This is Laura’s third organizational challenge and my third to participate in. How fun!
This may seem last minute since I haven’t posted about it until now. The truth is that I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to participate this time. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do a large project. I finally decided to pick a small project that I needed to do so that I would be motivated to get it done and checked off of my list. Whether I finished in time for the challenge or not, I would have it done. The bottom line is that I’ve been working on priorities and responsibilities a lot lately… and I wasn’t going to neglect other priorities to get it done, ya know? It was going to have to get done within the amount of time I had for it.
The good news? I got it done. 🙂
So… here’s our coat closet. Aside from the ‘art gallery’ at the bottom it looks quite innocent, doesn’t it??
Take a look inside:
At the bottom you will find the LAST TWO boxes of “stuff” in my house. Did you hear that? The LAST TWO. A year ago, with my first challenge, I went through the school room/nursery and in the process I pulled out many, many boxes of papers, or things, or lots of miscellaneous stuff – boxes that had accumulated mainly from previous moves. Those boxes plus a few others formed a “wall” in front of my dining room window, consisting of TEN LARGE BOXES to be gone through! In two or three sessions during the following spring, I was able to clear out those boxes one by one. I thought I was done with boxes, until… I organized my master bedroom and closet for the spring challenge and found a few more boxes in the bottom of my closet. Arg! I went through some of it and consolidated down to these two little boxes of miscellaneous things. For some reason I can’t remember, they got shoved in the bottom of the coat closet. Where they have remained. Until now. My point? No, I’m not chasing rabbits here, really. I have a point. I repeat my earlier statement… these are the LAST TWO boxes of “stuff” in my whole house. It has taken me one entire year to clear the boxed clutter from the last 5 moves over the last nine years. This is important. It’s noteworthy. It feels good. Okay, okay, I have other clutter in my house. But it’s not in a box. 🙂
Moving on, also hiding in this closet were two laptop bags, one with an old laptop in it, a pinata stick, a large umbrella, a kite, an unopened puzzle, the box for my Brain Age game and the extra stylus for my Nintendo DS and various other small, miscellaneous items. There were way too many hangers for the small space, several coats and jackets, two small throw blankets, several small long handled tote-type bags, and some scarves hanging in the closet. Above the closet is a smaller cabinet, into which I had hidden all but one of our surround sound speakers (until “someday” when Big Daddy decides to hook them up), a stack of linens that I had discovered at that time but not moved (I suspect they are our landlord’s), and a stack of my own tablecloths and placemats.
The main task were the towo boxes, they took the most time. I sorted through them with a trash bag and a donate bag at my side and had the girls go put the other things where they belong. Now there is room enough in the bottom of my closet for the vacuum cleaner and carpet shampooer – and there is still enough room for Little Prince to close the door and hide in there. 😛
For the hanging stuff, I pulled out all but one coat for each of us and put the jackets away in our own closets. I find that keeping all of our coats in one place helps us get out of the house easier, though, so I left that system in place. I just removed the lighter weight jackets and in the spring I can switch them out. I hung all the scarves on one hanger, and removed all but a handful of hangers since there is no way I’ll ever have as many guests as I had hangers to begin with! Those hangers by the way, are yarn-covered wire hangers. My brother and I used to help my great-grandma make them when we spent summers at her house. Ahh, memories. The only other things hanging in there are the two throws (see, they are in a convenient location to the living room in case anyone gets a chill but they don’t have to be left out to get dirtied.) and the ballet bag – because if it doesn’t hang in the hall closet during the week it is a hard and fast rule that when we’re getting ready to leave we’ll discover that somebody’s shoes are missing.
The only thing left in the top of the closet now is the blue bin for hats and gloves and a couple of small umbrellas. I purged two sets that my kids had outgrown and rolled the remaining gloves inside the matching hats so that we don’t have to dig to find all the pieces when we get ready to leave. It hasn’t been cold enough yet but it’s nice to know we’ll be ready when it is. I started this system last winter after the first challenge and we really were able to keep up with putting the hats, gloves, scarves and coats back in the closet when we got home so that we weren’t looking for them the next time we had to leave. Next to the bin is a small plug-in telephone we keep for emergencies.
