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As a long awaited update to the office closet organization: it’s not done.  Many things went terribly wrong, and I did finally give up on the idea that I’d wait until it was finished to post about it, but then I still wanted to include pictures of the progress (and the things that went wrong!).  I’ve been unmotivated to do so, and distracted by running around listening to Christmas carols and causing a worldwide tape shortage by wrapping gifts.

I’m still hoping to post a detailed account of the project, but it could be a while, so instead I’ll summarize: the inside of the closet has been painted, the IKEA shelves have been assembled and placed inside, and some of the office supplies have found their way onto the shelves.  I still need to finish filling them up, which has been hindered by the fact that the hanging file folder holders were bigger than advertised and I had to return them, and by the fact that I ordered more of some Sterilite mini-drawers that I had, but the company I ordered from shipped the new model instead of the old model that they were listing for sale.

I would elaborate more, but I really came to kick off the Year of Declutter.  About halfway through last year, I discovered the Lovely Declutter Calendar.  I subscribed to Beth’s e-mail newsletter and got access to my free download of the calendar…and promptly forgot about ever using it.  This year, since I’d be starting from the beginning and because certain things just don’t work for me in electronic format, I ordered the printed version of the calendar as a Christmas gift for myself.

Yesterday’s task was “What is the vision of your home?”  I’ve had this on my mind for a long time, and I was also more in the mood for physical decluttering, so yesterday I emptied some file folders and some old product boxes into the recycling.  Not nearly all of them, but it was a little progress.  Today, however, the vision of my home:

Master Bedroom/Bathroom:

These are mom’s, so I don’t really have a vision for them, other than someday I’d like to see the carpet in her room removed and replaced with hardwood like the rest of the house.  Plus of course I’d like to see less stuff and more organization, but I want to see that everywhere I turn.

My Bedroom:

My bedroom is small, and has far too much furniture in it, but it’s actually getting close to what I want it to be.  I got the closet and most of the drawers organized a while back, and will be able to finish up the drawers now that I received this gorgeous Powell Cherry Jewelry Armoire for Christmas.  I’ll be able to get all the jewelry cleared out of the dresser drawers, which will leave some free space for things that have been sitting out in the room.  I’d also like to get 4 of the KOMPLEMENT box with lid from IKEA to better organize some things stored under the bed (particularly shoes).  After that, all I’ll need to do is get the pile of knitting stuff moved to my craft room, whenever I figure out where my craft room is.


There is a narrow hallway that runs along the side of my bedroom and ends at my mother’s room.  We used to have a row of half-height bookshelves along the wall, with a painting hanging over them.  Then when we had the house up for sale we packed all that away and replaced it with a tiny table with a nightlight and some decorative objects on it.  I’d really like to get those shelves returned to the hallway for some much-needed storage space.  We also don’t really have a place in the house to display photographs, so I’d like to hang some kind of photograph display above the shelves.


Aside from the closet, which is a work-in-progress, I do have a pretty clear vision for the rest of the room.  It involves removing the extra desk since mom and I don’t ever use the office simultaneously, adding lots more bookshelves to accommodate my ridiculous collection of reference books (knitting, cooking, home improvement, foreign language, etc.) and still leave a little room for some to-be-read novels, and replacing the recliner that got shoved in there with a more comfy and less bulky reading spot.


My fantasy of what this space could be is well beyond any budget and ability constraints I have, so instead I’ll look at what can be done with its current state.  First off, when we redid the floor I had a color picked out, and then somehow second-guessed myself and picked something different.  Guess what?  The first choice was the right one.  So I’d really like to redo the floor again.  This should also happen along with changing the sink.  The current one is a color that completely doesn’t go with the new look of the room (not so sure it went with the original look either), and is sitting on a big boxy cabinet that makes the tiny bathroom feel cramped and doesn’t actually provide that much useful storage space.  Mom will argue against this, but I’d really like a pedestal sink in here, maybe with something similar to this Pedestal Sink Metal Organizer Stand to hold a few spare toilet paper rolls and such.  The items currently in the undersink cabinet will easily fit in the bathroom closet once I reorganize it and add a few more of the wire baskets that hang under the shelves.  Finally, the ugly yellow tub surround needs to go!  White is fine, we have lots of other white in the bathroom, but I would really like for the shelves to be in the corners, rather than jutting way out along the long side and seriously constricting the space I have in which to shower without knocking shampoo bottles onto my feet.


Oh, I don’t really know where to begin.  This is the absolute worst room in the house.  Not enough storage space, not enough work space.  Any vision of how it would ideally look is going to entail massive renovations, so for 2014 I’m only looking at the things I can easily change: remove excess containers/utensils/gadgets, especially duplicates but also anything we are never going to use; improve the food storage system so it’s easier to find things and harder to buy extra because of forgotten inventory; implement some kind of system for tracking needed groceries and planning meals.

Dining Room:

This should truly be called the “dumping room”, as we virtually never eat at the table, and it’s right by the door we use to enter the house.  It’s a fairly small space, but I should be able to find a way to add some organizational items to corral what typically gets dumped and keep it off the table.  We especially need a way to tame the tangle of chargers for phones, cameras, Kindles, etc.  This last part isn’t a home vision thing so much as a habit vision, but I desperately want to actually eat my meals at the dining room table.

