Saturday, January 28, 2012

Retreat, retreat!

I fear I have lost the Battle of the Bathroom. I have not been able to purge anything close to what I was hoping to. Although I did clear off (and take out) the two pieces of freestanding furniture we were using, there is now no place to put the toilet paper, or the towels.

We have the following built in spaces to make use of:

A four shelf, approx 12" deep and 20" wide, open shelving in the entrance to the master closet.
Under my side of the sink.
Under DH's side of the sink.

This is what I tried to organize into those areas.

  1. Makeup (We should just skip this one. I would be happy with a vanity with many drawers JUST for makeup..)
  2. Nail Polish (No, you can't take my "black with envy" OR my "black lingerie"! They are not the same blacks at all! :P)
  3. Hair Dye (I have a lot, from sales.. pared down about half but still have too much)
  4. Hair Removal (wax, strips, warmer, etc)
  5. DH's hair removal (razors, blades, creams, etc)
  6. Shampoo and conditioner
  7. Hair treatment and styling products (I did purge about half of these)
  8. Lots and lots and lots of Axe wash, deoderant, and spray. And lots and lots of Victoria's Secret "Love Spell" wash (For what I paid, they are "worth" the storage costs)
  9. Skincare (oy.. purged all my Regenerist for Philosophy and STILL have no idea how to store it for ease of use)
  10. Meds and First Aid
  11. Dental Care 
  12. Hair styling tools (including the huge box of Curlformers..)
  13. About 30 Lush bath bombs, melts, soaps, and body butter/buffers.
I do have all my makeup purged and organized into a larger train case and one brush roll. That sits on one of the shelves, next to a wicker box of "I have no idea what the hell this is but apparently we do use it, so here it goes"; the Axe washes and my VS wash take up 2 of the shelves in the closet; the last shelf I had to use for the big bin of first aid supplies and my dressup hairpieces. My organizing adventures and DH's outside job make for quite a lot of injuries, apparently.

We have a really (craptastic) double vanity. I wish I could just leave out my train case and skin care (in something pretty) out on the "between" space, but it just looks cluttered and drives me crazy to do so. Yet, having them in the closet doesn't help at all because these are things I use daily! I have no idea where to put them where they won't drive me nuts.

I think I may go to one of the hanging towel racks with the towels rolled up on the wall to take care of that, but I really had hoped to hide the TP under DH's sink, and that's not happening.

Fine, bathroom, you win for now.. but I'll be back with reinforcements!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I have declared war on my kids' rooms!

Yes, really. I shall vanquish the dust bunnies, polish the pitted surfaces, and *gasp* venture into lands unknown. I shall go where no woman has gone before!

The kids' rooms do get daily maintenance. They are expected to pick up after themselves, occasionally make their beds, put away their books and such. Unfortunately, they don't get thoroughly cleaned as often as they should. It's probably been six months since I magic-eraser-red DD1's desk smudges off, or Pledged the TV stand in my son's room (The Swiffer does make a slightly more regular appearance).

I have also declared war on the contents of everything. It is time to PURGE! I am armed with my black trash bags of doom and ready to wade through it! I'm four bags out from DS' room and hoping to finish DD1's before picking up the children from school.

I also let my older kids pick out a medium size warmer from Scentsy and a bar of fragrance they liked. I'm very, very tired of the smell of stale sweat, old socks, melted lipgloss, and other disgusting things. The warmers have been going for about thirty minutes now and it is AMAZING what a difference there is! My son chose "Shades of Green" which reminds me of the backyard after a good rain and the sun has come out; my daughter went with "Blueberry Cheesecake" which is a bit sickeningly sweet but has a good note for a tween girl's room that doesn't like floral scents.

What are your plans this week? Planning to wage WAR on anything?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The, Two Year Plan

We had one. I'm not doing it again. I am, instead, going to go with a Two Year Plan (because five would encompass the time period that my older children are moving out! Time flies..)

I spent this week walking around the house and coming up not only with organization ideas or problem areas that needed addressed, but looking at our home as a whole and determining what our longer term goals were. I know what the house looks like right now; what do I want it to look like within Two Years or less?

This is the list that I came up with. I added $ signs to each so that we know which we can do as weekend projects versus ones that may take a long time to save up for:

