Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mission Accomplished!!

Yay!  It's definitely a day of celebration at our house.  I have finished the 29 day challenge! (  We worked hard for two straight days getting the last pieces put into place and this morning all that was left to do was put on some touch up paint.  It looks so good, and I am so happy with the results!  I have to say a big thank you to my mom and dad for helping out with this.  My mom (aka my personal organizer) did this pretty much side by side with me, helping with cleaning, loading, unloading, assembling, etc.  My dad was able to come over last night and cut down and mount pegboard for me.  He also gave us the great idea to put the bigger fishing poles up with the kayak to clear up some wall space.  I posted the answers to the challenge questions at the end of the post.  Enough with the writing, let's get to the pictures!!

It's crazy to think that the garage looked like this at the beginning of the month!  I didn't ever think I would get this mess cleared up!

Now it looks like this!


After!!  My new planting area with table, tools, and even hand wipes.  Ready for spring!

Messy tools and fishing stuff...

Clean and functional work area! (minus to the trimmer and broom that will be donated this weekend :) )

Messy boxes and JUNK!
To organized area for outside toys! :)

Overall the garage is much more functional, including a garage door opener that now works!  A guy came out to fix that on Monday. :) 

Here are some more pics of different things we did to organize the garage:

New shelf to hold larger items (helium tank, baseball equipment, fishing equipment, etc.) and cabinet to hold the extra bulk items that we buy from Costco and larger kitchen items that are not used often (punch bowl).  We also got a box (beside the cabinet) to hold the dog food instead of just having the open bag.  I cleaned out another box that we already had and used it for the treats.

Mounted the larger fishing poles on the hooks that were already holding the kayak.

Smaller fishing poles and net above the door.

Wall hooks for yard tools, brooms, and ladder.

Used the pegboard to hook a flashlight by the door.  Saw an idea on pinterest that mounted a flashlight by the circuit breakers.  I was going to do this before I realized that I would probably run into the car or something trying to get to the circuit board to find the flashlight if the lights went out, so I thought it better to have it right by the door to grab and navigate my way to the box. :)  It's the tiny silver thing hanging on the pegboard beside the button to open the garage door. 

This could be one of my favorite items.  I found this at Lowe's.  Instead of hanging a ball from the ceiling to tell you how far to pull the car in, this will give resistance after you go over the first little bump.  I love it!!  It had sticky pads on the back, so it will stay in place as you pull in and out.  It took a couple times last night to get the car in the right spot to put this down, but we got it.  I have already used it a couple times this morning to take the car out to take pictures, and it works!

This has to be the best picture of all...a car in the garage!!!

Overall this project cost some money but not a ton.  I would say the most expensive thing was the paint.  We had to buy two cans of paint plus primer b/c the walls were going to be so hard to cover.  For the rest, we just purchased individual hooks (~$1.50 each), wall mounted hook set for yard tools (~$17), and dog food container (regularly $15, on sale for $10!).  I found a great deal on the dog food container too!  Every store I went to (Petco, Walmart, Target) had dog food containers for $25 and up for smaller containers.  I was at Kroger grocery shopping, and thought I would stop by the pet aisle and found the container I bought for $10!  I was very happy about that one.  I got the shelf on sale as well from Target (plus 5% off with my Target debit card)!  I was able to reuse some older empty containers that I already had for storage.  We purchased pegboard and spray painted it black to match the look of the garage.  I just bought a basket set (3 baskets) and a starter pegboard kit to work with since most of the tools already had a spot in the tool boxes. 

I have to say this project was hard, and there were times during the month that I was ready to give up.  Even yesterday when we were emptying out the drawers and toolboxes off all the tools and little things (screws, nails, etc.), it was a little overwhelming, but my mom and I just kept going little by little.  Here is the pile that we were sorting through yesterday.


Yet we got through it sorted each thing and got it organized. :)

The kids are loving it and have played outside while I have been working, so they are already getting accustomed to pulling their bikes and scooters out and putting them back when they are done.  It's nice to see part of the reason that I wanted to do this already coming to fruition.  I also can't wait to use my new planting area in a couple weeks to get started on some flowers. :)

Throughout this process, we have purged a lot and put some things into a storage unit that my parents have (extra dining room chairs, bassinet, etc.)  We are luck to have this resource available since our house was not built with much storage room (VERY small attic and only closets are bedroom closets).  This project has also allowed me to start organizing other rooms in my house.  Getting out the bulk items into the cabinet helped clear out some of the laundry room, kitchen, and bathrooms.  It has also motivated me to start on other rooms in the house.  I think I will take a week to rest though first!  I am tired!! :)

1. What space did you decide to organize and why?
I chose the garage b/c I felt this room would make the most impact for the entire family having more access to play with toys outside now that it is getting nice outside again.  I also felt that by organizing the garage, it would allow others rooms to empty of items that should trylu be in the garage (bulk items in the kitchen and laundry room, bikes and scooters in entryway and playroom).

