*Edited to add depth to the required questions, see below. Also added: links to a video and a slide show.*
With a roll of thunder, and a flash of lightning, I am finally able to say “It is finished!”
You think I am kidding, but I am not. This evening a serious, hit-your-shelters, stay-off-the-roads, knock-your-power-out thunderstorm rolled through town and we lost our internet. I am at my mom’s house, using her internet –I’ve gotten this far and I refuse to lose to a thunderstorm, no matter how big and scary.
Seriously, words (and even these pictures) cannot describe how well our master bedroom turned out, nor how happy I am with it. I am completely and totally thrilled – like a giddy little girl. I’m giddy. Let me show you why.
A month ago when I decided to enter Laura’s spring Organizational Challenge, I decided to tackle our master bedroom. When we moved into this house two and half years ago, we put our stuff into this room however it fit. We didn’t really put a lot of thought into, and we certainly never decorated it. Our bedroom tends to be the last place that I clean, and often a dumping ground for the laundry (clean or dirty) that I want to hide when we have company over. Our closet was plum full of who-knows-what and wasn’t being used to it’s full potential. Our attached bathroom was suffering from a lack of available storage space and organization. My husband frequently commented on how messy our bedroom was and that he would like a nice, clean place to sleep. After considering all these things, I decided that I really needed to make-over our bedroom and bathroom, to make it a nice enough place for my husband to enjoy, to make it easy enough for me to keep up with it, and to make it pretty enough that I would desire to clean it. My goal was “to make our bedroom ‘our’ room and not just ‘mine’ or ‘his’ by combining the rich and elegant elements that I crave with the calming and simple elements my husband needs along with great organizational strategies to create and maintain a peaceful haven.” I wrote this down and referred to this often.
Of course I began with a plan, because I do love planning. :O) In fact, I began with FOUR PAGES of plan. Oh yes. I determined our problem areas and how to fix them. I decided what I wanted to spend money on and set a budget. I considered the decorative and storage solutions available throughout my household that would be suitable for use in our room. Then I considered the possibility of painting – and once I visualized it, I knew I wanted to do it. It doesn’t effect how organized everything else is, but it effects how I feel about my room, and I knew that would go along way towards how well I want to take care of it. The plan was set.
And now, as I said. It is finished. I am thrilled, happy, joyous, giddy,…I am in love with our new room. Big Daddy needs time to get used to the ‘new-ness’ of it, he adjusts slowly to change, but it is CLEAN and TIDY and of course, he doesn’t mind that at all. 🙂
Here are the before and after pictures:
Here’s that north wall now. NO laundry!
To keep the laundry clutter down I went through the dresser and closet and pulled everything that we don’t wear for whatever reason and gave it to our local thrift store. As I continue to drag through washing the remaining dirty laundry (which I slowed down on in order to get the project done), I have an ongoing trash bag for thrift store items. While folding I purge and when the bag gets full I take it to the thrift store. Same with sheets and towels. Once all the laundry is washed, we will not have any ‘extra’ laundry to help clutter our room!
Here is the east wall now. The curtains with the newly installed valance:
My makeshift nightstand:
Perhaps someday we will have actual nightstands. In the meantime I had to get creative since I had moved the dresser. I remembered I had this stereo system in the attic, which used to be in our room until I had to move it out to make room for the cradle. I pulled it back out – and found my long lost favorite cd! It is so nice to have music in our room again.
The bed has been assembled:
I’ve been making the bed every morning. It makes the room feel so nice, and reminds me to keep it picked up. And the dresser moved to the end of the bed. This arrangement of the furniture allows more walking room.
We painted the south wall a dark chocolate color and the remaining walls a soft mint color. Yum!
I borrowed some flowers from another arrangement and fluffed up the floral arrangements for these vases:
Look how clean his drawer is now! I put all the clutter in the appropriate homes and tossed all the trash. The baskets will help provide homes for Big Daddy’s stuff. The top left basket is holding his belt buckles, his watches, and his money clip. The top right is for stuff he may want to keep near the bed (he often brings his mp3 player in here with him), and the bottom left is for stuff that comes out of his pockets when he dumps them out.
The top shelf now neatly houses long term storage items like the suitcases.
This is Big Daddy’s side. The chest was moved into the bottom of his closet and holds a couple of extra blankets and sheet sets. It is also a good place to put all the extra pillows when I take them off of the bed at night.
