"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." ~ C.S. Lewis

Thursday, March 1, 2012

29 Day Organizing Challenge ~ Final Link Up!!

   Holy Crap! I did it! Yes, some setbacks, and although I didn't get to see some of my plans come to fruition they are not out of the woods yet.  I still would like to add some artwork to the walls, but I am unsure of what to add so I think I will wait, plus my husband is really into nature photography so I figured I would use some of his masterpieces. But can you believe it? I finished my room!!!! So How did I get there? Well lets get down to business - I'll break it down for you.

    1) What space did you decide to organize and why? Well, I decided to organize my dining room. You might say "dining room?" What is there to that?  Ohmygoodness! Tons! In my house it is the dumping ground for almost everything. We have a small galley kitchen and use the side entrance so it becomes our foyer...and the attached foyer is...you guessed it...another dumping ground. Whether the chairs become coat racks, or the many bags from Target take a seat on the sidebar counter top...there is just always clutter. I wanted the dining room to emulate how it is used...first and foremost as a gathering area...which means it is not a store house for lazy habits and clutter! We also use the area for the kids to work on art projects...so it had to have some storage for art supplies...let's just face it...I AM too lazy to walk up and down the stairs every day to grab a coloring book.  It isn't only an area for us to dine and gather but for the cats as well, and their food bowls were always put wherever we could find room. I wanted to give them an area where they could be comfortable.

    2) What steps did you take to ensure that you completed the space within the 29 day time line?  I tried to break down the task by week and make out a plan initially...but in all honesty I had so many setbacks from a bad back, to trailing after the 19 month old climbing expert. It has been difficult to get much done the way I anticipated. I went out of town a couple of different times and came home to find the area cluttered...and it wasn't until the home stretch that I said..."OK THAT'S IT...I AM NOT GIVING UP, NOPE...I DON"T CARE HOW DISCOURAGED...I'M GONNA DO THIS!" I also realized that I could always add and improve once I lived with the space for a while. My husband was also very helpful and watched the kids a few nights so I could paint the room (another blog subject...ugh).

   3) What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and how did you overcome it? At first I would say stripping layers of paint covered wallpaper so I could paint the room a more visually pleasing color, but no that was not the hardest part. I reminded myself constantly that repainting wasn't part of the challenge but something I put into the project of my own volition. Honestly, the hardest part could be broken down into finding time (and the home stretch is where it came together), and my back pain. I have lower back pain and a pretty messed up spine, which I am seeking care for...however some days it hurts, after having to remove the little climber from one of her many perches. So many nights I wanted to work on the room, but I knew that I had to do what was best for me and just rest. Time...well hopefully I will understand what that is again in a few years.  ( I would like to say that the hardest part initially - in the first week - was to stick to the challenge and not get tangential. I have a habit of visualizing a glorious dream when starting a project...which is overwhelming and the reason why I never have difficulty finishing things once I start.) I was able to reel myself back in (hands clapping).

   4) What did you do with the "stuff" you were able to purge out of your newly organized space? I don't like to throw things away and create waste. I am always thinking that someone else may be able to use "my stuff." I donated my purge pile to Goodwill, with the exception of the microwave cart...which I am using temporarily until I can bring the super heavy hutch/dresser down from my son's room. (I'm waiting for the back to chill out a bit before I try to hurt it again). A few things I stored for later use in the basement (just a few items, such as Christmas trays and tablecloths, that I can fetch when I need them.) I wanted the space to house what I need and use now - the only exception is the china/wine glasses because they just don't belong in a basement! ;-)
Believe it or not...I had so much "stuff" in this room that had no business being there so I returned it to its proper location. Anything that didn't have a home, was given one. 

