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Project Simplify: Week 3 {Zoey’s Closet}

I can’t believe it’s already Week 3 of Project Simplify with Tsh over at Simple Mom. This week’s challenge is Closets. I already did our front foyer closet so I tackled Zoey’s closet this weekend. I’ve put off doing her closet for awhile because it was so cluttered. I’m lucky enough to participate in a neighborhood clothing swap which is wonderful on the budget but not always so great at keeping the clutter under control. I have a post coming soon on how and why to start a Clothing Swap of your own.

This is Zoey’s closet before I started the clean out:

I know, it’s enough to make those more organized folks among us break out in hives. Let’s get a couple of close ups, shall we?

Did you just shudder? It seems like a huge undertaking to clean out her whole closet. It was packed full of stuff and truthfully, she only wears about half the stuff in her closet. I set aside an entire afternoon to tackle this project because I wanted time to do it right. I tasked Mr.McHunky with guard duty…er, I mean child watching duty.

The first thing I did was remove all the hanging items that no longer fit or were out of season. I separated them into 2 groups: Goodwill and Clothing Swap. I couldn’t believe how many items came out of her closet just from the hanging rack.

Look at all that space! Progress feels so good. Then I had to tackle all the crates and boxes and bins that were overflowing with stuff.  All 3 of the pink crates were packed with clothes as was the diaper box on the top shelf and the canvas bin…..and the chest of drawers. Sigh….

I cleared out all the summer stuff from last year that I knew wouldn’t fit this year and whittled the 3 pink crates down to 1 crate of spring/summer items that Zoey will be able to wear again this year.

I can’t believe how great it feels to have Zoey’s closet totally cleaned out. Check out how nice and neat it looks now.

The two pink crates on the floor are totally empty. I’m going to use them to hold the clothes she outgrows as she outgrows them instead of just cramming everything on the hanging rack. I have one crate marked for Goodwill and one crate marked for Clothing Swap.

I stored the one crate holding her spring/summer clothes on the top shelf, out of the way for now. Of course, now the temp’s are hitting the 80’s so I’ll be dragging that crate down this week to hang up some short sleeve shirts.

Look how much room I made on her hanging rod! I actually have space to add her short sleeved shirts without overflowing it!

I can’t even tell you in words how much stuff I cleaned out of her closet so I’ll just have to show you in pictures.

All of the clothing in that bag is going to the Clothing Swap! It’s such a relief to have her closet totally cleaned out and organized! One kid’s closet down, 2 more to go….Ugh.

I’m joining Tidy Mom and 9 other bloggers in the Spring Cleaning Challenge for a chance to win some incredible prizes!

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Project Simplify: Week 2 {Kitchen Clutter}

It’s Week 2 of Project Simplify, have you joined it yet?  It’s not too late so head over to read all about it from Tsh. This week’s prompt is kitchens.  I was going to tackle the pantry but then I got sidetracked searching through stacks of paper that were covering the countertop looking for a permission slip that my daughter needed to turn in immediately. The form had come home with her in her book bag approximately 3 weeks prior and had gotten lost in the chaos of my kitchen. For some reason I have one counter that breeds paperwork like rabbits.

Did you just cringe in horror? I won’t blame you a bit. I didn’t know what was in that pile but it was a good 4 inches thick! Pull up your big girl panties and let’s take a closer look, shall we?

First thing I did was clear off the entire counter top and Oh My Gah- there’s a toaster back there. Waffles for everyone tonight! This is a project best reserved for naptime or even better, after the kids go to bed and you can drink wine. Not that I don’t drink wine in the afternoon but I assume that not everyone is a big of a lush as I am.

I dumped all the paperwork in the middle of the floor and sorted it piece by piece into piles. I ended up with 6 piles when I was done: Magazines, Coupons, Trash, Bills, Recycling, and filing.

Please note how the trash pile is twice the size of every other pile. That’s right, I’ve been holding on to stuff that should’ve just been thrown in the trash. Why? So I had this organizer and some super cool folders that I bought awhile back to use in the kitchen and I decided this was the perfect opportunity to start using them.

Look, you can see countertop! Hold your applause till the end please. If you direct your eyes up to the left you will notice that I even cleaned out the wicker hanging baskets. Go big or go home, that should be my motto. Really, it should.

I made a file folder for School, To Do, Reference, and Save. Now when I pull out 500 pieces of paper from Maia’s book bag, I have somewhere to put the ones that need to be saved. The To-Do file is for anything except bills such as the renewal forms for our irrigation system maintenance plan. The Reference file is for stuff I need to be able to find quickly- such as the phone number of the super nice babysitter that just moved into our neighborhood and the date of the community yard sale. The Save file is for the stuff I need to file but haven’t had a chance to get to it yet. I mean, let’s be honest here- there is no way I’m going to have the time to file every paper immediately so I need somewhere to put the stuff in the meantime.

I even made tickler files. Do you know what a tickler file is? I could explain it but Tsh does a much better job so read her post on Tickler Files. I’m using this magnetic dry erase board on the side of my fridge to keep track of the things I put in my tickler files (which I’ll show you in detail on Week 4).

