Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Big Reveal for 29 Day Challenge

The time has come. During the month of February I (along with my trusty side-kicks, assistants and various deputies) cleaned out and re-organized the PlayRoom downstairs. 

If you'd like to back up and look in on my steps along the way, here are earlier posts:
There is so much information I want to share with you all, so many pictures, but where to start and how to choose? I'm going to let you see lots of 'Before' and 'After' photos to do much of the explaining, and then at the very end of this post I will answer some questions and give a few more details. Hope it doesn't get too boring for you, it's very exciting to me! 
Participating in this month-long challenge from  I'm an Organizing Junkie has been just what I needed to light a fire under myself. It was lots of work, not all of it fun, but the end result was sooooo worth it. Enjoy the tour and let me know what you think. Better yet, check back in a month and ask me if it still looks like this - that will be the true measure of success.

OK! Here it is! The moment you've all been waiting for! Drum Roll, please!

 The Long Green Counter - where games and hobby supplies live.


we moved the computer up to the school room, leaving this beautifully spacious counter ready for whatever!

The game and toy cabinets 
                 BEFORE:                                                                            AFTER:

We purged outgrown toys, packed away classic but less often used toys (now in backroom storage). Moved the white cabinet upstairs to house gloves, hats, etc and replaced it with a dresser to house Mom's fabric stash and the old phonograph stereo. 

In the AFTER picture you can see the waste-basket-turned-arsenal-and-stick-horse storage solution tucked in between the game cabinet and dresser. Perfect solution for a long-time headache of mine.

Right-Hand Cabinets
                 BEFORE:                                                                        AFTER:

Originally, craft supplies were stored in the left cabinet, fabric shoved into right cabinets. Travel games up top and toys down below. Fabric went to dresser. Craft supplies were containerized, labeled, moved over. Musical instruments and bagged games (in blue basket) found new homes. Travel games still up-top out of reach and Embroidery supplies now have home up top as well.

Left-Hand Cabinets
BEFORE:                                                                   AFTER:

Scrapbook Supplies, Beading & Stamping Supplies, the boys' transportation toys. Containerizing was key here. a couple of wire racks added height and extra shelving in back. CONTAINERIZING 'like items' together made tons of room. I stored 8x10 scrapping paper in manilla folders in a desktop file holder. For 12x12 papers I used the white plastic drawers. Down below I stored a few idea books and magazines and large plastic stencils in file trays. I stored my MANY photos waiting to be archived in storage boxes that stacked nicely behind the file folders. The boys organized all their little vehicles into 4 categories and housed them in 4 stackable, labeled, enclosed bins. They had to donate any that wouldn't fit (and will have to donate to make room for more!) Perfect and easy solution.

Now let's look inside some of the drawers:

These two drawers became:


These two drawers:

(No need to worry. Mr and Mrs Potato Head were reunited with their missing parts and have found a new home. They are quite happy and content.)

 My Catch-All Sewing Notions Drawer

                              BEFORE:                                                                      AFTER:
you'll see new home for all sewing supplies down below
perfect spot for card games

 The children have 2 drawers designated as
The Cool Drawers
 (housing cools things like walkie-talkies, headsets, pistols, ammo, pirate stuff, spy gear, etc). Gabe took on the task of sorting and containerizing.

 One of the Drawers BEFORE:

Both Drawers AFTER:
He used cardboard shoe boxes to set up his 'boundaries' and found space for all the important stuff.

And NOW! The Piec' de Resis'tanc (or however you spell it) You know - The Best Part! (at least I think so)

Sewing Area Before:

 Sewing Area AFTER:


Isn't it wonderful? The 2 sets of stacked drawer units now house all my sewing patterns and there's a drawer for quilting projects and a drawer for my selvage edges (collecting for a quilt project) and drawer for on-going projects. Caitlin's sewing basket sits on top. Luke installed the pegboard and created the thread/spool organizer. I purchased hooks for supplies like scissors and cutting mats. 

A favorite trick is how I found baskets around the house that could be used on the hooks, making little trays for pin cushions and measure tapes and oft-used notions. I gave the table-top a quick coat of paint (using what I found in storage room) and cut up an old sheet that had once-upon-a-time been a curtain on the sliding glass door. I cut it to fit and stapled it to the edge. Caitlin hot-glued grosgrain ribbon along the edge to hide the staples.

