Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Year, New Projects

Happy New Year!  Okay, okay, I know I am a few days late, but I think it is acceptable to still say "happy new year" until mid-January or so, right?  Like many people, I use the new year as a good excuse to take a look at my life and develop goals for the upcoming 12 months.  Call them "resolutions" but I have always preferred to just refer to them as goals; for some reason it feels less like I am setting myself up for failure if I think of it as something I am aiming to accomplish verses promising myself that I will/will not do something.  Last year, my goal was to pick one room in my house each month and do a deep purge/clean/organize.  While I didn't make it through every room in my house, I did get through the majority of our spaces:  kitchen (cupboards, drawers, pantry), laundry room, J's room, A's room, master bathroom (cabinets, drawers), master bedroom (closet, dresser), entry way, and garage.  Not too shabby, if I do say so myself!

For 2014, I have two main goals and several projects on my to-do list.  First, the goals:

Goal 1:  Get rid of everything that does not belong in my house.

I am definitely not a hoarder.  In fact, I often refer to myself as an "over-purger" because I tend to give things away that later I wish I had kept.  Yet, somehow, I have managed to accumulate a ton of stuff that we are not using.  Most of it is baby stuff that we have decided we are now ready to give away (you can read about the progress we have made on that here), but there is also a fair amount of what I will refer to as "filler stuff".  We have a good sized house with lots of storage.  This is a great thing, so please don't think I am complaining about this.  But you know how a goldfish will grow to the size of the bowl you put it in?  That is how I feel about "stuff."  The more space I have, the more "stuff" I tend to accumulate.  It is just filling up space in our house, but not serving any function or being used in any meaningful way.  And it is driving me crazy.  I like everything in my house to have a purpose, even if that purpose is just that it brings me joy to look at.  By getting rid of the stuff in our house we don't need or use, we can make room to bring in new items that we will enjoy and value.

Goal 2:  A place for everything and everything in its place.

The above proverb is every organizers dream, mine included.  Once I have purged my house of all the things that don't belong, I want to be thoughtful about how I organize everything that is leftover.  I know this may sound like a huge goal, but looking at the work I did in 2013, I am already half-way there.  I think that the hardest part of this goal is handling new items that come into the house.  I tend to get a space organized just how I want it, and then we get something new and I need to accommodate that new item.  Creating spaces that are both organized and flexible are key for maintaining your organization for the long haul.  

With the above goals in mind, I also have a long project list for 2014.

Organize our storage spaces:  Like I mentioned above, we have a fair amount of storage space in our house.  Presently, however, I do not think we are using the spaces in the most efficient way.  Our main storage areas are our garage, a large walk-in closet in our office, an unfinished storage room in our basement and a pantry-type closet on our main floor.  We organized the garage in June and is still functioning quite well.  For the other spaces, we need to determine what we will keep where.  For example, I currently store excess pantry items in both the main floor closet and in the garage; all of those items need to be grouped together and kept in the same place.  By determining how we want to use each of these spaces, we can make our storage spaces work better for us.

Create a functioning entryway:  Both our garage door and our front door open onto a nice sized entryway that is currently totally empty.  As a result, the floor becomes a dumping ground for items coming into the house.  I need a piece of furniture (a console table or perhaps an old dresser) to ground this space and function as a storage spot for J&A's shoes, my purse, a phone charging station, etc.  We also have a coat closet in our entryway that was recently cleaned out, but still needs a makeover in terms of a new closet system. Around the corner from the entry way is our pantry-type closet and a wall space on which I would love to create a family command center with a large wall calendar, hooks for keeping our car keys, slots for incoming mail, etc.

Entry way inspiration!  1/2/3

J&A's bathroom:  Now that the kids' bedrooms are complete, I am inspired to give their bathroom a fresh look.  Right now it is basic and boring but I think some quick updates could make a huge difference.

Kids' bath inspiration!  1/2/3/4 

Update the family room:  This is the room in which we spend the most of our time and yet there is very little about this room that seems to represent us.  It is a beige bore and I just can't take it any longer.  The couch covers are stained and ripped.  The rug is too small for the space.  The entertainment unit needs some major styling help.  This entire space needs new life breathed into it.  My dream room would include a new corner sofa and lots of color to make a brighter, more cheery atmosphere.

Family room inspiration!  1/2/3/4 

Make progress on our basement:  We have a large rec room and a large bedroom in our basement, both of which we rarely use.  The square footage of these two rooms is almost a quarter of our house and right now they are basically wasted spaces.  We want to create functional, inviting, fun spaces that we will actually use and enjoy.   I have so many different ideas for these spaces that it is hard for me to keep them all straight.  I have decided my best bet is to think of this as four different projects:  the rec room we plan to use as a play area and a media space; the bedroom we plan to convert to an office and craft room.  Here are my initial thoughts on these areas:

1) Play area and toy storage:  We are in desperate need of more toy organization.  Right now we just have the one Expedit and some storage bins that (shock!) are not labeled.  My kids hardly ever play down here and I think it is because there is nothing inviting about this space.  We need more toy storage, organized/labeled baskets, a table, some artwork -- all things that will make the area feel fun and welcoming for J&A.

Toy inspiration!  1/2/3/4

2) Media area: Our future plan for this area is a media center with a large TV, a place for the xbox, and storage for items such as board games and video games.  However, as fun as all that sounds, we don't really need another media space at this time.  What we do need in this space is a couch.  Again, our goal is to transform our basement into a space that we actually use and I think one of the main reasons we don't "hang out" in the rec room is because there is zero seating.  So, couch now; massive entertainment area later.

Media inspiration!  1/2/3/4

3)  Office area:  My hubby gets to work from home about once a week and I honestly feel bad for him every time he heads down to the basement to set up shop.  It is just so sad down there.  We pieced together leftover furniture to create a semi-office space for him, but he deserves much better.   I have my most frequently used office/craft stuff into our dining room buffet because I don't like working in the basement.  A new, long expanse of desk, shelving and storage cabinets will help us to create a work space that we can both enjoy.

Office inspiration!  1/2/3 

4)  Craft area:  In conjunction with the office space, I need to figure out a good system for organizing my craft supplies. I have two tall cabinets that I bought years ago at IKEA that I love and plan to continue to use for craft storage.  I would also like to set up a wrapping station and a station for my Silhouette.  

  Craft inspiration!  1/2/3

So, that's what I've got laying ahead for me in 2014.  What are your goals for this year?