Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day 11: Master Closet, Finale

In yesterday's post, I told you I'd be turning my hangars.  I've done this several times in the past, as it works quite well.  The idea is actually quite basic.  Once you've done a preliminary purge, go through the entire closet, and turn all the hangers backward (i.e., hook them over the rod from back to front instead of from front to back).  As you wear things and return them to the closet (after washing, of course), hang them with the hangers facing normally.  After a set period of time, you'll be able to see without question what you actually wear and what you don't.  Pretty cool, huh? (=

Day 10: Master Bedroom Closet, Reprised

Phase 1 of the Master Bedroom Closet Cleanout has been completed.

I have everything organized by color, starting with ROY-G-BIV, then pink, white, off-white/brown, black, and gray.  Within each color grouping, the shirts are organized by sleeve length.

I used to have them all by sleeve length separately.  So there were long-sleeved shirts all sorted by color and then short-sleeved shirts all sorted by color and then sleeveless shirts and tanks all sorted by color.  I found that it was taking me a really long time to pick out something to wear when I was going from, say, long-sleeved red shirts to short-sleeved red shirts to sleeveless red shirts.  Now, all the red shirts are in one spot.  It's only been a couple days, but it seems to be working better.

Next, I'll be turning all the hangers backward.  (Hint: That's tomorrow's post.)

Day 9: Christmas Concert

If you were expecting a chore assignment every day for 31 days, I'm sorry, but I'm going to disappoint you.  I, personally, cannot drive myself that way.  If I try, I burn out early and fall back into my old ways.  Knowing that about myself, I am purposely having days within this challenge where I do other things that are important for maintaining harmony in my home.  This is going to be one of those posts.

While I am scheduled for an exorbitant amount of overtime at work, I purposely slated an early out for Sunday.  Having been a band mom for the past 10 years (they start performing in 6th grade), I put in my vacation request far enough in advance to guarantee that I would be able to attend.  I'm so glad I did. (=

My son is a junior (11th grader) in high school this year.  Marching band has ended for the year, and the annual Christmas concert is the band's first performance of the year that is concert, rather than marching, style.  This year, in addition to being a member of the concert band, my son is also in jazz band and the drum line.  So, I was able to see (and hear) him performing through quite a bit of the show.

When the show was over, we attended an informational meeting for Winter Drumline.  Then, we went home and ordered subs for dinner from the local pizza place.

Isn't he handsome? (=

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I have been under the weather, and while I've still been muddling through in the house, I haven't been as faithful on blogging my activities.  I'll be posting Days 9-11 shortly.  Thank you all for understanding.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Day 8: The Tree

Part of having a harmonious home is celebrating the things that are important. Sometimes that means taking a day off from the cleaning and organizing so that you can enjoy time with family. To that end, we've hung our Christmas tree and gotten it decorated, and we'll be indulging in a couple Christmas movies once the delivery person shows up with dinner. (=

Friday, December 7, 2012

Day 7: Fantasy Closets

As I go through the drudgery that it sorting through all the different sorts of clothing that have found their way into my closet in the past 10 years, I thought you all might enjoy seeing some enviable closets ... although I think I'll be truly happy with my teeny closet once I have it fully cleaned out.

I almost had to wipe drool from my keyboard while I was scrolling through the closets here.

This link has several celebrity closets for you to peruse.

Then I found this one, which is on a much smaller scale (but still bigger than mine), but also much more realistic.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Day 6: Master Bedroom Closet

I started cleaning out my closet today, but I struggled with the idea of actually getting rid of things.  The “what ifs” reared their ugly heads, and so everything got piled instead of being purged. But I'm happy to say that I pushed past it.  I ended up bagging up lots of stuff to give away.  The job's not done yet, but I got a good start on it.  I really wanted to get it done today, but I'm so tired!  Have I mentioned that I won't have a day off until the 19th because of all the overtime I'm doing?

I'm going to bed!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Day 5: Master Bathroom Linen Closet, Part 2

Welcome back!

Today I put everything away.  When I say everything, I mean everything that's actually going back in the closet.  I did some more sorting and wiped stuff down.  {It's crazy how dusty stuff gets in a closet!)

So yesterday we got the shelves all cleaned off.  Today, we have this:

What do you think?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Day 4: Master Bathroom Linen Closet, Part 1

As cluttered as my under-the-sink cabinets appeared, they were really just disorganized.  My linen closet is a combo deal.

Initially, I was sharing this closet, but now that I'm the only one using it, it really shouldn't have as much Stuff in it as it does.  I don't use half of it on anything close to a regular basis.  So, it's time to purge.  First step?  Start with a clean slate.  That's right … time to pull everything off the shelves.

Again, I've sorted like items together to get a feel for how much I have in each category.  I also tossed some of it and set some aside to donate.

I was shocked at how long it took just to get everything out of the closet!  I thought I would get the whole closet redone in a single session, but as it turns out, this is a two-day project.  Come back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion! (;

Monday, December 3, 2012

Day 3: Master Bathroom Cabinet

I got a late start on today's project, because I worked 2 hours of overtime after my shift today.  But I'm not letting that stop me!  Today, we tackle the cabinets under the master bathroom sink.  Here's what mine looked like before I started:

Not exactly a pinnacle of organizational wonderment, right?  I'm not exactly in love with that paper, which is why I pulled it off the main walls in here and painted a couple years ago.  The green's not exactly something I'm loving right now either, but all I have to do is peek in the cabinets to remind myself that there are worse things than green walls. (;

So, what's my first step?  Pull everything out and clean the insides of the cabinets.  Now, when I pulled everything out of the cabinets, I sorted it according to what it was to give me an idea of what I've been storing under there.  As you can probably see in the before photo, there are quite a few bottles of lotion, body wash, and shampoo, several cans of mousse, and even some vitamins.

When I go to get things like these and find them on sale, I tend to stock up.  I also accidentally bought lots of lotion at Sam's Club once when I thought I was getting body wash.  So, we won't be buying lotion again for a really long time.

I know.  I know.  Some of you are saying to yourselves, "Why aren't you getting rid of that stuff?"  The answer to that is simple.  I'm cheap.  If I wasn't certain it would be put to use, it would be gone.  However,  I know we'll use it, and I've already handed over my hard-earned dollars and cents to get the ones we have.  Why put myself in a situation to have to buy more later?  Now that I know what I have and in what quantities, I know not to buy this stuff for the foreseeable future.  When we get down to the last bottles, I can add them back to the shopping list again, but until then, I can shop my own shelves.

And my after photo for today's task:

Alright, so it probably won't stay like this.  Let's face it; I'm not likely to leave it mostly empty.  I may even move my stash back in, but I plan to sort it first.  I'm also not sure whether I'll leave my nail stuff in there.  We'll see what happens once I tackle the linen closet.

So, are you following along and working these same tasks with me, or are you going your own way?  Let me know below! (=

Day 2 Revisited

I realized something this morning.  I never posted any before/after photos yesterday!  I also never shared any of the steps in my process.  Man, I knew I was tired, but I guess I had no idea how tired I was!  So, before I post about today's leg of the journey, here's some stuff from yesterday …

This is my bathroom counter.  It was just a little on the cluttered side, because Stuff likes to follow me around and settle in wherever there's space.

I'm playing with the idea of putting the hair dryer elsewhere, as I don't use it daily anymore.  Maybe I can mount the hanger on the inside of one of the cabinet drawers?  I may move the plastic drawers, too.  They're very useful for corralling my routinely used items and keeping them separated by category, but they're not exactly lovely.  Still, isn't this better?

I received this jewelry box from the girls for Mother's Day the year my son was born … 16 years ago.  I've always loved it, but it's a little dated.  I started keeping it in the window ledge to deter the kitties from jumping up there.  It's bad enough they try to jump in my lap when I'm in here. (;  The basket of nail polish and nail care items is resting on its perch for the same reason.

I like this much more, though I think it's a little too bare now ... I'll have to give some thought to what I might do to change that.

Because the drainpipe in the kids' shower leaks into the basement, I share my shower with them.  That means a lot more bottles of goo reside in my bathroom than would otherwise.  The worse part is that it means there's more places for dust to land and stick to the still wet surfaces.

I took all the bottles out and gave the shower a good old-fashioned cleaning using a tip I found online.  Then I put in only those bottles and other items that are used on a regular basis.  FYI, the cleaner I used worked great (note the color difference under the hand bar), but I didn't follow the instructions to the letter.   You're supposed to leave it on overnight.  I left it on for a few minutes and then still used a scrub brush.  It may work great as directed, but I was being impatient and just wanted results.

Now all that's left is the hamper in the corner that currently houses my bath towels.  I think that may find a new home once I get the linen closet cleaned out and reorganized.

So, that's what I did yesterday. (=

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Day 2: The Master Bathroom

My house did not get where it is today due solely to my issues.  I live with others after all.  But it would be wholly unfair of me to point fingers and start assessing blame ... I live here, too, right?  So, my first day of cleaning and organizing is about me.  Only right to pull the plank from my own eye before I start picking at the splinter in someone else's.

Today I'm starting with my master bathroom (in case you didn't read the post title).  I'm planning for this to take 2-3 days, not because it's an especially large room (it's not) but because (A) I'm going to be doing the work after returning home from an 8-hour shift (plus overtime) at the job that's paying my bills, and (B) the last time I cleaned my bathroom, I never laid a finger on what's lurking in the under-the-sink cabinets or the linen closet.  So, today's post will be "part one."

Having mentioned the portions of the room that have been previously ignored, I may have given the impression that I might start there this time around. If that is the case, I apologize. I find it easier to spend extended periods of time in a room only if there is already some semblance of order. With that in mind, today I focused on what can be seen: cleaning the counter, sink, shower, toilet, mirror, and floor. Other than the floor, the sink is always my last item, because it gives me access to clean water for use in cleaning the rest of the room. I always feel like cleaning the sink earlier in my list would make more work for me, because I'd just end up messing it up while working on the rest.  For that same reason, I clean the mirror before I clean the counter ... Otherwise I would have to clean window cleaner off the already-cleaned counter.

So, not a giant leap forward, but the clutter is cleaned up, and everything has been scrubbed and wiped down. Tomorrow, I'll tackle the under-the-sink cabinets. If that goes quickly, I'll get a jump on the linen closet ... Until then, why not choose a small project of your own to complete?  Feel free to share your accomplishments in the comments. (=

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Day 1: Why?

I have no idea when it was that I first began my torrid love affair with Stuff.  I honestly cannot recall.  All I know is that, whenever I have felt lonely or insignificant or even just a little bit sad, Stuff has been there to make me feel better.  Stuff's been there to help me celebrate the good times, too.  The problem with our relationship is that it's inherently unhealthy.  The whole time, it's just been an illusion.  Stuff doesn't love or need me in any way.  In fact, Stuff has actually been slowly suffocating me, turning the joy we once shared into sometimes overwhelming depression.  And the worse part about it is that Stuff doesn't even care.

I'm tired of feeling claustrophobic in my own home, and I'm tired of fearing the possibility of  unexpected visitors, because Stuff is always lazing about, flopping wherever might be most comfortable.  Stuff is the elephant in the room that I've avoided discussing for far too long.  So, I've decided it's time to end our relationship and kick Stuff to the curb.

In all seriousness, my OCD can sometimes be debilitating.  Instead of turning me into some super-powered, psycho clean freak, it overwhelms me with all the minute details involved in decluttering my home.  Rather than seeing a small task to be done, I see all the smaller tasks that are involved in that task ALL AT ONCE and how those tasks relate to ALL THE OTHER tasks that are as of yet unfinished in my home, until just considering starting something becomes all too bewildering.  Then I end up curled up with a book, or the TV, or the computer with my invisible blinders on trying to ignore all the chaos that pushed me to near-hyperventilation in the first place.

So, what's different this time?  In the past, I've always looked specifically at what needs to be done in my home and have always come up with a mile-long list that's more than I can bear.  Recently, however, I was surfing the web (possibly while avoiding housework), and I came across 31 days to an organized home, which led me to other sites with similar goals.  All of these sites had one thing in common, they'd broken down the elephant that was their major cleaning and organizing project into bite-sized tasks, something I had been unable to do myself.  So, I used their lists to get me started, to give me a recipe for my elephant, if you will.  Then I just tweaked the ingredients to suit my tastes.  When I'd finished tweaking, I had my very own recipe for elephant, unique to my needs.  Apparently, that small shift in perspective, taking someone else's bite-by-bite plan and working it to fit my task instead of trying to take my task and figure out how to make it bite-sized, was all I needed to put together a workable plan without needing to reach for a paper bag for breathing.  Who knew?

So, if you've had difficulty taking that first step, because you see a whole elephant when you should just be dealing with the toe, I hope this 31-day challenge can help you ... just as others' journeys have helped me.  Bon appetit!

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