Posts Tagged With: Organization

20 Weeks: Coming Out of the Closet

Welcome back to my 20 Week Organization Challenge!  I’m on week seven (if you’re new, check out my mission, and feel free to join in)!

Earlier this week, a blogger-friend, Jenny, cleaned out one of her closets.  She invited an organized friend over to help her in her playroom.  She talked about how we can often become accustomed to clutter…

Our eyes become glazed over and it becomes more of an emotional issue for us than a practical issue. I totally was numbed out in the playroom – I couldn’t see the problems or potential solutions anymore.

I think that is SO true.  I feel like that a lot when I look in my bedroom closet.  Since our house was built in 1925, we have very limited storage space.  This closet is home to not only Rick’s and my clothes and shoes, but also some over-flow items from the bathroom, and a spare nightstand.  It wasn’t working, and every time I opened that closet and shoved all the clothes from one side to the other or had to root through toilet paper and cotton balls to find my shoes, I felt totally discouraged and couldn’t wait to just shut the door.  Here is the before picture:

The closet extends about six to eight inches to each side on the interior.  It’s small and not only are the two of us squashing all of our clothes in there, but all that extra stuff too.

To get it in order I decided just to pull everything out and start fresh.  Here’s a picture of that in progress.

Yeah.  So I sorted through that whole mess.  The big brown box got filled for the Goodwill, the nightstand got a temporary move (not sure where it’ll go yet, but it can’t stay here), and the rest was divided into the keepers and the “store it for the summer” pile. There was a lot in the storage pile since I can’t fit into half my clothes right now, being nearly 26 weeks pregnant.  We already had an under-bed storage box for this purpose which I also went through.  Here’s that…

Next, I did a quick dig through my three dresser drawers and sorted those clothes too.  Yay for a little breathing space.

For the bathroom over-flow items, I grabbed a basket from the basement (I knew there was a reason I had so many), and corralled the extra cotton balls and contact lens solution and whatever else in it.  I moved our winter duvet to the cedar chest in the other room where we keep the rest of the spare blankets, and now there’s room up there for a large pack of TP.  We’re almost out, so you’ll just have to picture it up there on the top shelf.

Here’s the completed project:

I was actually refreshed when I closed the closet door this time.  And I had to show it off to Rick before bed too.  I was surprised at all the stuff I saw coming out of this closet.  I can’t believe I had ever squeezed it all in there.  Did you tackle any big, discouraging spaces in your home this week?

This post is part of the Organizing Junkie blog party!  CLICK HERE to vote for me in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Eco-Friendly Mommy Blog contest.  There are only TWO days left to vote but you can vote everyday – no registration necessary! 
Categories: 20 Weeks of Organizing | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

20 Weeks: Kitchen Glasses Organized!

This week I organized the kitchen glasses cupboard.  Unfortunately, this is a picture-less post since I never took a ‘before’ picture and my camera is not working for the ‘after’ shot.

This cupboard was the one that held our drinking glasses, the kids’ sippy cups, our travel coffee mugs, the regular coffee mugs and countless water bottles.  The water bottles were a MESS!  They took up a ton of space and a lot of them were no longer being used (the non-BPA free Nalgenes, for example).  So we took them out completely.  I lowered the top shelf making a bit more room up there for our aluminum bottles and travel mugs with all their lids.

Next I cleaned out any coffee mugs that I didn’t like using or looking at.  To the Goodwill they went!  And the center shelf is now left with just the mugs I love.

The bottom shelf was a lot easier.  We actually have a shortage of drinking glasses due to a lot of them being broken over the years without being replaced because I can’t find any I like.  So this shelf was mostly just improved by me taking out the sippy cup pieces that didn’t have matches.  But it’s all neat and organized in there now.  We can actually find what we’re looking for!

After all of that, I kind of expanded into cleaning out the coffee cabinet next-door to the glasses cabinet.  It was easy to do since there were a few coffee cups lurking in there (my favorites).  And since I moved them over with their friends where they belonged, space was freed up in there for all our teas.  So coffee and tea are now together.  The tea moved over from across the kitchen, near the stove and I was able to stash a few glass mixing bowls up there, giving me a head start on another item on the list, the lower kitchen appliance cabinet.  That cabinet is so bad and such a big project, that I didn’t dare tackle it this week, but at least I got a few bowls out of the way for when I do.

