My quest to finally get my house organized continues.
You know that I was contacted a couple months ago by Sue Duval, the owner of the Organized Hive, and she offered to help me restore some order to my house.
Actually, not restore it.
There has never really been much order.
And before I show you what we got done this past Thursday, I want to tell you a story about how the quality of my life and my kids’ lives has already improved dramatically since she started helping me.
My office used to look like this:
This picture of the desk area is actually fairly clean compared to what it would normally look like. It was usually much worse than this.
And every day after school, Number 3 would come upstairs and ask for help with his homework and I’d have to clear off a space, and I just shuffle piles of crap from one place to another.
It was not a calm or relaxed space that was conducive to doing homework and staying focused.
So in addition to me being stressed just by actual assignments I’d have to help Number 3 with, we were both stressed out by the overall atmosphere of the room.
The other thing is that for some reason, we are very often in need of the hot glue gun. But I never knew where the fuck it was.
Or I knew where the glue gun was, but I could never find any glue sticks.
Upon cleaning the office, Sue and I discovered that I had like 150 glue sticks.
So she created a bin just for the glue gun and the glue sticks.
And over Spring Break, Number 3 came home with an assignment to make a (fucking) musical instrument out of recycled materials.
This is the kind of stuff that would make me want to gouge my eyes out with a replica of the Empire State Building because not only would I have to spend stupid amounts of time clearing out a space to work on a project, but I’d have to spend about an hour looking for materials.
So anyway, over Spring Break, Number 3 asked Number 2 if he would help him put his project together. He had spray painted some coffee cans of different sizes and he wanted to glue them together and then he took an old necktie to make a strap to hang them around his neck, like the drummers in a marching band use.
And the two of them went to the office, opened the cabinet with all the craft- type stuff in it,
found the container of the glue sticks,
and got to work.
And you know how much time I spent on that project?
ZERO minutes. I spent zero minutes moving piles around and zero minutes looking for supplies and zero minutes working on the project.
And for the first time in, um, ever, we finished a long-term project days before the usual finishing time of 10 pm the night before it was due.
It was a miracle.
And it was all because we cleaned out the office and set up some systems that work.
Another thing that happened when we cleaned out the office was I found a bunch of empty picture frames and I found some artwork from preschool that I wanted to hang up.
I’ll get to that in a minute….
So last week, after just three mornings and twelve total hours, we finished the office, which has now become a playroom for the kids.
The next area that was a complete disaster and really bothering me was the dining room.
This room has been stressing me out not just because it was such a disaster, but also because it’s my favorite room in the house. And I’ve been seriously neglecting and disrespcting it.
The dining room is in the part of the house that was built in 1787, so it’s got lots of character. It’s got great built in cabinetry and a fireplace and an awesome mantle and really cool flooring which is original to the house. It’s a beautiful room.
But it’s turned into the new dumping ground for crap.
It’s no secret that I very happily accept any and all second hand clothing from anyone who is getting rid of it.
And at this point, there are so many people who give me the stuff they don’t want anymore that it’s become a problem for me because I’ve had no system in place.
So someone will drop off a bag (or three) of clothes and it will get dumped in the dining room.
And before I could even get to the bag to see what was inside of it, the kids would get to it and rip it apart and take stuff out and make a mess of everything.
And it’s looked like this for a couple months now.
My problem with the clothes is that I had some bins for clothes that one kid had grown out of but another kid couldn’t fit into yet, but they were in the basement and they weren’t really labeled properly and they weren’t in one spot and they were also a total pain in the ass to go down and get.
So Sue set up some bins labeled by size, and we went through all the girls clothes kind of like they do in the back room of Goodwill. We just sorted everything by size and I went through and put stuff that I didn’t love for the kids into a separate donation bag.
These were all bins that I had already, by the way.
Then we did the same thing for the boys’ clothes.
And then rather than put them in the basement, we put them in a spot that was going to be more convenient.
It’s not where they will be located forever, but they are in an unfinished closet upstairs in one of the kids’ rooms that we don’t really use right now.
And now when a kid grows into or out of a new size, everything is easily accessible.
And the dining room went from this:
And from this:
Remember earlier when I said I found some frames and artwork when we cleaned out the office?
Well look again at those last two before and afters.
(First notice the cat who is the only member of the family who’s a little pissed that the dining room table is now clear of clothes).
My kids’ preschool has a Portfolio Day for the kids who are 4 at the end of every year. And one of the traditions they had was the assistant director, Mrs. Y, would make these really awesome silhouettes of the kids and you’d get to take them home. I had Number 3, 4, and 5’s silhouettes hung in the dining room in frames.
Last year Mrs. Y retired.
She knew that I had the silhouettes of 3, 4, and 5, and I was getting Number 6’s last year at the end of the year.
But she also knew that Number 7 was only 3, and that if the person who took over for her didn’t carry on the sihouette tradition the next year when Number 7 was four, that I wouldn’t have one for her.
So she made me one for her a year early.
And I found them when I was cleaning the office, and I put them in frames, and I hung them up.
And I love them.
Yesterday I went outside and cut flowers from my yard and for the first time in many, many, many years, I have flowers on my table.
And I love love love love love love loooooove my dining room again.