Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Synopsis: William Morris Project - Days 21 through 27

This is a Sunday Synopsis for the projects I completed in the fourth week of the 31-day William Morris Project Challenge. 

This week seemed to be the week with the highest return of emotional investment. Every project I finished made me feel great! So many of the projects I've done this month won't even be noticeable to any company that visits but it's making me feel more at home. We had rented for so many years (from landlords that preferred we NOT put nail holes in walls) prior to buying this house that it took us a few years to realize we now could!

Now, to show you all what was accomplished these last seven days:

Day 21: Install shelf for modem & router


I entered Max's room with the intention of hanging a shelf and ended up clearing a corner and finding another project in the process. The modem and router used to sit on the pantry shelf. At some point, they apparently got moved to sit on the white cube shelves that hadn't gotten rehung after we moved. I also found a binder which will work nicely for the bills in the cabinet.

I would like to eventually do something to nice-up the cables that are now hanging in the corner but just getting the modem & router up off the floor made that corner seem more open.

Day 22: Hang white cube shelves


I figured since I "found" the white cube shelves, I should go ahead and hang them! We haven't decided yet what to keep on the shelves yet. I'm thinking some 3x5 framed pictures and a few bud vases would be nice. Charlie figured out that he can tip over a flower vase and get an instant babbling brook of water - so we haven't had fresh flowers in a long time. These shelves are high enough up that he can't reach so stemmed buds just might start showing up again!

Day 23: Install shelving in hallway closet


The shelves are useful. They aren't pretty - they aren't perfect - and they aren't all that impressive. I used scraps from when I built the deck chairs over the summer. I used any screws I could find that were long enough and used finishing nails on the ends that didn't hit studs to help anchor them in.

We moved the media rack out of the living room when we rearranged the living room. I thought it would fit in the hallway closet but it wouldn't. So the tower got moved to Max's room until I could figure out what to do with all the media that was on it. The cds, dvds and vhs tapes are now accessible but not an eyesore. Bonus: Due to their size, I could put the shelves in the little nook of the closet which left plenty of space for things like toilet paper or brooms.

Day 24: Purge & organize bedroom closet


Shoes in the hanging shoe caddy, shoes piled on the floor, and (not pictured) shoes around the house. Just a reminder - only two people live in this house. The purple tote on the floor had socks upon socks. There were even 3 pairs of Halloween socks that had never been opened. Talk about perfect timing!

We agreed that we need at least one more of the plastic Sterilite bins. The purple tote is mostly empty and its contents will fit perfectly in another bin. 

The Huggies box has hot wheels tracks waiting on a gift holiday for one of the nephews. I stacked the two shoe boxes with the Huggies box to use for wrapping gifts this Christmas. 

Sweetie helped with the sorting and purging of socks and some more clothing. She slimmed down 7 pairs of shoes and I slimmed down 2 pairs. I found the perfect use for the empty media rack! We moved the dress clothes and the hanging shoe caddy into the closet in Max's room. The hanging caddy will hold only shoes worn with the dress clothes. We are able to store almost every pair of casual shoes on the rack and there is more than enough space in the hanging caddy for the dress shoes. 

Repurposed media shelf as shoe rack

Day 25: Purge and organize closet in cat room


Once I moved what needed moved and tossed what needed tossed, this closet was empty except for the carry-on suitcase.
Funeral price list from 1995

I also found this funeral price list from 1995 on the top shelf. It was obviously left by the previous owner and we just didn't catch it. Since we hadn't intended to use this closet for anything besides cat stuff, I hadn't done a thorough clean of it when we moved in.

Day 26: Purge and organize closet in Max's room


The black bags are polyfill. They got moved to the no-longer-empty closet in the cat's room since that room is where Sweetie's sewing headquarters will be once I get the table and storage built. The folding chairs also got moved into the other closet just because they are rarely used and because that room is where the folding table is.
Yet another project - copy VHS to DVD

Once again, I found something that created another project. This bag of VHS tapes needs to be converted to digital format and burned to DVD. I have the cable that hooks the computer to the VCR but I don't have video capture software. Hopefully, the someone whose gift this conversion is for isn't reading this post. Or if they are, the pretend they didn't see it so they can be surprised at Christmas instead of irritated that I stole their tapes, LOL

Day 27: Purge dresser

All that remained of "lounge-wear" after the purge
Lightweight sweaters are looking a bit sparse

There wasn't much to do in the dresser. I got rid of some lightweight sweaters and one turtleneck. I got rid of  all but one pair of lounging pants. I typically only need them when I'm sick or when we have company so I don't foresee doing any shopping to replenish that stock. The lightweight sweaters though, I need to make a trip to Goodwill soon. Winter is quickly on its way!