   5) Tell me one of your proudest moments during this challenge? Ok

    6) Explain any organizing "tools" you used to help you create additional space and to establish some limits and boundaries. I used my mind first and foremost... and paper too. I wrote everything out on paper and drew some rough sketches before I even started on the room. As far as materials, IKEA is so wonderful for storage, as is Target aka "my second home." But honestly I already had so many things that were being overtaken with "stuff" and not being used in their proper manner. I had tons of baskets and bins that were collecting junk all over the house, so I created some labels and put em to work. I also was planning to use my son's hutch/dresser as a second storage for china, etc...I wanted to repurpose it rather than sell or give the piece away. I also put up some wall mounted file holders for our mail (which just so happened to mutate into millions of piles before the challenge). I also tried to use the PROCESS method on Orgjunkie's site to help me along the way. I didn't containerize until I had the items that I wanted to keep in the room. That was helpful...as I am always doing that step backwards. I also used a good ol fashioned shoe box to contain the ridiculous numerous amounts of wiring from our cable/internet hook up. It doesn't make it pretty, but it contains the wire chaos until we can find a more permanent solution. I also tried to figure out where our problem areas were with the space and see how it could be remedied in another room. For example: one of our biggest and most annoying issues is that the dining room chairs become coat hangers...so perhaps some hooks at the point of entry would be helpful. It will also take reminding the hubby to pick things up (which I have done already). 
    The best organizing tool I think is to set the kitchen timer at the end of the evening and put stuff away (thus I created a basket for the cause that we can put things in there throughout the day and in the evening just grab the basket.) Easy peasy! My kids coloring books are all over, so I gave them a home. Diapers? Well I wanted to put them in the closet but still haven't found a good storage container so they are accessible on the bookshelf. I tried to navigate around the space and see a pattern of what we leave out and if it was needed and if so create a home for it in the space. WOW long winded...sorry.

    7) What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone else to encourage them on their organizational journey? Set a goal, write out a plan and visualize, then start small. Set the kitchen timer and see what you can do in fifteen minutes...and from there set your daily goals of what you want to accomplish. It is so much less overwhelming when done that way ( and without screaming kids in the background.)

This is hard trying to get a family to be more organized...but in the long run I have to remember I am only responsible for me. I have set up the mail zone, the cat food zone, the coffee zone, and the catch all/family binder zone, as well as the kid zone in the space and I have explained all of this to him. I am requesting that he try to keep it up but I also know that I need to do my part, because nothing is more motivating that seeing someone else working hard for achievement. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

29 Day Organizing Challenge ~ 3rd Progress Link Up

    I'm not gonna make it. I am so behind. I feel very discouraged now, mainly because I have failed to meet yet another deadline. I thought a month was going to be a great time frame. Honestly, right now it doesn't seem enough. It isn't that the space is super overwhelming, it's everything else.
    I don't want to sound all "woe is me," but it has just been really hard and I have been facing numerous setbacks, and although I am not participating in this challenge for the prizes, I still feel somewhat let down that I haven't finished within the time frame allotted. Positive note: I am still going to continue, and post what I have done on March 1st (whether it's all done or not.)
    Back pain, and crazy kids...those are the set backs, and while my kids are a blessing to have around everyday, it isn't so easy to get much done when I am trying to pull my little climber off the TV stand, or one of the cats. 
    So where am I at with the space? Basically I have gotten rid of so much, I am just waiting to bring the dresser down from my son's room to use as extra storage. I have purged quite a bit (see my purge piles below.) And I need to paint.
     The main difficulty I am having is scraping the wallpaper, and while I know this challenge isn't for designer spaces...the walls are something I have been wanting to do for a while. Another thought is that if my husband and I actually appreciate the aesthetics of the space, then perhaps we may make more of an effort to keep it tidy. The current energy is just "blah," and I don't want the "blah" to continue even after all my hard work. 
   I am still trying to figure out what to do in the corner where the kids' table used to be, I don't want to put another item of furniture there as another dumping ground surface. I'm still thinking of what I want to do, and I am ok with leaving it be for now. I will just move the cat food and water in that space until I make a decision...perhaps a plant that has purifying properties...for looks and health.  Anyhow, much to do not many pictures to post.Until March 1st...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

