Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Organizing Challenge Progress Link Up #1

Before I went out of town for a few days I accomplished soooo much!  I cleared the antique desk, the little green dresser, the floor at the end of the bed, and the sewing cabinet.

I took several boxes of things to the thrift store and kept two boxes for the yard sales.  I'm hoping for a yard sale this coming Friday morning.  Anything left will go straight to the thrift store.

I'm really pleased with my mental changes.  While we were out of town I really thought about my magazine purchases.  I only purchased two that I really wanted to read.  I also did A LOT of thinking about purging the magazines at home.  I have some old yoga, sewing and quilting  magazines that are now on their way to the library.  That simply act has cleared out some magazine boxes for my current interests.  I'm now thinking about my personal bookshelves.  There are several titles I simply dust.  The shelves are in our master bedroom and the next time you see them they will be very different!

Back To It!

I was out of town for the last few days.  I'm back and the decluttering and organizing has resumed.

When I woke up this morning I looked over to the areas I had cleared before I left and they were clean and organized.  It was wonderful!  This morning I put all of the trip items away and it's almost like we never left.  The suitcases are back in their storage area.  The only lingering items are a few loads of laundry.   

I hope to finish the master bedroom by Thursday evening and the family computer area by Sunday evening.  Pictures to follow.

While we were gone I have been thinking about how to organize all of my family history research.  There's a lot more than pictures.  My brain is still working on that one but great progress has been made.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Organizing Challenge: Emptying The Little Green Dresser

Yesterday I did the hardest thing in the whole Organizing Challenge.

I emptied the little green dresser.

The little green dresser has always been a part of my life even though it's only lived at my house for nearly 12 years.  It belonged to my Aunt Erna.  She kept an assortment of crafting supplies and tools in it.  It was in their apartment in Downey and then moved to the spare room in their Fresno house.  I spent a lot of time with it just being in the background.  For the majority of my life it sat just outside the bathroom door off of their second bedroom in their Fresno house.  When it came to my house I put it where?  Outside of the bathroom door in our master bedroom.  It just seemed like it ought to be there.

It's not a fancy piece.  It's very plain and utilitarian.  It's '70's green.  Aunt Erna also had a little step ladder she used as a stool at her breakfast bar in the same shade of green.  You had to have known my Aunt Erna to understand that this little dresser was a bit out of character for her.  She was a woman that liked pretty things.  She worked hard in her younger years and purchased some beautiful things that now reside with me.  I love things with family and history attached to them.  I have a lovely swan head antique sofa from her home that I cherish.  But what makes me cherish it even more is the photograph of her, her sister (my Grandma Mildred), and their mother (my Great-Grandma Rose) all sitting on that sofa.  Oh, how I love those women!  And I also have pictures of me sitting with Aunt Erna, Grandma Mildred, and my little brother on that antique sofa.  One of my favorite pictures is of my daughter sitting on it as well.  Back to the little green dresser.

I decided to begin the Challenge in our master bedroom.  Two days ago I cleared off the antique desk and the old sewing cabinet.  Yesterday I looked for the next smaller area to tackle.  Clearing that dresser took all day.  Why?  Because that dresser had become the catch all for family things.  All of my inherited linens were in two of the drawers.  There was old jewelry and a few photographs in another drawer.  As I sorted through the items it became clear to me that I didn't need to keep all of it anymore.  I could let much of it go and still preserve my love for those people attached to the things I was going through. 

I chose to keep only 7 of the handmade doilies and embroidered linens.  I kept a bit more of the jewelry but not much more.  And I'm satisfied it's "enough".  By clearing out the drawers I quickly realized that this dresser could now be the place for the huge amount of family photographs and original documents I have.  I'm the family historian and thankfully my small family trusts me to keep all this stuff that they aren't sure how to throw away.  They know that it's safe somewhere.  All the aforementioned stuff is scattered throughout my house.  Now it will have a place altogether. 

