Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Organizational Challenge Update #1

We've made it nearly halfway through February, which means that by now I should have made it nearly halfway through my Organization Challenge.  I'm on track to meet my goal, but I haven't exactly been sticking with the plan as it was originally designed.

As I should have been able to anticipate, it didn't work very well - at least for me - to tackle task #1 on day #1, task #2 on day #2, etc. On the first day of the challenge I started in on a medicine cabinet, only to quickly realize that organizing the medicine cabinet didn't make a whole lot of sense unless I organized all of the cabinets in that bathroom at the same time. And organizing the bathroom cabinets didn't make a whole lot of sense unless I organized the bathroom linen closet at the same time. So on day #1 I ended up tackling one of our full bathrooms - the medicine cabinet, bathroom cabinets, and the linen closet - from top to bottom.  Then on day #2 I tackled the second full bathroom from top to bottom, and on day #4 I tackled the half bathroom along with the laundry room.

I also realized that all of this organizing would be much more satisfying if it was accompanied by a bit of spring cleaning.  I mean who wants to put nicely organized baskets full of soaps and body washes back into a dirty bathroom cabinet?  So as I've been organizing, I've been cleaning.

Here's the full list of areas to be organized; the areas I've tackled are in bold, and I've thrown a few pictures in there for fun.
Day #1: Medicine cabinet
Day #2: Coat closet
I only keep seasonally-appropriate jackets and coats in
the front coat closet.  Our bedroom closets are large, so I
store off-season jackets, coats, hats, mittens, boots, etc. there.
I store my tote bags, insulated picnic bag, and camera (out
of the reach of children) on the top shelf.
I try to keep the floor clear so as to collect less dust.
I maximize space by hanging the kids' most-frequently
worn jackets on the inside of the door at their height.
Day #3: Under beds
Day #4: Laundry room
I wish I loved doing laundry as much as I love my laundry
room.  (Perhaps my dislike for laundry has to do with my
dislike for my washer and dryer - can't stand 'em. )
Plenty of hooks for keeping our baseball caps, backpacks,
gym bags, purses, and whistles organized.  I have no idea why
we have three whistles hanging in the laundry room. 
The shelf above the washer and dryer (thank you, Pinterest!) was the simplest
yet most impactful addition I could have made to the laundry room.
Day #5: Handbag/purse
Purse contents shot #1: wallet, coupons, tissues, ink pen, reusable bags, and
yes,  little girl underwear.  I ran screaming from my diaper bag the day Hallie
potty-trained herself (was I the only one eager to bid farewell to the diaper bag
days?) and I haven't looked back; that doesn't mean, however, that little girls
don't occasionally have accidents in Target.
Purse contents shot #2: wipes, lipstick, sunglasses case, make-up, and a
whole host of allergy-related medications and treatments for Will.
I keep my purse organized by using smaller bags - one for kid-related meds
and must-haves, one for my travel toiletries, and one for coupons.  And that
cute little red polka-dot case is for my store rewards and punch cards.
I seriously love having an organized purse.
Day #6: Under sinks
Day #7: Refrigerator/freezer
Day #8: Kitchen cabinets
Day #9: Make-up/toiletries
Cutie patootie's "toiletry" drawer.  She doesn't really use that
many toiletries though, so it's more of a headband drawer.
Day #10: Bedroom closets
Day #11: Garage
Day #12: Craft supplies
Day #13: Linen closet(s)
We have more bathroom storage than we need in our house, so a few
of the shelves in the kids' bathroom have "room to grow", so to speak.
I love organizing with baskets, crates, and boxes, and if I had an extra
couple of hundred dollars lying around, I'd spend all of it on coordinating
brightly-colored, striped bins from The Container Store.  
Cleaning supplies up high...
...beach towels (the only thing the kids ever need to get out of the closet) down low.
Everything that was in the master bathroom cabinet/linen closet.  *Shudder*
I was shocked at how many expired medications I found (and of course
threw away) in that mess of products - I'm pretty sure that some of what we
were hanging on to dated back to our college days.
Much better, right?
Again, I love the baskets and bins, but I'd love them a lot more 
if they were pretty and coordinating.  I can dream, right?
Well that's just sad, dreaming about storage bins.
Day #14: Backyard
Day #15: Bedroom dressers
Day #16: Jewelry box
Day #17: Living room
Day #18: Attic/basement
Day #19: Car
Day #20: Playroom/den
Day #21: Enjoy your hard work!

I'll leave you with a few suggestions that I think will help along the way:
  • Tackle the projects in the order that makes the most sense for YOU, working in YOUR house.
  • Break up larger tasks (the kitchen cabinets, for example) into smaller ones - organize your upper cabinets on one day and your lower cabinets on another to make the work less daunting.
  • Clean as you go.  It makes the process take longer, but you'll feel much better about what you've accomplished when all is said and done.
  • Save the biggest areas - the garage, attic, and basement - until last.  I've been using my garage as a staging areas of sorts (I set out boxes for Goodwill, Once Upon a Child, passing along to nieces and nephews, saving for Will and Hallie when they older, etc. and have been adding items to the boxes as I declutter) and will therefore save organizing that space until the last day.  
  • On the last day, instead of sitting around and enjoying your hard work, get a massage!  (Write about how you'd like to get a massage in hopes that your husband will read your blog post and buy you a massage gift certificate!  Don't hold your breath because you've been hinting about wanting massage gift certificates for nine years and you've never received one!)  And if you live in the College Station area, get your massage from my friend Bev at the Brazos Healing Center!


  1. I love this glimpse into your home and your psyche. :-)

  2. I am jealous. Can you do this at my house? also, I too dislike laundry. however, I have a new fabulous beautiful washer and dryer and it doesn't make me love it any more...probably because I still have to fold it and put it away.

  3. I've been on an organizational kick as well, so love looking back at your 2 posts! Although my closet is currently stuck in disastrous limbo as I ordered some well priced bins from zulily 2 weeks ago and their shipping takes forever! I have to say that I used to hate my washer and dryer, but I just got a new washer and now I love/don't mind the washing part. I still dislike the drying part though, but can't do anything about that until we sell our old set!