Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Challenge Comes to an End

It's been a busy month for the shortest month of the year. I committed to working on organizing my scrapbook room as part of Org Junkie's 29 Day Organizing Challenge. I had grand plans, but then had to become realistic when eleven days out of the month I had house guests from out of town. That also meant I had two weekends I was busy with friends and family and not free to spend the time working on my project.

There is still more I want to do but I am happy with my progress and the room has already proven to be usable in its current state. I now enjoy spending time in there and I may just put off another organizing effort in there to work on a scrapbooking spread first.

Here's the before and after of the progress made between Feb. 1st and Feb. 29th.

I began trying to organize my punches. The bin was a mess! I emptied the bin and organized the punches on my table.
Then I discovered that my plan for hanging these on a rod on the wall wasn't going to work! Most of my punches are Creative Memories makers. They don't have a lever to hook on the rod. I hit up Pinterest to figure out what others have done. Wouldn't you know that every idea I have pinned required my punches to have levers. So, the plan is now to put these in shallow drawers. But, that requires a trip to my favorite store, Container Store! That hasn't happened yet, so I neatly put the punches back into the bin (or as neatly as possible with items that don't stack well.)
Next I attacked my sticker album (I forgot to shoot the before of stickers in page protectors in an album). I purged away stickers I have been moving around for over ten years. I saved a few in the kid-friendly craft drawers, but most are purged for donations. I organized the stickers into themes based on what I predict I would be scrapbooking. That was much easier than I expected as I have purchased based on these same themes. I thought I was done and when I touched something else on a shelf, there were more stickers! So much for thinking I had all the like items together last time I moved, last year, or earlier this month when I emptied this room. This folder is too small for all of my stickers, but it works for now to keep the items organized.
Now for the overall before and afters of the room. First, from the doorway. The boxes are gone. Unpacked. The Cricut is set up, plugged in and ready for use. The wall decor is now hung on the walls instead of leaning against the wall in a pile. How nice to have everything put away and the creative inspirations on the wall!
From the closet door looking at the scrapbook table and t.v. table (random craft items underneath). The new desk is finally stocked and ready for a scrapping marathon!
The drawer unit next to the t.v. is full of kid-friendly craft supplies now. I found fifteen year old paint in there! I've been planning to make this the craft drawers for awhile and now it's done. I also need to find a shelf/box solution for the few books I have for visiting kids to read. For now they are all together with the kid craft supplies. The Cricut is set up next to the t.v. keeping the space occupied so it doesn't collect clutter and the Cricut is ready to be used!
Wow! The piles and boxes! Just getting the boxes out of there was an improvement. Now the boxes are empty and the shelves are a little more organized. The stamps are all together. Christmas stamps are in one box, all other stamps in the other bin and the Stampin' Up! stamps are neatly stacked. I will be continuing to work on better organizing the stamps, but for now they are all together (along with ink pads and other stamping supplies on two shelves.)
Part of Laura's challenge is for us to answer some questions on our experience.

In order to ease the judging process even more and to help me narrow down the much deserving winners I ask that participants complete a challenge summary by answering the following seven questions:

1. What space did you decide to organize and why?
My scrapbooking/craft room that also doubles as a second guest room.

2.  What steps did you take to ensure you completed the space within the 29 day timeline?
I started by looking at the calendar and setting mid-month deadlines for myself. This was driven by the fact that I had guests coming twice during the month and needed the mess to be contained within the room for the first guest and for the second visit, the room had to be functioning as a guest room! I also read through and referred to the PROCESS and tried to follow that although once I was on a roll, I didn't stop to refer back to the steps.

3.  What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was getting motivated again once it had been presentable for my mother-in-law. This was time for the detailed organizing within the shelves. Unfortunately, I now knew what I needed to purchase for some of my solutions, but I hadn't budgeted the time or money to do so this month. That will be a next step to come. 

4. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?
Some items were ready for the trash bin. Others were added to the donation pile in the garage (headed for the donation station next week.) One of the after photos shows a few more stickers and punches headed to this bin. A few items were added to the kids' craft supplies.

5.  Tell me one of your proudest moments during this challenge?
I was proud to have the room presentable as a guest room in time for my mother-in-law to arrive. I was proud to have inspired my husband to clean out the closet and purge some of the bags. I was proud of myself when I walked into the room and smiled one day because it was clean, organized and there was inspiration radiating back at me from the walls.

6.  Explain any organizing “tools” you used to help you create additional space and to establish some limits and boundaries?
My random crafts are now limited to one bin and one bin/drawer. They are stacked together and that's it. My stamping is now limited to two shelves. I may expand this when I get some organizing products to better streamline this process but it's contained and limited now. Having my stickers organized means I will not "need" to run out for that sticker that I thought I had because now I can find what I have and make that work. My paper and scraps are organized in rainbow order and I can quickly grab the colors I need.

