Category Archives: Organizing

August Challenge: Week 1

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Just a quick update from the Kindle. I hate typing on this thing so I hope it will be short.

Things are going great, I started on the 1st as planned with 30 minutes. Lordy, I got a lot done.

What a difference 30 minutes makes!!

 

Definitely encouraged by my progress, but increasingly losing energy, only 1/2 the time was spent in the room on Wednesday.

Day 2 before…

Still making progress though…

Day 2 after!

Day 3 I think I only managed 10 minutes if even that. No new photo for day 3, but I can tell you that the white box in the middle of the photo is gone.

This particular area is taking longer than expected but that is totally OK. There’s a lot to go through in those boxes and I am going through them as quickly as I can to make it as painless as possible. I didn’t put enough time in the schedule for this area because I didn’t realize what was in the boxes. Lots of things from my parents who have passed and I miss terribly along with stuff from when my son was little. He’s 23 and has been on his own for several years already. This room was his room. So…Lots of emotions happening in here but it’s getting better. I’m doing better while I’m in there and it’s continually getting a bit easier to do what I’m doing as I go along. I have decided to put up a photo of Mom and Dad to honor their memories and I already have Spencer’s painting on the wall. This idea gives me the comfort I need and keeps the emo down a bit as I carry on.

Note: OMG I just had the BEST idea of the photos I will put up for Mom and Dad. Pictures of them creating something! Now to find photos of them doing stuff like that. I’m sure I have some somewhere…

Day 4, yesterday, I took the night off. It’s been a long, tough week of insomnia, busy work days and a lot of aches and pains. One can only do so much. I just might go off schedule and go in there this weekend, but we’ll see what is going on.

I am happy with how the project is progressing and sometimes I just go in there and look around. Now I can envision what the room will look like and it brings a smile to my face.

Oh, and Kiko is there with me watching every move. I have found one cat toy between all the crap. The way she’s acting, I know I’ll find more. 🙂

Stay tuned, next weekend will bring another update with photographic evidence.

The Great August Challenge of 2017

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(Grab a cuppa, have a seat, this is a long one…with pictures!!!)

For quite a while now I have been hanging out with a bunch of awesome folks over at How to GYST .  It stands for “How to Get Your Shit Together” and was started by Laura Hutchinson, formerly in Ireland and now in the process of moving to Ohio. Her videos and blog posts are informative, inspiring and all around just plain good for you if getting your shit together is what you want or need to do. She also has an e-course called the “Productivity Power Up” which is awesome. If you end up taking the course and there is a place for comments please add that you found her through Donna B @ donnaschaos.com. I won’t get anything out of it but brownie points. 😛 The group is awesome and very supportive in everyone’s endeavors to get organized and improve their lives. Go ahead and check them out, you won’t be disappointed. The Irish accent is a bonus. Laura has a YouTube channel, Facebook group etc, etc… All info on the website.

Ok, on with the show.

Every August, Laura gives herself a big challenge. Consequently, she invites anyone in the group to join in the fun. The basic premise is to pick something off your to-do list that you just haven’t been able to get done, something you’ve been putting off, or something you really need/want to try/do. Then you concentrate on just that “project” for the entire month of August. Laura’s challenge this year is to discover her new home/area in Ohio.  You can find a link to it on her website.

When it came to picking out my challenge, it really was a no brainer. I am going to FINALLY get the spare room in order and set up my sewing/crafting area. I have had issues with a massive creativity block since my Mom passed away in 2012 and I am feeling it begin to drop away, so time to get moving. Time to honor her memory, my family genes and quite honestly my peace of mind/sanity and get my ass making stuff. I have so many ideas rolling around in my brain and two sewing machines that have been ignored for far too long.

Plus it would be really nice if Honey could get to his hobby corner and guests could actually sleep in a non-cluttered room and have somewhere to put their stuff.