Big Daddy’s work boots and work tennis shoes have a home on the shelf next to his hats. But his everyday shoes are kept at easy reach right under the edge of the bed:
My side looks a little empty until I get the rest of the laundry washed. But even when it is all done, it will not be overflowing. I like all the extra room. My dress shoes are kept on the shelf and my everyday shoes on the floor. The hooks on the right hold my back pack and belts. Once our hamper is free of dirty laundry it is going inside my closet.
While working on the closet I organized the hangers:
The white plastic ones are now mine, the black ones are Big Daddy’s, the yarn-covered ones went to the coat closet, the colored plastic ones went to the kids’ closet, and the others went in the thrift store bag.
And check this out!
I commissioned my mother in law to paint these on my closet doors. It is one of my favorite things!!! These roses mimic the roses in one of the fabrics on my quilt.
No more extra bed parts! All the spare parts I didn’t use (my bed has lots of options) are neatly stored under the bed. They are the only thing under the bed! By moving the dresser away from my side of the bed I was able to move the bed over and make more walking space for getting into the bathroom easier.
Our new bathroom!
See my newly re-purposed towel stand! And I swapped shower curtains with the guest bath, this one was perfect for in here.
The towels I am keeping are being stored on the tiered stand. Many are going to the thrift store. Towels with holes went into the trash. Some older ones in good condition (which haven’t been washed yet) will be store on that high shelf for rare occasions when a nice towel won’t do. 😛
The caustic cleaners found a new home on that high shelf. An unused trash can makes it easy to get them down and clean the bathroom and put them back up. The ivy kind of hides the cleaners and such when standing at floor level. (I took this picture standing on a step.)
This double hook replaced a screw in the wall that I was using as a valet hook for Big Daddy’s outfit each morning. I kept out this nice hanger for just this purpose. Just one more way to spoil my hubby.
Isn’t it amazing what a coat of paint can do? I should have taken a picture of the inside. I tossed all the expired meds and creams and organized the inside in sections. I used small, skinny baskets to hold little boxes and bottles.
I intended to move the cabinet up and add corners shelves between the cabinet and the countertop. However, we didn’t have a drill so we had to put the cabinet back where it was. As it turns out, that corner isn’t square anyway, so I couldn’t use the corner shelves to begin with! I think it all worked out though. 🙂
On the sink now is a soap dispenser, a soap dish, a toothbrush holder, a ring box to put my rings in when I take a shower or my hands are swollen, and a small basket that holds Big Daddy’s clippers and attachments. Big Daddy is an ‘at your fingertips’ kind of guy. I am an everything put away kind of girl. This is a good compromise.
I took the sink cabinet door off (which used to open facing away from the toilet) and turned it so that it now opens towards the toilet. This is a much better arrangement. It was difficult without the drill, but using a nail to make a hole and then a screw and a lot of elbow grease, I got it done.
My mother in law gave me this shelf which has a towl rod. I wasn’t able to get a toilet paper roll holder, but until I do, this towel rod can do double duty. She also gave me the purple bath rugs. (And she bought the paint, too, by the way!)
Now for the required 5 questions:
1. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and were you able to overcome it?
Well, the hardest part was the painting! Being only my second painting project, I didn’t realize how much work was going to go in it. But the hardest part of organizing was working on the closet. I had to dig through a lot of stuff to find homes for. It wasn’t hard to part with stuff that needed to go. It wasn’t hard to put things away in their homes. It just took a lot of time and a lot of thought. In the end, I have a closet with clearly defined areas and plenty of open space to find what we need. It also goes without saying that getting it all done with three kids under foot was a challenge. It helped to allow them to participate occasionally – I let them help me unload the closet and take things to the trash can and the girls got to help paint the medicine cabinet and sink cabinet door. They loved that.
2. Tell us what kind of changes/habits you have put into place in order for your area/room to maintain its new order?
I have decreased the amount of stuff we have for one thing. Secondly, we have been reinforcing the ‘parents room off limits’ rule, since the kids are big contributors to the clutter on the floor. I know that having the hamper in the closet will help, even if I have to pick clothes up and put them there. The hamper finally has a good home, and we won’t have a pile in the floor to walk around. Also, decreasing the laundry might help to stay on top of it? I hope, I hope?
