Friday, March 23, 2012

Life & Style: Organizational Series, Part 4

We are targeting specific areas of our home for organization all through the month of March, and we'll be sharing it all with you! We have before and after pictures, tips, horror stories and success stories. You can read Part 1 in this series here, Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

Jason and I were both dreading having to figure out our office/second bedroom/crafting space. The closet was a mess, the bookshelves held books we hadn't opened in a very long time, and the room itself just drained our motivation. It was difficult to find and access my crafting supplies, and we both let the room be messy for most of the time.

Imagine our surprise when this room didn't take nearly as long as we thought to organize, and the way it looks now is just beyond what we ever envisioned!

But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, aren't I? And I know you all want to see the horrific before pictures, so here we go:

The bookshelves - crammed with books, crafting supplies and lots of odds and ends
Right side of the closet, bottom half - crafts, etc.
Right side of the closet, top half - bridal gown, gardening supplies, tools, magazines, etc.
Left side of the closet, bottom half - Christmas supplies, fireproof safe, tools, etc.
Left side of the closet, top half - canning supplies, paint, cooler, etc.
Horror: While organizing my crafting supplies, I discovered several items that were unopened. It was crazy to me that I had purchased these items, then never used them. We created a pile of to-return items (the boxes included were not discovered in the closet, we just bought too many recently). When we returned our items to the store, we received a $15 gift card. We had, in essence, $15 just sitting in our closet. Finding those unopened items was just more evidence that our office area wasn't working for us.

The to-return pile - that big white bag is stuffed with items
There were also a lot of items that we just didn't want anymore, some of which were books and some of which were just odds and ends. God proved His timing was divine when just as we were compiling our pile of unwanted stuff, our church was planning a rummage sale. We took the items below to the church, and when we visited the sale just 20 minutes after it opened, most of our items were already gone! 

The to-donate pile - the box is filled with books, as are the bags
The office area cleaned up nicely, but we had originally decided to keep books on three shelves. We were going to store the rest in the closet, in a bin. But once we started organizing the bookshelves, we decided to store all of our books - we needed all of the bookshelves for our crafting items. Jason suggested that we wait a year, and if we don't read/pull out/use any of the books within that time, we should get rid of them all. He wanted to get rid of them right then, but I have a bit of an attachment to them. So, I agreed to that idea and said we would think about it in a year. Since I didn't end up using hardly any of my cosmetics items for the past year and sold and dontated the remainder, I think we can all surmise that the books are going to be sold and donated. But at least we have a year to make sure that's what we really want and should do. That's a good compromise.

Tip!: Map out what you want in each area before you get started. For the bookshelves, I drew out the bookshelves and wrote in what I wanted on each shelf. This helped me figure out where to move things so I didn't have to keep moving them around until I figured it out. Have a plan before you start to make the best of your time.

Our goal for the closet was to keep it organized and keep items we need to access often easily accessible. The closet was the easiest to put together; the bookshelves were really what was difficult. We bought boxes from Target to store our crafting items, and I made fabric bolts from foam board to store my fabric.

Horror: I'll try to hold my tears at bay. Seriously. I really wish I was joking. So, I wanted to make bolts to store my fabric. I went to Joann's, bought some foam board (and of course, used coupons for each one!), also bought an Xacto knife, and came home. A few days ago, Jason was busy doing something, and I decided to get started. I had never used an Xacto knife before, but really how hard can it be? I measured the foam boards, drew the pencil lines as to where I should cut, and got started. But I thought Xacto knives were supposed to cut things really well, and it wasn't cutting my foam board at all. No matter, I just kept going with punching the knife through, all the way down, making jagged cuts in the foam board. Then, Jason came in. I commented to him that we must've bought a too-cheap Xacto knife because it really wasn't working. He gently told me I'd been using the wrong part of the knife. Let me tell ya - that knife worked really well when I was using the actual knife bit! But I was pretty upset that I had basically created a huge mess and of course, I'm going to use those bolts because I'm not just going to throw them away. Sigh.

Tip!: No one ever said organizing would be easy. Sometimes, you have to make tough decisions about what to keep and what to give. It's best if you give yourself a specific time period - if you don't use that item within that time period, it's got to go. And keep reminding yourself of what your vision of the space is - that will help you to chuck the items once and for all if they don't fit with your vision.

But overall, the office was a success! Here's our after pictures:

The bookshelves - all our crafting items! Jason and I catch ourselves drifting into the office, just to look at the beauty of the bookshelves.
Right side of the closet, bottom half - card table and chairs (previously in the coat closet), our fan, and big fabric bolts to the far right
Right side of the closet, top half - pictures, batteries, boxes, cooler, bin of books, etc.
Left side of the closet, bottom half - bin of books with books on top, Christmas items, shovel, etc.
Left side of the closet, top half - Christmas bows in box, badminton items, paint, fireproof safe, etc.
Success: The best part is the bookshelves. I love looking at them. I was working on crafts the other night and it took just seconds to gather up the materials I would need. It was so easy. I love it. The closet is great, and I can't believe how much more room we have in there!

Next week, we're tackling our pantry. It will be our last post (for now) in our organizational series, and while we're excited to have these targeted areas of our home looking spiffy, we are not that excited about organizing our pantry. When you see the before pictures, you will see why!


Carlye Jean Rankin said...

Great job! I reorganized our bedroom today. Got rid of two walmart bags full of trash. It looks so much better!

Jess and Jason said...

That's awesome! We love spring cleaning.