Also, I have a special project going for Honey that he has been waiting on for about three years. He’s been very patiently waiting…

Oooh, dinner is ready. Lordy it smells so good…

Ok, I’ve just had a wonderful dinner and a full glass of wine with it so let’s just dive into the before pictures shall we? I’m still getting used to drinking wine with dinner so I’m relaxed and content and just a bit sassy. This could get interesting. Or not.

First off, the room is 10 ft x 10 ft, one wall is all closet (albeit a really really awful one), and there is one window on another wall. At some point I will do a floor plan so stay tuned…ummm probably shouldn’t hold your breath.

View of THE room

Ok, I’m standing in the hall looking in…what a freakin’ disaster right? Now you know WHY this project was such a no-brainer choice. Full wall #1 to the left, full wall #2 across the back, wall with window (not seen from this angle), and final fourth wall that consists of super sucky pants closet. I really don’t like that closet, can you tell?

Somewhere in there is a table.

Wall #1 in all its glory. Very cute pencil drawing of my son from way back when, some wall shelves with the beginning of my organizing efforts and a whole pile of god only knows what on top and in front of an Ikea gateleg table. Between the shelves and the table are bars with baskets hanging from them. Yet another Ikea item from the kitchen department I think. When this was my son’s room, they held his art and school supplies above his drafting table. The table is now in a different area being used as Honey’s desk.

Somewhere under all this is a carpeted floor-you can just see the lovely brown 70’s lushness there in the front.

There’s that poor gateleg table peeking out of a pile crap. Can’t you just hear a tiny voice calling ” help me…help me”. Not much floor space available. Sigh.

How does one get back there? Good question.

Here is the corner formed by two full walls – aka the beginnings of Wall #2. That’s an Ikea Billy shelf unit with doors. In it are two sewing machines that have not seen the light of day for over two years. Only positive about that is they shouldn’t be covered in dust an inch thick. Honey uses the very top of that unit and the wall shelves above it for his RC helicopters. Not very easy to get to them. At all. I usually hear some swearing when he goes in there. Sorry Honey. That is about to change.

Isn’t that a lovely painting? I know the artist.

Wall #2 meets window wall. Really the only place to put the double size bed. That painting on the wall was done by my son when he was ten and at summer art camp. I got it professionally framed last fall and I will have it hanging on a wall no matter where I live. By the way, he just turned 23 years old, so yeah, it took me long enough. Only warm body sleeping on this bed is the cat. She’s just a little thing and found a few comfy spots.

Miss Kiko… She’s a talkative little Diva.

CAT PICTURE BREAK!!!!! Everyone, this is Kiko our two year old cat. She came to see what Mummy was doing. She has one eye and a whole lotta attitude. She’s spoiled rotten. She’d make a perfect pirate but has issues with wearing the costume – yes, I bought my cat one of those pirate costumes…whuh…

Dun dun dunnnnn…who knows what lurks under there?

Yes folks, I put my bed up on stilts so I could shove more crap under it. Here we have a fully loaded under-bed-world of boxes full of who knows what. I think Kiko might have a stash of toys under there. I’m sure she was in there making sure I don’t disturb it. We’ll find out by the end of August, won’t we…

Wall #3 meets the worst. closet. ever. Ever I tell you!

Say Hi to Sarah Jane folks. She’s my never-been-used-yet dress form. She still needs to be padded out to mimic me and I haven’t had the heart to do that to her yet. Her figure is perfect and well, mine isn’t. Nothing wrong with that, but she’s such a work of art and let’s be truthful, I’ve been putting it off (aka too damn lazy to do it – aka I don’t know where the padding kit is…). Anyways, shitty closet behind her and window on adjacent wall. Pile of boxes and crap and a cart full of sheets and towels that need washing.

DISCLAIMER: the closet from hell is not included in the challenge.  It really needs its own. If I have some August left after getting this room together, I will get going on the closet. To be fair to the damn closet, it’s not what is in it, it is the shape/structure of the darn thing. Really not conducive to anything.

Pretty much the easiest place to get to in this room.

A view behind the door. Not a very well utilized space, but I have plans for this that involve Honey and some power tools.