What a blessing!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

More "Before" Pctures

As I've been putting all this together for the challenge I've come down with a nasty cold that the rest of the family has had. I don't usually catch things. This time I REALLY caught it. The cold meds are making me a bit loopy. I rarely take anything for any reason and I don't drink alcohol or even coffee. A full dose of meds in me really does the job! I wanted to post the rest of the "before" pictures. It's embarrassing but the accountability is needed.

The kids are all excited about this challenge. I'm glad because I'm going to need their help in areas. And since their rooms are included in this they will benefit from the prizes if we actually win something.

But this isn't about winning a "prize". If we did that would be fun. This is about making a better home for us.

The decluttering is already overwhelming. So my new mantra is: "Just one box at a time!"

Even though I feel completely lousy my goal today is to get one box out to the trash, one box in to the schoolroom for the yard sale, and the magazines purged.

Master Bedroom

Dd's Bedroom

Ds's Bedroom

Guest/Sewing Room

Family Room/Computer Room

School Room

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Challenge Begins!

Today begins the 29 Day Organizing Challenge put on by Laura over at Organizing Junkie.

I'm still finishing up some of the planning for this challenge. Here's what I have so far:

Master Bedroom: This room has too many things that don't belong in the room. I tend to pile things around my nightstand thinking I'm going to read them or work on them at night. The pile needs clearing. I will be clearing at least 1/2 of the things out of the bookshelves. I will also clear the antique secretary desk under the window. The sewing cabinet will find another place in the house. The little green dresser will be repainted and re-purposed but will stay in the room. It currently holds antique linens that can go in a chest downstairs. There might also be some rearranging of the other furniture. Sorry, but the red wallpaper (which I LOATHE) will have to stay for now.

Downstairs Sewing/Guest Room: I haven't seen the top of my sewing table in 4 years. There are a lot of different things to cull. Then I will categorize and contain only the supplies I really use. A few months ago I moved all the boxes of fabric and yarn out to another room. As you'll see in one of the pictures those boxes are still problematic. I will be sending much of the fabric out to the yard sale tables.

Computer area/Family Room: This area will require a lot of creativity. It is one of the hubs of our house. I work on many things in the computer area. And those projects are not contained and it's much harder to work on them because they aren't organized. The Family Room is an ongoing cleanup project. There are some containment solutions that could be applied in this part of the room that would help tremendously.

Dining Room/Entry Area: This is the area that people see first. It's also the first place things get dumped in. There are no systems in place to organize the things that come in.

Downstairs Hall and Cupboard: This area is where we have all the currently used homeschooling supplies. It's a mess. I organized it last year but it didn't stay that way. The problem is two part: first, too much stuff and second, no way to contain what really needs to be there. As you can see in the picture there are tubs for each year of our 4 year plan but things are everywhere.

DD's Room: She will be handling this. And she's really excited about the changes. She will be trading out the larger bed for a twin daybed we have. She will also be going through all her things and culling heavily. Her doll collection will stay but be displayed better. The boxes in the top of her closet will be moved to the storage area. They are her "future life on my own" boxes.

DS's Room: He will have some help in getting this done. He needs more tubs to contain the projects. He will be getting the larger bed in dd's room. He's a typical boy with all sorts of treasures. I am going to require that he pare down the treasures and toys.

School Room: We don't really use this room in the way I intended. It is a converted garage and right now it's too cold to utilize. Plus, it's a catchall. The heaviest culling will be going on in this room. Most of what's in there we never use in our schooling. I bought most of it thinking, "oh, this might be nice to have." It's not being used, never will be used, and can be easily replaced if I decide I really need it again. The boxes in the corner contain our book collection. We recently repainted the library and those boxes will soon be gone and the books, after culling, returned to the library shelves.

Those are the plans.

I have always had a hard time loving this house. And because of that I've had little motivation to do much with it. We are now starting to make it ours. The painting has helped. We're taking it room by room. My dh is a very creative person and is good with color so I've let him do most of the deciding on exact colors. Luckily we like the same things:-) We've also ripped out almost all the carpet. That's a huge work in progress but by the time February is over the remaining bedrooms will be rid of the 40 year old carpet.

Here are some "before" photos:

Master Bedroom

Daughter's Room

Son's Room

Dining Room

Family Room

Now it's time to get to WORK!