I'm hoping to get the next four projects done before Wednesday so that I can have the post up and ready on the last day.

Only 4 days to go!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sunday Synopsis: William Morris Project - Days 14 through 20

This is a Sunday Synopsis for the projects I have completed in the third week of the 31-day William Morris Project Challenge. 

This week I re-learned something about Sweetie ... she does NOT like change. She is very appreciative of me purging and straightening, but has expressed on more than one occasion in the last seven days that she could easily do without my "organizing". Even in chaos and disarray, she knows where things live. So do I, but it doesn't mean I enjoy them living there. Ask me where the nail clippers are and I'll tell you that they are next to the ceramic bowl on the credenza (even though it makes sense that they live in the bathroom). I also used to know that the printer paper and envelopes would be in the bottom cabinet of the china hutch, under the box of electronics. Did it make sense to be there? No, not really. But we both knew it was there so why move it? Well, because I'm organizing, that's why. *smirk*

This month, I've changed my mindset from "why mess with what works?" to "could this work better another way?" Sweetie is not impressed. 

We made some compromises and came to some agreements. Sometimes it's very difficult for two people that are vastly different to find a common ground to live peacefully. It's somewhat humorous to me that after 11 years we still butt heads over stuff because we each live in our own worlds of what we feel is acceptable and forget that the other person is the complete opposite. It gives us plenty of practice for compassionate listening, patience, and compromise. 

Well, on to the summary of what was accomplished these last seven days:

Day 14: Purge & organize junk drawer in china hutch


Crafts, electronics, cables, empty boxes, and office supplies. This drawer had it all and more. Most of what it had didn't need to be there. Most of it could be thrown away or moved elsewhere. Look at the "after" picture - see that basket in the top left? There are about 20 seed packets in there. I had no idea they even existed. Now they are in a basket and visible for when I start planting next season. Batteries are in a basket with the flashlights - front and center - and obvious. I actually re-took the "after" picture because when I purged the lower cabinets on Day 15, I moved the the greeting cards, envelopes, paper, and labels to the top.

Day 15: Purge and organize lower cabinets in china hutch


The cooler bag belonged to my parents. The yogurt containers got moved to the "party" drawer for when the kids need snack cups or craft cups. The Adidas shoe box held all the electronic stuff and that was transferred to the clear container I picked up at the dollar store. The "Cell Phone" box got tossed. I had gotten rid of its contents during the electronics recycling purge and we no longer need it. The huge empty space on the left will be used for my "bill bag" - which will eventually be converted to a "bill box" when I can purchase a tote of some sort that will hold the contents securely. The top shelf is empty for now but there are enough spots left in the house that it will likely hold something by the end of the month!

Day 16: Purge summer clothes

All from summer closet
All to donate from summer closet

We have so many T-shirts! The honest truth is that we wear them. I wear them under my button-ups on chillier days and they are our go-to for non-job wear. I still had a few large T-shirts from when I wore that size last year. Jules recently had a great take on holding out-sized clothing:
"If I kept the small sweaters when I was too big, did I have to keep the large sweaters when I was too small? It seemed that no matter my weight, keeping clothing that didn't represent my current size celebrated a failure from the past or yet to come."
It's really hard for me to separate with some of the shirts I've held on to. I gave away quite a few of the large shirts from last year when some friends lost theirs in a fire. The few I kept were designs that I really liked. Then there's that nagging voice reminding me that I consistently thumb past those cool designs because they hang off of me sloppily now. I won't wear them. Finally I came to the conclusion that if Sweetie didn't want them for herself, I got rid of them.

Day 17: Purge winter clothes

All from winter closet
All to donate from winter closet

We have half the amount of winter clothes as we had summer clothes. We need to go shopping at a consignment store or Goodwill and restock. We've both gone down sizes since last winter and we don't share the same sense of style so hand-me-downs are a no-go. We both only have a few nice shirts that fit. We both have about 5 long-sleeved T-shirts. The rest are all sweaters which are really only suitable for the very cold days.