And… there you have it. Now you know why I don’t have a sewing spot and why I picked this room for my August Challenge Project. It has always been quite daunting to do anything in there but shift things off the bed or into our room when we have sleepover company. I’ve never really thought a weekend was enough and there have also been some emo issues connected to that room and the stuff in it that I may or may not cover as I post updates. The only thing I have done is add to the crap as I go through stuff in other rooms and find things that need to live in there. I will touch on that process as well. A lot has been happening in the Chaos since I last posted, so there is a lot to catch up on.

I have promised myself to do a minimum of 30 minutes in there every weekday night. I do plan to take a break on the weekends to work on my list of various other organizing or creative projects. This room is going to be tough to get through and I don’t want to hate it by the time I’m all done.

Finished Sock, On Deck redo, On the Needles Now, a Happy, Productive Visit

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Knitter’s Husband Marine Life Socks finished the other day.  They are approximately a size 13.  That’s a whole lotta sock.  Told Spencer while he was here for Thanksgiving that his feet are NOT allowed to grow any more.  It’s bad enough he’s at a size 12.

A WHOLE LOTTA sock…

Spencer’s SF Giant’s socks not happening anymore.  The yarn is splitty, the colors are NOT working out in the jumble and I do NOT like knitting them as the yarn has too much nylon and it does NOT flow over the needles.  Spencer has agreed about the colors and has picked a different yarn out of the stash.  Cherry Tree Hill’s “Middle Earth”.  Photos later.  Still keeping an eye out for the right yarn as I do want to make him some Giants socks.  Definitely needs to be self-striping 100% Merino – which is way out of my price range at the moment.  This is how far I went before I had to say “NO MORE” – not black/orange/white but brown/coral/white.

Going on the needles today as I watch Da Bears trounce the Vikings – socks for my partner in crime Antonella.  After slacking off for three days, they are FINALLY going on the needles – Claudia Hand Painted Yarns “Roasted Chilies”.  I have five more pairs to make after these.  FIVE.  Yeah, I should really get going.

 

Once Spence FINALLY got to my house, we had a simple Thanksgiving dinner of lasagna and a salad.  But first we had dessert.  We LOVE pumpkin pie in The Chaos so that had to be eaten first!

After we rested a bit after our mini-feast, we went through all the boxes he left in his room.  I made a special pile of them and we made quick work of going through it all.  We came across wonderful things that triggered many happy memories of his grandparents, both gone now.  Here we are in two of the many awesome hats from his hat collection.  Mom and Dad always sent him various hats for birthdays and holidays and hats were his souvenirs whenever anyone traveled.  Here, he wears the Davey Crockett ‘Coon hat his Papa Bernie gave him, and I’m in a fancy Greek hat that Grandma Mary brought back from her Mediterranean Cruise.  He took the furry hat back to UCLA.

It was a Happy Holiday Visit, and we got some sorting and organizing done too!  What more could a Mom ask for…

Except maybe her Honey coming on December 14th for a Happy Holiday Visit and Honey helping sort and organize too!  I’ll have them both in for Christmas/New Year’s so look forward to whipping The Chaos into a bit better shape while they are here.  Looking forward to having access to strong, tall men.  I’ll have to cook and feed them, but small price to pay for all the much needed help they will provide.

SQUEEE.

The Change Begins

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So the work that was supposed to happen in Spencer’s room a few Saturday’s ago finally happened this past weekend.  Well, most of it anyway.

Finally started in on washing all the linens as well.  I ran out of fabric softener and then had issues with soap and not enough quarters and well, I’m lucky I got my clothes washed a few weeks ago.

There was finally a trip to Jo-Ann’s for the last of the fabrics I need for the quilts I’m about to start up.  Doggie quilt needed one more color, Spencer’s quilt needed two more colors and I needed some cotton thread.  Once I get all the tops made, I’ll be back at the store for some batting and backing for Spence’s and Sis’s quilt.  Mom had already bought the backing and the batting for Doggie’s quilt, so all I needed was thread.  I’ve got a cute idea for the Doggie quilt so hope he enjoys it when it’s all said and done (like he cares, he just needs a new blankie because current blankie is about to fall into even more pieces).  I’m sure Mom had just the basic quilt in mind with the pattern fabric for the top and a plain fabric for the bottom, but being a quilter, I just had to add another color, cut it all up and then put it all back together.

