Jeez Louise. It. Is. Done.
And you're going to have to forgive spelling, punctuation, wonky pictures and general blog awkwardness. I am exhausted after putting together this behemoth of a post. 

A few weeks ago I set out to conquer M's room, my depression and my slovenliness. I enlisted the help of Org Junkie's 29 Day Challenge to help with M's room, a shrink to help with the depression and 28 Days to Hope for Your Home by Dana White for the slovenliness.
I am so happy to report that I have come so far on all 3 counts! Thanks to the challenge, I now feel that yes, I can be an organized, functioning adult. Yes I can get my things together. If I can conquer a room as big as my daughters in just a few weeks, I feel like I can conquer anything. 
There were a few last minute blips, but overall, it was a smooth project, considering we started with this:
Yet now now M goes to bed with a room that looks like this:
 Does that make your heart as happy as it makes mine? Probably not. The thing is, now that it's clean it is so much easier for her to keep clean. We have some awesome organization tools in place to help my 3-year-old keep her room clean. It's so simple and she has been a champ at picking up after herself in the weeks since we installed her new closet system.

 We stored her toys in this closet. On these shelves with a little help from a few clear shoe boxes and assorted boxes and coffee cans... Her bulky items were kept on the floor which caused a bit of confusion when it came time for clean up.

 All of her toys have a specific place - and she puts them there when she's done!!! The top shelf only holds toys that she needs our help to play with (puzzles, her baseball glove, a really fancy pop-up book), extra coloring books and a few keepsakes from her babyhood. The only thing hanging in her closet are dresses and her 2 lightweight jackets. All other clothes were banished to her dresser drawers (what didn't fit went to Goodwill in The Purge).
 She has the labels shown above for every item on top of the storage unit. All the bins are clearly labeled with pictures. When I finally invest in a label maker (by the time I get to the laundry room for sure) I'll put words on them as well. Stuffed friends are kept in the hamper beneath the teddy shown at left.
 Bulky items are now stored on top of the storage unit, and hanging on the side. I will need to purchase utility command hooks for the toys hanging on the side however, because the current hooks are too curved to make replacing them easy. In the shopping cart there is a basket with her dress-up shoes and accessories.
 The drawers that hold more than one type of toy are separated out by drawer dividers. Little People and farm animals up front, princesses and Strawberry Shortcake toys in back.

 This is Smalls' Sleeping space. The dresser was moved into the toy closet and everything else cleared out.

 So, the crib we are getting is out of stock, so to make sure I saved room for it, I taped off the area where it will go... It looks classy, I know, but I had to make sure I wasn't going to infringe on the crib when setting up the craft area. You'll just have to close your eyes and pretend there's a little crib there.

No more digging around for a place to color and her coloring tools, I give you:
The all-new crafting area! Hanging bins for her coloring utensils, favorite pieces of art rotated on a hanging wire, above that cards sent from relatives. Below is a detail of the hanging file bins I purchased to house coloring books, paper and stickers. It is so much more efficient than the mess of a plastic drawer where everything was stored before.

 Her messy, cluttered bookshelf/dresser. Yes that is an issue of Revolver Magazine from 2005 hanging out up there.
 Cleared up, some pictures and items moved from Smalls' dresser onto here, a few pictures moved from here to the living room. The only toys that are out of the closet are her pull toys. She plays with them regularly and puts them back when she's done. She also loves having pictures of her grandparents to look at.

 The play area... complete wreck.

The bookshelves we wanted to hang were also out of stock, but they will be purchased when we go back for Smalls' crib. For now I've wrangled excess books into a large basket. With the shelves not so stuffed, M can easily get books on and off the shelves, so there's no longer books all over the floor. The reading nook I wanted to set up has been put on hold because apparently there are hardly any studs in our ceiling. So, for now there is space for a hanging chair or some other kind of nook and the Barbie vanity is still next to the window (you can see a  more full picture in the first after pic of the room).

This is now the toy closet, but it's just another image of the craziness that was my daughter's room...
 This is Smalls' closet (the toy closet pictured a ways up in the post). It is empty for the most part, cleared out for all of the baby stuff that we are sure to accumulate in the coming months. There is space for Smalls here now! That was the goal of this entire project... get space for a new baby.

 I came up with what I think is a pretty good idea, which means I probably saw it somewhere on the internet, forgot about it and now assume it is an original idea. We had a drawer stuffed with hand-made baby blankets that always kind of bummed me out. Crocheted baby blankets should be celebrated, not crammed into drawers! We used to have them on a quilt rack, but got rid of it after one of our dogs chewed the legs to pieces. I've been unable to find a suitably priced and sized rack since then. And then, I got the idea to just use pants hangers! Huggable pants hangers actually. On the left are my favorite blankets and a bit of embroidery hanging on display behind her door and on the right are more blankets hanging in the closet.

