Archive for the ‘Blog Challenges’ Category
This week we had company in town and I didn’t have much time to work on de-cluttering the house. We have been working over the past few weeks painting. We painted the kids’ rooms and then we painted the kitchen. In the kitchen, we now have nice new countertops, scrubbed clean cabinets, and a fresh coat of paint. Then you see this:
This isn’t even as bad as it was before we pulled the fridge out to paint. A bunch of the junk on the fridge fell off and we just piled it on a table until we could clean that up! Now it looks like this:
I will probably clear some more magnets off but, for now, it makes me happy to see some white space on the refrigerator!
What have you been organizing this week?
It is the end of the school year (only two more weeks to go…YAY!) and we have been in and out of town all month so decluttering hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. I have checked off a few things but I am hoping that once summer is here things will calm down a bit. We have a few trips planned, but I am hoping to have time to continue my decluttering journey and also to craft!! You will probably see more kid’s crafts as I will be trying to find lots of things to entertain my 4 and 6 year old!
This week I tackled a project I had been dreading…two of the three hall closets. This closet contains a number of craft items that as you can see are just thrown in the closet with no organization at all. I broke my foot at Christmas in the midst of a million craft projects and as we put stuff away I just threw them in to the closet.
I couldn’t even find something in there if I tried! I organized all the craft stuff, threw away trash, and put some items to be sold in a garage sale. I am still trying to decide if Christmas Cookie Monster gets to stay…my kids love him. Maybe he can move to Grandma’s house to live with the other singing Christmas toys!
Next, I tackled the second hall closet that I have really been dreading. We affectionately call this closet the crap closet. Some people have a junk drawer but we have a crap closet.
As I was cleaning out the closet, I found that the majority of the junk in the closet were holiday items that we missed while putting them away each holiday. You know when you clean up Christmas you always find that one decoration that didn’t make it into the boxes before they got put in the attic? Well, we should have been calling this closet the Closet of Lost Decorations because that was mostly what was in it! That and trash.
With all this free closet space, my next major project (oh and it will be a major one) is to clean Craft Central out of our bedroom and put it in the closet.
What are you organizing this week? Stop by Org Junkie to see what everyone is organizing!
Even though the last time I posted a Clutter-oholics post was three long weeks ago, I promise I have been doing some organizing. The projects took a little longer than I had thought they would and I just didn’t have the energy to post! The first thing I did was clean out three email accounts. No pictures for that one!
The second thing we did was clean up the kitchen to get new counter tops installed. We just went with a high end laminate because we didn’t want to spend the money on a solid surface. We are very happy with the counter tops!
Now we just need to rip down the old border and paint when we get around to it!
The third thing we worked on were the children’s rooms…cue the horror music now. I give you Big S’s before picture:
I know, I know…the clutter issue runs in the family. And the after picture (ignore the lego pieces…he was playing after cleaning!):
And I give you Little S’s room (look away fast!):
The only thing left is to make the beds! The plan is to paint their rooms as well…we will see if we get around to it. What have you been cleaning up lately?
Stop by OrgJunkie to see other people’s messes…it will make me feel better! :-)
Last week my husband suggested that we tackle the office/craft room/let’s-just-put-it-in-there room. We actually made a good bit of progress, but I was sick with strep throat and the baby was sick with a string of the Measles AND an ear infection…so it didn’t get finished. But, because I promised myself that I was going to do this thing (and do it right) I made it a point to complete something on my list.
It’s that thing that everyone has, everyone hates, everyone cringes at when they realize it’s time to do something about it.
The kitchen ‘junk drawer’. (Doom doom DOOM!!!)
Granted, it’s probably one of the smallest projects on my list, but it still took me over an hour to really clean it out, organize its contents, and put away the junk that didn’t belong in the drawer. Here’s my ‘before’:
Pretty junky, yes?
Sadly, there were no craft projects associated with this clean-up. There were, however, various piles of items that were to go to various rooms of the house: the office, the craft room, my bathroom, the garage, and even my MOM’S house.
