*deep breath*

I have a problem. Just a little one. Ok, no, a BIG one. … I’m a recovering Messy. But don’t worry, it’s okay, I’m in rehab and I’m quitting. 😉 As many of you know, that’s a long and hard road and once you quit you’ve got to steer clear of clutter and mess completely. Just one little pile, and you’ll fall off the bandwagon and straight back into Messy-ism.

The bad news is that I have three kids who are constantly bringing mess into my house. They leave it here, there… it’s right out in the open! They aren’t even ashamed of it. Everwhere I go I have to see mess and clean it up quick so that I’m not tempted to leave it there. Sometimes it hard, real hard. But I’m giving it up and that’s that.

The good news is there’s hope! I have a plan. I have a goal. And now I have support.

30 Day Organizational Challenge

Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie is hosting a challenge. A 30-day Organizational Challenge. I’m a little late signing up, but I’ve been working on this particular project for the last couple weeks (years) anyway and so I think it would be good to have a deadline. Besides, there’s prizes. But regardless, I will be so glad to get this finished. I can’t even tell you how much.

So, sit back, grab a snack, and read along as you discover what lies behind “the door”…

The kids know the rule: We don’t open that door.

This is the inside of “the door that stays closed.” What you see here is the inside of what is supposed to be my baby’s room, but he only sleeps in here since it’s never been in a usable state, not in the whole 2 years that we’ve been in this house. (It’s a long story.) My intent now is to turn this room into a play and school room and put all three beds in the other bedroom for sleeping. The bad news is that to get this project organized, I’ll have to clean the other room, too. The good news is that to get this project done I’ll have to clean the other room, too! Yay! Two birds with one stone. 🙂

In Photo One:


1.) a wall calendar not in use b/c all the pieces are scattered. 2.) cereal boxes (for the organizational tip Laura gave last week 😉 ), a small box fan, a small plastic basket not being used, stacks of clothes that won’t fit in the dresser (because it’s time to pull out the clothes that are too small or wrong season), and some small sealable containers such as country time lemonade containers that are on hand in case I need them to contain game pieces, etc. when I’m cleaning. 3.) This dresser will be moved into the closet along with the baby’s hanging clothes. All his clothes will remain in this room, while his bed moves to the other room.


This crib will be moved to the other room. You can see that I’ve kept the area around it clean enough to get in the room and let him sleep in there. That’s about it. Hiding under it is a changing pad that I need to sell or give away. In front of it is a diaper pail I need to put in a convenient place so it will be used, or sell or give it away also.



This is where the real mess begins.


1.) a quilt in a trash bag that needs to be returned. 2.) The box on top is felt and fabric that needs to get stored with my fabrics. The box on bottom is a box that we found when we cleaned out the closet a couple weeks ago. It has playdoh toys, crayons, misc. school and craft stuff. (Yes two weeks ago, this room and the closet were WORSE until a friend came over and helped me.)

3.) A bench-seat-style wooden toybox that was mine when I was little. On top of that some misc. things we pulled out of the closet when cleaning. This toybox will be moved to my bedroom and used for blanket storage. 4.) A lamp, not plugged in that needs to be strategically placed somewhere. 5.) A large toybox full of toys, but also some shoes and miscellaneous things–occasionally the kids break the rule, sneak in, dig through the toybox, and dump things on the floor. That would be the mess of toys around the toybox. Behind all this you can see the door into the closet.

(Standing by the crib) this is the wall opposite the bedroom door.


1.) An adorable rocking piano toy that stopped working suddenly. I “was going to” have my dad look at it, but haven’t. It has a Christmas table cloth draped over it we found when cleaning out the closet. 2.) A box of books from my childhood I am saving for my kids – mostly Nancy Drew hardbacks.

3.) A hamper with a small amount of outside toys that I brought inside when we had two stray dogs hanging around and I didn’t wanted them chewed up. 4.) A white laundry basket with mostly toys and the occasional misplaced school item. 5.) A small box of Hardy Boys hardbacks I confiscated from my mom’s house when my brother didn’t want them, also being kept for future reading.

Seen here is the wall opposite the crib.


I don’t know if you can tell in the pictures, but this is really a very small room. I’m guessing around ten by eleven or twelve. 1.) 2 boxes in the corner from previous cleaning and sorting, mostly empty. The top one has some shoes that don’t fit the kids to be stored and passed down. The bottom one has a few toys. 2.) The bookcase. My main area of detailed organizing. This bookcase will hold school items, craft and coloring items, and games. All the reading books will go on another shorter bookcase being brought in from my room that will go where the dresser is now. This bookcase will go where the bench-seat toybox is now. 3.) The large toybox from the other picture. 4.) All these are unused storage containers/items that aren’t being used!! 5.) These are stacks of games and puzzles, most of the pieces are scattered.

