Wednesday, February 29, 2012

29 Day Organizing Challenge: Final Reveal!

Wow - I can't believe how fast this month has gone!  I've been participating in's 29 Day Organizing Challenge, and here's my final reveal.  But first, a reminder of what this room looked like on February 1st.  Cat toys and boxes everywhere.  Oh and isn't it pleasant to see the litter box as the main focus when you walk in the room?  Yeah, that's what I thought.

No real usable space as every space was covered with stuff.

Tiny desk, big computer, stuff all over the filing cabinet.

Guitar cases on the floor (and the tail of another cat toy).

The closet.  Kind of organized but just looking cluttered.

My desk.  Messy messy drawers.  Everything had a place but just so cluttered.  And now, the moment you've all (or maybe just me!) been waiting for!!!
Ta da!  Walking into the room.  Funny how a desk that cuts into the width of the room can actually make the room look bigger than it is!  It also makes the space not just look like a long hallway with stuff lining the walls.

The hutch is gone!  My much condensed music book shelf with a bin for hubby's course work and for my piano headphones, metronome, etc.  The guitars are on the wall, too.  We remounted some of the pictures to suit the new space better.

Full view of the new computer desk.  Loads of free work space!  The kitty litter is conveniently hidden under the desk - more privacy for the cat and just makes the room look nicer altogether.  We mounted my filing bin for papers on the wall beside the desk, and used a small section of dividers for our phone/address books, scrap paper/envelopes and things to finish.

View of the piano, no more guitars on the floor :)  The firepod is in close proximity to the piano and computer so we don't have to rearrange the room every time we want to record something.

The closet.  The top shelf is hubby's school material that will go with him once he has a permanent position (fingers crossed that comes soon!).  The second shelf has a bin of extra office supplies, a bin of auxiliary musical instruments, our recycle bin, and a container where hubby keeps all his pay stubs.  The third shelf has a bin of computer cords and hardware, my small memory box and then cards I've made and envelopes.  The fourth shelf has all my knitting/crocheting materials.  On the floor is our seasonal shoe bin, extra paper (computer, sticky note) bin, and all our Christmas decorations.  In the open space is my craft trolley and a bin of our wrapping paper.  The empty hanging space is where I keep hubby's shirts that I need to iron.

Quick view of the computer desk drawers.  In the bottom is a stapler, hole puncher, graphing calculator and printer paper.  The top drawer is actually for iPods/phones/etc that you can put wires through to charge them, but we used it as our stationary drawer instead.  It came with handy dividers, and since there's glass it has to look nice cuz I sure can't hide any clutter in there!  One row for scissors, a ruler, tape, glue and white-out.  One row for pencils, erasers, and the pencil sharpener.  One row for sticky notes, paper clips, and clips.  And the last row has pens and highlighters.  I'm SO happy with our new space!
Here are the final questions everyone was asked about their space:

1. What space did you decide to organize and why?

The space I organized is our home office/music room/cat room.  Oh, and storage room.  As you can see, this is a small room (14’ x 8’) that has to suit a variety of purposes.  This is the first home my husband and I have owned (our 1-year anniversary is coming up in two weeks!) and we had a lot of STUFF that needed to be sorted through.  I felt that what we had wasn’t working for our needs and we had a lot of things just sitting there never being used.

2.  What steps did you take to ensure you completed the space within the 29 day timeline?

I made a detailed plan of action and I stuck to it.  It was really hard as both of us work more than full time to make ends meet.  The first thing I did after deciding what the room needed was talked to my hubby about the possibility of a new desk.  To my surprise, he was more than okay with it!  These were my weekly goals:
Week 1 – Declutter the room and figure out where I was going to put everything we needed.
Week 2 – Purchase new desk, photo albums, organizing baskets, and craft tower.  Install!
Week 3 – Finish switching photos over to new albums, organize drawers and closet, and find a little basket for the cat toys so they are not strewn all over the house.
Extra 4 days – Buffer in case of unexpected events.

3.  What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and how did you overcome it?

For me, the hardest part of the challenge was making the time to do this.  What really helped me was having a detailed plan that broke the project down into small chunks, and also linking up with my weekly progress.  Knowing that there were people waiting to see what I had accomplished each week kept me going.  Plus, living in such a small space with an active cat doesn’t allow for much stuff to lay around without seriously compromising quality of life!

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

The hutch is going back to its original owner, and my desk will either be donated to the less fortunate or given away on  There is one large box with garbage that is to be thrown out, my journals will be shredded this summer at work when the shredding company comes, and two boxes of stuff will be given to the Sally Anne. 

There is also stuff that found new homes during the challenge.  The cat toys are in a bin out in the living room, my photo albums are on the bookshelf in the living room, a bin of carpentry odds n’ ends is in the storage room with the toolbox, and the guitar cases are also in our bedroom closet now that the guitars are mounted on the wall.  It wasn’t possible to store the cases in the office as the cat was using them as scratching posts.

5.  Tell me one of your proudest moments during this challenge?

Just the feeling of surveying the changes and the sense of freedom that organizing this space and letting go of clutter has brought me makes me proud.  There is a bin in our closet that used to be my memory box, and now holds all our Christmas decorations.  My special memories that I kept fit in less than a shoebox.  I got rid of dozens of journals.  We participated in Coldest Night of the Year last weekend and in my newfound sense of freedom I was able to refuse bringing in more free stuff that I would never use!  Yay!

6.  Explain any organizing “tools” you used to help you create additional space and to establish some limits and boundaries?

The only thing we purchased that created additional space was the craft trolley.  Previously I had been lugging each of the separate bins to the kitchen table every time I wanted to make one card.  With this new trolley, I can wheel all my supplies over to our new computer desk and save time and effort.  It comes with 3 shelves and a divided space on top so I labeled each drawer appropriately and kept only what would fit in those small drawers.  I used the old bins to store other things we needed.  If I want new stuff I have make more cards to free up space.  Same with my bin for my yarn.  I’m not allowed to buy more yarn until I use what I currently own as there isn’t room for any more.  Personally, I like challenges like that!  We only have one drawer in the computer desk that will hold paper, so I recycled a PILE of scrap paper that was collecting.   Like really, it was all just taking up valuable space that I don’t have!  Having a shoebox sized memory box didn’t allow me to keep my dozens of journals so I limited myself to keeping my first one, and letting go of the others.  There IS freedom in limits!

7.  What is ONE piece of advice you’d give to someone else to encourage them on their organizational journey?

Have a plan.  Know what you want the space to look like before you start.  Otherwise you’ll end up with a bunch of handy stuff that doesn’t really work together, and you’ll get discouraged along the way because it isn’t turning out the way you thought it would.  Knowing what you want things to look like really helps because every choice you make will reflect the end result.


  1. Very nice! You did a lot of hard work!

  2. a grown-up desk in a grown-up space. good job! it all looks much more stream-lined and functional.