What is it about organizing your junk drawer that makes you feel refreshed?
Hopefully next week won’t bring more sickies our way and I’ll be able to tackle a real project. For now, I think I’ll go hunt for a rubber band…because I finally know where they are!
I know this post is not about me being creative, or crafty, but it is about accomplishing something that I have worked very hard on the past six months: Completing the Shamrock Marathon. Combine this with the fact that this blog is called ThreadedTogether and it is an opportunity for me to share my story with the rest of my family. So, to my family for their support, I say thank you, and in case any of you out there are trying to set a big goal for yourself…if you set your mind to it, you WILL do it!
I DID IT!!!
That’s right! 26.2 miles! My first marathon! The Shamrock Marathon 2011 to be exact. Today, two days later, I am still feeling this overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I. Really. Did. It. I am also feeling an overwhelming sense of pain!!!
Yep, I cannot tell a lie. I hurt. Not all over, but I hurt. My calves are completely useless. I have never been so incapacitated from a run. Clearly it is my lack of training the last two months because my legs never felt like spaghetti noodles after my 20 mile runs back in January. I literally cannot walk up and down my stairs in my house right now, and even walking down small ramps is difficult. No joke!
However, I do get to sport my cool pink 26.2 magnet on the back of my car now:
When my training was going as planned back in January and February, I had no doubt I would be able to complete this race in under 4 hours. In fact, I was really getting my hopes up to work up to a 3:50 run. Unfortunately though, I am sure this was my demise. In the fall I pulled my groin and suffered through physical therapy to heal my entire hip area. Then, in the beginning of February I busted my foot, most likely a stress fracture but unconfirmed in xrays (I started feeling better so I chose to forego the MRI).
It was at this time that I finally accepted the fact that my body was not ready to run as fast as my heart thought I could. I took a month off completely from running and in the two to three weeks leading up to the race only ran a handful of times, my longest run just over 8 miles. EIGHT MILES! I thought about that a lot as I was running. It was as if those 20 mile runs in January had never happened. Nonetheless, I had paid my entry fee and was dying for bragging rights, so I was determined to finish this marathon. Running or walking.
My family and I spent the night in a hotel down in Virginia Beach to avoid race morning traffic. When we walked out to the start line it was crazy windy and all four of us were freezing our toushes off!
“Keep us warm mom!!!” BRRRRRRRRRR! 15 minutes before the start I even ran back to our hotel and changed into capris and a long sleeve shirt (and I usually dress in as little as I can get away with the weather…I was wearing shorts and a tank top).
While lining up in the waves I decided to stick with the 4:00:00 (four hour) pacing group. It was amibitious, to say the least, but I knew (even in the last few weeks) I could still easily run at least 9 miles at a 9:00 pace. So I chose to start strong and see where it took me. The guy and gal leading the pace group were awesome! They really did a fantastic job and even kept the spirits of the group up. I was enjoying the comradery and the company of all these people who I felt I had a lot in common with, even though we had never met. Everyone had a story about their training, their injuries, there goals for this run (mostly talked about before the start of the race of course). It reminded me that I was not the only person who had been planning for this event for the last six months!
Up hill and downhill the pacers trudged on and I did an okay job keeping up. We BATTLED the headwind that we spent the first several miles running against, and still our pace was steady. If it were just me, I would have let that wind push me backwards much earlier!!! I chatted with a few people on occassion along the way and kept telling myself this was just going to be a nice, easy, LONG jog.
My body thought the jog should have ended at 13 miles. We had run down the street, over a bridge (twice) and through a military barracks facility where tons of servicemen and women were routing us on, “Go four hours!!!” (the pacers have signs on their jerseys and they also run the whole marathon holding a flag with the time on it…that would bother the crap out of me to have to do!!!).
My family was waiting for me at the halfway point, or somewhere right before. Armed with video camera in hand, my husband did an amazing job routing me on. My kids ran down the road with me for a block screaming “Go Mommy Go!!!!” It was truly heart warming and inspiring. Talk about motivation!
