The Cure for Hangerphobia

As I described in my recent post about organizing clothing, I have quite an aversion to hanging things up on hangers.

The Life Cycle of my Non-Foldables

On a rare occasion, non-foldables make it all the way to hangers IN OUR CLOSET, only to be tossed on the floor after I try them on and decide to wear something else. But of course, they rarely get that far. Baby sea turtles have a better chance of becoming geriatric.

My hanger-necessary items usually get taken out of the dryer and lain out on a flat surface, piled on top of each other. Then the awkwardly long pile stays there or migrates across the house—to the couch, where the other clothes were getting folded while I watch Netflix, or to a chair in the bedroom, or to Little Champ’s pack & play, which is in the closet. Sometimes I actually get them on hangers right in the laundry room…and they stay there for months until LT wonders where his dress shirt is.

But yesterday I came up with perhaps my most brilliant idea, ever. Even more brilliant than using a ladle to grab bottles from the back of the top shelf (That totally works. Cup the top of the bottle with the ladle and pull it towards you.)

Anyway, here’s my idea, complete with real life, embarrassing photographs:

If you take a non-foldable article of clothing out of the dryer, PUT IT ON. Finish folding the other clothes. When you are done, walk to the closet, and take the articles off one at a time, PUTTING THEM ON THEIR HANGERS.

I suppose that an early and repetitive exposure to FRIENDS may have inspired this idea.

Here’s the plan, in action:

Bewildered Mother wants YOU to try it (if you are a hangerphobe)

Little Champ’s clothes prove an interesting challenge

I think that this would work especially well for kids that are hangerphobes due to its silly or embarrassing nature.

If you try it, let me know how it goes!

If you are especially silly, post a picture of an attempt on the Bewildered Mother Facebook Page!

Need help organizing your home? You don’t want to get advice on organizing from somebody who doesn’t really need to organize in the first place because their house is already in perfect order. You want tips from a person who is like you, who figures out how to organize through trial and error, and who knows the value of a Junk drawer. Let’s muddle through it together! Check out my Slobs Anonymous posts for tips and confessions. My Housekeeping posts have a little bit of everything related to keeping a house, even the D-word…Dishes.

Confessions of a Slob: Bathroom

I’m typing y’all from Colorado, where Little Champ and I are spending 2 weeks with my family. Before I left NC, however, I cleaned like a complete madwoman, because 1) I had a friend coming to house sit and didn’t want her to keel over from shock as soon as she opened up the door, 2) I did not want to come home to a messy house, and 3) every time I entered the master bath, I had a nano-heart-attack.

The previous couple of weeks had been so crazy, I hadn’t had any time to organize my bathroom. Not that it was organized in the first place. Our old apartment (which we moved from over a year ago) had drawers and tons of shelf space in a large closet in the bathroom. I like our new bathroom a whole lot more, except for the storage. Floor-level cabinets and fake. drawers. Don’t even get me started on how much I loathe faux-drawers. (It would go something like this: MY BATHROOM IS A LIE!!!!)

Anyway, when we moved, I was quite largely pregnant. This pregnant:

Couch shopping with LT

and I had no time or motivation to pack the entire apartment up in an orderly manner. Conclusion: I threw all of the bathroom stuff into a couple of paper bags and a box, to organize when I got to my new home. Unfortunately, the new home had only vast, dark chasms of cabinets that I would have to bend over or squat to organize. If you’ve ever been or seen a pregnant woman, you know that squatting and bending over are not high on the “this requires little to no effort” list.

Nearly a year after we moved in, everything was still buried in a paper bag. I started pulling things out to do my hair, because now that Little Champ actually took naps or could amuse himself for a minute, I had time to do something other than comb half of my hair!

And yet, I’d be putting eye shadow over one lid when Little Champ would scream as if somebody had run over his puppy. Quick, smear it on the other side, throw it on the bathroom counter, and scoop up my separation-anxious child.