7.  What is ONE piece of advice you’d give to someone else to encourage them on their organizational journey?
Set a goal. Set a plan (whether it's steps or calendar driven). Keep going. Acknowledge when you get overwhelmed and then pick up five items and move forward. Stick to one project. Finish it. Reward yourself. Repeat. 

Thank you, Laura for the challenge! Thank you sponsors for making a challenge like this possible. I'm ready to keep the progress going, but I'm also ready to tackle the office!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Making a Room In Progress a Presentable Room

Today's focus was making the room presentable for the arrival of my in-laws. My mother-in-law sleeps on the air mattress in this room, so it has to be tidy (no hiding things behind a closed door.) The sorting area that was made such an eye sore is right at the top of the stairs and was blocking the path to the restroom, so everything had to be addressed.

My husband had completed his sorting of luggage and bags in the closet. So this was what the room looked like when I started today.
 Notice the pillows and comforter have been left out of the closet for me to make the air mattress.
The trash bin looks full here, but there's one in the other room AND I added quite a bit more to this one as the day went on.

Although I didn't feel I had the time to go through the bookshelves this early in the month, I decided a quick pass of each shelf would allow me to dust and do an initial purge. About an hour later (one episode of "House") I was done with the bookshelves for now.

Next I set up the Cricut machine. I decided for now to put all of the Cricut supplies (I don't have many yet) in the right drawer of my desk. The Cricut is now sharing the temporary table with the t.v., but it work for me at this point. I brought back in the wheeled tower cart of paper and placed that in front of the Cricut. When it is not opened it does not block the Cricut. This also puts the tower of paper within reach when I'm scrapping at my desk. I also wheeled in the cart for kid friendly projects and cleaned out those drawers. I had paint tubes that were 12+ years old!

I took a deep breath and started to organize the scrapbooking shelves. Items are pretty much grouped together by like items. I know there is more organizing I want to do but it is now neat and semi-organized.

Then it was time to bring in the items still in the other room and find a home for the items that belong in the scrapbooking room. This was not nearly as hard as I expected now that the room was tidy and organized. I seemed to fly through this step and found myself spinning around in the other room wondering what happened to all of the items. The donation pile had grown too, plus I had a stack of boxes of Creative Memories product that I can sell!

A few months ago, I saw a great idea for ribbon organization on Pinterest. I just happened to have an extra pants hanger, so I ran upstairs with the hanger and put some ribbon on it. Fail! This idea works if your ribbon is all on the small bolts. Mine is not. This was not functional to try to get to the ribbon. Some would spin (and too easily on it's own) and some would not move at all.

I finally pulled out the decor organizing shelf I bought on sale at Michael's a year ago and hung that on the wall. There was just enough room for this ribbon and the few other bolts I found while sorting through the room. My husband came back in to help me hang some items on the wall. I'm a little short, so his added height, plus the second set of eyes and hands was helpful.

Not too bad. I think it looks presentable for my in-laws arrival in four days. It feels like a happy room already and I can't wait to sit down and scrapbook!

Why waste time? We decided since we were up there to set up the air mattress now and call the room "ready" for my mother-in-law.

The closet doesn't need to be accessible when she's staying in here, so I placed one of the nightstands and lamp from the guest room here. Now she has a table within reach for the remote and her water.

Now to post my first progress Link Up on the 29 Day Organizing Challenge page.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Remove Items

I knew the first thing I needed to do was empty the room. When I went upstairs to start I walked in the room. Then I looked at all the piles of boxes and bags and paper and spun in a circle. My husband to the rescue! "Why don't I set up the table in the other room? I'll just start bringing everything to you and you can sort as I bring it out."

Great idea! Teamwork. And I couldn't allow myself to get overwhelmed in the room. My goal was to sort and work as fast as he was bringing items to me. Easier said than done. He'd bring out a bag, box or bin and I had to go through and sort the items. I had two small craft tables and was trying to sort into paper, tools, office, crafty items, stickers, punches, stamps, photos, and memorabilia.

Then he brought out a pile that contained flower seeds. So, I started a pile of "items that don't belong in the scrapbook room." That meant they wouldn't go back in, but I had to deal with finding them a home now.

Then the room was empty and it looked great!

But I had a mess in the other room. Items had to go back into the scrapbooking room AND now I had to clean the other room too. Re-enter the sense of being overwhelmed.

I have two dates in mind as I'm tackling this 29 day challenge:
  1. The in-laws will be here for a visit on the 16th
  2. I have to post a completion update on the 29th
While I worked on further organizing/piling the items I had pulled out of the scrapbook room, my husband decided to sort through the luggage and bags in the closet. (So much for the empty room!)

