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Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall Organizing

The thing I realized about Spring Cleaning is that I really don't like doing it in the spring.  Spring is when it's finally time to go outside, plant annuals, clean up the yard, go for bike rides, etc. after a long cold winter.  The last thing I want to do in the spring is organize and deep clean inside the house.  I think I'll save the indoor projects for the looooong month of January.

Over the past couple of weeks we've been doing some "spring cleaning".  We started with the garage which might not be terrible, but we hadn't done a good cleaning/organizing/weeding out in a couple of years.  It was time.  This was after we took out about half the stuff cluttering the garage.

I felt like to do a good job, we really needed to take everything out and clean it good.  Not everyone in the family felt like this was necessary :)  Luckily, those people had other projects they were working on, so I took on the garage.

Of course, we did this on the one day it rained in the last 2 months.

Brennan helped me pull stuff out and then he took on the job of washing the bikes.  Every time we ride the boys manage to find the only mud in town.  They really needed a good wipe down.

This is the kind of nasty accumulation that we had all around the garage.  Hard to get to without removing all the stuff that sits in front of it.  I cleaned the walls, windows, shelves, counters, floor.  We threw away a bunch of stuff we no longer needed and gathered a big pile of stuff for Goodwill. 

While Brennan and I focused on the garage, David and Thomas took on the project of making a step to the back patio.

This was a hodge podge outdoor area with old stones, crumbling landscape areas and was entirely neglected.  Two years ago we had this patio put in.  Besides the grill and some flower pots, I had not really done a whole lot with this area.  I was trying to think of ways to improve it.  I'm open to suggestions!  We have several seating areas outside the house so didn't really want to replicate that again here.  But I'd also like to give it a purpose. 

When we had the patio put in we removed the rickety step that led from the mudroom area to the patio.  I had been trying to find a replacement step for months.  You'd think this would be easy but Lowe's, Home Depot, Rural King, etc. don't carry steps.  I even looked at a place that makes concrete steps but didn't want to spend that money and can you imagine how heavy that would be.  So, David said he'd just make one.  Wow.

 He and Thomas drew the plans then went to Lowe's for the stuff.

No photos but Brennan painted the step for us.  It works great!  Now just to spruce up the area.  Besides a thorough clean up, any ideas?????

 The next project I took on, on a whim, was the kids books.  They were out of control.  Laying everywhere.  I couldn't keep up with our books, school library books, public library books.  It was just a mess.  So I decided to clean them all out.  I don't like to get rid of books for sentimental reasons, but really, this is shameful.

We keep kids books in both boys' bedrooms and in their playroom.  We gathered them up from all over the house and brought them into Brennan's room.  No family should have this many kids books.  It's ridiculous.  In our defense, I'll say that our boys are really big readers.  They'll each go through up to a book a day.  They're gift wish lists always include lots of books.  I always buy something from the Scholastic flyer at school.  We go to library book sales.  They just add up.  And we have about 50 books that were David's when he was little.

We worked on this over a few days.  First, we sorted them by topic and then went through each pile to determine which ones we wanted to keep and give away.  We came up with TONS to give to friends and our church's preschool library.  I was so glad the boys were involved in the process.

Then, they asked if I would please make labels so that when they go to put a book back, they know where to put it.  Maybe they have my organizing gene after all?

I type up book categories and printed them on white cardstock that I had on hand.

Brennan's desk NEVER looks this organized, but that's OK because he really uses the desk!

I know the garage and kids books won't stay organized forever, but it's such a great feeling to really figure out what we are using and pass along the things we aren't to others.  I absolutely love an organized home - for however long it lasts :)


Kristen said...

Wow you did a great job, I wish I could fly you out here to spend a couple days with me. I organize better if I have someone motivating me... I love that you put labels where the books should go, it reminds me of a library where you know right where to find everything!

Kendra said...

Looks great! I need to get to some organizing in my home too. I'm with ya on the books. Recently the girls both brought home the book order flyers from school and I told them they had to go through their books and get rid of some before getting new ones because they are just running out of space. THe way they reacted you'd have thought I told them they needed to hurt a kitten or something! lol