Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Tidying Up Tuesday: The Bathroom

My mom is in town, and she's been following my Tidying Up progress, so she offered to help me with a project while she was here. We decided to do the bathroom. Our home has two bathrooms, but one is being renovated, so we did the main bathroom. Fortunately, that's the one that's going to store all our things anyway.

Here are some before photos:
We usually have stuff all over the counter, and on top of the shelf over the sink. 

Ryan hangs his pajamas from this extra towel rack

I keep my cleaning supplies on top of the cabinet

The medicine cabinet on the wall opposite the sink skeeves me out every time I open it. One of my goals was to not need the storage there anymore, so we can tear it down and hang a mirror in its place.

We pulled everything out. I kept forgetting about places we had things. This bathroom really does have a lot of storage space, unlike the rest of our house.

 My mom cleaned up every drawer as it was emptied, and helped me put contact paper down in the drawers and shelves that didn't have it yet.

She wouldn't let me take a proper photo of her, but here she is cleaning out the space under the sink

 Our cat was excited about the empty cupboards. I had to drag him out so I could put the contact paper down in his favorite hiding spot.

We had several paint cans and other miscellaneous things under our sink, so those went out to Ryan's workshop. The cleaning supplies are now under the sink, including the toilet scrub brush and plunger! Not having them out next to the toilet makes a huge difference.

I was able to get the medicine out of the creepy cabinet, with the help of several plastic bins from the dollar store. Our kids are old enough now to stay out of stuff like that, which is why I felt comfortable moving the cleaning supplies and the medicine from their former high-up homes.

 Our travel bags and supplies are no longer strewn all over the drawer.

Even our toothpaste is off the counter and in a handy holder. The boys remembered to put it away without being told when they got ready for school this morning. They are doing a great job of staying on the tidy train.

Having my mom to help me was awesome. Tidying is much more fun with someone to talk to and bounce ideas off of!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Tidying Up Tuesday: Paper

I've been so excited to get to the papers stage of tidying up, mainly because this is how our papers are currently stored:

There are files in the long box with the hanging folders (the one with the apple sticker), two out of three of the plastic drawers, and papers in the accordion files stacked on top. I wanted to consolidate all the papers and get them off the dresser! 

I pulled everything into the living room to start. Our safe has important papers, with a hanging folder for everyone, except Amelia because the safe only came with four folders. So I added one for her papers. Only took me four years.

I started with the accordion folders, and did mine first. My folder for some reason became the storage place for the receipts for our flex spending account. I threw all of those from before 2018 away. Pretty much everything else from that folder got recycled. Ryan's accordion folder was stuffed with informational handouts from the insurance we had from his previous job. In 2011. Into the recycling they went.

As I found papers I knew I'd want to keep, I made piles on the floor and labeled them.

In the plastic drawers I found just about every single piece of sheet music I've ever sung. Most got recycled. I used the Genius Scan app to save the keepers. My sister did her papers last week, and she suggested I use Genius Scan. The app allowed me to take a photo of each page of music and batch the whole song together in a PDF. Amazing! So much easier than scanning each individual sheet, plus the added bonus of batching the sheets together. If you're organizing papers soon, I highly recommend this app.

Then I went through the plastic tub with the hanging folders. I got rid of old tax documents, manuals, and receipts that were so faded I couldn't read them anymore. The tub went from this:

to this:

Turns out we don't need such a large container for our hanging file folders. Once we decide where we're going to keep this, I may downgrade to a smaller one.

Finally, I decided on a new way to organize my "pending papers," or the ones I need to deal with instead of just save for when needed. Normally I keep them on my bedside table until they start falling off, at which point I remember that I need to deal with them. I bought a paper holder at the dollar store in my favorite color, and put it in the drawer of the bedside table.

I know, I know; the rest of the drawer is a mess. I'll deal with it when I do bedroom komono!

Next up: I'll be out of town next Tuesday. My mom is coming to visit, and she said she'd help with the komono, so I guess it'll be Mom's Choice. She'll have a lot of options to choose from....

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Tidying Up Tuesday: Kids' Books

First, as I promised last week, here is the finished photo of the bookshelves after Ryan added the ones he wanted to keep.

You can see the photo albums in the bottom left corner. I'm so happy those are out of the cupboard! Ryan's collection of Cottage Living magazines are on the bookshelves now, too, which freed up a lot of space on our kitchen island. I'm looking forward to filling that space when I do kitchen komono in a few weeks.

Also, highlight of my day: my sister texted me this afternoon as I was tidying up to tell me that she was going all KonMari on her clothes. She also did her books today. Two categories in one day! I was so impressed.

On to the kids' bookshelves!

I forgot to take a before photo of Amelia's bookshelf, probably because hers wasn't terribly messy. But here's a shot of the boys' shelves.

Sam uses the top of the bookshelf as a depository for all his random stuff. Actually, he uses ALL the shelves for his random stuff, as you can see from the photo. I took all of that off and piled it up for him to deal with when he got home from school.

Benjy stayed home from school today because he woke up with a fever, but it was one of those kid sicknesses where you give them an ibuprofen and thirty minutes later it's like nothing was ever wrong. So I decided Benjy was up to helping with the sorting.

My little helpers

I did the kids' books all together because I figured it was time to move a lot of the picture books over to Amelia's shelves. Unsurprisingly, Benjy and Amelia wanted to keep pretty much every single book. When they weren't looking, I pulled some of the more battered board books out of the keep pile. Amelia is outgrowing them, anyway. Benjy also identified some books he didn't want that I knew Sam would, so those went in their own pile for Sam to look through. He kept all but one or two of those (again, not a surprise).

Amelia's bookshelf: a lot more picture books, fewer board books (but still some)

The boys' bookshelf: No longer encumbered by non-book items! They even had room at the bottom for their composition notebooks full of their own comics.

Just like with the drawers, the kids were given a talking-to about expectations for how their bookshelves are to stay. Sam in particular was warned that the bookshelf is no longer a dumping ground for random things he wants to keep.

I think that having the kids help choose their books gives them some ownership over the project. I felt the same way about the drawers. Making Ben and Sam fold their own clothes and decide which clothes went where was really good for them. They are keeping their drawers neat. Hopefully they can do the same with their bookshelves.

Side note: I keep wanting to call them bookcases. I think that's a regional thing, because my grandma (who lives on the East Coast) referred to them as bookcases on the phone the other day. But no one out here ever says bookcases.

Next week: Paper. I am seriously so excited for this one.