Sounds crazy, I know.  One of these days I’ll take some photos of the quilts I have here that I’ve made.

OK, now for the room (it’s about time, right?!?).

Here we have the room “before”, with the bed against one wall, all the stuff off the wall and everything else out of the room.

And here is the room “after”, with the bed moved to a different wall.  After of course having vacuumed the nightstand, the lamp, the mattress set, the frame, the ceiling, the wall, and the floor.  Nothing like a nice cleany clean room!

Tomorrow night I vacuum the drapes, clean the window, vacuum out the closet and start bringing stuff in!

Need to get moving with getting this set up because I need to get moving on all those quilts.  Can’t wait to get the sewing machines all set up with organized stash shelves, and everything in its place.

It will be my first dedicated sewing/craft area ever!  It will be nice to be able to leave out my machines and not have to worry about clearing off the table and putting everything away when I’m done for the day.

I’ve been finding a lot of small quilted items that I’ve got all cut out but need to be assembled, so I just might have to set something up to sell all this stuff.

Well the ones upstairs are done exercising and practically bringing down the ceiling, so it is my turn to make noise and fire up my NutriBlast blender thingy.  Need to get breakfast ready for tomorrow.

Room Redeco, Step 1 – Yarn Stash Wrangling

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After several false starts and just plain ignoring it, the yarny organization portion of the closet re-do in Spencer’s room is almost complete.  Only thing left to do is to go through all my needles and notions and knitterly what-nots.  Most of those are going in a special box on the shelf, directly above the hanging thing.  The rest will go in organizers I hope to make and hang off the side of the hanging thing which has some very handy dandy pockets and straps along both sides.  First I need to see what I have.

Here is a photo as promised.  This is all of my yarn.  Yes, ALL of my yarn.  If it doesn’t fit in this hanging thing, it does not stay or come into the apartment.  If you are a non-knitter, you will think, “Wow, that is a LOT of yarn!”  If you are a knitter, you’ll think, “Oh that poor thing, she’s STARVING herself, absolutely STARVING herself!”
I have plenty of stash, seriously, I do.  At the rate I knit, this should probably last me about 5 years.  A different way to look at it is: one sweater (that’s the denim yarn on the bottom shelf, yes I found it!), a dozen or so cotton cloths, 11 definite pairs of socks, 5 shawls/wraps, 1 scarf, and what could be either 6 wraps or 6 pairs of socks.  Oh, and half a T.A.R.D.I.S.
Whether you are a knitter or a non-knitter, you are thinking, “Wow, that’s a shitload of knitting.”
(Some of you are thinking, “What the heck is a T.A.R.D.I.S.”  Google is your friend.  Watch the Doctor and learn my friends.)
Anyway, yes, it is a LOT of knitting – especially for me because I knit when the spirit moves me, and it takes me a long time to finish something. Most of the time I start something, get pretty far in it, then decide to take it apart and make it into something else.  It’s just the way I knit – and I enjoy the hell out of it.
By the way, not included in the hanging stash is the sweater I already have on needles and a shawl I’m also working on…the sweater lives in my project bag next to Chair and the shawl occasionally travels with me.
Next up is the sewing stash.  It’s a bit too heavy for a hanging stash keeper, so I’m going to have to come up with something else.  I have been looking at various web pages about organizing such things as fabric, patterns, and thread.  I have shelf space, various nice boxes, and a creative mind.
Onward and upward.

Stalled

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Last Saturday I was full steam ahead on the Chaos Redecoration of Spencer’s Room.

These past few days, not so much.  I’m just not feeling it.  The beginning of the week was soooooooooooooo hotttttttttttttttttttttttttttt.  Whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.