Day 18: Purge and relocate "bill bag"

"Bill Bag" in dining room corner
"Bill Bag" thinned out and relocated

I keep our bills and important receipts in one of those reusable fabric bags that we got at at some event for free. I started out using a large manilla envelope for each month in the year but that got messy really fast, and it didn't really make much sense when I was trying to compare utility bills across months. Then I used a 3-ring binder filled with empty page protectors. I filled the page protectors with like-bills (water, lights, house repairs, car maintenance & repairs, etc). In the advent of online statements and bill retrievals, I have stopped saving most bills past a few months old. I often forget to purge out the old ones until I have a reason to look for something so the "new" bills & receipts would pile up around the binder. The bag was a good option at the time of containing the mess that I inevitably created over and over again. I don't suspect the problem of keeping it purged every month is going to get solved any time soon. However, eventually the "Bill Bag" will have a more permanent and secure holding place, like a plastic file tote or multiple 3-ring binders with page protectors. Maybe I could have a tray for the stuff that needs to go into the binder/box in addition to the file system. That will be another project for another time.

Day 19: Planted garlic

Sweetie digging in
Sweetie planting one of the elephant garlic cloves

Sweetie felt motivated to plant the garlic which I'd been putting off since mid-September. She had also recently found a bulb of elephant garlic at the local organic store so we're going to plant some of that this season - which is pretty exciting! When she was finished, we had 28 cloves planted - 4 of which were elephant variety. We use about 2 bulbs a month so if they all produce (last year we lost 2) we should be able to get through a year without buying garlic!

ONE clove from an elephant garlic bulb

Day 20: Cleaned out gutters and downspouts


Our yard has a LOT of trees. It was one of my "must have" features when we were looking at houses. It did not occur to me how much work trees created in the fall - but even now that I've learned this lesson, I'd still want all the trees. They're just so beautiful!

I clear the gutters of leaves 2-3 times a year. Once when they've started falling. Another before winter if I can get up there before it's not safe to. And a final time in spring to clear the whirlygigs and such.

Climbing ladders (up or down) terrifies me. If there was a tree close enough, I'd much rather climb through the branches and hop onto the roof. It's not heights that I'm scared of, just the ladder. It's not a fear I can explain, but it's there and it's real. Sweetie holds the ladder for me and I'm sure she can attest to the wobbling I create. Once I'm up there though, I'm good. I know quite a few people that clean their gutters by standing on the ladder and climbing up & down, moving along the house that way. I couldn't imagine it. I am much more comfortable sitting on the roof, thank you very much.

It's a long way down!
Me getting the leaves out

Sweetie waiting for the end of the hose I'm feeding through
The "birds-eye" view always amazes me!

Beautiful fall trees - from above

More beautiful fall trees - from above

I slacked this week. It's evident but I'm okay with it. There is plenty to do and plenty of time to get it done. There are not many October days left but there are plenty more days after that. Winter will be here soon and I'm sure I'll get cabin fever at some point, which is when I will get the motivation to do some of those projects that we never have the motivation to start.

Twenty days down. Eleven to go!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Synopsis: William Morris Project - Days 7 through 13

This is a Sunday Synopsis for the projects I have completed in the second week of the 31-day William Morris Project Challenge. 

This week I've noticed I am sometimes only partially organizing. This is mostly because I don't have very many defined spaces yet so I just don't know what to do with some things. Jules has reiterated over the course of this year's 31-day challenge that the William Morris Project is definitely an ongoing thing. I can see how some parts of these places I'm purging and organizing will be easier to sort out once I have defined and organized spaces. Right now, everything is so overwhelming I'm giving myself a pat on the back just for doing anything at all!

Well, on to the summary of what I accomplished these last seven days:

Day 7: Move manuals from kitchen drawer to a binder


Eventually this drawer will get even more organized. I'd like to get a containers for the molds & the cutters. This drawer should probably be revisited at some point (maybe next year) because there are some odds & ends behind what's visible. It's mostly replacement parts for things around the house that were left by the previous owner. I don't want to lose them but they don't really belong in this drawer either.

Day 8: Purge and organize piano in Max's Room


What looks like a pair of jeans on the bench is actually
the ukulele case I made which also holds some ukulele chords & songs

There are a few places in our house that I am embarrassed for company to see. This is one of them. The piano and other instruments live in the catch-all room. Our dog Max sleeps in here, we store off-season clothes in here, there's a shelving unit which holds pantry items, a household maintenance basket, a sewing supplies tote, and fabric bundles. There is a corner (not in view of these pictures) which is quite the eyesore. This room is always closed off when people come over. It is not child-proof and it's in such disarray that it makes me feel like a slob. I become overwhelmed whenever I enter so I decided to break the room into little subsections. I started with the piano, which obviously doesn't get used.

