Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Trouble Spot Tuesday

What is “Trouble Spot Tuesday”? We’ve all got trouble spots in our houses/minds/bodies that we need to work on. Since, I’m trying to be proactive about getting my act together so that our lives flow more smoothly, I thought – why not dedicate a day to working it out? I’ll take some time to think about the things aren’t working and try to figure out a better way of making it work. I’ll share my current “project”, include photos if appropriate and tips/tricks. This won’t necessarily be household things, it could be a thought process, an exercise or stretch, or … well, ANYTHING that’s not really ‘working’. (Ack! I just heard Dr. Phil in my head saying “Howz that workin’ fer ya?”)

Sometimes it will just be a matter of reorganizing things in a way that says “Hey, dummy, why didn’t you do THAT 2 months ago”? Or maybe it will be something I have to practice and work harder on.

You may not have the same issues that I do, but maybe you’ll get some ideas for your own trouble spots. Of course – feel free to submit any “Trouble Spot” areas you have or tips/tricks/ideas for things that have worked for you!

Today's Trouble Spot:

The Recycling Area

I think recycling is really important and try very hard to recycle as much as possible. However, finding a system that is simple AND useful as well as having enough capacity for all that “stuff” is difficult.

Our recycling is picked up every other week, so usually by the second week we are OVERFLOWING with recycling.

Our laundry room connects our garage to our kitchen. It’s the bottleneck stop for the recycling because we’re too lazy to trek every little piece of recycling out to the garage where we keep our recycling and trash in bins. Until now, I’ve just dumped any recycling into a slim white trash bin in the laundry room, then when it’s full, or well, OVERfull , I emptied the cans/bottles/plastics into a blue recycle bin and the newspapers/cardboard into paper grocery bags. Then we trip over the paper grocery bags in the garage for 2 weeks. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

When I see photo below (which is what happens when the kids get into the recycling) I know it’s time to find a better solution.

So I thought about it and realized that this problem is three-fold. 1) The bin inside is not big enough to hold the recycling and neither are the outside bins. 2) I still have to separate everything out once I empty the inside bin to the garage bins, so I’m essentially handling things twice. 3) We do not have a convenient place to store the plastic grocery bags that we take back to the store for recycling. (Yes, we do often use the reusable shopping bags, but sometimes we still get plastic ones)

We also have to factor in that I’m (we’re) all pretty lazy and don’t like things to be really complicated (remember we are pit and pile people, here) AND we have a limited budget right now, so we have to get creative and think “outside the recycling box” to use what we already have.

The solution, once I looked at the FLOW of this, was pretty simple. I have a large extra trash bin in the garage. We don’t use it regularly for trash – sometimes just overflow. Most of the time we can fit our trash into one large wheeled bin. I decided to move this big bin to a spot right beside the garage entry door to the house to hold the cardboard and papers.

At first I had the white tall garbage bin still inside the laundry room to hold the cans/bottles and plastics. Then I thought… well, I still have to empty THAT. I wonder if the bigger blue bin (it’s capacity is usually just right for this stuff) would fit in the same spot ? And it DOES.

Then, I remembered that I had a plastic Ikea bag holder cage thing in another closet that really wasn’t in a convenient place for me, so I put up a “Command Hook” (I love those things!) in the laundry room beside the recycle bin to put the bags in. I hung it low because the dryer hose connects right there so it’s dead space anyway. I like that it’s low and it’s not so “in your face” but it’s handy because the bags are right there for me to grab if I need one or to take to the store for recycling.

So! Not only do I only have to handle things ONCE, but also moving it out to the curb should be much easier as well – just a simple shot out the garage to the curb. It’s not exactly “pretty” but it seems like a pretty simple fix to a messy problem.

I’ve been using this new “system” for just over a day and so far it seems to be working really well. We’ll see in a week how we’re all doing.

The Result:

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