Wednesday, February 29, 2012

29 Day Challenge: The Final Reveal!

It has been an amazing month for me; it's been a labour of love and self realizations. It has been a month in which I discovered boxes of soup in triplicate, finding every eraser I've ever owned and the month I've come to realize that if I don't use it, it is okay to let it go. I've learned the benefit of containers and containerizing almost everything outside of it's original packaging. I've learned organizing is not expensive and even a processed cheese box can "containerize" something!

Spice Cupboard (before)
Spice Cupboard (after)

1. What space did you decide to organize and why?

I chose my kitchen for this challenge. As a working mom who spends almost half of my time at home in the kitchen, it only made sense to try and organize this cluttered, frustrating space. The large kitchen had jam packed cabinets, piles of cookbooks, food and artwork stacked three apples high on the counters and no space left to do any of the work usually done in a kitchen. My precious home time was being eaten up by moving pile after pile in order to free some counter space to prepare dinner and without fail, another twenty minutes was spent sifting through the endless packages, empty bottles and cascade of junk spilling out of my spice cupboard.

Snack Cupboard (before) 

2. What steps did you take to ensure you completed the space within the 29 day timeline?

Working as a project manager, I did what I do best to prepare for this challenge. I planned it out, step by step, job by job over the 29 days. I used my standard construction schedule template and instead of steps of construction, I added the tasks needed to be completed. I held weekly meetings with myself Saturday mornings to assess my next steps and taped the schedule to my fridge as a constant reminder.
Snack Cupboard (after)

3. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and how did you overcome it?

Medicine Cupboard (before) 
I think the hardest part for me to deal with was the sheer volume of stuff that I had to go through. Each and every cupboard was packed full of everything – jobs I thought would take an hour ended up taking an entire day due to the volume of everything jammed in them!

Medicine Cupboard (after)

4. What did I do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of the newly organized space?

 I packed it all up in boxes and it’s being posted to our local Freecycle website. The things I am unable to give away will be taken to a charity shop (like Value Village or Goodwill).

5. Tell me one of your proudest moments during this challenge?

In today’s society, a person’s perceived success is often tied to the stuff one has. “Things” have a way of making me feel important and like I’ve achieved success. These things are also the bane of my existence! Being able to get rid of the non-essentials was very liberating and made me realize that I don’t need LOTS to survive! Mies had it right when he said "Less is more!"

6. Explain any organizing tools you used to help you create additional space and to establish limits and boundaries?

Broom Closet (before) 
I used the containerize theory and took it very seriously. I didn’t realize how setting up a finite amount of space would aid in keeping me (and my things) in check! In the snack cupboard I used some baskets I bought last spring and because I purged some of the old plasticware, I used those containers to house other snacks and bits and bobs. I became so in love with containers, I decided some of the food boxes I'd emptied were just as good as any basket! Once I get a few moments, I'm going to cover the boxes in some nice scrapbook paper I have in the craft room!

Food Cupboard (before) 

Broom Closet (after)
Food Cupboard (after)

7. What is the one piece of advice you'd give someone else to encourage them on their organizing journey?

Everything I think of sounds cliche... But the key to understanding and discovering my organizing "groove" was the CONTAINER! Limiting the amount of space for any one item truly put it all together for me and solidified my understanding of the "PROCESS"!

Junk Drawer (before)
No more junk drawer!
Cheese box holds the bag clips!

Puppy Teeth!
Having finished up my organizing over the past month (the most recent changes are already two days old), I've had the opportunity to sit back and enjoy my space. I'm making a diligent effort to PUT THINGS BACK where I got them from, not let my paper clutter get away on me and did I mention PUTTING THINGS BACK! Before I show my horizontal spaces, I'd like to share one of my more curious finds... My baby puppy is now 12 years old - I've been carrying these around for 11 years! I'm not ready to part with them however cleaning the broom cupboard and getting rid of some old dog toys meant I could keep this little memento of my big dogs little dog days! 

Kitchen Clutter!

Kitchen Clean!

My kitchen counter clutter was eating away my time and desire to be in my kitchen. By thoroughly cleaning out the cabinets and purging boxes and boxes (four boxes, to be exact) of stuff allowed me to home many things off the counters and give my big country kitchen back it's "big"!

Clutter be gone!
Clutter Corner!

Microwave Clutter!
Microwave Clean!

Sharing my successes with the Organizing Junkie's 29 Day Challenge! Congratulations to all the participants for all the hard work! I've been enjoying reading all the posts and the trials and successes we've all be experiencing!

PS I've been having all sorts of technical issues with this post - my apologies if the formatting is wonky - it's late, I'm tired and I just don't know how to fix it!!! I also wanted to share my purge piles but too much more of this and I'm afraid I'll lose the post! 


  1. it's wonderful when you can see/use your counters, isn't it? Nice job containerizing!

  2. Wonderful job. I think you hit on a number of good points for others to follow. I hope to tackle my kitchen this month. After seeing what I could do to my bedroom in just one month I am on a roll.

  3. Thanks, ladies... It was a labour of love and I'm so happy to see results! It is very inspiring, isn't it?



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