The bench is stuffed to the brim with music and piano lesson books, most of which could be given away to someone at a more beginner level. I need to talk with my sister to see if she still thinks she'll want the piano when she finds a house. Her son would be able to use the beginner books if she ends up taking the piano back.

I had originally thought I wanted the top cleared off completely, but in the end I decided I liked the idea of all the instruments in a group. Everything but the art basket will get moved once I get shelving up on the wall. The art basket might also eventually move to a different location but for now this is where it makes sense to be.

Day 9: Purge and organize the linen closet.


(and Charlie getting ready to inspect the empty shelves!)
Stuff to give away


This task took much more time than I expected it to. I was overwhelmed every step if the way but kept at it and finally, after 3 hours, it was finally finished!
We don't have cabinet space in the bathroom so the closet has a lot going on. What I decided to do was group like items together. The medicines took the longest. Most of the pill packets had long since lost their accompanying package so Sweetie was googling ingredients and I was labeling baggies. All pill-form medicines we were getting rid of got tossed in a big baggie. I will take that to work with me and put spent coffee grounds in with them before tossing in the trash.

Day 10: Purge and organize shelving unit in Max's Room.

Gash from box cutter
My first rosary

Purging the tool box was more dangerous than it needed to be! Actually, that gash had little to do with the actual purging process. I came across a cordless drill charging base which had a split cord. I decided I would try to mend it up by matching the wires and wrapping in electrical tape. There was a box cutter in the bin so I used that to cut the electrical tape. On the final tape cut, I cut my finger which I hadn't realized was hiding behind the strip I was cutting. The sad ending to that story is that the charging base still didn't work, so my cord mending efforts proved futile.

After I finished going through the upstairs maintenance bin, I started on my hobby bin. Within the contents, I found my first rosary! I have no idea how it ended up in there, or how I managed to keep it as long as I have. I put it back in the same box I found it in even though it doesn't really fit in that box's purpose. I figured it had lasted this long that way, why mess with a good thing?

My hobby bin
Upstairs maintenance bin

Sweetie said, "I won't touch your hobby bin. You don't touch my sewing shelf." Fair enough, she's done a pretty good job of keeping it organized anyway so there wasn't anything I could have done there anyway. The upstairs maintenance bin theoretically holds tools we use often for maintenance type projects in the living areas. The majority of tools are kept in the garage or in the basement. Inevitably though, we bring up a tool from the basement that we need for some random rare project and it ends up in the bin because we don't want to take it back downstairs. This bin and the top shelf (pantry items) will need to be monitored on a regular basis. I should probably add it to a quarterly list or something. I probably won't, but I should.

There are only two more corners and a closet to tend to in this room!

Day 11, 12, & 13: The garage - dun dun duuuuun!

Before (sun shining!)
After (night has set in)

Well, I'd been waiting for a weekend when we weren't busy, the temps were warm and the sun was shining. Sunday was all of that. I got home from church around 2 and all I wanted was a nap. Unfortunately, I took that nap. I didn't start on the garage until about 4:30p. The sun sets around 7p now. I was rushing around 7:30 to get everything back into the garage before it was too dark to see well. There is a sizeable pile of crap on the driveway which we will get removed tomorrow. If we have to pay to get it hauled off, we may as well get some more stuff out there from the basement!

Inner wall - Before
Inner wall - After

If I had broken the garage into three separate tasks as I had planned, this might not have been so overwhelming. In hindsight, I'm not sure it would have worked out as well done in sections anyway so it all panned out for the best.

The inner wall is mostly cabinet space. There was a hay bale which I moved to the shed. There were home tools, gardening tools, empty containers, and carpet remnants. This was by far the dirtiest side because of the carpet, hay, and potting soil. I organized the inside of the cabinets while I was at it but I didn't photograph their progress. They weren't too terrible to begin with.

Outer wall - before
Outer wall - after
Outer wall - before
Outer wall - after

The three cubby towers along the outer wall were there when we moved in. They were so handy at holding random tools as we were getting the place up to snuff that we left them. Now we've gotten to the point where most of the tools we need to use around the living quarters can fit in the basket in Max's room. I decided to purge the cubbies of their contents and move the towers downstairs to help organize the unfinished side. When I moved them away from the wall though, I found extensive water damage and they were constructed of pressboard so out to the driveway they went! I kept the shortest one which had the least amount of damage and still proved useful.

We're so excited that one of us will be able to park in the garage if necessary this winter! I'm looking forward to being able to clean out my car even if we're experiencing crappy weather (which for some reason is always when I want to tackle that issue!)

Thirteen days down. Eighteen to go!