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Operation Clean House: Part 1 {The Briefing}

The Background
Like all good operations, I needed a plan of attack. This post is just that {and filled with the before shots I mentioned in my last post}. To give you some perspective of what I have to work with, I will tell you a little bit about our house. We live in small two-story townhouse/apartment with one bedroom and one and a half bathrooms. Our main level consists of an entryway, kitchen, dining/living room, private courtyard and detached garage. The upper level consists of a laundry room {more like closet}, loft {currently our family room, but will soon be a playroom}, and the master bedroom & bathroom. For a one bedroom unit, the place is laid out quite nicely so we feel like we have all the room we need. My goal is to use the space as efficiently as possible. Another caviat to the space is that we are renting and are not able {or willing} to entirely change the spaces with paint and the like since this is a temporary house for us. But while we are here, I want to make it a home and care for it as best I can. So enough with the "blah, blah, blah"! I bet you are curious as to what kind of a mess I find myself in, right?

Disclaimer: Some spaces are worse than others and my definition of messy may or may not be your definition of messy, but for the purposes of Operation Clean House, for now my mess is your mess. Fill in your own mess where necessary to help yourself think about ways you can de-clutter or better organizer your own spaces.

The Target{s}
The Entryway
As you enter our little nook of a house you will see a blank canvas of a niche, shoes and a stroller blocking an entry closet of tiniest proportions {it's literally 3' x 2'}.

  • Objectives:
    • Create seating & storage for accessories {hats, scarves, gloves, etc.}
    • Hide shoes
    • Make the entry closet useful
    • Find a better home for the stroller

The Kitchen
From the entryway, the house opens up to a kitchen on one side and the powder room to the other.  A narrow, but cozy arrangement that works fine for us for the time being.
  • Objectives:
    • De-clutter the "command center/catch all" area
    • Clear up counter space
    • Organize pantry

The Kitchen Pet Peeves
While lingering in the kitchen, it doesn't take long for one to see how little the space is, but at the same time, there is some elbow room to work with.  These areas are my biggest irritations when working in the kitchen: the spice cabinet, pantry and fridge {sadly, the most frequently used spaces of the kitchen}.
  • Objectives:
    • Use cabinet space more efficiently
    • Organize fridge
    • Organize pantry {I know I said this already, but this one is a pain in my ____}

The Dining Room
Slide past the cluttery kitchen to find the cluttery dining room table complete with hanging jackets on the chair and some mail and art projects just lounging around.
  • Objectives:
    • Clear the dining table
    • Find a better home for the jackets and coats
    • Accent the space with wall decor
    • Eliminate the random side table in the corner

The Living/Play Room
Two more giant steps will take you to the living/play room where the only people who would feel welcome here are toddlers and maybe 4 adults.

  • Objectives:
    • Turn the space into a living room only
    • Repurpose play area to become entertainment area
    • House the random side table in entertainment area

The Laundry Room/Closet
Up the stairs you go to find the closet that is home to the washer and dryer with basket of laundry waiting to be folded {it waits there a long time sometimes}.
  • Objectives:
    • Tidy up the shelf storage and make it pretty and inviting
The Loft
A quick pivot and you are in the loft-soon-to-be-playroom where all that you see here will replace all the toys downstairs.
  • Objectives:
    • Repurpose space from family room to play room
    • Create lots of storage for toys
    • Zone the space into working areas {reading, art, pretend play, etc.}
That's it, our meager living quarters! So the mission {if I choose to accept it} is to make the house more organized and create space in a small unit.  As I tackle each of these spaces one at a time, say a prayer for me will ya!?!

Do you have space{s} in your home that you've been meaning to organize?  What are they?  I would love to hear what your current and future projects are.  I took a big step exposing my home and clutter to you all, so please, no judging!  But that's precisely the point of this blog.  I didn't want to just show magazine quality rooms because people don't live in those spaces!  People live in clutter and disorganization {even if only sometimes}.  But as the saying goes, "when you've hit rock bottom, there is no where else to go but up".  Let's get up together and claim victory over Operation Clean House. 

Discovering the Blog World

What's in a blog?
Typically I am not a blog reader...until literally just two weeks ago {December 2011}. I discovered a couple of amazing blogs about organizing that have totally hooked and inspired me! I am one of those weird people whose eyes light up at The Container Store, and whose heart skips a beat when dreaming of a beautifully organized kitchen pantry. So to me, discovering these blogs was like discovering a great show on TV and having to catch up on 2 or 3 seasons worth of past episodes! Aside from inspiration, what I found while discovering blog world was that I had let my own passion for organizing wither away in the busyness of life and motherhood. These ladies were doing what they loved to do and were great at it, and as I look around my less than tidy house, my aha moment hit me. It's time to reclaim that passion and get organized once and for all {it's amazing what a little blog can do}!

My aha moment turned blog
As if discovering my need to reorganize the entire home wasn't big enough, compound it with preparations for Christmas...gifts to plan, budget, buy, wrap and deliver. My house was spiraling into a cluttery abyss! I needed to start my game plan, but how and when do I start? I had already been making big plans to rearrange the house turning our upstairs loft into a playroom for our son, so I decided to make 2012 the year. The timing was perfect; draw out the blueprints for it all now and be ready to attack come the new year. Things were coming along nicely; I had identified the problem {cluttered house} and established a solution {organize one space at a time}, but I needed something to keep me accountable. With that in mind, I went about my merry way dreaming of a tidy 2012 in the midst of the holiday season. As my wheels began spinning, suddenly it occurred to me...blog about it! Blogging would be a great way to document my journey from somewhat organized to beautifully organized and keep me accountable to follow through with all my projects. The thought if this got me so excited, I went through the entire house taking before shots {no kidding}!

Using our gifts
Thinking about blogging is kind of a scary proposition, especially after seeing some of the work these ladies were putting in.  I didn't want my blog to be just about organizing because my passions encompass more than that.  They include {but are not limited to} technology and integrating it into our real lives, taking ordinary to extraordinary, and inspiring others to become better!  This is where the title of my blog was born.  One of my favorite scriptures encourages us to use the gifts we have been given to serve others and I hope that this blog helps you as much as it helps me.  My way of gifting it forward, if you will!  In each new blog that I came across, it was apparent that these ladies were truly gifted in what they did. I like to think of myself as organized in my own right, but these blogs were blowing my mind! It made me think about how they were using their gifts. I am not a crafty girl by any stretch of the imagination, but these girls made me actually want to be crafty! That's a gift! I want to bring that same gift to you through this blog. Not only is this my way of keeping myself in check about caring for my home and serving my family, but I want it to inspire others like me who are stuck in their cluttered rut to see, we can get back to a place of order with some inspiration, encouragement and a bit of elbow grease. GIFT!

Starting the journey together
So that is the where we find ourselves today. As the new year approaches, there are many goals I have for the house, but that's another story for another time. I appreciate you taking this journey with me and I hope that together we can take our homes and lives from cluttered to clean.

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