 And to wrap it up, the challenge questions.

1. What space did you decide to organize and why? I decided to start my whole house over-haul with my daughter's room. The reasons were numerous, of all of the rooms in our house, hers was the one that was stressing me out. I need it to be a functioning nursery and "big kid" room by July and the fact that it had never been organized before was overwhelming. I had no organizational system and the place was a constant wreck. When I started I was almost in a panic about the amount of stuff she had. What was I going to do with it all? How was I ever going to make room for a new baby in there? It was causing some serious anxiety issues. So, I thought if I can tackle this room, I can do any room in our house.
2.  What steps did you take to ensure you completed the space within the 29 day timeline? I took it one problem at a time. First task, pick it up. See how everything is currently stored, see what was working (not much if anything at all) and search for ways to fix it. After that it was all down figuring out solutions to each problem, one bite at a time. I didn't let two days pass without going in her room and taking stock of what was going on in there - even if I didn't "organize" anything on that day, I kept up with how she was using her toys, what she was doing, where the problem areas were. When I took it one area at a time, everything seemed to fall into place.

3.  What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and how did you overcome it? Honestly, the hardest part was the overwhelming anxiety I would randomly feel if things weren't going on track. At one point all of her toys were out of the closet and half-way sorted into her new bins and it just seemed like she had so much stuff. I felt like we had done a fair bit of purging, but still, her toys seemed to be multiplying! Turns out, things just look extremely overwhelming when you have them strewed about the place. After just gritting my teeth and putting a full Saturday into getting it back in shape I realized everything that was out actually fit in the bins and my faith in the PROCESS was restored.
4. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space? Goodwill! We purged a completely stuffed garbage bag of clothes that were all in my daughter's size but that were just completely excessive. How many khaki skirts can a girl need? She helped pick out every toy that left the house. I simply told her that they would go to a "new home" so that another little boy or girl could play with them. The only things that left the room but stayed in the apartment were the rocking chair which is now in my room and her shoes which are now conveniently stashed in a fancy new shoe cabinet at the front door. Good-bye messy shoe racks!
5.  Tell me one of your proudest moments during this challenge? I was extremely proud of my daughter during the purging process. She did so well in giving up an overstuffed box full of toys. I think I was most proud of myself after setting up her toy closet, getting everything to fit and coming up with ways to make sure that every toy has a specific place to "rest."

6.  Explain any organizing “tools” you used to help you create additional space and to establish some limits and boundaries? I honestly would have been lost without Ikea. I was able to pick up a storage system for all of her toys, a hamper for her stuffed animals, bins for her craft supplies and even the most amazing chair for a "reading nook." I'm not saying that I didn't spend a fair amount of money, but we did come in well under budget. The whole rule of "shop in your home" is really hard for me because I've honestly never seen the point in organizing before. We don't have things like cute little baskets, bins and extra shelves laying around. We have the bare minimum in our house - so now it's my time to start building up our stock of organizational tools. The best part of M's room is that all of her toys belong in one closet. All of her art supplies belong at her craft desk. All of her kitchen supplies fit in her kitchen. It's a marvelous feeling to have everything assigned a section. Best of all - everything is labeled with pictures so she knows what goes where.
7.  What is ONE piece of advice you’d give to someone else to encourage them on their organizational journey? It's cliche, but: One day at a time, one task at a time. Stay focused on the task at hand and don't worry about what's next on the list until it comes up. You can handle clearing off one shelf today. It's easy and just one shelf. You can handle anything if you just break it down into smaller tasks and take it a day at a time. And don't stress about other areas of the house until you've completely finished the one you're working on!

In conclusion: I have learned so much from the challenge. I feel like I've picked up some good techniques on how to organize and how to stay organized from Org Junkie and I've done so well at implementing a new routine into our schedule that includes pick up time and making sure we pick up before moving from one task to the next.
I honestly do have hope for the rest of my house - which I will tackle bit by bit.
Next up - My computer desk!


  1. "It's so simple and she has been a champ at picking up after herself in the weeks since we installed her new closet system." You organized the space perfectly if she can manage it on her own! Love the picture labels!
    The bright light shining down from the top of the main After photo made the Hallelujah Chorus pop into my head -- great job!

  2. I really do like the toy storage bins - with the photo labels. very clever.
    good work!

  3. Your room looks so good. Great job


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