Inside: The gloves rolled in the hats, 2 small umbrellas:
Finally, in the bin above the closet I removed all the linens, bagged up the ones for my landlord, found a good home for my tablecloths and added the last remaining speaker to the rest of them so that it is no longer under foot. Since the cabinet is so high and hard to get to, I wouldn’t want to store anything I need to access regularly so it works out pretty well. And you know what? I think that cabinet might be a good place for hiding Christmas presents, too. 😉 OH! And guess what? I cleaned the crayon off the outside of the closet. Yup! I still have to get the rest of the crayon back in the corner but I used up my Magic Eraser. But, hey, that’s technically “living room” anyway. 😉 When the closet was all cleaned out I remembered that the inside isn’t painted. I had forgotten. (It was an add-on by our landlords.) Isn’t it funny how you can notice stuff like that when you can see it??
Look! It’s clean, too!
And now that it’s all cleaned out, it may look kinda empty. That’s good! I want it that way. I want it to function as a coat closet. Well, and a home for the vacuum cleaners, too. I don’t want it to be a… “coat-kite-papers-puzzle-trash-suff-pens&pencils-totebag” closet anymore. 🙂 In the end (aside from the many, many things I put away in the appropriate places) I ended up with the bag of trash, the bag of donate items and (though some of that was already in there from another project), the red and white umbrella to donate also, the bag of linens for the landlord and a box with a few things for Big Daddy to process and purge on his own. These things are NOT coming back in my house!
For the 5 required questions:
1. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and were you able to overcome it?
The hardest part was trying to go through the stuff and process it and organize it and purge while trying to a.) keep the kids from running off with it and leaving it somewhere else and thereby making a mess somewhere else in my house or b.) stay on top of the kids so they didn’t think I was so distracted they could get away with destroying something somewhere else in the house. 🙂 I overcame that by having the older two help me put things away, asking them to play with their brother for a little bit each time I worked on a piece of it, and by working on the two boxes at the dining room table so that I could keep the baby out of it easier. The bottom box was full of pens, pencils, calculators, paper clips, you name it and it definitely took the most amount of time. The moral of the story is that cardboard boxes are for MOVING, not for SHOVING all your stuff whenever you need a place to put it. 🙂
2. Tell us what kind of changes/habits you have put into place in order for your area/room to maintain its new order?
Honestly, the changes and habits I have put in place I have been putting in place since last November. This year really has been the year for me to work on good habits and develop self-discipline. It has literally taken the whole year, and it’ll probably take some of next year too, but there is definitely a difference. In regards to the hall closet in particular, this is the chance to add one more decluttered area to my list to be self-disciplined with and stay and top of. The hat and glove bin was already in the closet from the first challenge, but this time I took it a step farther and removed the extra coats and hangers and found a new home for my tote bags so that the system will work better and so the closet can hold the two cleaners – important because if they don’t go in this closet then they sit in the corner of the living room!
3. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?
Some of it went to new “homes” elsewhere in the house. Real homes, where it really belongs. The bag of trash is outside with the garbage and the donate bags and the bag for my landlord are in my trunk so that I can deliver them the next time I go to town.
4. Now that you have completed the challenge, do you think having and keeping your space organized will make a difference in your life?
YES. It may seem like a small thing, but getting out of the house, and getting out on time is a big issue for us. It’s another of self-discipline, actually. I have found that it really does help to have all the coats (and hats and gloves if necessary) in the same place to help us get out of the house easier. I have found that one of the things I am not disciplined enough about, one of the things I fall down on that would really help, is preparing for outings before hand. You know, like looking for leotards and tights at the beginning of the day instead of an hour before we are supposed to be there. And while I am certainly trying to work on that, too, having the outwear ready to go is one piece of that puzzle of preparedness.
5. Why do you think you should win the challenge?
I really don’t like this question. I really don’t! I don’t feel like I can say I should since I am a previous winner from the first challenge. It seems like that would be greedy. I would love to win, but I don’t need to win. I need to overcome my bad habits. And with God’s help, I’ll get there. 🙂
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This Organizational Challenge is hosted by Laura, the Org Junkie. You can find all the other participants here and here. Yay and congrats to all the participants who got purged a pile of clutter. Clutter. Bad. Ick. 😉