This will be a long post, with lots of pictures, so if you don't feel like wading through it all, it won't hurt my feelings a bit! Feel free to ignore this one. Except for you, Laura! LOL
Laura asked us to answer 7 questions to help her in the judging process. My answers are in blue.
1. What space did you decide to organize and why?
I organized our second bedroom into a guest room for our daughter to have this summer, and as a craft room for myself. This space was acting as our home office and craft room before. My husband is a pastor, and many church-related supplies were in this room, as well as his desk and my desk, my sewing machine, two printers, a file cabinet, and a futon that we had originally purchased to use as a bed when any of our adult children came to visit. One two-week visit from our daughter proved that futon to be useless for a six-foot-tall girl to sleep on! She is coming home from college this summer to work, so we knew she'd need a real bed. She won't be home till June, but I decided it would be best to go ahead and get this room ready for her now, rather than having to rush through it later. The Challenge helped convince me that now was the time!
2. What steps did you take to ensure you completed the space within the 31 day timeline?
I originally planned to spend 15-30 minutes per day in the room, but that didn't happen. I mentioned that I'm disorganized, right?! My time commitment ended up being mostly Thursday-Saturday each week, due to our ministry duties the first half of the week. I set aside an hour or two each of those days to work in the room, and that worked out best for me.
3. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and how did you overcome it?
The hardest part was deciding what I needed to get rid of and actually doing it! I got involved in paper crafting a few years ago, making cards and gift tags, and I had accumulated a bunch of stuff that I thought I'd use, but as my specific design style developed, there were many things I just didn't like and/or use. I really had a hard time parting with some of that stuff, even though I didn't like it or use it! I reminded myself that, for one thing, someone else would use these things and love them. For another, I needed to make the room comfortable for my daughter; she will need room for her clothes and to make a place to call her own for the summer. Those two things motivated me to get rid of the extra stuff.
4. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?
We donated most of it to the local thrift store, and listed a few things to sell online if they wereworth the time and effort to list. And some things we just threw away!
5. Tell me one of your proudest moments during this challenge?
When I set up my cutting table! I'd been doing all my fabric cutting and paper crafting at our dining room table, even though my crafting supplies were stored in this room. That meant carrying supplies back and forth, making multiple trips from the dining room to this room, and lots of times crafting tools and supplies left in the dining room or piled on my desk for days (weeks if it was in here where I could close the door!). So to have this cutting table where all my supplies are within reach is like a dream come true! I love it! And I was so proud when I figured out where to put it!
6. Explain any organizing “tools” you used to help you create additional space and to establish some limits and boundaries?
First, I printed out the questions from Laura's PROCESS system to help me with deciding the purpose of the room, what things I needed in the room, what habits needed to change to keep the room organized, and to set up my plan of action. The questions really helped me think through how I wanted to use this space and kept me from being overwhelmed with it all.
I put a skirt around my cutting table so I could put sewing WIPs (works-in-progress) underneath, out of sight.
I also have two organizer towers with bins. I emptied all the drawers on each one, and made sure each was used to store like items. My sewing items are in the one next to my sewing machine - things like machine accessories, notions, and quilt bindings. The other bin is in the closet and holds mostly paper-crafting supplies, although I do have a drawer for crochet and one for cross stitch - two hobbies that I truly enjoy and that only take one drawer each!
I have photo boxes about the size of shoe boxes holding paper scraps and placed on a shelf. I also pared down my ribbon collection to just what will fit in a ribbon organizer box. And we finally hung our ironing board holder after almost two years!
7. What is ONE piece of organizing advice you’ve learned on this journey that you could encourage someone else with?
Take the time to figure out exactly what you need in the space you have and get rid of everything else. Be ruthless! You will feel so much better when all the extra clutter is gone.
Now for some before & after pictures! This the most exciting part to me, seeing how much of a change there really is!
First, standing just inside the door to the room. We obviously still have the futon and no bed. We plan to put the bed where the futon is now, just all the way to the wall. We moved the file cabinet to our bedroom. I've written more about that toward the end of the pictures.
Our desk area and my sewing area, in front of the window. We moved my husband's desk out of the room and replaced it with my sewing machine and table.
My desk. Yeah, it was pretty bad. But I love it now!
This room has a walk-through closet (bathroom on the other side) that has two sides with shelves.
Left side, where we were storing some craft supplies, but mostly church office supplies. It still holds quite a bit of church office supplies, because we don't have anywhere else to put them. I organized them as best I could, but my husband had final say!
The upper shelf is my husband's territory, so I just made it neater. The bottom shelf is his and mine together, so I had a little more freedom to arrange it the way I wanted it.
The right side of the closet. We moved the dresser out so our daughter would have hanging space for her clothes. I also drastically cleaned up that shelf and hung the ironing board organizer. The bags on the bottom left of the closet are large bags of batting. I am storing them in a large basket on the floor of the closet, after removing them from one of the dresser drawers - again, freeing space in the dresser for our daughter's clothes.
A straight-ahead view of the right side of the closet shelves.
We relocated my husband's desk and one bookcase to our bedroom, and replaced them with my sewing machine and table and the dresser from the closet.
We also moved the file cabinet to our bedroom. I replaced it with a chair displaying some quilts and quilt tops made by my Granny. This chair will sit at the foot of the bed, and the bed will slide all the way to the wall.
The crafting side of the room is my joy. The cutting table in the middle was my "Aha!" moment. I knew I wanted to do all my crafting in one place, but I didn't have anywhere to cut fabric in this room. Then I remembered we had a small folding table for use with church activities, so I asked my husband if I could "have" it (it's still available for church functions, but we only need it occasionally), and he agreed. So I set it up between my desk and sewing machine, put a cover over it to make it pretty and hide the storage underneath, and put my cutting- and paper-crafting supplies and cutting mat on top. I love it!
So that's my makeover. I'm so, so happy with this room! Our daughter will enjoy it this summer (she won't mind sharing!), and I dearly love having all my craft supplies in one place and using everything I have. Thank you so much for having the challenge, Laura, and for sharing with us how to organize ourselves without having to hire a professional organizer! ;)