What did you organize this week?  Where and how do you store your coffee supplies?  Any tricks to share?

To see what I’ve done in the last five weeks, check out my other 20 Weeks posts!

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20 Weeks – Desktop Declutter

On week four of my 20 Week Organization Challenge, I have a confession to make.  I am having a really hard time sticking to one item per week.  One reason for that is because many of the items I had on my original list seem to run together.  For example, I realized that I had inadvertently done #11 on my list when I reorganized the boys closet shelf.  Now I’m going to have to think about a new area to clean up in place of that.  Not that it will be a problem… there’s plenty to do around this place!

But another example came this week when I went to clean off my desktop, which originally (and embarrassingly) looked like this:

Um, yeah.  So I started cleaning.  And I realized that to put all that stuff away, I may as well clean out the drawers and do it right.  And if I took all the drawers out, I might as well move the desk into the living room as planned.  And, well, it was a Tuesday and H was at preschool and E was asleep and Rick was out of town overnight… so I did all three.

I know this breaks the spirit of the baby steps approach and doing one item per week, but I couldn’t help myself with this one.  Here are the drawers before (except the center drawer, a.k.a. one of my junk drawers – it’s day is coming).

And the drawers after:

Do you see that there are TWO empty drawers!?!?!?  TWO, PEOPLE!  Yeah – a lot of junk was in those things.  Now there is an office supply drawer, a paper drawer, an envelope and stationary drawer, and a computer software/spare hardware drawer.  I did find something for one of the empty drawers – large envelopes and packing tape.  I still have one more empty drawer.  This went a long way in me figuring out what to do with much of my office stuff since it’ll be in the living room now. The after pics of the desktop -in the living room:

Since there was a bit of “cheating” (in a good way, right?) on this one, here’s what the updated list looks like:

  1. Bathroom cabinet
  2. Boys closet shelf and clothing
  3. Boys toys and bedding storage
  4. Desktop/drawers and move desk out of office
  5. Office corners
  6. Office closet upper shelf
  7. Junk drawers
  8. Buffet
  9. Our bedroom closet
  10. Kitchen desk area
  11. – TBA
  12. – TBA
  13. Make a place for table linens
  14. Canned goods/canning and food storage supplies
  15. Find a place for Rick’s work clothes and my business supplies
  16. Kitchen glasses cupboard
  17. Bathroom linens/storage
  18. Scrapbooking table
  19. My sewing items
  20. Lower kitchen appliance cabinet

I will come up with two more items.  And I will try to keep it to one item per week from now on.  And really, half that junk that was in the desk is now sitting on my office floor (in piles, of course) waiting to find a new home…wish me luck!

What about you?  Have you been cleaning up/cleaning out your spaces?

To see what I’ve done in the last four weeks, check out my other 20 Weeks posts!

Categories: 20 Weeks of Organizing | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

20 Weeks: The Boys Closet – Cleaned!

Welcome to my weekly update of my 20 Week Organization Challenge.  I’m on week 3!  This week I completed organizing the “Boys Closet Shelf,” which included storing their extra bedding.

We bought matching beds for the boys and once they are set up, we will lose the four drawers under H’s current bed.  I was using two of the drawers to store spare sheets and blankets and two to store the clothes H’s outgrown that we are saving for E.

Last week I tackled the boys toy storage in their closet.  Moving everything to the cubby-shelf freed up the four baskets that were on the floor.  I figured these would be perfect for the job.  I promptly filled them all up with bed linens and clothes.  Also we’d just been shoving the spare mattress pads (and other random junk) up into the corners of the closet shelf, since they wouldn’t fit in the drawers.