Repeat that with combs, curling irons, soap refills, and hair spray, and continue for two weeks, and this is the explosive result:

So terrifying even the cockroaches were afraid to show up. (I kid not)

Scary indeed. But I took my paralyzing fear and turned it into the fear that compels into ACTION!

Problem: No place for anything.

SOLUTION: Over the door shoe organizer. 11 bucks at Walmart.

A place for everything and everything in its place!

Problem: Everything hidden and out of reach.

SOLUTION: Making things shallow (in a good way) by adding shelves and wide containers.

Since I didn’t have shelves, just deep dark cabinets, things were either piled on top of each other or pushed back out of sight. I needed to add a level to give me more surface area, less out of reach.

Shelf, $6 at Target. Plastic bins, $2-3 each at Big Lots. Brown baskets, $1 each at a dollar store

So I did some comparison shopping. The cheapest shelf I could find that would fit under the sink was at Target. I found some blue plastic bins at Big Lots (they used to have them in the dollar section of Target..I was too late!). The brown baskets I found at a dollar store to organize feminine products. These will go in the bath/toilet room after I build a shelf to house them, since I had no luck finding a tall, thin shelf that would work.

I love using the bins, because I can pull the whole thing out, use what I need, toss them back in the bin, and tuck the bin out of sight again. Plastic is also easier to clean than paper boxes or fabric containers.

Problem: Personal appliances taking up too much real estate

SOLUTION: Getting a plastic waste bin was perfect for keeping my hair dryer and curling irons and hair straighteners vertical. It also contains their cords (which I bound with rubber bands).

So, for less than $35, I have a nice, organized bathroom. I could have spent less buying used, but I wanted this to be a one-day project. With a baby in tow, going to 6 stores was plenty (I compare shopped. Many of these things aren’t listed online, so I physically checked a bunch of stores).

Men have it so easy. All LT needs is hair trimmers and a razor.

I bought a new soap dispenser at Ross for $2. Quite pleased, since my $10 one broke after a month. LAME. And I didn’t have the receipt. ALSO LAME BUT UNDERSTANDABLE.

*Sniff* Isn't it so beautiful?

After a victory like this, I proceeded to tackle the rest of the house, while Little Champ scooted behind me between rooms.

Mommy, please don't make me take a nap. Look! I'll help you clean!

Confessions of a slob

(in which the reader witnesses the horror of my disorganization)


Let me just describe what I am seeing in this office (a room I have avoided for several weeks now) before I start organizing. Sure, it is a way of procrastination, but it will also help you catch a glimpse of how bad it really is.

on the desk

The scary arm reaching towards the desk is actually part of the futon

There are three piles of papers on the desk. One started out as a pile and has oozed across the middle of the desk. I shall refer to this as “Jabba.” To the right of Jabba is my birthday present, a beautiful Canon photo printer with 5 separate ink cartridges. It’s also a fax machine, scanner, and copy machine. I haven’t named it yet! (This is a travesty, as I name all my electronics.) I will call it The Millennium Falcon. Behind her, there are three sculptures I made in college, the “Lubbles”, and a large white head from IKEA, whom I sometimes deck out with 3D glasses and a beanie.

On top of Jabba’s tail is more than a dozen toilet paper cardboard tubes, which I have been saving for a thrifty project I will make and blog about, someday when my house is more organized. There’s also a wooden figure model doing some sort of gangster pose I didn’t put him in, a jar of paper clips and thumb tacks. On the left side of the desk is LT’s HP touchsmart, on which I’m typing and will soon watch Little House on the Prairie episodes whilst organizing. Behind that is a toolbox filled with drawing supplies and a box of thank you cards and envelopes I never sent out from my wedding, which, in case you didn’t know, occurred in 2009. (Er…Thank you, and Sorry.) There’s a box of checks back there, too, with our 2010 address on it. In front of the computer, another pile of papers, including a letter from the boy we sponsor in Haiti, which I haven’t responded to yet in length, even though we got it in January/February (I did send a short note). Plus the video camera I can’t use because I lost the battery charger somewhere, a stack of my business cards, two dead batteries. The newest addition to the desk is an English writing desk given to me by my in-laws for my birthday. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and I need to put it to use (perhaps writing our little boy in Haiti and maybe thank yous?). Covering that piece of beauty, are pages from the bane of my existence (read: the church directory that took 5 agonizing months of information gathering and waiting), a to-do list, and our 3rd copy of Tale of Two Cities. We started with 4. I haven’t read Tale of Two Cities, ever.