Next step is to deal with the mess I've created before the in-laws arrive!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Following the PROCESS

Organizing has come rather naturally to me. I enjoy organizing. I know, it's an illness. I struggle to understand how some don't know how to organize or where to start. I'm lucky to have a husband who loves to organize as much as I do and writes lists better than I. I've been reading a lot of organizing blogs recently. (I'll add the links to the ones I have enjoyed so I can share the blog circle love.)

For this challenge, I've decided to try following OrgJunkie's PROCESS. Don't know what the PROCESS is? She gives a detailed explanation here.

Plan of attack - I can plan!
Remove items - Where am I going to put all of the items?
Organize into piles - I'm a pile queen!
Containerize - I have a lot of these, but I'll make a list of new ones when I get to this phase.
Evaluate plan - This won't be easy
Solve/simplify any remaining issues - Solving I can do!
Smile, relax and enjoy your hard work! - This will be a big public reveal as I celebrate the success at the end of the month!

Step one is Plan of attack, so here's my questions for my plan:

Planning Questions:
1. What do I want the purpose of my room or area to be?
This room needs to (1) store all of my books, (2) be available for an air mattress from time-to-time, (3) serve as a scrapbooking room, (4) have crafting space, (5) allow the Cricut to remain set up.

2. What do I need in or near the room to serve that purpose?
I may need another table/dresser for the Cricut. I need a new office chair (budget allowing). I should have all other items currently in the room to serve this purpose. Ribbon storage options may be needed, but I have lots of ideas on Pinterest.

3. What can I remove from the room?
This is hard. I think I need to get tough and declutter some of my scrapbooking supplies.

4. What problems do I see with the room?
I have valuable wall space that is not being utilized.

5. What organizational tools might solve those problems?
More baskets. Labels. Ribbon organization tools (see Pinterest - Craft Room board)

6. What habits need to change to solve the organizational problems?
Put things away when I'm done with them, when I bring them home, and label, label label!

7. What kind of a budget do I have to create the organized room of my dreams? 
I'm going to do this for less than $300 and I'm not including a new desk chair in that. Desk chair may take some shopping, big decision making, and more than this month.

8. What kind of a timeline is necessary to organize the room?
As this project is part of the 29 day challenge, I'm limiting myself to the month of February, which is 29 days this year! I do need it to be in a livable condition in time for my in-laws visit at the middle of the month.

9. What is my plan of action?
I'm going to follow the PROCESS plan and go section by section. If I get overwhelmed, I'm going to break it into sections: t.v. table, craft cart, desk area (with shelf unit), book shelves, boxes.

10. Who can I ask to help me with this?
I have a friend coming for a long weekend and we might spend a little time so I make progress on this challenge. My husband has committed to taking photos for me so my efforts are on the challenge. Otherwise, I plan on it being all me.

Tomorrow, I start removing items!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Honest Truth (Before)

I've accepted the 29 Day Organizational Challenge from OrgJunkie. I've been avoiding my scrapbook/craft room. I randomly get energized to go attack it and then my schedule hits me or my motivation falters and I avoid it again. This month, I will be focusing my energy on my scrapbook/craft room.

The room is currently in such disarray because I got a new desk. I had a temporary one that was a piece of plywood held up with shortened 2x4s as legs. We won't even talk about my broken chair! I found this desk from Home Decorators Collection. I got it on sale and with free shipping. Unfortunately, it was back ordered for almost six weeks. By the time the desk arrived, my motivation had left me again. It sat in it's box downstairs for at least a month. Eventually, I convinced my husband it was time to drag the 80 pound box upstairs. We spent an afternoon assembling the desk. It created quite the mess, and took some time, but it wasn't that difficult. There was no more time that day to put the room in order. No time during the holidays to get the room back in order and now it's part of this challenge!

I am ready to get things put away so I can take advantage of my spare time (even if it's only an hour) to work on some projects. I am ready to be able to find a needed supply for a quick project around the house. I am ready for this room to be a happy space in our house. I am ready to finally hang some of the craft room decor I have on the walls! I am ready for this room to be ready for my mother-in-law's visit later this month! I don't expect perfection and I don't expect to be done before the month is over and she arrives, but I plan on improvement!

I'm not proud to show off the before pictures, but I'm keeping it real. I did nothing (obviously) to tidy up the space for the before pictures. Ironically, more items were placed on the desk shortly after these photos were taken as I returned items from a quick project back to the proper room.

The honest truth from the doorway (yes, that's a Christmas wreath I store on the door).

The desk is tucked away next to the window with a bookcase close at hand for keeping tools within reach.

The t.v. table (my previous desk was the twin of this table) and all the clutter I've dropped around it. The bags in front of the t.v. are what I've used when I go for a scrapbooking weekend.

These boxes used to be under my old table/desk. The books are somewhat organized, but don't look like it with all of the clutter in front of it. Notice the stained glass window art that needs to be hung up.