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January 2, 2007 - Getting Organized - My Challenge for 2007

So, here I am. It's the second of January 2007 and I'm full of good intentions. My main goal is to be much more organized this year. I've already worked out a daily schedule which includes time for the gym, for work and for being with the kids. The one thing that hasn't made it onto the schedule so far is anything in the cleaning/organizing/de-cluttering realm. OK. I admit it, clearing and organizing isn't exactly my strong suite. But it's got to be done, if only to show the kids a better example. I can't exactly tell them to tidy their rooms when my office is such a mess, now can I?

So, I'm biting the bullet. In bite size pieces. Little by little I'm going to get he whole house straightened out. But it's going to be slow and steady progress rather than a blitz of activity. Ten minutes a day should do it. Ten minutes a day for a whole year works out to just over 60 hours. The house should be looking a lot better this time next year!

Now 10 minutes a day doesn't include any of the storage or shelving projects I have in mind but it does include straightening up and minor decluttering. If I can't manage that I'm in more trouble than I thought.

The first project is our kitchen shelves. They're a magnet for junk. If I don't know where to put something there's an easy answer. But it's the wrong answer.

When I get home today I'm going to spend 10 minutes working on this shelf. I'll show you the results tomorrow,

January 7, 2007 - Thirty-Five Pens Too Many

I know I said I'd update you tomorrow, and I know it's several days past tomorrow, but it did get done, eventually. The first shelf in our total house makeover was indeed, completed in a mere ten minutes. It's amazing how quickly mess builds up, not to mention the dust. The mess included thirty six pens, markers and crayons in assorted colors, coupons which expired more than a year ago, an old deflated balloon , several invitations to celebrations long ago and much more.

It took about six minutes to actually go through everything and get down to the dust.

And one minute after that there it was, a completely clean, dust-free shelf just waiting to be loaded up. I don't know if you can really see the difference, but believe me, there was enough dust there to happily draw a heart to my beloved.

So, now the letter holder actually has some room for new letters and the pen holder actually contains some pens that work. Quite an improvement already. The only other thing I did was to dump the contents of the shallow bowl into a deeper bowl so you can't see the mess peeking out from the top of it. I'll have to look around for a prettier bowl but in the meantime, the shelf is greatly improved and I am greatly pleased with my first, modest efforts in house taming.

January 15, 2007 - Walking the Plank - Well, Planks, Actually

I'm really serious about this house taming thing. By the end of 2007 all our stuff will either have a place to live, or have been made homeless. I'm sick of climbing over toys and roller skates. I'm tired of laundry taking over the living room. And I'm done with piles of papers attacking my office. Sound familiar, anyone?

One of the first things I'm doing, on a very limited budget, is making more shelf space. But I don't want to just put up some ugly, utilitarian shelves and be done with it. I want to have shelving that's stylish, practical and fun. And I want it to be original. And I need it to cost me less than megabucks.

Remember that old shelving I rushed out to rescue a few weeks ago? Well, right now it's in a pretty sorry state. Much of it is discolored and stained. It all needs to be sanded down and painted.

plywood shelves

I have a few ideas about how to transform these shelves into something worthy of my walls. I even know where I want to put them. Now I just have to get started. The kids are going to help me. It's so much more fun than sitting in front of the TV. Really.

Stay tuned to see how we give old, junky planks a completely new look. And if I can do it, you can too. I'm not exactly Mrs.-Handy-About-The-House you know.

If you're doing your own shelving project, let me know and I'll happily write about it too. The more original the better.

January 24, 2007 - Floating on Air

Well, I'm not actually floating on air, but I am pretty pleased. Joel (my amateur-woodworker hubby and website co-conspirator) has been making us some floating shelves.

Ever since we moved in, just over 10 years ago, we've had a long, bare white wall in our living room. And we've also had an eclectic assortment of photos, vases and other collectables gathering dust on the top of our bookcases, where we put them temporarily while we found a better place for them. If I could ban temporary from the English dictionary, I would!

Anyway, Joel's been making these floating shelves for that wall for a couple of weeks now, in his spare time. Half-an-hour here, an hour there. He thinks that the two shelves together, from start to finish, will have taken him about 10 hours to build from scratch.

He's writing up the whole process, including the mistakes he made along the way and how to fix them, so that you can see how it's done. If you get all the wood precut, it's the kind of project that even beginners can manage. Of course, if you want to save a bit of money you can do what Joel did, and buy just the raw materials so that you can cut everything to size yourself.

Here are a couple of shots of the work in progress.

Floating shelves: painting over primer

By tomorrow the paint should be dry and we'll be able to install the floating shelves. I can't wait! We're finally getting a place to display family photos and mementos. Hurray.

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