Seriously, it was triple digits for a few days.  It is now cooler.  I am much happier.  The internal furnace (aka hot flash) was full blast these last few days, either brought on by the high temps or just because it felt like firing up full blast.

Loving the cooler temps because even if the inner furnace is ready to blow, I feel “normal”.  My cheeks may be purple or red, or one in each color, but I don’t feel like I’m going to singe all the hair off of my head.

Side Note: If you see me out in public, no, I did NOT lose my mirror when putting on blush this morning.  I don’t wear makeup, that is my new natural coloring.

Back to being stalled.  If you can’t tell, I do NOT like high temps.  I feel drained, listless and downright useless.  Since last Saturday, it was all I could do to make sure I got back home.  Therefore, nothing was done in the room.  I tried several times to get some more work going on, but as far as I got was to go into the room, stand in the middle, sigh and walk out.  There really isn’t much left in the room to do.  Just need to move the bed, vacuum that corner, clean the window, vacuum the curtains (they get dusty and the vacuum is the easiest way to deal with floor to ceiling curtains), move the bed to the other wall, move the drafting/sewing desk and chair to the room, move the big metal shelf to the room, and start putting things away.

Oh, is THAT ALL?!?

Saturday it’s an early trip to Jo-Ann Fabrics for some fabric (of course), and then it’s back to more linen laundry and work in the room while that is happening.  I need to get that room set up as soon as possible.  I’ve got some MAJOR projects in the works and I really need to get them going.  This time around, we’re working with the serger and the sewing machine.  It’s Chaos Quilting time. I’ve got three to make.

Dog-size, lap-size, and Twin XL-size.

That is all.

Getting used to things…

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Mainly, I’m still not used to this new blogger layout.

Worst part about it is that I didn’t actively change it.  Instead of doing that, I just ignored all the notices that popped up every time I logged in about a “new blogger coming” and then one day last week, there it was…

The “new” blogger…

And here I am trying to figure it all out.

I will, eventually.

One other thing I’m not used to is anything Spencer related.

Not used to:

  1. Not texting him at the end of the day to ask his opinion on that night’s dinner.
  2. Going into his room and doing stuff – that was his domain, I hardly set foot in it.
  3. Doing the dishes, thankfully, there is only me, so there aren’t that many now.  He somehow dirtied every dish every day – or at least that is what it seemed like.
  4. Not having 3 loads of laundry a week.  I’m down to 2 every other week.  Now THAT I like.
  5. Cleaning BOTH bathrooms, once again, the hall bathroom was his domain.
  6. There are many little things I come across, too many to list or remember but they cause memories and twinges of missing him.

I’ll eventually get used to it all and I really do miss him, but with email, texting, facebook and Skype, I can keep in contact way too easily for his liking.  Bwahahaha.

I was going to take a photo of the first part of my closet re-do, but forgot, so that’ll happen soon.  I’ve got a bit of a hot mess on the last few “shelves” of the hanging thing for yarny goodness, so I should figure out what I’m going to do with it before I snap any photos of the ‘finished product’ anyway.  I have been sorting through lots of things and moving other things around and still haven’t found that other box of yarn, but I know it’s in the apartment somewhere.  I’m missing some very cool denim yarn that my sister gifted me a LONG time ago. I KNOW I still have it.  The bottom-shelves-hot-mess may need to be donated to make room for it.  No great loss since it’s been that hot mess for 2-3 years now – I obviously have no feelings for neither that project nor that yarn.

Tomorrow morning is a wash-a-thon of linens.  Stripping both beds, washing everything, seeing what linens stay, what linens go.  My donation pile will grow exponentially tomorrow morning, I’m sure of it. 

I have 4 rolls of quarters.  Bring it.

And so it begins?

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I have made a few decisions on what to do with Spencer’s room.

First I thought about going to a smaller space, then decided against that because I didn’t want to pack to move, didn’t want to pay to move, and didn’t want to be bothered with moving in general.

