Friday, March 29, 2013

31 Day Organizing Challenge, The End is Nigh

At the beginning of the month I mentioned this:

Now, I thought I had completely lost it for about 20 minutes before I realized I was wasting time wondering if I'd lost it. 

Quick back-story: Back in August we moved into our (much smaller than what we had) apartment. Along with a big move, we also had to downsize to fit in this new place. Needless to say it's been a total nightmare. In October, we took EVERYTHING from our storage unit out and shoved it into our living room. Our "living space" was then dubbed the "Storage" because it was filled, floor to ceiling, with boxes upon boxes of our stuff.


As the months progressed, the husband and I purged like crazy getting rid of furniture we had no room for, toys the kids hadn't played with in over a year, clothes, nick-knacks, you name it! If I had it, I probably donated it to the Salvation Army. At one point I was in tears from all the stress.

In February we had a residual mess of unpacked boxes and such. You couldn't actually see any of the sitting area, and there was only a small trail from the front door to the stairs that everyone had to shimmy through. If anyone tried to stop and visit, we had an uncomfortable game of musical chairs and someone had to stay standing. So when March rolled around and I still had too much sh--junk in the living room, I said enough is enough.

For judging purposes, the following questions will be posted and answered to.

1. What space did you decide to organize and why?My living room, because it was a gigantic hot mess and I wanted a place to relax!
2. What steps did you take to ensure you completed the space within the 31 day timeline?One day at a time, one box at a time. I didn't throw everything into a gigantic pile. I started with small things, sorted, purged, and then moved on to the next small pile.
3. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and how did you overcome it?The hardest thing that I came across was getting rid of things I was fond of or had kept because it was a memento of a special time in my life. I overcame this obstacle by taking a picture of it to print and put in an album. Even if I no longer had it in my hand, I could still show that I had it once upon a time and remember why I had kept it for so long.
4. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?If the stuff was in bad shape, it was thrown in the dumpster. Piles upon piles of papers and such were sent to recycle. Everything else, like all the old baby things, and clothes, etc, were boxed up and picked up by or dropped off at The Salvation Army.
5. Tell me one of your proudest moments during this challenge?
I'm a half-asser. I couldn't tell you the last time I started something and actually finished it. The fact that I was able to flail about for an entire month and actually accomplish something...AWESOME.
6. Explain any organizing “tools” you used to help you create additional space and to establish some limits and boundaries?
I can't think of any....
7. What is ONE piece of organizing advice you’ve learned on this journey that you could encourage someone else with?
Everything is a PROCESS. A little at a time can really make a hug difference.

And now, the pictures!

Here is my living room before:
before: view from front door

before: view from kitchen

before: view from front door

before: view from stairs

before: view from stairs
See all those lovely boxes and whatnot? Oh the joys of moving! *snort**choke**gag* I had to take several pictures just so you could so all of the mess in such a tiny space!

With extra help from the husband, here is my living room now:
after: view from front door

after: view from kitchen

after: view from stairs
Now in the middle picture, the view from the kitchen, you'll notice that the chaise has a few little bins on it. Those will be going upstairs, as they are office supplies and don't belong here. As for the boxes surrounding the chaise, those are "keep" piles that need to be reevaluated. During the initial purge, these things were kept. Now we have to go through them again, and purge some more. There's even a box by the couch that is for donation to the Salvation Army that I accidentally left behind today.

We're not done with the space, but this challenge has given me the tools I needed to really make a big dent in organizing my new home. As for the bookshelves, that was my husband's idea. We had originally meant for our spare room to be a library with the "office" downstairs, but it seemed convoluted, inconvenient, and cramped. The large furniture would not have fit well. While I was away with the children for spring break, my husband took it upon himself to switch the two around. Now our classroom and office supplies and furniture are upstairs, where they can fit more comfortably, and our library downstairs, where we can entertain both our mind and our senses. So a round of applause to J, with whom this would not have been made possible. (I don't have that kind of upper body strength!)

I want to give a shout out and a big thank you to Laura at Orgjunkie.com for coming up with this challenge. While I have participated in her challenges over the past three years, I've never truly used the tools and advice she provides like I did this time around. I also want to congratulate all the others who did this challenge. We could do it, and we did! Also, we're awesome! ;)
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