29 Day Organizing Challenge ~ 2nd Progress Link Up

   Oh Wow! What an ordeal! There were so many set backs to this project recently...getting sick, going out of town, yadda yadda yadda.  So I am a bit late, had to undo the huge mess that accumulated since my last progress link up. *Sigh* This is hard. 
    In my last post I said I should include my hubby on what works for him in this space, and what he would like to see...I made mention of it to him, but of course in the hubby fashion he was vague. Knowing him, and knowing our habits as a family, I think I can break it down to the following:

 1) My hubby always thinks I hide items on him, or make new homes for items without telling him. Not True. My hubby has a habit of putting items back in a location from which he did not take them. Good grief. This doesn't just happen in the dining room. Solution?  Labels, labels, and more labels! I love labels. I actually labeled my daughter's dresser drawers to make it easier for him to find clothes...that helped tremendously. So I will label and educate my hubby on where I would like things to go.
2) Putting items back in their location after we are done with them. Guilty. Yes me, guilty!  Many times I create "piles" of items that go in the same general direction, like a bag to take things upstairs, as I find running up and down a zillion times a day to be a bit annoying. Solution? A basket on the stairs leading to the upper level to collect items, and take them up when I go up, put items in designated spot before I come back down. Yeah right! I will try...I like the idea of a specific basket on the stairs to prevent clutter in our dining room. Same goes for downstairs, often we have dirty kitchen rags, or recycling, or other items that need to go outside or down in the basement...same philosophy applies. I bought two wall mounted waste baskets from the ever so loved IKEA, and plan to use one for rags, and one for recycling and they will just stay in the side hallway until one of us heads out. Done.
3) The biggest issues for us in the room are lazy habits putting coats on chair backs instead of hanging them up, and our built in counter top becomes a dumping ground. Solution?: Hooks in the side entry to hang up coats, purses, as well as any shopping bags (until we have time to put items away).

   OK, now that I know what I need to do, working on the above is part of the process...and then I digress to other things in the room...like wall color. I loved the lime green a while ago, and basically just wanted our new dreary bought home to look bright and cheerful. Now the color annoys me and I want something more neutral, and more calm. My brother was very generous to give the hubby and I a boatload of paint he had left over, and some was never used. 

So before I make too many changes I wanted to paint the walls. Problem: when I painted the walls before I didn't realize the previous owner painted over wall paper until I was half way through, and then I just repeated his mistake. So scraping away I go.
    My son has a dresser/hutch combo that we used in his room first as a changing table, and now a dresser...but his needs have changed, and I want something more of his height, but I don't want to get rid of the dresser/hutch...what to do oh what to do? TA DA! I can repurpose it in the dining room as a china cabinet, to store some linens and other items. Yay me! It is pretty heavy and I don't want to paint after the piece is moved into the room, so this is just one more rationalization of scraping the walls to paint NOW!

    I'm becoming long winded, I know...but a lot has happened so bear with me.  I made some fixes to broken chairs so they could function, all that was required was some wood glue. I took everything out of our microwave cart and sorted and started a purge pile, including the cart itself. Then I tackled the built in which was already somewhat organized, but I knew many of the items in there I could part with. Victims: A multi-colored set of wine glasses, some Crate & Barrel mirrored coasters, vases, an old plastic dish, a trivet, more coasters, some napkins...and the others I couldn't decide on went into the sort box. So this is my progress:

   My goal is to have the walls scraped by the end of the week...I am determined. I am still having difficulty thinking about what to do with the diapers we want to have available on our lower level, I want to keep them out of sight and I like the idea of an over the door shoe storage for our entry closet, but I want to have some larger pockets, so I came across the following here. Ideas Ideas Ideas...will this project ever be finished? I'm glad we at least have a month! ;-) 