Here’s what THAT looked like:

The baskets, now full of sheets, clothes and mattress pads went onto the upper closet shelf, next to the toys I was already keeping put up high in matching baskets (like playdoh, paint and puzzles).  They all have tags so I can see which basket I need to pull down when it’s time to change the bed. I also found a space in the cupboard above the washer just outside their room for the humidifier, and I took some things out of the closet that didn’t belong in there to start with, like that box of cloth diapers for the new baby.

The result: Seven labeled baskets across the top of the closet, and no more random things shoved into the corners.  Nothing will fit up here but the baskets.  And they look great!

Voilà!  Another item crossed off the list!  “Boys Closet Shelf.”   I didn’t really realize how easily this project and last week’s project would perfectly roll into one.  But yay!  And bonus points for not buying anything new to organize that top shelf with!  Though fewer points, since I clearly bought that hanging organizer thingy for E’s clothes.

On the note of buying things, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite blogs: The Crunchy Chicken.  Last week she blogged about being Trapped By Your Possessions, and her past years’ Buy Nothing Challenge.  It’s a great idea and one I’d love to participate in, but I’m afraid with baby on the way I’d bomb-out completely.  I am going to try to limit my unnecessary purchases (more then we already do, that is).  But as I commented on her post, although I can’t promise not to buy anything right now, I can promise to purge until it fits!

How have you been finding ways to organize your spaces?  Have you made a list?  Have you crossed items off yet?

This post is part of the Organizing Junkie blog party!
To see what I’ve done in the last three weeks, check out my other 20 Weeks posts!

Categories: 20 Weeks of Organizing | Tags: , , , | 19 Comments

20 Weeks: Boys Need Their Toys

They just need to have a home for them too! Welcome to week two of my 20 Weeks of Organizing Challenge!

I’ve always been pretty good about limiting the number of toys the boys have.  I used these baskets to keep them picked up.  At first we tried sorting the toys into specific baskets, but really, I just cared that they were contained.  Here’s the system we had going in the bottom of their closet:

It kept the toys picked up, but it still looked kind of messy. Now, we have this:

The shelf is about two feet wide, three feet high and one foot or so deep.  H picked the colors of the canvas bins.  The storage system was on sale at Target so we got the whole thing for under $70.  It’s kinda pricey for us, but all their toys, with just a very few exceptions, fit in there with a little room to spare.  The exceptions were their train set which are in the two yellow lidded boxes which stayed in the closet under the hanging clothing organizer, and the big ride-on truck which is also parked neatly in the closet.

We intend to get a second hanging clothing organizer (so there will be one each for H & E) and when we have that, I’ll show you the final “after” picture of the closet too.  The freed up baskets I plan to use for storing the bedding.  It’s actually done now – more on that next week.  Voilà!  “Boys Toys & Bedding Storage” crossed off the list.

What about you?  What did you organize this week?  Remember to link up your blog in my comments with pictures, or you can send me pictures of your space and I’ll post them here to inspire others!

To see what else I’ve organized, check out my other 20 Weeks posts!

Categories: 20 Weeks of Organizing | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

20 Weeks: Bathroom Cabinet Rehab

For week number one of my 20 Weeks of Organizing Challenge, I thought I’d tackle our bathroom cabinet.  When I started making my list of 20 things, I went through my house and took a bunch of “before” pictures.  When I loaded them up and looked them over, the bathroom cabinet was one of the worst!  So it was first on the list.

YIKES!  That was our cabinet before.  You can see two storage thingies in there, but they are not doing their jobs.  And a whole lot of junk.

I do not get bonus points on this one, because I bought something to organize this space.  But it was on clearance for $8.  I bought a metal rack that has two compartments that slide out.  Here’s what the cabinet looks like now:

The rack on the left corralled all the bottles of peroxide and body wash on the bottom, along with the extra Q-tips and cotton balls.  The top holds stuff we use every day, like Rick’s razor and my makeup bag, sunscreen and deodorant.

On the right in the back is the plastic storage tub that was in there before.  I collected all the band-aids, gauze, and other random first aid items and put them in the box with the lid on.  We don’t use those things very often so I thought keeping the lid on would keep them all in one place and keep any random things that don’t belong from falling in.  I put the box length-wise in the back and it took up the back of the cabinet, butting up against the rack on the left, so nothing call fall in between the two.  I’ll set my hair dryer there.

