Tuesday, March 2, 2010

From cluttered chaos to simple serenity

EMBARRASSMENT! I am humiliated to have you see how chaotic this looked before. I hated to go in the office, yet I spent so much time there. No wonder I'd get irritable. Who could feel anything but irritable with this cluttered chaos? To be honest, this picture isn't as bad as it looked by the time I actually started this organizing project. I think I took the picture a week before and I also think I had just "cleaned up" the office. Sad.

The challenge I did this project for was from The Organizing Junkie.


(Ironically, I was on Laura the Organizing Junkie's blog when I took the picture of my cluttered desk.) What you don't see is all of the usual paper clutter piled on the desk. I don't know what I had done with it, but it is usually there where the tiny paper pile is. I actually took this picture a while ago when I first wanted to organize the office. It looked way worse by the time I actually started this challenge. Paper piled EVERYWHERE on the desk.

Oh wait, maybe I stuffed the paper clutter into the closet! :)


I wish I had taken pictures of this before. I didn't think it was very unorganized before, so I didn't take a picture. I guess it wasn't bad compared to the rest of it, but it was unorganized and filled with some things I didn't really need. After purging and organizing what was left, I added labels. They have already made a big difference.

Challenge Questions

1. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and were you able to overcome it?

The hardest part of this challenge for me was figuring out how to overcome my paper clutter. I am always drowning in it. I was able to incorporate a system of file folders Laura recommended on one of her blog posts. It was awesome. I had a file cabinet, and have used it for years, but I never had a great way of dealing with mail when I brought it in. I started using the system from orgjunkie's blog and it is wonderful, but the thing that makes or breaks it for me is using the designated time to go through the folders each week. On Thursdays during my kids nap/quiet time, I have designated time for office work. In other words, sifting through what is in the folders: paying bills, making calls, filing papers, shredding, etc. The great thing is that it’s not so bad now that it is in the folders instead of in a huge pile on the desk.

The second hardest part of the challenge for me was coming up with some decoration so that I would have something nice to look at that would make the room more inviting. It is so much easier to keep a room neat and tidy when you like how it looks. I finally figured out something that would be inexpensive, but look nice.

2. Tell us what kind of changes/habits you have put into place in order for your area/room to maintain its new order?

The habits I have had to put into place I described above. I had to first come up with a method of organization for my paper clutter especially and then designate a time each week to go through the paper. For me, organizing my time is critical to keep my home organized. I got out of my routines and weekly schedule 18 months ago when I had a second baby. I have been flying by the seat of my pants ever since. I have been wanting to do this forever, but each time I start, I go back to the same old. This challenge really motivated me to finish the job entirely instead of just doing it half way. It also motivated me to rework my schedule so that I could figure in time for organizing and putting things away like I used to.
Another change I had to make was putting labels on everything. I have always liked using containers in my office closet, but I never labeled them—I usually labeled for moving and that was it. It has been so nice to be able to find things or ask my huband to get something and not have to describe where it is. We can both find things because they are labeled and the labels are easy to see.

3. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?

I threw a lot away or recycled it. I also gave a lot to D.I. (a second-hand store). There was some great scrapbooking stuff I gave away, but I hadn’t used it in years and so I’m not likely to use it now. That was hard for me to do. I usually don’t consider myself a packrat, I’m usually pretty good at purging, but there are always a few things that are hard to get rid of. I really like Laura’s post on reasons we hold on to clutter.

4. What creative storage solutions were you able to introduce in order to create additional space as well as establish some limits and boundaries?

I LOVE the little containers I got from IKEA to put my desk supplies in (above the printer). I was able to use the container they used to be in to house all the markers and pens we have. It was awesome. Besides their utility, they look attractive too. And with their clear lids, I can see exactly what is in them.

And I guess this isn’t for organization, but I love the clips I used to hold my pictures. The great thing is, the pictures will be easily changed out when I get other pictures I want to put up. All I did was put black cardstock on the back and then used binder clips to stand them up. I love how it turned out. (Sorry the pic is a little blurry.)

I also used some zip ties to help hold up the cords so they weren't strewn all over the wall in the back. We did buy something to hold the cords, but they couldn't all go in there because of where the cord had to be, but the zip ties held the rest together and made it look tidier. The only other thing I need to do now I put labels on each of the cords for what they go to. I thought of that at the last minute, so when my husband gets home, I'll be adding that too. See how much better it looks without the cords all over the back.

5. Why do you think you should win this challenge?

I put so much effort into this challenge. Besides the organization itself (which was a big job that took many hours on many different days), I was also able to find a way to make the office more inviting using some very inexpensive items and other items I already had. It was quite daunting in the beginning, but I pushed through to the end to transform a room from cluttered chaos to simply serene.


Erin K. said...

I love how you did the photos! I tried doing a dollar store version of those IKEA tins, and let's just say that there's a reason why the dollar store tins were only a dollar. :) Maybe I'll have to spring for the IKEA version. Great job on your room makeover!

Anonymous said...

Love what you did with your office. It looks great!

Katie said...

Great office space! Nice job. :)

Marci said...

Fabulous job! I love the way you not only organized, but you decorated. You made it into a space you can actually enjoy being in!

Brandie said...

I love the space! The thing on the back of the laundry door goes into the dryer and can be used to "air dry" delicates like sweaters, but the only time I've actually used it is with the girls shoes. Although it takes FOREVER to dry!

jen said...

As simple as this room is (minimalist is a better word), you really used good ideas--love the clips and the vinyl lettering. I have the same metal jars in my craft room. Isn't IKEA the best? How did we ever survive without it?
And thanks for your comment on my blog. Good luck to you in the challenge!

SmallWorld at Home said...

Ohhh--great idea on the clips! I'm going to have to remember that!

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