  1. $$$ Rip out the whole yard (we have eleventy billion types of grass and weeds currently in there) and re-sod. 
  2. $$$ Install a sprinkler system, or train my children to assist in watering the lawn in the early mornings and evenings every day until the lawn is established
  3. $ Plant irises at least in the 2 beds around our trees
  4. $$ Do something with the huge flowerbeds at the front of the house that is low maintenance
  5. $$-$$$ Pool in the backyard - still need to research what other options there are and what we can afford beyond the blow up type
  6. $ Repaint/Repair the outdoor playground unit
  7. $$ Re-invest in 80% solar screens instead of 90% to restore natural lighting inside the home (I am tired of living in a cave)
  8. Add the house numbers we purchased five years to the outside of the house
  1. $ Finish trimming out the windows in the library. 
  2. $ Get a new desk for the library (the current one has some unforeseen structural issues) - incorporating at least one file drawer
  3. $-$$ Install trim around pieced together library pieces to give them a more custom, built in look and provide additional stability
  4. Move archival storage to new area in kitchen above built in desks in order to:
  5. Make room in library shelving to remove roleplaying books from den in order to:
  6. $-$$ Replace IKEA-hacked entertainment system with a more compact one in order to:
  7. $$ Add 2 more chairs to the den for more seating
  8. $ Repaint the den to continue what we started in the kitchen, hallway, and playroom (open floorplan)
  9. $$ Design, make, and complete custom storage solution for the area at the bottom of the stairs
  10. * $ Paint the stairwell and install a new banister (this needs done before anything else since ours recently *fell off the wall*
  11. $ Install new chime unit for the doorbell to the stairwell
  12. $ Refinish the kitchen table to match the new cabinetry
  13. $ Install new pantry doors 
  14. $$ Install three new six panel doors so all doors match 
  15. $$ Replace doorknobs on six doors to brushed steel instead of brass
  16. $ Frame all the pictures that we've been planning on for ages and form display on the two wall areas of the living room that have room for them without crowding
  17. $$ Get small hall tree for DH's drop zone by the garage to look nicer than the decades old scarred table currently placed there with a wall hook
  18. $ Paint quote around top of wall above kitchen window
  19. $$$ Look into flooring options or tile refinishing for existing tile floors which have proved a safety hazard
  20. $$ Replace vanity and toilet in downstairs bath for functional reasons
  21. $$$ Replace stove and refrigerator
  1. $-$$ Purchase seating and pub table for gameroom
  2. $-$$ Extend window seat out to be functional seating area
  3. $ Finish repainting gameroom
  4. $ Install doors on strange corner space in gameroom corner
  5. $$ Purchase new, thicker rug for gameroom for sound dampening purposes (vinyl flooring)
  6. $ Add smaller 10-in-1 or 8-in-1 game table to gameroom after selling off existing full size table tennis that is too large for the space
  7. $ Get posters for various things the tweens like to decorate the room with. Note, the one wall will probably need "Door Sized" posters.
  8. Repaint children's bathroom using leftover paint from the laundry room mixed with some of the samples we tried that were too green aqua
  9. $$ Replace vanity in children's bathroom 
  10. Install shelf for artwork over existing hooks (shelf is in storage)
  11. $$$ Replace ten doors with six panel types with brushed steel knobs
  12. $$$ Get quote for renovation of master bath (shower needs totally redone, bad tile job swelling/breaking; vanity sinks cracking; tub never drained properly since purchase)
  13. Revamp furniture placement in master bedroom to restore better function of areas
  14. $ Repaint master bedroom
  15. Re-purpose upstairs linen closet, move games to corner storage in gameroom

With 43 items to do within a 24 month period, this gives us a goal of doing approximately two projects each month without trying to do anything during the winter holidays. It is quite likely that we will accomplish a goal each week on the free or cheaply done things, while the expensive ones will be waiting not for time, but for funding.

Do you have goals or a picture in your head of what you want you home to be for you? Have you examined those goals or pictures and come up with a plan for accomplishing them? I find that a time limit helps keep just enough pressure on to keep up progress without stalling, while not so much pressure that it is overwhelming. If all you have are big projects to do, make sure to space your goals out more as each IS going to take time to do justice to it. If all you have are small projects to do, leave a little leeway in goals so that you don't feel that all you are doing is constantly working on the house.

Life will be going on while your plan is on paper. Plans may change or even be discarded. New plans may make themselves known (appliance breakdown, act of nature, life changing events, etc). Your committment should be to being happy in your home and being functional, not just a committment to a list. If you only commit to the list, you're missing the Big Picture and at the end may find yourself accomplished and done, but unhappy with the result.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

What are your resolutions for 2012 regarding organization?

Do you need to purge?
Containerize? (thanks to OrgJunkie for this term - Laura is fab!)
Stop procrastinating?
Compromise with housemates or loved ones?

My resolution this year for organizing is.. to keep taking baby steps. I actually don't think of organization as a journey, because like housework it isn't something with an end goal where everything just stops. Life moves on and your needs change; your furniture or your house changes; children grow up; styles even change (if that is important to you at least once a decade, lol). I do think of organization as a way to make things more functional, to make daily life easier, and to get to the goal of where 90% or more of my efforts go towards maintenance, with 10% or less of my organizing time going to changes or improvements.

When we moved into this house five years ago, it was an unmarked canvas. It was huge on space, but tiny on storage. We made a five-year plan for the house, to turn it into what we wanted it to be. Today, I can tell you that we didn't meet all of our goals, and we added new ones after finishing tons of them. Some of our goals changed as by the time we got the them, our needs had changed. But our home today reflects the work we've put into it, the changes in our lives, and the functionality we desire.

My next post will talk more about our previous five year plan and what I'm putting on the next one. The last one dealt with transitions (old home to new, young children to tweens, etc); the next will focus on tightening things up and adding the finishing touches.

No matter where you are in your journey - don't get overwhelmed. It's so easy to do, and then stall out because you are either sickened or depressed at what you THINK is a lack of progress. Take a deep breath, take some time out for yourself, and remind yourself of what you have accomplished, no matter how small or how large. Before you feel crushed by lists of things to do in 2012, think of what you did in 2011.. and smile :) Because you're here to enjoy it!