a place for everything challenge, day ONE

So, yesterday I set a challenge for the Husband and myself. We are going to fully clean and organize this house within the next twelve months. The Husband is fully on board, but  the roommate still doesn’t know.

To start, I picked the room we use most, outside of the bedroom – our “office”. He has a junk press board boxed desk, while I’m actually using a dining table. The dining table is just about perfect – perhaps a smidge too deep, but we can live with that. Clearly, we want a clean, organized look which means matching. Here’s what we’re working with right now:



Frankly, that’s not awesome. The printer is in an awkward place. Directly to my left, right outside the frame of this picture is the bookshelf I posted a picture of yesterday – I’m stuck between those two, while the Husband is stuck between the printer and the wall. It’s kind of cramped. (Though I do love the wall-to-wall windows!)

A lot of work needs done before I’m satisfied. But where to start? I need lists, so I created one:

  1. Clean out files – I am going to sit down and actually go through everything in our filing cabinet, shredding what we no longer need.
  2. Complete Household Binder. That open binder is mine, in all of its disarrayed glory. That link will take you to one of my inspirations. Mine won’t be a replica because some things don’t apply to us.
  3. Clean out mail. Seriously. I have mail from 6 months ago. Why? Part of this will involve a multi-sectioned filing system at the door – one for each roommate, while another part will involve specific trays of “To-be” and “Already” Paid.
  4. Color code the folders in my filing cabinet. You know, once I get them pared down to only what I need.
  5. Get rid of books. I have a Kindle app and over 1000 books in my Kindle Cloud, yet I occasionally still buy a paperback from the used book store. And the pile up. And up. And up. Time to make a trip to the library to donate some books!
  6. Put up wall shelves. Something like these Rubbermaid Closets from Lowes. Not exactly, but similar. The system I like is around $200. That’s just not in my immediate budget.
  7. Decide where to put the black shelf we have in here right now. It’s a junk collector.
  8. Complete dusting of the room. For the longest, the Husband did all the cleaning but he’s not a duster. So, it’s time to catch up – and stay caught up. Our allergies will thank us.
  9. Make a budget. Yes, this is part of organizing the office. Absolutely.
  10. Update or cancel Mint.  We used this free service at one point or another. Unfortunately, we no longer have the account it is tied to, so each week I get updates about an inactive accounts. It’s a great service. And free. That definitely fits within our budget!
  11. Clean off book shelf. This will go hand in hand with putting up those wall shelves as then I can truly have a place for everything.

So, that is the first room tackled. It’s been a long day – I get up at 4 am on the weekends; generally go to bed by 7. Tonight, I’m going to focus on the Household Binder. Right now, I have an older 1″ black binder that I’m using. I’d like to move it to something nicer, but not at a huge expense!! Of course, in the middle of that, I’ll be blitzing the 2nd bedroom in the house so that it can be put to use again.


a place for everything, and everything in its place. A Challenge

Organization is the key to a simple life, right? Or something along those same lines.

Sure, I guess I can say yes to that rhetorical question I just asked.

I believe, however, that the better question(s) would be:
1. Can I get my family organized?
2. Can I get the roommate on board, even if unknowingly?
3. Can we do it on our budget? (More on that one later.)

I don’t know about you, but the title of this post describes me only about 60% of the time. It describes my wonderful husband about 75% of the time. Unfortunately, it describes our roommate 0% of the time. Yes. ZERO.

Are we gross, disgusting slobs? No, not really. Are we lazy? Yeah, that’s totally part of it. Are we hoarders like you see on TV? Not exactly. I seem to think that I have to keep every single piece of paper I’ve ever come in contact with. Ever. Don’t believe me? Check it out. (that’s Peter. Isn’t he adorable?)


That is a bookshelf I added to our “office” to help me stay organized. Clearly, it isn’t working. So, I need to do better. So, Where to start? Well, a redo of the office in its entirety is probably actually the first order of business.

Our office is actually the dining room of the small house we share with the roomie. It’s about 8 x 10, I guess. Right now, we have our “desks” against the 8′ wall, which is all windows. If we ever opened the blinds, it would be a great view, but it doesn’t allow for much in the way of wall organization. So, we want to get /build one long desk that is approximately 10′ long (or two that fit comfortably in that space and are the same height). Then, we will need cork board – at least 4 of them making a square. And one of these awesome wall organizers by Martha Stewart.

We don’t need a lot – a place for two computers, one printer. And someone to go through our paper crap and get rid of it. I have a week vacation coming up soon. I get the feeling it is going to involve this stupid room and all that stupid paper. Ugh.

I know most people hate moving, but I love that fresh start feeling. We didn’t get it when we moved in here because we moved in to the home where our roomie had already been living. Which brings me to our challenge. Can we get ourselves organized on a budget that is so restrictive we can’t afford even one desk from the goodwill right now (but maybe in a few weeks…), and can we do it so that the roomie is involved? I think that we can.

Now, this challenge isn’t a one month challenge. We definitely can’t do it in one month. Let’s see if we can do it in one year. So dear Husband. There is our challenge. We must organize this entire house – and keep it that way – within the next 12 months.