Again, though, my heart was stronger than my legs. Something happened after that halfway point and my willpower lost to my lack of leg power. I finally admitted to myself I would not be able to hold this pace for another 13.1 miles and I slowed down. I thought I would only have to slow down a little, but that four hour pacing group left me in their dust in a blink of an eye! As I watched the pack disappear down the street I needed to have a new mantra. Instead of chanting “you can run a 9 minute pace in your sleep,” I had to start convincing myself I could KEEP RUNNING, regardless of what pace. Oh my gosh that was one of the hardest things. I tried reminding myself over and over that I could do this. I had run 20 miles two times and had run 18, 17, 16, etc just as many or more! But that was SO long ago. Two months in running time is an ETERNITY, I now know.
After the halfway point I walked twice for no reason other than I couldn’t run any more. I think that totalled less than half a mile. I even took my cell phone out to text my husband. Last time he saw me I was holding strong with the four hour group! Now here I was walking at mile 15.5. I wanted him to know not to be waiting for me at the finish line for too long!!! Poor guy did such a great job keeping the kids busy all morning. That was actually a big reason I was able to keep going! I was thinking about my awesome husband keeping our kids occupied and how I had to get to the finish line to save him from their whining!!!
After this point I finally started walking whenever I stopped for water and had to stop to go to the bathroom three times. At the water stops, I needed every drop I could get. No more running and trying to get whatever I could in my mouth really quick! I also ate a Carb BOMB gel pack at each station they were handing those out at (there were three stations but I didn’t finish any of the gels). I am sorry, but I HATE those things!!! Not just Carb BOMB, all of the gel packs. They are disgusting. But boy, let me tell you, at mile 23 when you are digging down for all you have left to give and it is all you can do to run a 11:30 pace, you will eat ANYTHING for energy!!!
As I was running the last 6 miles (I didn’t walk again after mile 20) I noticed a lot of my “friends” from my four hour pace group. I was obviously not the only one to fall off the wagon. I don’t know if that really made me feel any better at the time, but it definitely reminded me that I could keep going. I hadn’t lost the race. Nor was I going to, because the only way that would happen is if I didn’t finish.
Those last six miles are somewhat of a blur now. I think my mind and muscles had shut down and my nerves were just telling my legs to keep moving…very slowly, but still moving. I don’t think I rose above an 11:00 pace by this time. But oh was it a sweet symphany that rang in my ears when I saw that sign:
OMG. FINALLY! Almost there!
That was the longest mile of my life. We went around a turn and were running on the boardwalk for about half a mile I think and I just remember how amazing it was to see the crowd of people grow thicker and thicker the closer I made it to the finish line: a big black blowup finish line at the end of the tunnel. I trudged forward and crossed through it, my net time 4:29:13.
My family was there to greet me as were two of my friends who had conquered the half marathon earlier that morning. I had a permagrin on my face for the rest of the afternoon. After receiving all of my SWAG and stretching for a while, we entered the party tent and I was able to eat some stew. This was the first race that I have not partaken in my two free beers at the finish line party. I know, right??? I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t have it in me to drink a beer after a 26 mile run.
At this point my calves were already starting to seiz up and I knew I would have a long road of recovery ahead of me. We’ll see how long that takes exactly. But you know what? I did it!!! My calves will heal and I will ALWAYS be able to tell the story about how I ran 26.2 miles. Now let the preparation begin for my second marathon…the Marine Corp Marathon in D.C. I have a while to train for that one. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for no injuries this time, huh???
This week I had an AHA! moment. The first week I joined the 52 Week Challenge, I completed three items on my list. None of the items were small either. All three were time consuming and desperately needed cleaned. Last week, I assumed that life got the best of me and I only had time to declutter one item on my list. This week? Same thing. Only one item. BUT…
I was able to maintain all four other areas. The rest of my house? Not so much, but those four areas that I labored over are still clean. I realized that this task is supposed to take 52 weeks because you can’t clean it all in a few weeks and continue to maintain what you have already cleaned and decluttered. My hope is to make sure that if I have decluttered it, it stays that way.