2.  What steps did you take to ensure you completed the space within the 29 day timeline?
I sat down and made out a timeline to get painting, shopping, etc done.  We had some unexpected events come up in the middle of the month that pushed things back a bit, but I just readjusted and pushed ahead!

3.  What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and how did you overcome it?
I would say there were two things that almost caused me to give up.  In the beginning of the month, my husband injured his back and then had to get spinal injections which put him out (and thus me) for a week.  It was the week that I was supposed to get started cleaning out and getting ready to paint.  It was hard to get past that and re-energized as that situation took a lot of my energy.  I had to make a mental decision to get back on board and once I sat down and readjusted the time it seemed attainable again.  The other hard part was once organizing got down to the little things.  I am not a detail person, but I am so thankful that my mom is!  If it weren't for her there encouraging me and keeping on task, I would have probably gotten distracted and walked away.  Later I would have just thrown it all together in a bag or box, not really organizing it.   So havign my mom there really helped!

4. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?
I included some of this in my blog post.  I donated A LOT to a garage sale that will help out a woman from our church with paying for her cancer treatments, we took a truckload to the dump, and then the larger items that I really do not need access to on a regular basis to the attic or the storage unit.  It was easier to let go of the stuff that I was donating since it was going to such a good cause. 

5.  Tell me one of your proudest moments during this challenge?
Standing in my garage today knowing that I did this!  I had definitely some help, but throughout this process I did some new things for me.  I wrote about some of these in a previous blog post.  I donated items that I have been hanging onto for YEARS, I was able to mount everything on the wall (minus the pegboard) by myself (I even hit the studs!), and I dropped things off at the dump (very freeing to drop junk down into a cement pit).  This whole process has been very empowering and given me the confidence and motivation to keep working on other rooms of the house. 

6.  Explain any organizing “tools” you used to help you create additional space and to establish some limits and boundaries?
Mentioned in blog above.

7.  What is ONE piece of advice you’d give to someone else to encourage them on their organizational journey?
Don't do it alone!  Having an accountability partner kept me on track and gave me someone to laugh with, check in with, and celebrate with along the way. :)  Make sure it is someone who will stay motivated, keep you on track, and pay attention to the details.  I knew I didn't have some of the qualities naturally, so I depended on my mom to help me do those things more intentionally.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


We had a big day yesterday.  My mom came over early in the morning, and we worked all day long!  It was great, and the garage is well on the way to being done by the end of the month. :) 
We started by loading up my dad's truck with a load to donate inside the truck, and a load to dump in the bed of the truck.  I was happy to see that the load to donate was bigger than the one going to the dump.  Made me feel a lot less wasteful!  We heard at church last Sunday that there was a yard sale that was going to help one of our church members financially in her fight against cancer, so that was a no brainer.  We took the donation pile to the school where she works since they are hosting the sale.  I think the secretary was a little surprised to see the amount we brought.  She kept telling us thanks, then we would say that we had more coming. :)  When we finally finished dropping that off, we went to the dump to get rid of the junk. 

It was a fun and empowering experience for my mom and me.  We had never been to the dump without the guys, so being able to say we unloaded all this stuff and threw it in without help was kind of nice!  It was also sort of fun tossing it down into the big cement pit.  :)

Once finished there, we went to Lowe's to check out the hooks and organization items they had there.  I bought a few bike hooks and a scooter hook.  I also bought one of the plastic tire stops for my car to tell me when I have pulled in enough.  That way I don't have to hang something from the ceiling.  We came back and got to work!

We started by pulling some of the stuff out to clear some space.  We set up the wire shelves first and started to load items on there to clear some more space one the floor.  We placed items that I knew I wanted on the shelf first to measure the height needed for each shelf.  There were a few comical errors which made us laugh so hard, the neighbor came over to see how you could have so much fun organizing a garage!  Once we had that set up, we set to work on the plastic storage cabinet that I purchased to store all my bulk items (toilet paper, laundry detergent) from Costco, and a few large kitchen items that I don't use all the time (griddle, roasting pan, etc.) 

Shelves up in the back and clearing space on the walls.

Once that was finished, we started by clearing one wall, swept the floor out then putting the items that I wanted there.  We put the tool box by the workbench, then lined up the grill and smoker with their gas tanks in between.  I wanted the kids outside stuff to come next since it was the wall closest to the door.  We lined up their tractor, picnic table, bike, and scooter.  I hung the scooter that folded up on the wall.  We decided not to hang the bike since it would be used so often that I wasn't sure that my son would be good about putting it on and off the hooks.  Instead I will purchase him a kickstand this weekend to help stand his bike up.  I hung our outside chairs on the wall to keep them from gathering spiderwebs (like the ones we swept off of them before hanging).  I have one empty hook for the chair that I am going to purchase for my daughter (hers broke last year).  This wall excited me the most b/c now all of the stuff is accessible, and now that the weather is getting nice, we can have all our outside play toys right there!  Now once the garage door is fixed, I won't to worry about having the bikes and scooters stored in my front hallway anymore!

