Well, here they are, the final photos for the challenge for this year. I ran in to some slowdowns after some initial good gains. Thanksgiving took more time than I thought. The busy time at my new job was busier than I dreamed and that took a toll on the time I could spend. And I'm willing to wait for the free furniture, which meant I definitely wouldn't finish by the deadline. But overall, I'm really pleased with the progress that was made, and it's easier to keep it clean than to get it there in the first place, so it was totally worth it. Thank you OrgJunkie! And please note the title: this is only the "end" because it's the end of the month. When we get the new shelves, etc., I'll repost for fun (and to keep me honest). Short answer questions below pictures.
Before: Remember the "teetering" shot?
After: No piles! Yay! Lapdesk? Donated. File box? Emptied, purged, recycled, refiled. Shelves? Eh, not perfect, but at least you can reach the books without bumping in to piles now. Toys are off the floor and in or on the bin over by the shelves (see next photo).
After: The shelves here are not terribly different, because the new shelves aren't up yet. But the humongous pile beneath it is much improved. Also, for those who were paying close attention, the sideboard piece is supposed to be gone, replaced by new-to-us shelves. It's still here, but it is totally empty and ready to be picked up by a friend who needs it in her dining room far more than I need it here. And, inspired by this purge, I also sent out that I am giving away a table and chairs and a glider; all will be gone to new homes where they are wanted and needed by next week. Hooray! (And please note door to laundry room is open so you can see I didn't just throw stuff in there either!)
Before: And, of course, my computer desk. Hard to believe I can even find the keyboard.
After: my favorite part, though the hardest to keep after, since I bring a ton of paper down here to transfer info at the computer and then get distracted by other fun stuff in cyberspace. Not terribly different from when my husband and I got the big head start earlier in the month, except our mouse died and so we have new wireless mouse and keyboard, eliminating two more sets of wires. Heaven.
The new, improved file area, where I actually, you know, file things now. I purged about 10 bags of paper recycling from here, archived and coordinated files from consulting projects and volunteer activities, and slowly am purging over a decade of paperwork.
And the shelves. They'll never make House Beautiful, but they make my house useful, and I wanted to keep it real (yo). I still have filing to do. And the stuff on the shelves isn't particularly attractive, but all the games are together, the compuer resources together, the photo albums together, and directories, office supplies and scrapbooking projects all have their own zones now. I'm almost embarrassed to type that. But the room has been through so many changes along with the family that the old zones slowly deteriorated. This system should be one I can keep up with; it's working so far.
1. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and were you able to overcome it?
Hardest part? Making the time to do it the way I wanted to do it. But it was a good lesson in transferring what I'm good at in my job (realistically chunking work in to do-able pieces) in to my home life (where I tend to like to do things all at once).
2. Tell us what kind of changes/habits you have put into place in order for your area/room to maintain its new order?
Well, the people at Goodwill know my car when it's coming now. Hopefully I'll keep up with them.
I also used to keep a "project bag" for each activity I'm in (alumni interviewing, breastfeeding counseling, consulting project, reunion committee...). I purged all the bags and instead of just leaving them around have filed them away in the drawers so I still have the grab-n-go ability but without the mess.
3. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?
Most of it moved on (or is in process of moving on--see below) to somewhere else. Friends took all the extra furniture in this room (and more from elsewhere). The recycling bins at my church are extra full right now. A big box of toys went to the "child free" aunt & uncle to make their house more fun for small visitors. And did I mention the paper recycling?
4. Now that you have completed the challenge, do you think having and keeping your space organized will make a difference in your life?
Yes. My husband is not embarrassed at the way the room looks. I don't have agita when he comes down the steps, and it's less work to get the room ready when his family is coming.
6. Why do you think you should win the challenge?
I hate to shoot myself in the foot, but I don't even care if I win. I needed the push to finally get going on this and get it done, and I was happy to have the excuse. It's not done yet; the "new" shelves are our brother-in-law's old shelves, and they aren't ready yet; for free, I'm willing to wait. There is more purging to be done. I didn't even touch the stuff on the deep shelves since I'm waiting for the new shelves to come to reorganize those. But it was totally inspirational to do this with others in the same boat. I loved seeing others who were willing to let me in on their messes and sucesses. I got some great ideas reading about others. And I got to make my husband very happy in the process. I feel like I already won in the ways that matter most. (Though the prizes look great!)
And can I tell you--I learned a ton of new blogging skills from this too (like how to post pictures, place buttons, etc.) so that was also appreciated!
BONUS: Don’t forget to show me a picture of your purge pile in the trunk of your car on its way out!! Biggest pile wins the awesome bonus prize!
Dude, I wish I'd known about this before! This isn't even my biggest purge pile! Gotta read more carefully.
What you see here in all its glory: six boxes of things that need to be returned to catalogs or mailed to gift recipients; four more bags for Goodwill; three bags of paper recycling from my filing binge; three French Hens (kidding, though who could know?); a tote bag of stuff that can go to my office at work; a bag of candles for Girlfriend to use in Christmas baskets for the church giveaways; and do you recognize the Bombay Company box from the Teetering picture? Say bye-bye! AND what you can't see is a tub full of toys that are going to my sister-in-law's to make her house more kid friendly (and what do you know--mine too, by extension!).
Many, many thanks again to OrgJunkie for hosting (and for the comments on my updates--that was unexpected and very kind!) and to everyone who participated, whether you stopped by or not, and whether I got to comment to you or not. Even typing this now, I'm cheered by the fact that at least 18 of you are so coordinated you were done and ready to post before midnight, and also comforted that I bet I'm not the only one racing the clock. See you next year, everyone!