So what did I tackle this week? The entry way wall opposite of the coat and shoe rack (which is still clean as you will see!)…
I chose this area for several reasons. The most important was that we are getting new countertops delivered on Sunday and I don’t want a delivery man falling over my little vacuum cord. I also decided I should probably unpack that suitcase since we have been home from our weekend trip for a week now. I bought this shelf unit and the boxes at IKEA as a solve to the “I don’t have a craft room” problem. Each box is very organized and labeled but, as you can see, when we bought the shelf addition we had extra space and I hadn’t put the boxes together. We just started stacking stuff and then it just got worse and worse. The boxes just sat stacked and not put together for months…maybe even over a year. That green box sitting on top of the shelf? That is a Christmas decoration that didn’t make it into the box when we packed up Christmas. Still sitting there. Three and a half months later.
I started by putting together the boxes, organizing the junk that had somehow found a home in the little nooks and on top of the unit. I unpacked, moved the water to the kitchen and put the vacuum away. Then I went through what we call the gift card basket.
Anytime someone gets a gift card, it goes in this basket (along with other important stuff that I don’t want to lose but don’t want to take the time to put away…like my daughter’s passport…from a trip last February…like 2010). The problem is that it hasn’t been cleaned out in…I don’t know…forever and we don’t even know what we have. I got that cleaned out, went through the giftcards, called about balances if they were unmarked and put them back in the basket.
Now, this is what you see when you walk in my front door.
I placed a charger on top of the shelf to catch keys, watches, sunglasses, MP3 players, etc. So far, it has helped with the clutter on other flat surfaces as well!
What did you declutter this week?
Stop by OrgJunkie to see other people’s messes…it will make me feel better! :-)
My Clutter-oholics Anonymous ‘Challenge’ is off to a great start. Since posting my list I have been so excited about organizing and cleaning out that I actually had a bit of a hard time deciding what to start on first. Until…
That’s the big boy (he’s ONE!) telling me in his own special way that the bottom of the pantry needs to be cleaned out. One of his favorite toys right now is the yard stick. He’s in love with swinging it around, dragging it around the kitchen, and ‘fencing’ with the dog (poor Sebastian). We stayed home from work to celebrate his birthday and after seeing him drag stuff out of the pantry, I decided that this would be my first Clutter-oholics-Anonymous task. (If you notice, this was also the first item on the list. The kid’s a genius!)
So…first I pulled everything out, vacuumed, and took some wet rags and wiped down the whole floor. Once everything was pulled out, I realized what a hazard that pantry had become. I found old plastic bottles (the two-ounce size that formula comes in…meant to recycle them, but we don’t have a No. 5 recycling center anywhere), wood chips for the smoker (mmmm….yummm…..), a bag of failed Christmas ornaments, and various bowls and food items. The plastic bottles went in the garbage along with the Christmas ornaments. I’d been trying to come up with a craft idea for the bottles, but after months of brainstorming (and my son throwing them all over the kitchen) I gave up and tossed them. The Christmas ornaments? These were a failed attempt to make handmade ornaments for a craft group I used to attend. This was also the same time I gave up on Martha Stewart craft projects. Martha, honey, your projects are beautiful. But…we need to work on your instructions. After trying to make these stupid things THREE TIMES in a row, I cried like a baby and gave up. When I found them in the pantry (a whole year later), I had a body shiver and threw them in the garbage.
We buy a lot of our ‘staples’ in bulk. What doesn’t fit on the shelves, I keep on the floor. Extra batteries are now in an old formula cannister (it’ll get cute paper covering later), and wood chips are in their own cannister, too. I hung the grilling utensils on the walls inside the pantry as well as three of the five yard sticks. I didn’t want to cut out too much of the baby’s fun found in the pantry.
