Thursday, May 28, 2015

Before and After week 4

I'm so sorry it has taken me so long to post this update.  Between end of school for my daughter,  a tough week at work and preparing some exciting new projects for the blog, time has just flown by!

After wrapping up the 4th week of cleaning/decluttering I'm in a good place.  I am so happy with the progress, and have seen a huge improvement in the function of the household, as well as how easy it has been to keep a clean house.   Although it isn't perfect, it is a huge improvement.  Plenty more projects, improvements and organizing still to go, but I am comfortable knowing this is a slow but steady progression and I'm keeping with the "not perfect, but good enough for now," this keeps me from spending too much time in one area. 

My biggest challenge and accomplishment were the closets.  Two closets in particular had gotten OUT OF CONTROL!!  My master closet, and my daughters closet.

My daughters closet was a mix of toys, books, everyday clothes and dress-up clothes.  The closet is equipment with the general contractor grade wire shelf, so I had previously added shoe storage, extra hanging space and a book shelf.  My first step was clearing out the unneeded.  The local shelter was pleased to get boxes full of baby books, shoes, clothes, and toys.  Once I declutter, then I tackled the organizing.  I moved the bookshelf, which I was unsure about, but has proven to work well.  I grouped clothes by type and length and hung her play clothes in a reachable area.  I had some left over baskets from my kitchen organization which I used to store her play-doh and sewing machine, both have lots of little parts and not toys I like her using without supervision so the top of the closet is a perfect place.

When starting my master closet I went in not having high expectations.  I knew how hard it would be for me to get rid of things.  I tend to hoard clothes, the usual downfalls like, I may fit into this again one day,  its cute I just haven't had anywhere to wear this too yet or the I haven't bought the right shirt to go with the slacks.   I was able to get rid of more then I thought, including two handbags, which is HUGE for me. As I went through the clothes I pitched all broken hangers, donated wire hangers to dry-cleaner and began sorting clothes by type and length.  As with any picture, I'm not sure it really catches the progress that was actually made.  The closet is less cluttered, I feel like I can access everything and my morning have been much more enjoyable.

MID CLEAN OUT  (I wish I would have snapped a picture of the pile of extra hangers)

(I didn't thin the heard as much as I would of liked, but working on it every day.  
If I try something on and don't like it, I toss it)

HUGE NEWS: I had stroke of luck this week....I won a ClosetMaid Sweepstake!!!  This week I worked with one of their professional designers and we came up with a closet system for my guest bedroom/craft closet.  This closet has been a nightmare since the day we moved in, and I'm so excited to get it back under control.  It isn't a room we use often, so it sort of became a catch all for extra items I couldn't find a permanent home for.  Below is the before picture before I organized in week 4. Stay tuned for the after......

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Week 4, final week!!

It's week 4, the final week!!!

Excited to hit the closets tonight.  I have a feeling we'll have a very generous clothing donation for our local shelter.

Here's this weeks cleaning schedule....

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Pantry Before & After

Progress report from Week 2:  Behind Closed doors.

My biggest challenge last week was the pantry.  I'm not sure how it happened, but my pantry got out of control!!  Every so often I would go through and straighten things up, remove empty boxes and throw out expired items, but it was never organized.  I had attempted to organize some of the smaller items in the gray 31 bags you see on center bottom shelf.  I was never happy with the bags, they didn't have much support, I always felt they looked sloppy, and the high sides didn't allow for easy access.  

I found so many great pantry before and after posts and inspiration on pinterest, and most of them used baskets they found at $1 store.   Unfortunately, my $1 store only carried bright colored baskets, and it wasn't a look I wanted.  Luckily, right next to the $1 store was a Big Lots, so I popped in there to see what I could find.  I was very impressed with the selection they had, and quality.  Although I was paying a little more then $1 per basket, it was well worth it.  I found these great white baskets, with solid fronts where I could apply a label.  Small baskets were only $1.50, Medium were $1.80 and large was $2.65

As reported in my Week 1: Kitchen, were I blogged about my fridge organization, the $1 store did have some great smaller white baskets, so I used a few of those to keep smaller items grouped together.

So, when it came time to address the pantry I had to set up a game plan.  What did I want the pantry to look like?  Do I take everything out, or work 1 shelf at a time?  Did everything in the pantry belong there, where else could I store items?  

I decided to work one shelf at a time, and start from the top and work my way down.  I had a few 31 bags that I use often, but not daily, that I decided could be better stored somewhere else.  I moved my entertainment/party supplies to the top shelf. 

As I worked my way through the pantry I decided I wanted to group items by categories; breakfast, baking, can goods, pastas, breads & crackers, condiments & sauces, paper plates & napkins and then have treats, snacks and drinks lower where my daughter could reach.  

I also have some aprons that were originally just hanging from shelving.  I used over-sized decorative thumb tacks in the left corner area.  It was an odd spaced and not able to put shelves, but the space between shelves is enough for me to put my arm through and grab aprons off the back wall.   

I then made labels on my computer, using powerpoint and printed on full sheet label that I already had in the office, cut them out, and placed on my baskets.

I am very pleased with the arrangement and functionality of the pantry.  

And here is a little sneak peak of the bathroom organziation that also went on in week 2....

This is how my husband starts his morning everyday.  YIKES!!  How can he even find anything??  Most of these items are not part of his everyday reitual, but are essential to him having conveniently located in his top drawer of vanity.   So on a shopping trip to TJ Maxx, I found these great fabric covered drawer organizers, for only $6.  They came in a bunch of different sizes and confirgurations, so I grab up a few to use in our bathroom.  We already have a blue tommy bahama bath theme, so I thought these would add a little extra pop of the blue color in an unexpected place =)  
My husband isn't the best with change, but he's loving the organization.  And I'm happy to report the "after" picture was taken a week later, so he's keeping up with change as well!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Failure is NOT an option!!

My purpose to starting this blog was to document my experiences while transforming my home and lifestyle.  I was hoping to post success story after success story, but today my friends I post my first FAIL. 

I was just too busy this weekend; well that's the excuse I made for myself.  Between play dates, a night out with friends (maybe a little to late) and everyday house chores, I failed to successfully complete week 2.  If I am being honest with myself, I had the time, I could have delegated better.  I let an excuse stop me from succeeding. 

As hard as I am on myself, I'm actually happy I failed.   This is real life, a real blog.  My failure will not only help myself, but it will help this blog and help you. 

Lesson learned.....we need a planned break.  I am revising the 4 week cleaning schedule to include a free day.  I feel this will allow the average busy, hard working person the down time they so much deserve (and not feel guilty).  A break allows us to relax and recharge our batteries.  Besides, who wants to scrub floors on a FRIDAY!?!

Today is a new day, and I'm throwing all excuses out the window.  I am back at it and ready to tackle week 3.  I plan on making up my missed cleaning from week 2 this week as well.