On the right up front is all hair supplies.  I put my brushes in a little bucket so I won’t have to dig around for them.  The blue jar I was using in another part of the bathroom to hold hair ties and bobby pins. I very rarely curl my hair, but I don’t want to get rid of these tow curling irons (for the times I may want to use them).  I thought it best to put them with the hair stuff and to fill up that basket so I don’t just throw something else there instead of putting it where it belongs.

Lastly, in the middle in the front, between the rack on the left and the basket on the right are Rick’s clippers and hair cutting supplies in their case.  It fills the space there too, and it doesn’t get used often any more since Rick goes to a salon now.  But I do use it on the boys every few months.

Everything else was thrown away.  There was a lot.  I should have photographed that too, but I didn’t.  What did you organize this week?  Have you made your list yet?


To see what else I’ve organized, check out my other 20 Weeks posts!

Categories: 20 Weeks of Organizing | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

My Dirty Little Secret…

I have a confession to make.  I have dirty closets.  And drawers.  And cupboards.  And a messy office.  There’s barely room for me to type here on my desk.

I used to think there were two organizational types.  A filer and a piler.  And while I am a piler (goodness knows I like to pile), the truth is, when it comes to cleaning, I’m a hider, a stasher, a put-it-all-behind-that-door-and-no-one-will-be-the-wiser organizer. This type of “organizer” is a descendant of the hoarder.  (No Mom, I’m not calling you a hoarder, but you know we have at least one in the family).  I do get rid of things.  And I do have places to put things.  But not places for everything.  Maybe it because I have a small house?  Probably not though.  I think I’d still clean this way even in a McMansion with double walk-in closets the size of my living room.

So, this I’ve known about myself for a long time, and my husband puts up with it, mostly because the house looks neat when people come over.  But last week I came across this site, thanks to former Thrifty Thursday buddy, Tracy.  52 weeks of organizing.  Hmm… cool concept.  And that particular post, “Purge Until It Fits,” hit some high notes for me.  That’s what I usually do with the boys’ toys.  And I like it.  Rick calls me the toy Nazi, but I like it anyway.  So I decided to join in, with my own little twist.  20 weeks.

Twenty weeks of organizing.  I chose 20 weeks simply because I am half way through my pregnancy, which means I have roughly 20 weeks to go before the newbie arrives.  And I know that when I’m pregnant, I’m highly motivated to clean.  I nest with the best!  And also because I have to get the office out of the office and set up somewhere (where???) else in the house because we need this room for the baby.

To the challenge!

Step one: identify and list 20 areas that need organizing/reorganizing.  Keep the projects small – don’t list “organize office,” that’s too broad.  Go with “organize junk drawer,” and “clean off printer table,” etc.

Step two: organize those areas – one per week, don’t get overwhelmed.

Step three: Document your progress and share it!  I’m going to strive for before and after photos of each of my 20 items. I’d really love it if someone else wanted to join me in this challenge.  But your moral support and the blog accountability will do too.

Bonus points: organizing your stuff using or re-purposing what you already have as opposed to buying new things to organize with.

So my list for the next 20 weeks… in no particular order:

  1. Bathroom cabinet
  2. Boys closet shelf
  3. Boys toys & bedding storage
  4. Desktop
  5. Office corners
  6. Office closet upper shelf
  7. Junk drawers
  8. Buffet
  9. Our bedroom closet
  10. Kitchen desk area
  11. Boys clothes
  12. Move desk out of office/new baby room
  13. Make a place for table linens
  14. Canned goods/canning and food storage supplies
  15. Find a place for Rick’s work clothes and my business supplies
  16. Kitchen glasses cupboard
  17. Bathroom linens
  18. Scrapbooking table
  19. My sewing items
  20. Lower kitchen appliance cabinet

Stay tuned later this week for the after photos of the bathroom cabinet, which I completed this weekend.  What about you?  What kind of organizer are you?  Do you have any cluttered areas you keep behind closed doors?

Categories: 20 Weeks of Organizing | Tags: , , , | 15 Comments

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