Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Before and After

Wow, glad this month is up, was a tough one, the challenge was more work than I thought. And although I'm not 100% finished my initial list, I'm very pleased with my progress. For comparison, here is before:

and after.

And for fun, the purge piles:
My room is now functional, i.e. we are able to work, file papers, and I can find my craft supplies. Plus, I now have a fun corner for me to plan projects and read! I will probably a few nice things for it (I worked more on the function than the aesthetics), but for now, no money was spent on the room. I just reused things I already had. But I did manage to add some pretty. So all in all, a room that makes me much happier than before.

Challenge Questions:

1. What space did you decide to organize and why?

My office/craft room. It was not functional and it was stressing me out. Plus costing us money, as we were duplicating a lot of purchases due to stuff being lost in the pit.

2. What steps did you take to ensure you completed the space within the 29 day timeline?

The main thing was to keep plugging away. I tried to do a bit every day. I knew that if I stopped I would never get through it. I wasn't overly concerned with the timeline, I knew that I just had to work through the piles, and if it took longer than the 29 days, well that was okay too, as long as I moved forward. However, having the link-ups was a help, as I did want to make sure there was a good difference between my pics. Accountability is great!

3. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and how did you overcome it?

Two things. Firstly, accepting that I will never be able to use all the craft supplies I have. On some cross-stitch boards they refer to it as SABLE (stash acquired beyond life expectancy). So I had to pick my favourites. I didn't purge enough, will have to do another pass on it. Hard to give up some things that didn't make the cut. However, I did look at all the nice stuff I have, and know that now I can find the things I want when I'm ready to stitch.
Secondly, realizing all the money that I spent on STUFF. Very frustrating, I want it back! I will try to sell some things on e-bay. But I know that that money is gone, all I can do is not waste any more. We use the concept of sunk costs a lot at work, so by looking at it that way it makes it a bit easier.

4. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?

Some of the stuff has left, but most of it is still waiting. As I sorted and purged, I realized that if at the same time I had to sort through for different charities etc., I would get bogged down and stop. I needed to only have to decide between keep and go. So I made an all-inclusive out-the-door pile. My challenge for March is to sort through and get it out-the-door. However, I did have over 15 bags of garbage and recycling which are out the door. I found an awful lot of boxes/bins/baskets that I didn't need. However, I will hang on to these for a while as I have a few other messes to tackle. Once that's done, I'll get rid of the extra containers. They do come in handy during the sort.

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

When the closet was mostly set up. It made me happy to have one pretty section, even if there was a tonne of work left to do. Whenever I would get stuck, I would just go look at it and smile. Now I know that everything is there, no overflow. There is still work to do here to make it more functional (sorting threads, etc) but just knowing that I have contained my crafts to this area is a good thing. Especially looking at my purge pile!

6. Explain any organizing “tools” you used to help you create additional space and to establish some limits and boundaries?

I put one of the desks in the closet. It was exactly the right width. This gives me a surface to hold the paper cutter, which because of the danger is a tough thing to store. I can also store bins underneath. I made a little wrapping station to go on the top. I was pleased that I had exactly the right size bin to hold all of my gift bags. The plan was to contain all of my cross stitch stuff into 6 bins, one drawer, and one file organizer. I didn't quite down that far, and have an overflow bin for the moment. But this is my target - I need to finish more things then I buy to get everything to fit into the drawers. I got all of the other supplies to fit in their assigned limits, e.g. one drawer for yarn, 1 for beading etc.

7. What is ONE piece of advice you’d give to someone else to encourage them on their organizational journey?

The most important thing is to find out what keeps you motivated. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. I had a different strategy in the beginning of the project, where I was going to sort everything first and then put things away. But I discovered that having my closet all set up and organized was a great motivator for me. I liked looking at the once nice space and it helped me to keep going when I wanted to quit. As mentioned, I needed to get things sorted, but not necessarily out the door. Some people may need to do things differently, no wrong method as long as you keep moving forward.

Friday, February 24, 2012


I seem to have lost my mojo a bit here. Completing my challenge room temporarily became less fun them some shiny new projects. Always that way though near the end. Fought through it, and finished up a few more tasks, here is progress so far.

Managed to sort all the financial papers as well as the office supplies. I had 9 bags of trash and shredded paper, I feel much lighter. Left to do is the craft supplies, my inspiration corner, magazines, and the box of random stuff from all over the house. Time to go sort some more.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chugging along

Making good progress on the office clean up for the challenge. Although if you were to go in there right now you really couldn't tell.
I am almost done the first pass of the purge. What you see on the bed is what is left to do (actually less now). I have been sorting each box, discarding what I can. For items that have a home and I don't have volume problem, most of them are put away. Otherwise they are in bins, piles, waiting further sorting. Second picture is the give-away pile, much better than I though it would be, with more to come.

Unfortunately, this makes the room look messy. I have bins and piles all over. The tabletop is all my cross-stitch stuff. I'm waiting to get to the end of the sort to deal with that to make sure I have it all together. Also, there is way too much there (and there is a bunch already gone). When I see how much room I reasonably have for this I will have to continue the sort and purge before putting it away. Also bins for office supplies, papers to file, and things that live in another room. And of course, the homeless items, hoping to delegate that box to my husband!
So it looks messy, but is actually much more organized than it was.

