize LOL

      • I definitely have! For various reasons too–hubby works a job that is commission and this time of year is traditionally slower so less expendable cash. But the main reason for me is just plain old running out of room! I’m concentrating on organizing what I have and finishing up some projects. By having things sorted, I might discover some things that aren’t working out as well too so I can eliminate them.

  3. I do have things boxed but they are in too many different places in the house – bedroom, basement, craft room, spare bedroom, under the bed. I need it all to be centralized. I spend too much time walking all over the house, up stairs, down stairs, gathering things together. Wait a minute, maybe I could consider doll play an aerobic exercise!

    • I like that aerobic exercise doll play idea. 🙂 That would take up a lot of time. My collection is relatively centralized but mixing and matching outfits can be like changing over closets for the new season.

      • LOL at the aerobic exercise! I don’t have that issue with my doll stuff, but the rest of my house…let’s just say we’re working on that! It does drive me crazy though. We’re getting there.

  4. Very nice job of organizing. I too use those rolling carts, although I took the wheels off. Let me caution you not to put too many heavy items on top of the cart. I did on several and the top has sagged, making it hard to open the top drawer.

    • Been there, done that, back when I was using similar carts for storing scrapbook stuff. You also have to be very careful not to put anything too heavy in the drawers too.

  5. Wow! Great job! I am eternally grateful for my finished attic space! I have 2 plastic 3-drawer bins and TWO dressers FULL, and that is just their clothes! Luckily the dollhouse holds most everything else. It is a constant job keeping things organized!

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