The desk drawers are somewhat organized. One for stationery, one for art supplies, one for the usual office supplies (pens, pencils, stapler, etc.). Then there’s one with black and white film, two paint brushes, sticky-tac, a phone cord, and a HALO book on CD. And the key board drawer with a keyboard, mouse, and burp rag. And then the cupboard of doom, which is one of the seven black holes I throw things into before guests come over.

the floor

Papers which were once bound by a 3-ring binder before Henry mistook it for lunch and pounced on it. A paint palette. A tuft of cat hair Henry probably pulled out upon realizing that 3-ring binders are not categorized in one of the feline food groups.  A burp cloth. A Teether. Some leaves. A goldfish cracker. A pencil with no sentimental value I’m pretty sure I got in 8th grade. Another burp cloth. Pillows. Some books which were also the victim of Henry’s binder attack. Yet another burp cloth.

This is where you feel very, very sorry for my poor husband.

southeast corner

Two plastic shelving units. One is filled with art supplies and has a printer and a pineapple on it. The other is filled with papers, and has a box of batteries, a box of photos, and an expanding file with our important family files in it.

northeast corner

A bookshelf with a stack of frames on top of it I’ve been meaning to hang up. A cardboard box full of notes from college and church. LT’s trunk (our first coffee table), Christmas decorations, a filled paper-organizer, a brand new cat tower Henry is too fat to fit into (apparently it is for kittens only). Fabric I am going to use to make curtains for our bedroom. Two empty cardboard boxes.

It’s like those I Spy books. Gone horribly, terribly wrong.

southwest corner

A bookshelf I organized by color! Months ago! On top of that is a pile of books I need to put away, a sculpture I made, and a baby monitor.

northwest corner

The closet. We won’t go there. A plastic bin filled with things I mostly haven’t gone through since 2008.

the futon

The futon is in it’s flattened position, as it has been since last September when we had guests visiting us to see the baby. It’s got a box filled with things I will send out in care packages (care packages are one area where I am quite prompt), a plastic bag filled with information about my asthma, clothes I washed the first week of March and kept forgetting about, a sleeping cat, an unfolded blanket, some pillows, and an empty plastic bag.

This ought to scare off any unwanted guests. If we had some.

Little Champ was content in his pack and play for the duration it took me to type the above. Then he got bored after about 10 minutes of cleaning…


…which is why it took me several hours spread out between two days to just get this far. But I’m posting this anyway, because now momma’s got bigger fish to fry (if you can believe it).

and maybe someday I will use that calendar on the wall!

I didn’t get to the bookshelf on the right, but the desk surface is much, much better. The piles have been thrown into Sarlacc Pits (aka brown paper bags for recycling). Jabba didn’t escape this time. There is only a couple of papers in the corner, which are my to-do list, and, yes, the infamous Tale of Two Cities, until I figure out what to do with it (I scanned some pages for an upcoming project, but don’t need the physical copy anymore).

maybe we’ll have pizza movie night in here tonight? The floor is just asking to be spilled on.

The futon is back in it’s natural position. I cleaned it off, replaced the pillows, folded the blanket. The tub on the left (only 1% pictured) is now closed, with the Lubble sculptures atop it. To the right of the futon are bags for me to recycle. The binders on the trunk and in the white plastic bag (those aren’t bunny ears behind the brown furry pillow) I had either just brought home or need to go through, which is why they aren’t put away. Out of sight, out of mind. And I have a terrible memory, which is one reason I leave things out all the time.

I’ll get back to finishing the office next week. Right now I’m folding clothes, doing laundry, and getting ready to do dishes between loads!

Uff da.