I have successfully completed Laura’s 31-Day Challenge!
1. What space did you decide to organize and why?
I tackled my Living Room. Because it’s just me and the cat in the house, and I don’t entertain, the Living Room had become a catch-all for Stuff. I wanted a space I could use and enjoy.
2. What steps did you take to ensure you completed the space within the 31 day timeline?
I kept my weekends as free as possible, and tried to do something every day.
3. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and how did you overcome it?
Letting go. Of any of it. I’m a Collector. It’s going to take a couple more passes through the bookshelves to get them where they should be. (Slow going, since I have to read a bit of each book to decide if it’s a Keeper or needs to be released to find a new home…)
I overcame this by reminding myself that there’s no point holding onto a book I won’t read again…even if it completes a series. No reason to hold onto tapes I might convert to MP3s someday… if I haven’t felt the need for the album in at least 10 years. No need to hold onto a perfectly good TV when I have a perfectly good TV I’m already using.
4. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?
- Two loads of cross stitch and sewing stuff went to a specialty thrift store.
- Several loads of books went to the Library book sale.
- Two loads of stuff, plus the TV & stand, went to GoodWill.
- A fair bit went in the trash/recycling.
- A lot of craft stuff went into the Craft Room. That’s another Big Project, but if I was going to finish the Living Room, I couldn’t let myself get distracted by the other stuff.
5. Tell me one of your proudest moments during this challenge?
Proudest moment? When I got some family photos displayed on a little table with two lighted candles – and I wasn’t worried about the table get bumped, the candles falling, and setting the house on fire.
6. Explain any organizing “tools” you used to help you create additional space and to establish some limits and boundaries?
I paid attention to the Containerize step and put a lot of effort into fitting things into containers and not just letting them sprawl across the space. I used some items I already had (trunks and suitcases) and bought two cubby benches.
7. What is ONE piece of organizing advice you’ve learned on this journey that you could encourage someone else with?
Plan First. Know what you want to do with the space, then make it happen. That was one of the major differences with this attempt at decluttering/organizing the space. Once I knew what I wanted to room to be used for, it was so much easier to make decisions.
For example, I knew I used the room for watching tv and storing my books, but I realized in the planning phase I also wanted to store my knitting, photography and genealogy hobbies here, which meant I needed to think about storage in a different way.
This first pair of photos shows the full length of the LR. You can see that the old TV & stand are GONE, the desk has taken their place, and new cubby benches are under the window. With pillows that have been hiding in the trunk for lo, these several years. The round table in front of the sofa acts as a tv tray, and the square table next to it now works for both the sofa and Grandma’s rocking chair.
Close-up of the former TV corner. The computer/desk set-up is temporary. I looked at 12 dozen audio tapes – and found one music album and three audio books I really, truly wanted converted for my iPod. The computer is the one I just replaced, and the monitor is a $20 GoodWill find. When I get the tapes converted, the stereo and computer are going away, and the desk will eventually find work in the craft room.
Another look at the tv/stereo end of things. The black office chair is also destined for the craft room.
The area between the bookshelves and the trunk/sofa. Speaks for itself.
View across the middle of the room, toward the bookshelves. It now has Grandma’s rocking chair, the black ottoman filled with Christmas books, and the small square table.
View back across the width of the room. The hats from the top of the bookcase are headed for the short wall over the closet in my bedroom. And the library table is fulfilling is chosen destiny by holding the library books (some of which are due back already… there hasn’t been enough reading time of late…)
A better view of the stack of trunks, suitcases and hatboxes behind the sofa. The large trunk and the square one on the left belonged to Great-Grandma Gould, who brought them with her from Ireland. The square one is her hat trunk! It currently holds all my photography gear. The large trunk has 1 blanket, 3 afghans, and genealogy stuff, which is also what’s in the suitcases and hatbox.
My pride and joy right now! The start of a family photo collection, on a decorated table, with lit candles! Plus the pair of protective house-dragons underneath<g>
This space had been taken up by a large, dark media cabinet. The 12 dozen audio tapes are headed for GoodWill, and the CD collection is in 4 boxes stored under the sofa until I have time to compare them to my iTunes collection, at which point they’ll be moved out to the storage shed. The cabinet got Freecycled.
The Target cubby-benches, filled with yarn and knitting supplies – all labeled!
Just a shot to show off the empty space! This corridor has been Jenny-cat’s new favorite place to nap this week.
(She’s not fond of cameras!)
This has been a fantastic project! I’m so glad I followed that link to Laura’s site.
To celebrate, I’m going to Disneyland! (Okay – that’s not the reason, but that is where I’m headed<g> A flying trip (literally) to meet up with my sister and family for one day.)
Then, I do another pass through the bookshelves, with the goal of going from three old laminated bookshelves (2 in the the living room, and 1 around the corner in the dining room) to 2 new Ikea bookshelves.
Then, I pick the next room. Either the kitchen, which doesn’t need that much work – it’s pretty well organized already. Or the dining room, which has also caught a lot of Stuff.
And while I’m working on the clearing out and organizing, I’m making lists for decorating. Painting the Living Room/Dining Room. Probably the bookshelves and the cubby-benches as well. Plus a new cushion on the rocking chair. And maybe figure out how to re-cover (slip-cover?) the ottoman. And the mid-sized round table needs refinishing…
Fun stuff. That there just hasn’t been room for.