I cleaned out this little side drawer that was holding nothing important and made it the bill drawer. Now the bills are in one easy to find location and they are out of sight of visitors. I don’t know about you but I don’t need the neighborhood HOA president knowing how much I owe on my Amex card. The checkbook is also in the drawer for those few bills that have not yet entered this century and do not have online bill pay.

Mr.McHunky came home, took one look and said ‘Oh wow, there’s the toaster.’ Let’s take one more glance at my nice newly organized, clutter free kitchen counter.

Linked up with Cure for the Common Monday, Craft-o-Maniac Monday, Better Mom Monday, Motivate Me Monday, Made by You Monday, Just Something I Whipped Up, Creative Blog Hop, Mix it up Monday, Meet Me Monday, Show Me What You’ve Got, Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, One Project at a Time, Tutorials & Tips, Tuesday Confessional, Take a Look Tuesday, Tuesday Treasures, Tuesday Talent Show, Titus Tuesdays, Teach Me Tuesday, These Chicks Cooked, Show Your Stuff, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Lil Luna Linky, Link it up Wednesday, Wow Me Wednesday, Creative Spark, Show & Share, Catch a Glimpse, Inspiring Thursday, House of Hepworths, Inspiration Friday, Fridays Unfolded, Home Sweet Home, Potpourri Friday, Pity Party, Feature Yourself, Flaunt it Friday, Simply Link, Friday Favs, Friday Flair, 4 Real Friday, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Love it Like it Link it, Weekend Potluck, Weekend Wrap Up, Once Upon a Weekend, Tutorials Tuesday, Overflowing with Creativity, Live Laugh Linky,Crafty Sasse Party



Project Simplify: Week 1

Last month I joined Org Junkie in the 29 day Organizational Challenge and I actually completed it! I know, I was shocked too. So when I saw that Tsh at Simple Mom was going to do a month long Project Simplify I figured why not try my luck and go for 2 months of decluttering. I’m a glutton for punishment these days.

Luckily for me, week one involves kids toys and a big part of our kid toy clutter was in the living room. The same living room that I tackled in Org Junkie’s challenge. But since that was only last week, I am going to show off my work again. Face it people, I deserve to show off that nice organized space because it took a month to get it organized. I’m milking that puppy for all it’s worth! So these pictures might be a repeat for regular readers- just ooh and aah and pat me on the head anyway. Your cooperation is appreciated.

Let’s take a little glimpse at the Before pictures of the living room with special focus on the entertainment bookcase that was housing the majority of kids toys, books and movies in the house.

I mean, look at this disaster. All this is from two bins. Two. Imagine if the other 13 were dumped out. *shudder*

The entertainment bookcase. The bane of my organizational goals. I call it the Clutter Catcher. The canvas bins are a great tool for separating categories of toys but only if the kids actually use them for that purpose, which my kids did not. You would not believe the things I found inside these bins. Popsicle wrappers, fruit snack wrappers, random articles of clothing, overdue library books, an unopened bill….I’ll spare you the rest but sufficed to say I was horrified.

First thing I did was take every single bucket out of the unit and dump it all out in the middle of the floor. I separated all the like categories and decided what would be allowed to stay in the living room and what needed to find another home. It was a huge job. I purged more than half of the contents which gave me the brilliant idea to stage the bookcase with more than just canvas bins and clutter storage.

Are you ready for the after? Are you?

Are you amazed? It is a rather amazing transformation. Look at all the organization. It looks like adults actually live in this house! Here’s the breakdown of what I kept and how I organized it:

#1- I pared down all the video games and accessories into one bin. All the game cases were stored in the garage in case the kids want to trade them in later and the actual discs were stored in a CD binder for easy access.

#2- I used this bin to hold all my gift bags, tissue paper, streamers, balloons, etc. All that stuff that desperately needed an easy to access home instead of being spread out around my whole house.

#3- I bought these leather magazine holders at Office Depot about a year ago on clearance for $0.94 each but had nowhere to use them. I just couldn’t pass up the clearance price so they’ve been sitting in the closet for a year. I used them to hold the kids coloring books, activity books and notebooks. Best part? They can’t reach them so they have to ask me for help which ensures that I won’t walk in to find all 50 books spread out all over the house.

#4- I had one magazine holder left over so I used it to hold my magazines that I’m waiting to read. I get a lot of magazines and sometime they accumulate on my kitchen counter. Now I can come in straight from the mailbox and put the magazines in this holder.

#5- I bought this CD box at the same time as the magazine holders because it was on clearance for $1.46 and I cannot pass up a deal. It was sitting in the closet with the magazine holders. I used it for kids movies. We had 5 buckets of kids movies in the cases. 80% of them were movies they didn’t watch or had outgrown. I sorted through every single one, purging the movies that were too scratched to watch or that the kids were not going to watch again. The ones that I kept were taken out of the original cases and store in thin CD disc cases with clear fronts. That box is less than half full! Now the kids can actually see the movies and enjoy some of their favorites instead of dumping out 5 buckets to search for something to watch.