We moved onto the next wall, putting the garbage and recycling bins first.  As part of our city ordinances, our dumpsters cannot be visible from the street except on trash day.  We would have to get a permit from the HOA to build a screen on the side of the house to hide them, and to be honest, I am pretty sure the trash would not be taken out as frequently if they were outside.  I set up a table beside them to be my planting table.  (Yay!)  Beside this I put a shelving unit that we swept and cleaned lots of yucky bugs off of.  It's a shelving unit that I have actually had since I was a kid (over 20 years).  It's a little beaten up, but it still works!  In that I put gardening tools, Miracle Grow waterer, trimmer line, mower motor oil, etc.  Beside that is our mower.  I am planning to hang all the other lawn equipment above the mower on hooks. 

After that I went through what was left over.  I decided to move our extra dining chairs and our old bassinet to the storage unit that we share with my parents.  I found a few more things to donate, and a box of my husbands things I am leaving for him to go through. I also have some two by fours and plywood that I am not sure what to do with.  I organized my husband's fishing stuff the best that I could and put it under the planting table out of sight.  My kiddos helped me sweep out the entire garage, and we called it a night.  Progress has been made.  Yay!!

Outside toys wall

Finding space on the floor!

After a hard days work!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

We have paint!!

With my husband having the day off today, we decided to get the paint and start painting the walls.  We picked out a nice bright gray to give it a neutral look without making it too dark.  We headed home but had to delay our painting, so my husband could take our son to his dentist appointment.  While they were gone, I started working on clearing the walls of stuff.  It was really gross to see all the spider webs and eggs hiding behind things.  I think I will be calling out pest control people out here again this week once I clear out the junk!  Once they got back from the dentist, we all put on our painting clothes and grabbed a roller, even our 4 year old.  She and our 7 year old son went hard to work at everything four feet and under while my husband and I worked on everything higher.  We got one wall done then the boys had to take off again for a 3D showing of Star Wars.  My daughter and I worked hard on the next wall but she lost interest when we were almost done.  My mom came over to help keep my daughter entertained, so I could finish.  The regular walls were pretty easy, although the drywall soaked up the paint pretty quickly.  The wall with the garage door was a little more challenging.The amount of dead bugs and spiders webs around it was bad enough, but there was also a lot of reaching around bars.  I think I may just leave that portion with one coat since you don't see it with the garage door up and the dim light of the garage won't expose the difference in it just having  one coat.  That will save me a little labor for the next coat.  I will hopefully finish this tomorrow.  I am hoping that on Thursday, my mom will be able to come over, and we can sort and toss out some of the stuff then start to putting things in the shelves I bought last week.  I got one plastic cabinet to store all my bulk items in and a wire shelf to put boxes and large items on.  I will probably go back next week for one more shelf.  I am also planning on buying some peg board for above the work bench.  It will be a busy week! 
One of the nice things about painting was removing the footprints from our walls.  It looked like we had a ghost walking our walls with the bootprints the workers left when they walked on the drywall before they installed it.  Here is a pic of one of the footprints before I painted over it.  :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Minor setbacks

So my plans have not gone exactly as I thought they would.  The next Monday, my husband hurt his back putting him out of commission until he could get a spinal injection this past Friday.  Thus without someone to do the heavy lifting (though I am not sure he should now) and watch the kids while I unbury the garage, I was not able to get much done.  However, I am not giving up!  My mom and I were able to go shopping for some shelving to get prices and measurements, so one thing has gotten done.  I plan this week to get the trash out, call and schedule a donation pickup, and measure for the shelves.  I am hoping by next week to have the garage painted.  I want to do this while the weather is still nice, so there is no problems with it drying.  Since I wanted this to be kind of his man cave, I want my husband to pick out the color of the paint.  I am planning to get that done this weekend.  I am thinking to go with the primer and paint in one to save time.  Cross your fingers and say a little prayer that no more obstacles like that come up again!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 1 - Getting started

I found this 29 day organization challenge on the website, I'm an Organizing Junkie (  I was inspired!!  While it was hard to narrow down which room to pick, we finally chose the garage.  I felt with spring weather coming soon, it would be so nice to get the garage cleaned out and functional for storing the kids bikes and scooters (instead of in our front entryway).  I also thought it would be nice to use the garage for one of it's intended uses, to store a car!  Crazy isn't it?!?  While I thought I can motivate my husband to get excited by talking about organizing his tools and making his work bench more functional, I am also going to try and get a planting table together for myself in time for spring planting. 
I have recruited help from my mom who aspires to be a professional organizer.  She loves this stuff, so she has volunteered to help keep my on the path instead of getting distracted and/or frustrated.  It's always nice to have some support when taking on a task like this one!  We started with taking pictures.

This is pretty much all four angles of the garage.  It's pretty much our catch all for what we don't want in the house along with some tools, dog food, and yard equipment.  It's also where my husband stores his kayak and fishing stuff.  Once we clear everything out, we will look at what we have left, and how we need this garage to work for us. 
I sat down and worked on a timeline of when and what I needed to get down to complete this project by the end of the month.  Ready, set, go!! :)