Monday, March 1, 2010

Organizing Junkie's 28-Day Challenge...completed.

It is March 1st and I completed the Organizing Junkie's 28-Day Organization Challenge in one small space in my house. While I had grander plans to rehaul my pantry and two closets, as well, I only got one small space completed - but probably the space that was aggravating me the most. It is a small countertop and cupboard between our refrigerator and wall in our kitchen. Before, it was a drop zone for everything - loose change, stamps, bills, crayons, kids art projects, phone and monitor chargers, etc. The cupboard housed baby bottles and pacifiers that were no longer in use (but may be used again someday...who knows?), greeting cards, checkbooks, camcorder and camera, envelopes, a hand mixer, clothespins...and maybe the kitchen sink at times? It was a MESS. That little counter space and cupboard (which I could never close) was an embarrassment every time I had someone over to my house.

As embarrassing as it is, here are the before photos: (This area of our kitchen is poorly lit so I apologize for the dark photos) -

The counter top - Before:

The counter top - After:

It took two total kids' naptimes to get this little area revamped. For the counter space, I threw away/shredded/recycled tons of old bills, magazines, letters, coupons, and yes, I hate to say it, but even some old kids' art projects. (I simply can't keep everything forever.) I then took the small wicker basket which I finally emptied out and put in some keepsakes and photos. I bought a cardboard magazine holder in the dollar aisle at Target to keep magazines and folders containing receipts and tax information. I also bought a little three-drawer plastic container at Target to keep stamps, pens, rubber bands, business cards, and food clips. I had a little black box that some handkerchiefs came in that was sitting around, so that now keeps some notecards that I use every day and our checkbook.

The cupboard - Before:

The cupboard - After:

Look!! The cupboard door now closes all of the way!

As for the cupboard, I found a new home for the camcorder, camera and hand mixer. I used two storage containers from the dollar store to hold all of the baby items on the top shelf. The second shelf container holds the envelopes and greeting cards. On the bottom shelf, I keep the pretty wicker basket I already had that now holds a few keepsakes and photographs. Two small containers that I already had also hold all phone/camera/baby monitor chargers and some clothespins.

The Organizing Junkie has requested we answer these five questions, so here I go:

1. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and were you able to overcome it?

The hardest part was parting with some of the little art projects the kids had done in the past. I overcame it by just reassuring myself that I cannot keep every little drawing they do, but I do keep a few every year to keep in their keepsake box. I also had a hard time organizing and finding a place for all of the photographs that I kept in this cabinet, but was able to purchase a few cheap, pretty photo boxes to house them in different cabinets.

2. Tell us what kind of changes/habits you have put into place in order for your area/room to maintain its new order?

I no longer just toss stuff on this counter top. I purposefully put each thing in its own place. The phone charger goes in the container on the bottom shelf. The loose change now goes into my daughter's piggy bank sitting on a different shelf. The checkbook gets put back into the black box so my husband and I no longer have to spend 15 minutes looking for it and arguing over who had it last. It only takes a few extra seconds to put stuff away and keep the area tidy.

3. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?

As I said before, I actually put some photographs in...gasp!...actual photo boxes instead of cramming them into every available space. The camcorder, camera, and mixer found new homes in a different kitchen cabinet where I had some space. And a lot of it was just JUNK that I was able to throw out.

4. What creative storage solutions were you able to introduce in order to create additional space as well as establish some limits and boundaries?

The dollar store containers were a blessing because they keep everything contained and not falling out of the cupboard when I open it; however, they also set boundaries because each container can only hold so much in order to fit properly in the cupboard. It puts a check-system on how much I can store in the cupboard instead of cramming it all in there!

5. Why do you think you should win this challenge?

I think I should win this challenge because I was able to overcome anxiety about throwing some items away to create more space. I also did this project very cheaply -
Magazine holder - $1
Black storage containers - 2 @ $1 each
Black 3-drawer storage unit - $5
Photo boxes - 2 @ $2 each
Total: $12.00

I think it looks nice and I'm so proud to no longer have that "eyesore" area in my kitchen! Mentally, I feel like I have one little stress-free corner of my life (literally, I guess) under control now.

Thank you, Organizing Junkie, for inspiring and motivating us with this challenge!
For tons of organizing ideas, please check out I'm an Organizing Junkie!


  1. Nicely done! I wish I could find those magazine holders (I'm going to have to hunt them out at target!). I also love the magnetic holder on the side of the fridge!

  2. Great job! It looks so neat and tidy now!

  3. Thanks Brandie and Katie! I love how it turned out. Brandie - not sure if Target still has the magazine holders in the dollar aisle but it's worth looking! I have no idea where I got the magnetic holder on the fridge - I found it in a box of old stuff from our old apartment ten years ago so I've had it a LONG time!

  4. What a nice little space it is now! A few little containers make such a big difference, right?
    I had to get over the keeping kids are projects a while back, too. Actually, it was harder for them than it was for ME. I have NO DOUBT there will be plenty of replacement art projects in a matter of days! =)

  5. I agree; it does look so neat and tidy! Great job!

  6. Wow nice job. Doesn't it seem like kitchens become the catchalls for everything? Mine needs a bit of help for usre. Thank you also for visiting my blog....I will be adding yours to my own blogroll :)

  7. That magnetic holder is a great idea! We need something like that!!

    Good job. Doesn't it make you feel so proud?