Friday, February 10, 2012

29 Day Organizing Challenge ~ 1st Progress Link Up

   Ok, so here I am, a little over a week since starting this challenge, and I feel like I haven't made much of a dent. It has been pretty difficult trying to focus, let alone get things done, with many annoyances in the way. Kudos to you moms who have kids AND a clean house!  My little munchkins have been consuming so much of my time, and my 3 year old is going through a phase where he wants to be by my side at ALL times! So, hence the difficulty getting this project under way. My 18 month old? Well, that's a different story. She's my climber. Enough said.  With time being an issue, as well as recent back pain, there is a cloud of doom lurking over this space... I am impatiently waiting excited for that light of happiness and hope to swallow up that nasty cloud!   OK, enough about above mentioned woes...time to kick some booty! To my dining room and foyer: I will take control of you. Muahahahahaha! (sneering) 
    So like I said, just over a week into this challenge...I got the space cleaned up a bit, and put the diaper boxes to use as my sorting boxes. I labeled them: 'donate, keep, sort, toss' and then I added a bag for 'relocate.'  I couldn't limit my items to keep, toss, donate...because my goal was to just start tackling the items and if I hesitated I didn't want to make a rash decision. (I have done that way to many times and ended up wishing I never got rid of the item in the first place.) So my keep and sort are pretty similar. The 'keep' box is for items I want to keep in the dining room/foyer, the 'sort' box is for items that I am unsure if I want to keep, donate, toss, and if I should keep it then where should I designate as its home? The 'relocate' bag is for items that do not belong in the room and already have a home. There. Sounds complicated, but once I relocate everything and sort through everything I will go through the boxes again and really challenge myself with what I should keep or donate.
    Since this first week found me in a time crunch, I tried spending as much time possible figuring out what I wanted to do with this space and problem solve. I asked myself many questions... How did I want this room to function?  What were the problem spots?  What habits needed to change in order for the room to function properly? What can I part with? Other than organize the space, what else can be done to make it visually pleasing? What can I bring to this room that I already have? My mind flooded with ideas, color schemes, furniture, DIY projects...and then I had to take a deep breath and bring myself back to the task at hand. All the DIY, painting, etc could be done at a later time. I really needed to concentrate on purging, and sorting and really trying to make our system work this time around effectively for myself and hubby (and the kids too).
    As I sit here typing this, a brilliant thought just came to my mind. I really need to ask my hubby what he envisions with this space, and what areas he finds problematic etc. If habits are going to change, I can't expect others to conform to my idea of what works if it drives them nuts doesn't make sense in their eyes. DUH Denice! Below are my progress pictures, and it doesn't seem like much has changed. On the contrary...it has. The boxes are empty, some of the space cleared, and of course don't forget that brainstorming! 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Org Junkie's 29 Day Challenge (Day 1)

   Well...it's here, finally, my blog.  I have been wanting to do this for some time, and eventually this blog will be AWESOME, but what got me to finally start was the challenge to get organized from Org Junkie's Blog. http://orgjunkie.com/challenge which is a 29 day challenge to organize one room. Well, I have my work cut out for me, and although it was difficult to decide on which room to work on, I chose the dining room/foyer combo.
   I mainly chose this room because it has become a dumping ground for EVERYTHING, whether it be from coming in the house with bags from the store, cleaning and making "piles" to take to the basement, Goodwill, friends, but never seem to get to their destination quickly, and last but not least, has become our coat closet...this last part is pretty sad because our coat closet is around the corner, but it is also difficult to get to due to kitty clutter. *Sigh* hopefully I can accomplish this, and I am not in it for the prizes, but I want to get my butt in gear.
   I used to be a pretty organized gal, but marriage took that all out of me. It was so difficult to assimilate my routine with my husband's, and our styles and ideas of "order" were different, so I just gave up. This just trickled down further to the birth of my two kids...enter more items, therefore more clutter...  While I pride myself in being orderly, one wouldn't know it if stepping foot in my home. All that is about to change. See my heinous before pics of the challenge area.Oh I am so ashamed. Behold, my mess: