Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Looking better still...

So today was busy.  I had to get A to before school care by 6:30 (which I didn't), then myself and M to work by 7 (which I didn't), and then back home to get A off the bus.  After that we had a 3:30 dentist appointment, 5:00 dance, and 6:15 dinner, followed by 7:30 bedtime (which I did!).  I am pretty sure that I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner in there somewhere because I didn't pass out, but I couldn't tell you what any of them were.

But, I still fit in 15 minutes.  Here is what I accomplished in that time:

  • Established a Girl Scout file in my cabinet (one of the only ones that isn't a mess-but that's another post entirely)
  • Sorted 25 more books for the book collection that I have going
  • Dove head first into my pictures and began sorting them by year (hopefully this will lead to scrapbooking at some point soon-but I need clean, flat surfaces for that!)
  • Threw out one grocery store bag of trash and another of recycling.
Not much of a picture to show you, but after a few more days I should notice a bit of a difference.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What I was doing the past six weeks (besides waiting)

I have used book buy-back services before for personal "fundraising", but back in February it became apparent that a friend needed help in that area.  I sent out emails and FB messages to most people that I know asking them for their used books as a donation to the cause.  I received over 300 books, and am still collecting.  I have been able to sell back about 25% of what I have received, and the rest will be for sale at a yard sale in May with proceeds still benefitting this friend in need.
I would HIGHLY suggest using book buy-back services!  They are a great way to clean out your clutter and you will get more money than at a yard sale.  There are about three sites I frequent, but this site will help you determine which site will give you the best price.  All sites offer printable, prepaid shipping labels that make it easy to send in the books.

Busting through the Wall...

Ok, so I hit the wall back in February.  The wall was named, "My husband interviewed for a promotion, then had to wait over a month to find out if he would get another interview, and then his territory changed and we might have to move if he doesn't get it."  Kinda long, but you get the point.  We were a little bummed around this house and I also couldn't justify organizing when I wasn't sure if we would be living here in six months.
Anyway, I am back at it and was able to undo the damage that I caused over the last six weeks.  Here is what the spare bedroom looked like:

After my first 15 minutes of work, I managed to get it looking like this:
Not much better, but there is more to stay tuned!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Back to Work, at my Desk!

It's amazing how much more motivated one is to sit down at their computer when they can actually sit down.  Hunching over a pile of crap to reach your keyboard is not helpful when trying to accomplish things.  So, with my glorious clean desk in front of me I got to work!

Tonight I spent about an hour:

  • Physically organizing my Daisy Troop's paperwork and filing it properly in my file carrier.
  • Labeling said files
  • Creating a spreadsheet containing the last three months of accounting for said Daisy Troop
I only purged about 15-20 sheets of paper, but at least there is a system for the incoming paper.  Despite what GI Joe says, filing systems are half the battle.  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Change of Heart

It has been five days since I last posted, and four of them I spent in bed with Strep, fun.  Not sure what the deal is with me getting it twice in four months, but I am not a fan.  Don't get me wrong, it could be a MILLION other worse things, but it is still a pain in the butt throat.

While convalescing, I decided (pause for pat on the back-I actually spelled convalescing right the first time and thought my spell check must be broken!) that the living room really wasn't motivating me to get organized.  It's like getting motivated to loose that last pound.  Usually you just hope for a big poop, and figure you'll get there eventually.  So, I picked the spare bedroom instead.

I didn't pick this room in the first place out of shame.  I had hoped that I would have another month to slightly get it in shape so that you wouldn't have to see these pictures:

Now, most of my friends know that I pride myself on being relaxed about household chores, but no one has a real idea of how bad it can get.  OK, maybe one, but she has been paid to be quiet (literally she is our old nanny and was paid well for her silence).

This mess has developed since Christmas, since two people actually slept comfortably in this room over the holidays.  In theory, a mess that only took six weeks to develop should not take too long to clean up. We'll see, as there is a lot below the surface.

Anyway, for today's 15 minutes, I thought getting to the desk might be nice!  So I spent 15 minutes clearing the desk, organizing the piles of paper on the floor so that their contents are at least homogenous in nature, put a few boxes away in the closet, and moved the glider back to it's original location as the desk chair is finally free again.  Here are the results.

What you can't see in these pictures won't hurt you :)

Here is me at my desk!
Finally, an update on the playroom:  the hubby has finally spackled and I have a few more pieces to my DIY puzzle completed.  I think we will all be happy when we can put that room in the books.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Say Adios Dora!

  • First, you come out of the drawer, 
  • next you get stacked with other annoying DVDs and,
  • last you get donated to Mommy's school.
I am about to have a serious fiesta over the evacuation of Dora DVD's from my house.  If I had tequila available, there would be margaritas involved. ( On the rocks with salt-who's buying?)  It's not that I don't like Dora, but she has served her purpose, and I have done my time.  

It has been almost five years since she made her first appearance in our hacienda and she has out worn her welcome.  Even my six year old has recently started to say, "Do you know why I don't like Dora anymore?  It's because she always goes three places.  It's kinda predictable."  Yes, I really do have a six year old who uses the word predicable.  It's probably all that Dora watching that made her so smart ;)

So, after sorting through the DVDs for grownups and children, I am gladly parting with this stack (if you need some, feel free to comment below and they are yours-just do it quick, because they are going to work with me tomorrow.):

Second Month, and Second Room Here I come!

Ok, so technically the first room isn't "finished", but I have dove into the second none-the-less.  I am almost done the playroom (really, I'm waiting on the hubby to spackle but he has had a really yucky last couple of weeks, so I don't want to nag) and am so excited that the shelves no longer look like this:

Stay tuned for the reveal, as soon as the hubby gets off of his ...

My choice for the second room is our family room.  It is large, laid out pretty well, and actually pretty uncluttered.  I chose it because:  I am getting a late start, it is a short month, I still need to finish the playroom, and I will only be in town two weekends this month.  The changes won't be as dramatic, but it will keep me to my resolution and give me an "easy win".

So here is my living room now:

Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

First month is almost over, and I'm almost finished!

No pics this time, as I have been doing mostly painting this week.  I have 80% of the shelves done, and will tackle the ones that require a ladder tomorrow.  Since Wednesday I have spent about four hours total doing:

  • painting shelves
  • washing and ironing curtains
  • taping newly painted shelves in preparation for wall painting
  • a little bit of work on the mystery DIY project
Here is what remains to be done:
  • painting high shelves and ceiling (we had a leaky, rusty toilet situation a few months back)
  • painting walls (after my husband finishes repairing holes in the plaster)
  • replacing toys on the shelves
  • finishing the DIY project
Since I can only make paint dry so fast, I won't quite be done in the month alloted, but that is ok.  The secret perfectionist in me is screaming, but I think I will feed her some chocolate and she'll be fine.  I am choosing a pretty easy room for February anyway, so getting a late start should be fine.  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

So glad the State of the Union was on...

Bet you didn't hear that too often today.  I heard more people grumbling about missing their fav TV shows tonight than anything.  I was one of them until about 7:45 when I realized that no good TV = time to work on the playroom!  Apparently paying attention to the goings on of our government during this critical time in our nation's history doesn't fit into my equation.

I used to watch every State of the Union Address, even in college (that saxophone player sure was charismatic wasn't he?).  I have since grown tired of the incessant clapping for everything little word we like, and my small protest is to not watch and consequently hurt no one but myself.  But I really digress...

Back to my efforts in the playroom today.  I spent two full hours in there tonight, technically putting me 4 days ahead, and this is what I accomplished!
I repainted two doors, complete with trim, and one of four columns of the glorious shelving unit.  I started the night by trying to clean them and quickly realized it would be more gratifying (and faster) to repaint them.  After all, five years and two kids do a number on white paint.

As you can see in the picture, I purposefully got white paint on the wall to force myself to repaint them too. Tricky aren't I?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Getting Crafty!

So, today's time was way too fun!  I spent one hour on a DIY crafty-type project, leaving me only three days behind on my time, but years ahead in motivation.  I only stopped because I had to feed my children dinner (greedy little kids!).

I will not be revealing the project until it is completed, because you might be as frightened as my husband currently is.  He came downstairs to investigate the hammering and just lovingly chuckled and headed back to his office.  I love that he never tells me to stop regardless of how much work it might mean for him later.

Here are some clues to my newest adventure.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Called out on Facebook!

The whole reason that I started this blog is so that I would be held accountable by my hoards of  four followers if I didn't stick to my resolution.  Today, that was validated when I saw this status on FB: "Sweet Wonderful Friend wishes her blogger friends would blog more.".  I egotistically decided this was about me, even though I know at least two of her other blogger friends and they are decidedly more charming that I.

Either way, here I am, back at the blog.  I am way behind, so I made up for it today.  I am now only six days behind, after 1.5 hours spent mostly sorting playdoh.

Today I finished the last three shelves in the playroom:
 and can now give you the money shot of my glorious shelving unit.  This wall truly is the reason why I bought this house.  They screamed "playroom" from the first showing, and they really have been awesome.  People pay good money for custom shelves like these (of course theirs are probably straight...).
After that I moved on to the craft overflow area at the top of the basement steps.  Here was it's state prior to tonight:
Not awful, but I certainly could be utilizing the space better.  I went through the playdoh situation on the top shelves purging three sets geared towards younger children.  I also better organized the remaining craft supplies and made a promise to myself to start using up some of those great crafts.  I started by putting the Bendaroos in the middle of the floor in the playroom.  Once the girls notice them, I give it an hour before they are completely gone :)

Here is the newly efficient space with room for more paper products on the lower shelves.  

So, technically I am done the playroom.  However, I have one week left in the month, so I will spend it doing a little deep cleaning, etc.  Also, keep tuned for a a fun DIY project I have in mind!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hiatus's been a week.  My husband was away and in an effort to retain my sanity through a full work week and snow storm, I cut myself some slack.  I probably shouldn't have, but I think my children appreciate me not trying to do it all do something else.

I spent 45 minutes yesterday catching up, and here you go:

I cleaned another storage unit for dress-up clothes and effectively fit everything we are keeping in two nice units.
I went through three shelves and purged/reorganized it's contents.
I also went through all donations, bagged them up and loaded them in the car.

Here is an updated picture showing the progress.
It's a lot better than this scene two weeks ago.
Here is what I have left:
  • Three shelves to purge/organize.
  • The craft storage area to purge/organize.
  • Deep cleaning and touch up painting.

I think I can do it in the remaining two weeks of the month, don't you?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

7 Shelves to go!

Today's 15 minutes showed less dramatic progress, but progress none-the-less.  Today I accomplished:

  • moving around the larger toy items to utilize the space more effectively (getting rid of the dress-up hooks helped give me more options).
  • putting away the toys unearthed behind these various large toys.
  • Sweeping up the feathers and dust behind the aforementioned toys.
  • purging the "happy meal toys bin" and only saving the few I know they play with.
  • finding a small bin for the furniture associated with Madison's new dollhouse she received for Christmas.
I don't really have pics of today's adventure, but I do have something I need help with.  I want to enter this contest (the prizes are amazing!) but need an idea for a project that fits into the playroom.  I have one idea, but would love to hear yours.

Loosing Steam...

I'll 'fess up, I am starting to loose steam on this project.  Like most modern americans, I like immediate results!  I may have picked the wrong room to start with, as every day the kids mess up all my work from the previous evening.  Granted, they pick most of it up and my hubby has been really great about reminding them how hard Mommy is working, and why it is better this way, but I am still frustrated.

This aspect of my personality is probably why my house has gotten to this point in the first place, so it isn't surprising that I am starting to fade one week in to the project.  I tend to be an "all or nothing" girl, and lately it has been nothing as far as the house is concerned.  I read an article once about messy perfectionists and can completely identify with that mindset.  I look at projects and get annoyed that I don't have the time to do them "perfectly" so I just don't do them.  I guess I chose a really good resolution for myself, because by the time this year is done my house will be in better shape and hopefully so will I!

Now that I got my Oprah moment out of the way, Saturday's bite of the elephant was (drum roll please)....

...the Dress up clothes!  They are in that small green bin on the left and also hanging from hooks on the wall.  For a while, I LOVED the hooks, but as their wardrobe grew, it became too messy looking.

My new solution is actually a unit my brother bought us four or five years ago that has been floating around to different locations, never fully living up to it's potential.  I think it has finally reached self-actualization!

I am already feeling better as I type this, so I think I'll go start on today's 15 minutes right now.  But first I need to find a new box for donations, because this one is full!!!!!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Barbies and Books and Puzzles, oh my!

Before and After:  The Barbie Edition


Before and After:  The Book Shelf Edition

Now, the trick is keeping the bookshelf that way.  Thanks to a fabulous Christmas gift from an even more fabulous friend, we have the tools to turn our bookshelves into a library.  I am going to come up with a basic way of categorizing them and off we go!  Check out the gift, it is soooo cute and perfect for my little book worms. 

Stats for Thursday and Friday:

  • 6 Barbie outfits, 8 Barbie brushes and 7 unmatching Barbie shoes donated or trashed
  • 4 puzzles donated
  • 3 books set aside for an upcoming sweet niece :)
  • 10 additional books donated
  • 40 minutes spent

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Moving right along - in secret

I have been having computer issues the last few days, hence no posts.  But, I have been up to no good in the playroom none the less. 

On Tuesday I spent my 15 minutes pondering the issue of artwork storage.  My girls hate to part with their creations, and are known to tape them to any surface known to man.  So, I decided to give them each a basket for their completed work and when it reaches the top, we will all look at the work before "saving" it.  These baskets have been around my house in various rooms for over 5 years, so no cost associated and when I get to the office, I have two less things to organize.

On Wednesday, I organized the board game shelves, whittled down the stuffed animal menagerie, and finally put some of Abby's craft kits in the craft storage area.  We have no closets downstairs in our 201 year old home, but we do have steps leading to a basement I never use.  So, that area serves as our craft closet and a major source of annoyance anytime we need a repair to our furnace, hot water heater, etc.  I still need to go through that area, but that's for another day.


 So in two days I spent 30 minutes, organized 4 shelves and 2 baskets, donated 8 stuffed animals and gathered another grocery bag full of recycling.

Monday, January 3, 2011

27 Barbies

This is what 27 Barbies look like:

I figured that helping the girls select some of what we purged would be the most respectful thing to do.  After all, I wouldn't want them sorting out and trashing my books for me.  

I would end up with a lot of hot pink covers and these:
Even four year olds know not to mess with my Twilight.
The Barbies were actually easy to whittle down, but apparently tossing out old, ripped up, half-colored pictures is completely off limits.  Now I must walk the line between involving them in the process and pulling the wool over their eyes as things disappear nightly.  Hopefully they won't mind too much when the end result is a calmer Mommy, and six pairs of scissors readily at their finger-tips.

The Stats:
  • One hour spent on two drawers on the craft bin and Barbie sorting.
  • One bag of recycling, four Barbies to donate, and a full quart sized bag of crayon bits for a project like this.
  • One organized drawer.
While I wish it looked like either of these two options:

It looks like this and is still sooo much better than it was this morning:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The first 15 minutes of the rest of my life (or at least until next week when I try to delete this blog)

The first 15 minutes allowed me to discover the following things:

  • My children do own scissors, despite what they tell me every day.  I found four pairs in one drawer.
  • This room is going to take longer than a month.
  • "Bananas are perfict for a picnik." according to the short story Abby wrote about bananas that I found.
  • Gingerbread men are slightly more mature than I realized, see picture below.

As promised previously, here are the obligatory numbers:

  • 20 minutes spent on one drawer and the top of the craft station:

  • 1/4 baggy of crayon bits for charity that melts them to make new ones.
  • One GAP bag full of recycling.

January- The Playroom, sigh....

This is what the Playroom looked like three and a half years ago about 5 months before I started back to work.

This is the travesty (or trava-sham-mockery as we like to say here) that it has become.

I am already beginning to regret this "before-and-after" photo idea.

A New Year, an OLD, OLD House!

It is time for New Year's resolutions, and this year I have devised the perfect way to hold myself accountable for mine.  Put my intentions out in the public eye and charm you so much with my witty posts that you keep coming back to check up on my progress.  Hopefully you will chastise me for my failings as well, properly motivating me to succeed the next day and become an impressively better person in the process.

This year's resolution is actually a repeat from 2005, but I liked it so much then I have decided to give it another run.  My resolution is to choose one room of my house each month and spend at least 15 minutes each day working towards optimum organization in that space.  My goal is to have each room be a calming  space by the end of its month.  Currently I have one room out of eleven that fits the bill, and who wants to spend their life in their downstairs powder room?

I plan on tracking:  the total time spent on each room, all donations made from the purging of each room, and the money raised from selling anything worth selling.  All proceeds from selling items in the room will be used to purchase organizational and decorative supplies for that room.  Some rooms don't need much beside a little uninterrupted time, while others need miracles and multiple bottles of wine to get through them.

Also, all projects that appear as a part of organizing the room must be addressed immediately.  I will not allow myself to move that project into the room where it really belongs until it is complete.  This means there will be quite a bit of scrap booking when we hit a certain room (hopefully I'll have given up on my resolution by then).

Sit back, relax and enjoy comparing your much more organized existence to mine.  I will join you in a year!