Living Room:

My vision for this room is never going to happen.  For one thing, it involves moving the television to a different wall.  We’ll probably have a new television at some point this year (the old one is going bad to the point it’s virtually unwatchable), and this will necessitate buying some kind of furniture to put the new and less-bulky TV on, which may be able to incorporate my desire for more storage space in the living room.  By more storage space, I mean any storage space, as we currently don’t even have a little shelf with a few DVDs on it.


We do have an actual entryway, by the front door that is really not even close to the front and no one ever comes through it.  It is a gorgeous orange color that glows when the sun shines through the door in the afternoons.  I would very much like to put some kind of bench/storage unit in here, just a little place to sit down and put on shoes, and hold a few coats and scarves if we have visitors.

Hall Closet:

This is a space I pretty much avoid looking at!  There’s a rod to the left for hanging coats, where we have about 10 times the coats we actually wear (I’m still going out in sub-freezing temperatures in the jacket I wear year-round).  There’s a shelf above the rod, and a bunch of stuff piled under the coats, and some shelves at the back, and stuff piled in all the open space.  On the right is the stairs to the attic, which I have never even seen.  I mean I’ve never seen the attic, but the stairs are so piled with stuff that I can’t see those either.  I’d like this closet to eventually have just some coats and maybe some of mom’s shoes, scarves, etc (I keep all mine in my bedroom, but she may not want to do that).  The vacuum and maybe our folding stepladder, both of which are currently in there, wouldn’t fit anywhere else so they can stay.  Mostly, I just want to be able to see those stairs again, even if there’s no occasion to climb them.


Two things of note: 1) The breezeway is actually an enclosed room, but not heated or air-conditioned, unless you count the small window air-conditioner and some plug-in radiators, neither of which we use except on rare occasions.  2) The breezeway is probably at least as big as the living room, and is where the cats like to play (and where they have their litter boxes, except when we bring one in at night during the winter).  I’ve actually had a vision for this room for a long time, and while it would take a little work and money, it’s manageable.  First up, I want to install 2 ceiling fans that have built-in heaters.  I’m happy to use this room in a variety of temperature levels, but in the winter it does get too cold, and some of the hottest summer days are too hot.  It doesn’t need full-on heating or air-conditioning, but something to give us a little more control over the temperature would be nice.  Then I’d like to install cabinets along the back wall of windows, and put a window seat on top of them.  This would not only give me a peaceful place to sit and read, but would also add storage for shoes, umbrellas, and other clutter that needs to be kept near where we enter and exit the house.  I’d also like to use one long wall of this room to fill up with all sorts of crazy cat trees – a cat forest, ultimately.  Then across from it there would be a space for the litter boxes, and some kind of storage for all their excess toys so I can easily swap things out of the play rotation without rummaging in cardboard boxes.


We have an oversized 2-car garage.  Plenty of room to be storing tools and outdoor items, if only it were organized.  So the goals here are to take out anything that is being stored there but doesn’t belong and find a place within the house for it (or get rid of it), put up pegboard on the unfinished walls so we can hang more things, replace the existing ratty and mismatched shelves with nice ones, and get some real recycling bins rather than sorting it into random cardboard boxes.  The dream items are: replace the random hanging shelf in the middle of the garage with a ceiling storage lift, and put an epoxy coating on the concrete floor.

Basement Main Finished Room:

This is currently set up like another living room.  It can stay that way, but I’d like to redo it so that the furniture can be reconfigured into a spare bedroom for guests.  Replace the couch with a futon, and add in some chaise lounges with arms that could be pushed together to make a nice secure bed for little visitors.  This room also needs to incorporate both storage and a playing area for our awesome collection of board games.

Basement 2nd Finished Room:

Currently this room is holding some spare beds we don’t use, and a couple of bookshelves.  Plus, like most of the basement, it’s piled up with things I’m trying to sort through to either donate, sell, or reorganize.  With the removal of the beds and the addition of a dehumidifier, better lighting, and the appropriate storage and seating area, I think this could be a workable craft room.  There are two open doorways out of this room to other parts of the basement, and I’m totally envisioning turning the collection of buttons grandma salvaged from old clothes into some really cool “bead” curtains.

Basement Main Unfinished Room:

This room houses the furnace, water heater, deep freezer, washer, and dryer.  I’d like to find a way to make it feel a bit less industrial, with a nicer area for doing the laundry (especially with the addition of a utility sink and more space for air-drying clothes).  Also better organization for cleaning supplies, and turning the random boards nailed to a wall into a proper storage space, which would ideally be used for storing seasonal items (holiday decorations, extra blankets, etc.).  I’d like to do up the floors in both unfinished rooms with the same epoxy coating I envision for the garage.

Basement 2nd Unfinished Room:

This room is currently full of a mishmash of shelves and a work table, and all of it is cluttered with boxes and boxes of stuff we haven’t found a space for yet.  Aside from the obvious goal of finding a space for those items, I would someday like to turn this room into a “potting shed”.  It has a door that opens out onto a patio area in the backyard (which also needs massive work, but maybe someday that will happen), and would be the perfect place to store pots and gardening tools, and set up a little seed sprouting area with grow lights.

So there you have it: a vision for my house.  I can see this all pretty clearly, and can imagine how relaxing and functional it would be.  Not so relaxing?  The process of getting to that state.  Now I’m off to the first step, which is today’s task from the calendar: “Clean up any trash in entryway.”  I’m not sure whether I should consider that the real entryway (with the lovely orange described above), or the place we actually enter the house.  Maybe I’m supposed to do both.