February is over. Oh my.
At the beginning of February, I joined in on Orgjunkie’s 28 Day Organizing Challenge.
So today I’m going to reveal the results of my labor from the entire . . . morning.
I’m a procrastinator, and although I thought I’d work on this little by little all month, the month pulled a fast one on me and slipped by at record speed. (See how good I am at placing blame on the ambiguous concept of time.)
But hey, I did it. And it was because of this deadline that I did. And I was reminded of the same thing I have found over and over and over in this process of “coming clean.” Although I think that a lack of time is the issue in my cluttered home, it’s actually a lack of focus that is the problem.
This project took almost no time at all, once I truly focused on it.
Now, lest you think I’ve done NOTHING all month, I will say that at the beginning of the month, within a day or two of linking my plan at orgjunkie, I did do the main decluttering. The majority of stuff in the corner was preschool stuff. Workbooks, manipulatives, games, etc.
I followed Orgjunkie’s advice of pulling EVERYTHING out and then just putting back what I wanted to keep. I never would have thought to do this, as I’m normally so scared of losing focus (as I tend to do) and having a floor full of stuff for days, weeks or . . . .
I did what she said and it really helped. But for some reason, I didn’t completely get rid of the overly-full-was-never-meant-to-hold-anything-heavier-than-diapers-especially-not-books-so-it-couldn’t-stand-up-straight cart.
I also thought about the corner this month. Sometimes that’s what I have to do. I fret and stress about a certain space, and then suddenly it hits me how to fix it.
Around the middle of the month, I realized I needed to . . . get rid of the corner.
See, a corner like this is just a clutter collector. It isn’t a space you can get to easily, and so things get dumped there. And with my selective clutter-vision, I let myself pretend that since it was a corner, no one noticed all the random stuff back there. And even though I had decluttered at the beginning of the month, the corner naturally collected enough more clutter over the rest of the month that I was basically back where I started.
The picture at the top of the post is the corner when I first decided to make it my project. This is the corner this morning.
Think about it. What is the natural conclusion of this phrase? “Shoved in a ________.”
So this morning I started removing. I removed the play vacuum and rocking chair that didn’t belong in this room but “might as well stay” since the corner was so cluttered anyway. I also removed the random stuff that was back there, and placed the few things I wanted to keep in their hiding place. See, I have a good hiding place for this stuff, but as long as there’s a corner, it’s easier to throw things into the corner instead of putting them where they actually go.
Here’s my secret hiding place:
We use the office as our guest room as well, so we have a daybed with a trundle in here. I put the top bed on these stands (purchased at Walmart several years ago for pretty cheap):
And wah–lah, I have storage space that pulls out! Most of the time when we have overnight guests, it’s one person. But on the occasion when we have two guests, I can pull out the trundle and place the school items underneath the taller bed.
After I got all of the clutter out of the way, either to the garage sale pile in the garage or put away in its new home, I moved the gorgeous filing cabinet out of the corner by putting it on its tablecloth and pulling it to its new spot, in order to avoid scratching the floor.
I then realized that its old tablecloth was not truly covering up all of its gorgeousness (it’s Mint Sherbet Green) and so I brought out a plain white one that isn’t big enough for any table in the house but which I had been unwilling to get rid of. To hold it in place, I used safety pins. I rarely get anything out of this filing cabinet, and the cloth will slip right off when I actually do need to.
Just as a side note, when I had to look in three places for safety pins, I used a reverse version of my two decluttering questions and moved them to the first place I had looked.
I then removed all of the junk that was on the daybed, and shoved the bed into the corner. Now the pillows can be arranged in the corner and it looks quite inviting for an afternoon of reading.
I was in despair at one point about my husband’s workout clothes. In an effort to keep from waking me up in the morning, he likes to keep them in this room (very sweet and thoughtful). I find myself loading them up in my arms and carrying them back and forth to our bedroom whenever we have people over. And when we have unexpected guests, this room never looks its best with the clothes thrown on the daybed. I had decided that I would just live with it, when it hit me that there was room at the end of the bed in the secret storage space. I folded them up and put them there and instantly the room looked better. His problem solved AND my problem solved.
So here are the befores and afters:
And from a different angle:
I can’t even express how excited I am about this. It has added square footage to the room by leaving some empty space at the doorway.
I know that for me, this was a huge success, by the way my heart soars each time I walk by now. It truly makes me smile.
Things I’ve learned:
Big impact is achieved when you combine decluttering and organizational problem-solving.
These projects are never as scary as they seem before you dive in.
I am capable of solving organizational problems.
And here are my answers to Orgjunkie’s 5 questions for the challenge.
1. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and were you able to overcome it?
Being willing to “give up” a space where I threw things. I overcame by analyzing what was actually back there, purging the items that I didn’t need, and deciding that I had another, better place for these things.
2. Tell us what kind of changes/habits you have put into place in order for your area/room to maintain its new order?
All of my non-negotiable tasks/daily habits that I’m working on with this blog will contribute to keeping this space in shape. The one that will make the most impact on this space specifically is the 5 minute pickup. When things have a defined place to go, you can do great things in only 5 minutes of focused put-away time.
3. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?
It is in the garage, in the garage sale pile. We have a date on the calendar for our garage sale, and I can’t wait to get all that stuff out! My goal for the garage sale is not to make money; it’s to get rid of stuff. As a former garage sale addict, I know what prices get things moving out the door, and my stuff will be priced to fly away!
4. What creative storage solutions were you able to introduce in order to create additional space as well as establish some limits and boundaries?
I love my pull-out-under-the-bed solution. This room is the logical place for our preschool stuff to be, and this makes it accessible to me and to my vertically-challenged preschooler.
5. Why do you think you should win this challenge?
I really didn’t think about winning when doing this. My blog is all about me getting this house in shape after a lifetime of being a slob. I just appreciate the motivation of this challenge. If I had to give a reason why I think I did a good job, it would be that I was willing to completely re-think a space and implement a change that will prevent me from ending up back in the same cluttered state in a month.
For detailed guides, check out my books: How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind and Decluttering at the Speed of Life.
Check out other 28 day organizing projects at Orgjunkie.com.