#6- This bin holds all the Leap Frog stuff- the Tag pen & a few books, the Explorer & games, and Zoey’s little leap & learn toy.

#7- This bin is empty! I didn’t need it but I like symmetry so I had to use it. Ha!

#8- This bin is holding all the mega bloks. We had a ton so I pared them down and put a small bucket of them in Zoey’s room for her to enjoy when she plays by herself. By splitting the large set it makes it so much easier to clean up after playtime.

#9- This bin is holding the kitchen play stuff. I purged about 70% of the kitchen toys. I kept the ones that go with Zoey’s little Discovery kitchen and her Leap Frog picnic basket but a lot of other random kitchen stuff that was not part of a specific set was sent to the Goodwill pile.

#10- I used this bin to hold a few of Zoey’s favorite stuffed animals and dolls. The majority of her animals and dolls were relegated to her bedroom toy box though.

#11- This bin is holding some of Zoey’s favorite board books. Most of them are in her room but I left a few down here for her to read during the day.

#12- And another empty bin! I didn’t want to fill it up just because it was there but in the future if I need space for toys, I have it!

All the toy cars went up to Mase’s bedroom, all the Little People toys went up to Zoey’s bedroom, all the arts & crafts supplies went up to Maia’s bedroom and the remainder of the books were distributed between the kids bedrooms.

I cannot even tell you what a difference this had made for our family, especially for me! It takes me no time at all to pick up when I get that last minute ‘Hey we’re in the neighborhood, can we stop by for a visit’ call because it’s so easy for the kids to put away their own toys.  Plus, as an added bonus it makes it so much easier for me to Fake Clean the House before Mr.McHunky gets home at the end of the day. That is what I call a Win/Win, my friends.

Want to come along on the Project Simplify train? Head over to Simple Mom to find out all the details on how to join. She has each week broken down into hot spots to help you. Next week I’ll be cleaning off and organizing the kitchen counter that collects all the clutter and paperwork. *groan*

{I’d love it if you would take a second and become a Follower of Confessions of a Semi-Domesticated Mama. I have offered many options for your following convenience- Linky Followers, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and don’t forget Pinterest. You know you want to. All the cool kids are doing it. I am not above peer pressure.}


PROJECT ORGANIZE AND SIMPLIFY: 2010

This house needs some organization. There are many children living here…with their stuff. They have a lot of stuff. Our house is overflowing with stuff. I have made my list of places that require organizing/remodeling and I’ve put them into categories: Minor, In-Depth, and Bring the Dumpster. Sadly, most fall into either the In-Depth or the Bring the Dumpster category. Matt was darn near hyperventilating when he saw my Master List for 2010. I think he saw the tax return disappearing almost as soon as it hits the checking account. I tried to show him my plans and to explain that the majority of them were all about moving existing things to new places to maximize storage and organization. I don’t think he heard me though, he was too busy trying to make the ringing in his ears stop.

The first major project up on the list is The Big Playroom ReModel. It involves a lot of moving around of furniture and a lot of getting rid of excess clutter and old toys. I am super excited about this remodel. The kids are getting older and I’m trying to make the playroom into more of a second family room. The second major project up on the list is Mase’s Big Boy Room. The toddler bed, which was converted from the crib, is going to be put up in the attic. I would get rid of it but the last time we got rid of all the baby stuff, I got a Big Fat Positive on a pee stick the next week. No kidding. We had a yard sale on a Saturday and I sold all of our baby stuff- the cradle, the crib, the toys, the swing, the stroller, the carseat, the bathtub….everything. 5 days later, on Thursday, I peed on a stick and dollar signs started scrolling past my eyes. I will not be making the same mistake again. The crib and all other baby items will gather dust in the attic until I hit menopause. Ahem. Where was I? Oh yes, Mase’s Big Boy Room. The chest of drawers in his room is heading for Ty‘s closet and Mase is getting the white armoire that used to be Maia’s. I spent yesterday sanding, cleaning and painting a wood headboard and footboard that I picked up for $5 at a yard sale over a year ago. It’s been gathering dust in the garage since then. I gave it 2 coats of white paint and it will fit nicely with his sailboat themed room. I’ll add some new linens and his big boy room is done. Which leads to the next big project. Ty‘s room. Maia got a brand new remodeled room in October, which was a huge undertaking but so worth the work. Now Mase’s room is being redone. All that is left is Ty‘s room. He finally picked out the bedding he wants and I found most of the other decor that I want to use. He’s getting the old corner TV stand from the playroom and the older 19″ tube TV with a DVD player and the Playstation 2. This will be the first time he’s been allowed to have a TV in his room, but he’s 9 and quite frankly he’s tired of watching Elmo with Mase and Max & Ruby with Maia. I cannot blame him. He will not have satellite access, just the DVD player. Right now there is a desktop computer in his room that Matt uses for the budget as there is no internet access anymore on it. That is being recycled and we’ll be buying a nice new desktop to keep in the family room. The laundry area is getting a mini redo as well. That’s just a portion of my project list, I’m tired just reading it!