Underneath the curtain? Take a look!

racks hold baskets for ribbon, trim, scraps
baskets hold spools of ribbon and various notions

And There You Have It!
My favorite thing about it all is that everything has a place and is within easy reach. We spent around $50 total. Most bins and baskets we found while emptying our many piles or searching around the house. Labeling is an Absolute Must. I used my handy-dandy labeler on as many baskets and bins as I possibly could. That way we all know what goes where. 

And now, here are answers to Laura's questions at :

1. What space did you decide to organize and why?  This area is supposed to be a place to enjoy hobbies and games and fun as a family. Instead, it has become a dumping ground for STUFF so it was a chore to clean up and make room before we could play or create. There needed to be designated areas for storing items we use and some 'weeding out' was needed for things we had  outgrown or no longer used.

2.  What steps did you take to ensure you completed the space within the 29 day timeline? The planning for a project like this is tough for me. I can envision the end result I want, but I have difficulting seeing how to break it down into smaller, workable sections. Because this is a 'multi-purpose' room, I broke it down into 'zones' and prioritized. First, it was important to make things easy for the kids to use and clean up their toys and games. Then, I wanted easy access to crafts and hobby supplies, along with easier clean up. 

Laura's P.R.O.C.E.S.S. was absolutely a life-saver! I worked my way through the acronym, starting with P for Plan the first week and then moving on the R for Remove and then O for Organize. I found it became easier to move on and make choices about how to use my spaces and decision about what to keep what to throw what to store.

The accountability of checking in with others going through the same things each week was very helpful and kept me motivated. I'm now sitting here Smiling at my Success!
3.  What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and how did you overcome it?
I have this wonderful/terrible talent for having a 'Creative Eye'. I can see potential and value in almost everything. Talking myself out of the 'what if . . .' and 'maybe I could' scenarios was hard. But, I feel free now to actually create something and not just dream about it!
I am a sentimental sap. I get very attached to things because of the people they represent or the dreams they represent. Still working on this, but making progresss!

4. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?We filled several large kitchen trash bags, all sent to the dumpster. Truthfully, getting trashed/broken/no longer useful items into that trash bag before you have time to think about other possiblities/uses was very importantWe also took 3 boxes full to GoodWill and found homes in containers in the back storage room for a few keepsakes and playsets that come out on a rotating basis. Many things had 'homes' elsewhere in the house. That's the beauty of combining 'like with like' and doing it right away, as you remove/purge/sort. There's not so much left to squeeze back into your spaces.

5.  Tell me one of your proudest moments during this challenge? I was quite surprised when I sat down to sift through the Before and After pictures. I was already giddy over the extra space (imagine - EMPTY cabinets and drawers!) And I was beside myself when I saw the peg board Luke installed over my sewing table. I found myself dancing with my 5 year old in the wide open floor space after we vacuumed. But seeing the pictures brought it all full circle.

6.  Explain any organizing “tools” you used to help you create additional space and to establish some limits and boundaries? In order to create additional space, we used stackable containers, plastic coated wire racks for additional shelving, and the pegboard on the wall. All these things added vertical space. This made a huge difference.

7.  What is ONE piece of advice you’d give to someone else to encourage them on their organizational journey? Determining how the space was to be used creates automatic boundaries. Emptying the space and choosing containers to fill the space helps set limits.

I'm linking up to the 29 Day Organizing Challenge final link-up. Thank You, Laura, for getting me started. Let's do this again!


  1. What an undertaking! I like your big green counter and all the storage space, but I could see how that could get cluttered. Looks fabulous!

  2. Wow!! What transformation. I like how everything has a bordered space and doesn't mix with other's space.

  3. Oh, everything looks so clean and organized! you did a great job!!

  4. looks great, feels good doesn't it? Now the hard part, to keep it that way. LOL no, really it should be much easier since everything now has its own home. Good Job.

  5. Great job! Your family must be loving your new space!

  6. thank you for the comments, everyone!
    Shonda - you are right, the real challenge will be to keep it cleared and available as a work space.
    'Cuttin' - making borders and boundaries made the space more efficient and easier to maintain
    Stacey - thank you for admiring and celebrating with me!
    Kim - it does fell sooooo good. Hoping and praying it gives all of us motivation to keep it up!
    Elizabeth - we are enjoying the space. it really is wonderful!

  7. That looks great! I wish I had empty cupboards!! Wonderful Job!

  8. Your before and after photos are amazing!! I'm especially impressed with your sewing/craft area.


You Might Also Enjoy:

these related posts