Last pic is the closet, which makes me happy. All organized, although still need some labels. There will be some more craft supplies going in, but what is there is pretty good. There are a lot of projects in progress, made a list before putting them away, which I hope to address later this year.

Left to do in my plan:
  • finish first pass purge
  • sort paperwork
  • set limits, sort, purge: magazines, office supplies, cross-stitch, inspirational/organizational material
  • set up computers properly
  • deal with homeless items
  • deal with out-the-door pile (sort for charity, etc.)
  • decorate
  • maintenance plan
Already have about 15 bags/boxes for out-the-door of the 29 I wanted to this month. I feel lighter already! And surprisingly, I'm actually getting the organizing high. I was disappointed not to get my purge completely finished today, wanted to keep going but ran out of time. Definitely a new experience.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Progress Report

Progress on my clutter challenge project

More or less emptied the office

into the spare room.
wow, that's a lot of stuff!

I didn't empty it completely for a few reasons. Firstly, the spare room. Secondly, I got to the level where I had organized 3 years ago. Not perfect by any means, but most of the stuff that's left is in appropriately labeled boxes etc, so at least when I get to purging, I know what is there. Plus, it is overwhelming as is, didn't want to make it worse.

Vacuumed and dusted.

Started purging, made it through all my beading supplies, which I reduced by about half. Feels nice to get this mini-area done.

I have one bag of recycling gone, and a good start on another, a garbage, and a donation bag.

Lots left to do, but back in town so hope to have more time next week. Obviously emptying the room hasn't helped much, as the spare room is now piled high, but it was encouraging just to see the floor and know that at least it's clean! And that at least I can do something without getting discouraged and closing the door. Baby steps I guess.

Monday, February 06, 2012

The Plan

all projects need a plan, right? Well, at least if you want them to work. Here's my plan for the Office/Craftroom cleanup as part of the and some of my thinking behind it

What we currently do in this room
Not much, other than dump stuff. Use the printers, look for things while hopping over other things. Keep the door closed.

What's in here
  • Desks, chair
  • Computers, printers and accessories
  • Bookshelves
  • Paperwork
  • Mail and old boxes
  • Craft supplies and WIPs
  • Boxes from toys
  • Magazines, books
  • Seasonal decoration
  • Wrapping supplies
  • Office supplies
  • Textbooks
  • Memorabilia and photos
  • Document safe
  • Projects in progress
  • Boxes of things I meant to purge and didn't
  • Previous organizing projects and notes, supplies
  • Garbage and recycling
  • Items with no home
  • Items in transition to another
  • Things that got dumped here while cleaning up elsewhere
  • Cash equivalents (gift certificates, stamps, etc) :(
What's not working here
  • too much stuff, must hop, can't find anything
  • impossible to clean
  • never hooked up new computer properly, wires all over
  • too dark
  • no room to work
  • not inviting, no decoration
  • Too much stuff saved we don't use
Activities that need a home here
  • Computer work, printing, scanning
  • Paperwork
  • Storing important papers
  • Storing office supplies
  • Wrapping presents
  • Sewing, doing crafts
  • Storing craft supplies
  • Storing/displaying memorabilia
  • Diplomas and certificates
  • A relaxing/reading area (if possible)
  • no new furniture, although trades from elsewhere are possible
  • no major projects or expenditures (i.e. no changing carpet)
  • Budget of $100.
  • Empty room
  • Clean
  • Rearrange furniture
  • Set up computers, printers etc
  • Set volume limits for each activity
  • Group items, purge, organize, assign a home
  • Purge homeless items and empty spare room (holding area)
  • Decorate
  • Implement maintenance plan.
Perhaps a little ambitious for 1 month, especially considering its already the 6th and I'm out of town for the rest of the week. We'll see.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

29-Day Organizing Challenge - My Office/Craft Room Disaster

Maybe time for a new focus for the blog, obviously the old one wasn't working. Anyways, during February, time to gain control of the dumping ground that is the office/craft room. Joining the 29-day challenge to help with some incentive.

The rest of the house has gotten much better lately, probably to the detriment of this room, which has collected all of the stuff I didn't know what to do with.

I actually cleaned and organized this room about 2 years ago, but you would never know, so I know it will be a challenge to finish and maintain. Here are before pics.

My goal is to purge 29 bags/boxes of things. We'll see how things go.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

First Finish!

after Brigitte that is. Not a big project, but feels good none the less. One more block done in my quilt, 21 more to go! This is Lupine from Carolyn's Meadow.

I'm finishing up a gift for a friend who had a baby 2 weeks after Brigitte, and then I get a new start. I think it will be Spring Spell from Just Nan, since it seems that Summer Spell is on its way. I'm going to try to get back on my finish 2, start 1 project in order to get my WIP list down to a more manageable amount. I've been cheating, there are some not even on my sidebar list, so I've got work to do.