So now his room becomes a craft/storage/bedroom room.

It’s still partially his room, only I’m arranging it the way “I” want it to look.  His part is the bed.  Oh and he has a bit of the closet still, but not very much.

I’ve decided to store all my decorations and craft supplies in the closet.  I know the craft supplies will fit, but I’m not so sure about the holiday decorations.

Here’s my plan:

Each craft and holiday is designated a certain amount of space.  It does not increase. 

First up: knitting/crocheting and all things yarny.

I hit Ikea yesterday and bought this and this for my knitting.  So far so good.  I had already thinned out a LOT of my knitting stash, so things are fitting perfectly just where they need to be.  I have a sneaking suspicion that there is another box of yarn lurking somewhere and that will throw my whole plan into chaos, but I’ll cross that bridge when I find that box.  I have another shelf of the hanging thingy available so things just might fit.

Photo proof available soon.

I had the idea for the knitting in my head and it needed to come out and come into being NOW, so had to get that out of my system.  Now I can get back to concentrating on stripping the bed, washing everything, getting new sheets, and dealing with the corner of boxes that Spencer left behind.  Then I can move the bed to the wall I’ve always wanted it to be against, and start moving things in and out once I’ve given the room a thorough vacuum and cleaning.

The Chaos will truly be Chaos until the dust settles.

Happiness in the fog of What.Ever.

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Happiness is having a dedicated Knitting Chair.  Mine is now known affectionately by the name Chair.

As in My Chair, do not sit in My Chair.

Capitalized because it is a such wonderful revered place – if only by me, but who cares.

This is the first time in all my knitting years (that’s about 42 total btw – yes, i started VERY YOUNG), that I’ve had a dedicated knitting chair.

It’s the first time, since I became a single parent that I’ve had a VERY NICE chair.  All my other furniture has been fine: second hand/ consignment furniture that has more than done it’s duty and served it’s purpose.  It’s worn out, I’m worn out and I only had the bare necessities because that’s all I could afford.  An extra comfy chair would have been considered a luxury.

And right now, I need some luxury.  Still can’t afford it, but I have an Angel.

Chair is not brand new, but it sure does look like it.  Thanks to a very generous friend who manages to give me some wonderful cast-offs whenever she moves.  I’ve had it for over a year, but have had to share it with a teenage son and an old Kitty and then some very soft donation items.

Now that Kitty has been gone for a while (sadness) and the son is getting ready for college (more sadness…especially since the acceptance letters have started to arrive), and I’ve packed up the donation clothes, I have now reclaimed it as MINE.

I NEED the Chair.  It helps me relax during what little down time I have. Definitely should have reclaimed it earlier, but I guess I wasn’t ready to acknowledge I needed it.  Or some sort of hooey whatsit.  I now officially acknowledge the need.

It’s the right amount of coziness.

And Chair soon could be joined by a storage cube/ottoman.  Generous friend informed me last night that she has a few to hand off after their last move (they are redecorating in the new place) and would I be interested.

HELL TO THE YES.

A place to put my weary tooties that also holds yarny goodies?

Oh yes indeedy, I am very interested.

Last night was the first night I actually sat in Chair and knit for more than a few minutes.

Knitterly heaven in a sea of boxes.

As soon as all the boxes go away, I’ll post a photo of my special place in the Chaos.  There are still too many of them in the background.

What.Ever.

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So tomorrow is the “annual inspecting of the apartments”.

What have I done for the last few days or nights when I’ve had free time?

Knit.

Road my bike with Spencer.

Played a stupid computer game.

Some would say I’m not ready for inspection (like me, for instance).

I don’t really care.  The place is clean and I’ll shift the clutter around into the stacks where it should go and will end up anyway.  It’s mostly in boxes right now, so it’ll be easier than it sounds.

A few signs saying “Donate” and “Back to storage” on each of the respective stacks and I’m done.

Although the “Back to storage” is really “still need to go through” as I do not intend to put anything back into storage.

But the inspectors don’t need to know that right now.