I also made a new grocery bag holder. It’s not as big as the previous one, but it’s new and fresh. So…the bottom of the pantry is done. Whew…
Next is the utility room/wash room. This one’s going to be a lot more involved…and will probably involve me using a cordless drill. I can’t wait.
Stop by Organizing Junkie for the roundup!
Week Two of the 52 Weeks Challenge (Week 10 if you actually started at the beginning of the year!) was a bit of a challenge for me. I was on a roll last week, checking off three items from my 52 Weeks List, and I thought that I would do at least two or three things this week. Nope. Reality check…life, kids, dinner, laundry, and maintaining last week’s items took up an awful lot of time! Even though I only completed one small area, I really learned a lot.
I decided to work on the bookshelf area in our living room. If you look across the living room, it is the first thing that you see when you walk through the front door. We don’t pay much attention to the bookshelf. It is used on a weekly, if not daily basis. It is probably the one area in my house that doesn’t collect a layer of dust on it because books are moved around, taken off the shelf, added to the shelf, etc. I don’t even notice the bookshelf and what it looks like.
Then, I took a picture of it and looked at on the camera screen. AAACCKK!! Is this what people see when they first walk into my house?!?!?!
O. M. G.
Yikes! The cardboard box was put there to catch books as I went through them, but pretty much everything else is exactly what it typically looks like. I went through each shelf, took everything off of it and then sorted it into piles (keep, give away, sell, return to rightful owner). It took days to go through these two bookshelves…ridiculous. What is even more ridiculous is that now that it is done, I have 1.5 shelves of books I haven’t read yet. No need for a library trip right now. I can’t believe all those unread books were hiding on the shelf. I have three bags of books to return or give to three different people and an entire box to take to a used bookstore.
And I laughed out loud when I found this little buried gem!
Now the bookshelf looks like this:
Now that the whole area is cleaned up, I can see what books I have to read and what little things sit on the shelf. There are several little trinkets that we have purchased during our travels that were displayed before but you couldn’t see them through the mess. I am still not sure what I am going to place on the top of the bookshelf, but now I have room to display things that are important to me like this:
This is a copy of the Southern Living blog post when I was named Southern Living Mama Blogger of the Week for my family travel blog. One of my best friends printed off the post, framed it and gave it to me as a gift the day I found out. It has not been displayed because there was nowhere to put it but it is very special to me because it was such an honor!
For more organizing madness, stop by Organizing Junkie for the roundup!
Who knows what we will organize next!!!
After seeing Jen’s post a few weeks ago, I became inspired.
And then I got scared.
And then I backed off.
And then I consulted with my husband.
And he was pretty darn excited about it. Yay!
We started making our list of the 52 things and areas we wanted either organized or de-cluttered (or just cleaned up). We have a baby (he’s almost one!) and we both work full time so it’s often very difficult to balance work, house chores, play time, relax time, sleep (what’s that?) and still have time to work on things around the house. But…if we attack one item a week, I think we should be able to do it. Granted, some of our items are bigger projects than others, but we’ll have to ‘borrow time’ from the easy weeks. We’re still pretty excited…me more than him, but that’s okay.
So here’s my list:
- Bottom of the pantry Week 1
- Laundry Room shelf Week 2
- Kitchen Junk Drawer Week 3
- My dresser drawers What Week Is This?
- Bathroom cabinets Week 4
- Office Closet
- Kitchen Cabinets
- Master Bedroom Closet Week 8
- Safe (Hub’s area)
- Scrap-booking Supply Container
- Sewing Project Container
- Files (inside and outside) Week 9
- Tool Box
- Tool Shelves
- Dining Room Week 6
- Bathroom Drawer & Medicine Cabinet
- Dog’s Kennel & Basket What Week Is This?
- Lane’s Closet (the ALMOST one-year old)
- End Tables
- Back Porch Week 7
- Shelves in Garage
- Tool Bench in Garage
- Recycling Bins/Cans Week 5
- Front Linen Closet What Week Is This?
- Gift Wrapping Containers What Week Is This?
- Front Hall Closet What Week Is This?