Also, by investing a lot of sweat and tears (thankfully no blood!) to make it appealing and pretty, I want to keep it that way. I keep picking things up as soon as I see something set down somewhere, and I even stop myself before setting something down and put it away instead. I want it to stay just like it is. I keep making the bed every morning, and as I mentioned, that helps, too. For some reason you just can’t have a made up gorgeous bed and a cluttered floor at the same time– it doesn’t go! 😛
In the bathroom, I put the stuff we use the most in the cabinet above the sink, and I put the less frequently used stuff under the sink. I assigned areas for certain types of items, too. And since everything has its place, it will be easy to find it and put it back where it goes.
3. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?
I got rid of as much as I could! I pulled out clothes, shoes, picture frames, hangers, etc and donated them to the thrift store. I took the games and puzzles to their appropriate homes and I threw away a lot of trash. There was a box of papers that I found which has been placed beside my filing cabinet to be gone through and purged and filed (will do that asap.) There were only a couple of things of Big Daddy’s that I would like to get rid of but that he needs to make a decision on. Those two things will go to the office room, since we’ll be organizing that room soon and they will not be able to stay there very long.
Also, I pulled out all the ebay stuff at the last minute, (so that it wouldn’t have to sit in my living room very long) and stacked it neatly in the living room. Now that the challenge is over, our project for the rest of the week is to sort the ebay stuff into groups by size and season, write the information for each lot on a chart and give it a number, take pictures of each piece, tie up each lot in a Wal-Mart sack, and number it. Once that step is complete, I will take the numbered bags out to the attic over Big Daddy’s office room. I will keep out five and list them on ebay, and then pull out five at a time until they are all gone. Some of them will have to wait for fall or winter but most of it can go now. If it doesn’t sell on ebay it will go to the thrift store. It will not stay here. 🙂 Monies earned from ebay items will go towards purchasing the kids, especially Princess, some new spring and summer clothes, and if possible, school books for next year.
4. What was the biggest lesson you learned from this experience?
This reinforced for me that I need to make a bigger priority of my relationship with my husband and not let it take back seat to parenting. Also, we don’t need as much stuff as we think we do!
However, the biggest thing I learned was that I am very good at completing a project when there is deadline involved. BUT, I am not so good at accomplishing my goals on an ordinary day. Today I may say, “I intend to get this or that done,” and it may or may not happen. When I am working on a deadline, I get a burst of motivation and energy and I will finish the project or die trying. But when I am trying get daily goals accomplished, there is always tomorrow. I don’t put nearly the same amount of effort into it. The lesson here is this: Perhaps I should. I am shamed to say that I can accomplish big things for a blog contest or a child’s birthday party, but that I settle for less than big things on a daily basis. By settling for less, I make my family settle for less, too. Don’t get me wrong, I want to have a clean house, and I do clean..but I never seem to get as much done as I want to get done. But I think that perhaps I should be able to get as much done as I need to. Why is the deadline of a contest or a birthday party more important that the deadline of daddy coming home or the end of the day? Shouldn’t I want to meet those deadlines just as much? Shouldn’t I have just as much motivation? I think I should. I don’t know exactly how to make that happen, except to say this: I know this has made a big impression on me, and that God has used this challenge to speak to me in many ways. I hope and pray that God will continue to speak to my heart and spur me on towards those goals. The winds of change are blowing through my heart, and through this house.
5. Now that you have completed the PROCESS, do you think having and keeping your space organized will make a difference in your life?
I sure do! I WANT to keep this space this way! I worked hard on it!
As I mentioned in question number four, this project has made a big impression on me. I am keeping the room picked up so far, I am keeping the children out of there, I am finding myself standing in my room and staring at the walls and furniture and sighing in happiness and contentment. I’ll hang on that for as long as I can and I will use our bedroom as a symbol of how I should take care of my husband, and how I should take care of the rest of our home, too.
Win, lose, or draw I am happy this is finally finished and that it is as good as I hoped it could be!
- To view my original post with before pictures, click here.
- To view a 360 degree video tour of the room, click here.
- To read my follow-up post, click here.
- If you are having trouble viewing the pics, a slideshow with even more pics can be found here. (If you are not familiar, use the controls at the bottom left to change the speed or pause it, and hover over the picture to see the caption.)