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.