- Ryan’s Mustang
- Jewelry Boxes
- Middle of Garage (Yes, we give it its own name)
- Sermon Notes
- China Cabinet
- Halloween, Easter, and Thanksgiving Decorations
- My Car
- Craft Idea Book What Week Is This?
- ‘Junk’ Tub in Garage
- Christmas Decorations
- Ribbon Supply
- Ledge in Foyer
- Cross Stitch Supply Container
- Out of Season Clothes
- Fabric Stash (This will be a doozy)
- Beading Supply Container
- Photos and Framed Pictures
- Medicine Cabinet in Kitchen Week 10
- Office Supplies
- CD & Movie Collection
Technically you could argue that I’ve already started…we’ll just call it a jump start. Two weeks ago the hubs went to visit his grandpa out of town. With him gone, I decided to reorganize my craft room a bit. It wasn’t a huge overhaul, but it’s a huge improvement as far as I’m concerned. I’m definitely not done with it, but I think it’s a great start.
I bought a simple set of metal shelves from Target. My biggest fear was that they wouldn’t be sturdy enough to withstand the baby pulling up on them. If you have similar worries, don’t. While searching for something, I turned around and he was pulling and yanking on them and they weren’t even moving. I got them loaded up and they’re still just as sturdy. Score.
I then ventured to the garage for empty formula canisters. I’ve been saving these like crazy because I just knew there had to be something I could use them for. I printed out ‘labels’ in various cute fonts onto scrapbook paper and used double sided tape to cover the cans.
Personally, I’m of the ‘do what works for you’ mentality. This system may not work for everyone, but it’s going quite well for me. I have a serger, an embroidery machine, and two sewing machines (one small, one industrial). The machine I use most is the industrial machine, but it only sews forward and backward. For this reason, I typically only use my smaller machine for decorative stitches. These shelves hold all three machines beautifully. Like I said, I’m really lovin’ it so far.
Not sure yet what I’m going to officially tackle first, but here’s a sneak peak at some of the ‘larger’ projects on the list…don’t judge.
Two weeks ago, I shared my list of 52 things I would like to clean, straighten, declutter or get rid of as part of the 52 Week Challenge at I’m An Organizing Junkie. I missed the first week (week 9 of the official 52 weeks) because I was preparing to go out of town so I made up for it with three different spaces this week. The first space I tackled was the kids’ learning time baskets. Each child has a basket that I keep under the coffee table full of crayons, art supplies, coloring books and activity books. This is what the area typically looks like:
This is Little S’s learning time box:
And Big S’s:
Who knows how long the basket has been in two pieces. Little S and I went through the boxes together. We threw out used up coloring books, pieces of crayon, dried up markers, etc. Paper went into the recycling bin and the rest went into the trash. An entire trash bag of trash:
This is what the area looks like now:
Aaaah…that is nice. Now, on to the next area of trouble…magazines. They were in a basket under the same table but I decided to clean this one off in the process:
I cleaned the table off, filed stuff away, and threw stuff away. I went through the magazines too. I kept the cooking/food magazine through January of last year because I love to flip through them for new ideas on a regular basis. All other magazines got recycled. I kept my husband’s magazines from January of this year on. Now it looks like this:
The last area I worked on was the entry way coat and shoe rack. Bleh.
I instituted a new shoe policy. Each person can have no more than two pairs of shoes on the rack in the entryway at a time. The rest of the shoes need to be in the shoe box in his or her room! I put the purses that I am not currently using in their home and hung up the jackets (which will soon be going into the coat closet hopefully…we have had many beautiful days in a row!). It still looks a little cluttered but I am not sure what to do about it.
It does need to be mentioned that less than three hours after I cleaned all those surfaces, they were covered again by coke cans, paperwork, mail, homework and a cell phone. I immediately reprimanded the entire family, made them clean up their mess and it was good as new. I am tired already.
What did you tackle this week? Don’t know where to get started? Join the Organizing Junkie and her 52 Weeks of Organizing Challenge! Next week, I plan on tackling the bookshelf.