Friday, April 23, 2010

Operation: Organization, Take 1

You would never guess it to look at me, my kids or my house, but I really do thrive on organization.  Life gets hectic.  The kids take up most of my 24 hours on any given day (as they rightly should!) and so, organization often goes right down the drain.  It’s unfortunate, but true.  I’ve decided recently to turn over a new leaf.  A “very pretty, well-organized, make my life much more smooth and lovely” leaf.  My hope?  That this new leaf will give me more time to enjoy the things I love, namely my children, my husband, my family, my church and lastly my craftiness.  My expectation?  Well, I’m trying to be realistic here.  What I don’t expect is for this to happen overnight.  What I do expect, however, is for this to be an ongoing process of organizational discovery that will hopefully bleed over into all aspects of my life and thus create a well-balanced and much healthier - emotionally, mentally and physically! - me.  We can all dream, can’t we?? 
I’m determined to do at least ONE major organizational project per week - I’m just adding on to the 50 mile long list of projects I really want to tackle - I am aware of that - but my sanity needs it (even if that means I put off THIS PROJECT I found on Craftoholics Anonymous by Linda a while ago that I really, really, really want to make.  A suit jacket turned purse?  What's not to love??  And blazers are only $1.50 at St. Vinny’s.  Do you know what that equals on 1/2 price Monday??  Well, I’m sure you can do the math).  And by major, I don’t necessarily mean a whole overhaul/redesign of every closet in the house or anything like that.  I mean major in the sense that it will be life-changing.  And the simplest things can be life changing.  Like making schedules and keeping calendars (something I’ve dabbled in before, but have generally allowed to fall by the wayside.)
I mentioned just in passing in a previous post that mr and I spent 12 hours last Saturday sprucing up the basement a bit.  (Well, I spent 12 hours.  mr spent more like 8 or 9, but to be fair, I have a lot more stuff down there.)  This project has been on my mind a lot lately, and it’s something I really wanted to tackle, mostly because it is the only space in which I can put my crafty hobbies into practice.  I’d love an actual craft room.  If mr and I had all the money in the world and no budget, our basement would look this this: 

(My craft area, complete with closets and sinks)
(mr's man cave, no explanation necessary)

(Courtesy of

(Courtesy of Quatloos!)

with equal parts craft room/man cave.  (I have to be honest, I don’t really know what exactly he’d put in there but I’m 100% positive that it would at least involve a ping-pong table and a video game station where he would hook up all of his wonderful toys.)  Like I said, we can all dream, right?
Anyway, we don’t have that, and it’s ok.  What we do have is perfect for us, and although we would eventually (far far away in the future) like to finish our basement,  it is currently of the "extremely ordinary, run of the mill, typical, unfinished, concrete" variety.  But that doesn’t mean it can’t be a usable space, right?  So when mr told me he thought it was time to take care of the atrocity downstairs, I jumped.
Last Saturday we went from this to this.  

Pretty good, right?  Ok, no, that isn’t really a picture of our “before” basement, but I swear, it might as well be.  I forgot to take a before picture which is disappointing because I know you would all be impressed.  Please take my word for it that the picture above really is very accurate.  The basement was a pile of everything we didn’t want anywhere else with two very small pathways - one leading to the laundry area and one leading to the sewing machine.  And now, the whole basement can be enjoyed!  

No, we are not completely finished.  First off, that one wooden table on the far wall has to go.  It’s just taking up space.  Once we get some shelving up in the garage, it’s outta here.  Also, the area that looks completely empty is mr’s space.  There’s nothing there yet, but my brother IL is letting us use his dart board, so that’s going up ASAP.  And of course we need some kind of carpeting so that we can avoid this nearly constant exchange:
Me: (crawling into bed after mr has turned out the light and snuggling my icy feet right up to his unnaturally warm legs)
Me: Sorry.
Him: Holy cow!
Me: Sorry!  I thought you were asleep and I could sneak my feet in...
Him: Well, even if I had been I wouldn’t be now!  Why don’t you wear socks when you’re down there?!
Me: I DO wear socks.  AND SHOES.  It’s just cold.
Him: Are you sure you're warm blooded?
Me: No.
And then there's the craft area.  I still have some big plans for this space, but that will be later on in Take 3 or 4 maybe.  
**DISCLAIMER:  Please ignore the mounds of laundry in that one picture.  I am happy with how organized the area is now, but the clothes, unfortunately, still do not do themselves.  If anyone knows how this can be remedied, please let me know.  (Half of those clothes are clean, by the way, and just not folded yet, so it’s not THAT bad.)  Oh, and did you notice that stinky frame collage mocking me from the back wall?  Not to mention that horrible desk disaster - uck.  I haven’t forgotten you frame.  You either, desk.  I promise.  Taunt me all you want, I’m coming for you.  
Point is, I can now sit and craft without blinders on, trying to ignore the hideous mountains of jumbled debris and hodgepodged rubbish cluttering the basement and seeping into my mind leaving me feeling restless and chaotic inside.  Phew!
Since we didn’t want to break the bank, we did have to stick to a budget.  I didn’t get the beautiful shelving I would have loved.  We got three utility shelves on clearance for $19.00 each.  Good enough.  On these we stacked anything that can’t be stored in the garage.  Our collection of books that won’t fit anywhere else, old journals and albums, a big cardboard box of photos that we really need to go through (note: ideas for easy storage of old photos that you want to keep well-organized but not necessarily displayed are welcomed, nay, strongly encouraged!) and holiday decorations.  One of them is still empty except for one box and some extra toilet paper - it’s for food storage.  Now that we have a designated shelf, there’s no excuse for us to put off building up a supply for a “rainy day”!  We bought several tubs with lids for baby clothing that is too small for bug (but who knows if we’ll have another boy?) and hand me downs from K that are too big for mini still.  We stuffed them in those vacuum space saver bags, popped them in the bins and stacked them in the garage.  (That alone did wonders for the space.)  We strung up an old shower curtain rod that we aren’t using (in a very temporary fashion, I might add) so that we could hang our winter gear in the off season (which unfortunately only lasts like three months...) and costumes (yep.  Costumes.  That theatre side of me just won’t be squelched.)  We reorganized what furniture we wanted to remain (futon, shelves, big table made out of pressboard that we found in the basement when we moved into the house which I am now using for crafts, stools from the kitchen that we never used up there anyway, craft desk, etc.) into a more useable configuration.  We swept (which, if you do nothing else, is the one thing you should do to “reinvent” a space.  Who knew something could look so good if it was just clean??) and ta-da!  Phase one of our budget basement makeover was complete!  (and it was only 12:23 at night...)  

Now I have a large box overflowing with lots of treasures destined for the shelves of St. Vinny’s.  Since I shop there so much, I need to give back!
It’s a minor change with minor fixes, but I already feel much better.  Just think of the potential now!  Can you imagine the things I’m going to do down there?  Stay tuned.... 

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