By the door:room6

1.) A shelf that WILL be coming down. On it are dolls, mostly breakable. One broken that never got glued back together. 2.)A (storage) basket with hangers. 3.) A (Storage!) container with mostly toys. Behind this stack is a stack of boxes. Two of them are among my most dreaded elements of this task.



The “boxes of scattered pieces”, seen left. 1 & 3 are the boxes that hold crayons, puzzles pieces, games pieces, you name it. After everything is put in place, we will go through these two boxes. Anything that can be put together with all its pieces can be kept. Anything with missing pieces will be thrown away. Box number 2 has a few toys and some miscellaneous things.

And then there’s “the clsset.”


For the longest time, this closet was a scary place to enter. It was full from floor to ceiling and side to side. This is place things got shoved when we were unpacking. Slowly, I went through some of it, but it was still packed. Recently, 2-3 weeks ago, a friend came over and this closet is one of the things we worked on. We pulled out a bunch of stuff, it just needs to be finished. I plan on keeping the baby’s dresser and hang up clothes in here. I would like to store the fabric and sewing stuff in the top, as well as the gift wrap box and gift bags, etc. There is plenty of room in the top of the girls’ closet for storage, but I don’t think the containers I have their off-season clothes in will fit up there, so they might stay in the bottom of the baby’s closet. They’d be more accessible there anyway.

Pic #1, 1.) A baby playmat to be sold or given away. 2.) A box of kids’ clothes to be sold or donated. 3.) Toybox lid. 4.) Base to my infant car carrier. Pic #2, 1.) 2 tubs of off-season clothes for the girls and hand me downs for the baby. Pic #3, 1.) Gift bags. 2.) old computer to go out to hubby’s room. 3 & 4.) Boxes, I don’t remember what’s in them. ? Pic #4, 1.) humidifier in box. 2.) storage container with some momentos to be weeded through and appropriately stored or discarded. 3.) old satellite receiver and scanner – hubby’s room. 4.) A porcelain doll I don’t know what to do with – given to my daughter on her first birthday. 5.) My gift wrap/ribbon box. Pic #5, 1.) briefcase and camcorder – also going to hubby’s room. 2.) I think that’s a box of sewing projects. 3.) A box with summer swimsuits and floaties, etc. 4.) A box of fabric

And then there’s the other bedroom…

Remember how I said I have to clean both rooms to get one project done? Here’s why:


How’d it get that way? 1.) They have. too. much. STUFF! 2.) They don’t have a place to put it since most of the toyboxes are inaccessible. 3.) They don’t want to keep it clean. They “like it dirty.” Well, they’re just gonna have to learn to like clean. 🙂


#1 is the tv, it will stay here but move to another corner. #2 is a dresser used for dress-up clothes, but not used much because most of the knobs have broken off (we’ll replace those). It will be moved to the other room where the tall bookshelf was.

This is where the baby’s crib will go, since the bunk bed on the opposite wall pretty much has to stay where it is.



On the right: 1 & 2 are little desks that will go where the baby’s crib is now. They will sit along the wall facing the wall the dresser is on, where I’ll hang up the little chalkboard.


The little bookcase in my room(left) will go where the dresser is, the tall bookcase will be located behind them by the closet door, and the desks will have easy access to both.

Number 3 which you can barely see is the fourth and last of the toyboxes, which is what all that stuff is spilling out of. That will go in the other room in front of the window for all the baby’s toys. We currently have four toyboxes (not including my childhood one, the other two I haven’t mentioned are the long green and purple things in the first picture of the girls’ bedroom) and we’re only keeping three. One of the green and purple ones might go in the bottom of my closet, either for storage of winter clothing or storage of stuff to sell on ebay.

And that’s the beginning of the story…

So now, this is just the beginning of this story. Now I have to make it happen.

I have a plan of action, steps written out for what I’m going to do in what order. But this post has already achieved “longest post ever” status. Hey — she asked for details! I’ll post again when I have completed enough work to take some really good “work in progress” pictures, and I’ll outline my steps at that point. Also, my goal is to complete this project utilizing what I have and spending as little money as possible. And, I’m open to suggestions so don’t be shy – leave a comment! In the meantime, good luck to anyone else who is also “kicking the habit” – whether you are taking part in this challenge or not. Just say “NO” to clutter! 🙂

To see the rest of this journey, check out:

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Hey, y’all! I’m Amber and I wear many hats. I drink a ton of coffee and I’m constantly sweeping crumbs off the floor. After 18 years of homeschooling, I’m getting close to graduating my third child and now we are starting over at preschool with our fourth, Lil Miss Mouse. She keeps us young and she’s the main reason for my excessive coffee consumption. Drink up!