10 easy steps to organize your home

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

We recently remodeled the playroom and that meant going through everything that had accumulated in that little room.  As such, we found it necessary to do a major declutter. Today I hope to inspire you with some suggestions we found helpful in the remodel project and ten easy ways to help you organize, whether it be one room or your entire home.

1.         Get into the right frame of mind.  You must be in the correct frame of mind to organize.  Plan a day (or days!) to do it, then stick to it.

2.         Take small steps.  If you can’t get it all done in one or two days, that’s fine.  Set up another day to continue the task.  Tackle a certain area or room at a time.  Set realistic goals because if your goal is too big,  you will be overwhelmed and procrastinate.

1209088_deposit_trash3.         Set goals.  One of our main goals when “decluttering” the basement several years ago was to fill our garbage can full before “trash day.”  We easily reached this goal, and filled the neighbor’s garbage can full too.  (With her permission of course!) It also helps to write your goals down so that you can cross off each accomplishment.

4.         Spring clean, even if it’s not spring.  Take down each object from your shelves and cabinets and dust them.  This way, you will see everything you have.  As you are dusting each item, notice which items are not sentimental to you in anyway.  Also notice which items you do not have a personal attachment to or of which you have more than one.  These are potential “get rid of” items.  Check for old outdated items, such as, food, shampoos, lotions, and perfumes that also need to be tossed.

1225260_cardboard_box5.         Divide into piles.  Make four piles.  One pile will be for the items you are using now.  The second pile will be for items that that you will be storing in storage bins.  The third pile is for donation items to the Salvation Army or Goodwill, and the fourth pile is items that are someone else’s that you have been storing and need to return. A good rule of thumb – if you have to think about whether or not you’ll ever use it, you should seriously consider getting rid of it.

6.         Help someone else. Besides donations to the Salvation Army or Goodwill, we also found a great organization in our town while remodeling the playroom that was looking for items for their garage sale. We loaded up quality items that we no longer needed and donated them. For an inspirational article on helping others with items you no longer need, see my post How to instill compassion and servanthood in your children.

7.         Take drastic action. For our playroom remodel project, we carried everything (and I mean everything!) from the playroom to the living room. It stayed there while we painted, redid moldings, and installed a new desk and cabinet. My rule of thumb was this…nothing was to be taken back into the playroom once the paint was dry unless it had “passed inspection.” The last thing we needed was to have everything returned without having gone through it.

1336514_a_cd_player8        Turn on the tunes.  It always helps to have a little outside noise to take your mind off of “decluttering.“  Put in your favorite CDs in the CD player and open your windows for a fresh breeze. For us, some Newsboys, Kutless, and Third Day were just the ticket!

9.         Enlist assistance.  When we decided to clean out our basement, I enlisted my husband’s help.  He was more than willing to assist me because 80% of the “stuff” was his and he didn’t want me to be the one to decide whether or not we should keep it.  My sister was also an unbiased  help because she is not sentimental like I am, so she was able to help me get rid of things that I no longer need or want (I sometimes need help knowing what I do and don’t want!)

10.         Congratulate yourself! After you have successfully organized and “decluttered”  your home, congratulate yourself and treat yourself to something special, preferably nothing of the cluttering sort!

What ideas do you find helpful when tackling a declutter project?

*Portions of this article first appeared in my article for Home and Family Magazine

Extreme Bathroom Makeover

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

It was a scary decision made by the man of the house…

No, it wasn’t a decision to parachute from a plane or bungee jump from a bridge into the Snake River Canyon. It wasn’t the decision to sail the Atlantic Ocean in a canoe or board the space shuttle for a trip to Saturn. No, it was a much scarier decision – the decision to remodel our upstairs bathroom.

My innocent-seeming husband, Lon had a secret identity as an extreme bathroom makeover artist. He hid this identity well, so how could we have known?

“We would never have guessed. He seemed so…so normal,” said a neighbor who chose to remain anonymous.

Innocent-seeming Lon had a secret identity

The weekend started out peaceful and calm. A nice breakfast and a relaxing day could have been in order, but that wasn’t the case. When I saw Lon heading up the stairs with enough tools to make the tool department at Lowes appear lacking in comparison, I knew that our bathroom would NEVER be the same.

So perhaps I should back up a bit and start at the beginning. Lon decided that we needed a new bathroom faucet. He could barely fit his hands under our current faucet and he mentioned that the current one seemed so “blah.” So, off to the store we went and found a beautiful brushed nickel faucet. Thus began Lon’s obsession with brushed nickel.

The innocent-looking faucet that started it all...

That evening, Lon announced he had to run up to the hardware store to buy something to fix our upstairs toilet. Inside I panicked. After all, I don’t do well without indoor plumbing.

He returned a short time later with a brown bag and unknown contents within it. “I have to fix the toilet,” was all he said as he hastily retreated into our upstairs bathroom and shut and locked the door, leaving me to fear the worst…that our toilet was leaking everywhere.

Moments later, Lon emerged with a grin on his face. He beckoned me to come see the “fixed” toilet.  With a wave of his hand, he showed me the latest brushed nickel addition to our bathroom.

Keep in mind while gazing at the picture above that this bathroom is a small one. The special super-sucker toilet is standard size, but even so, the over-sized toilet flusher took up a large portion of the tank.

During a moment of weakness the prior week, Lon mentioned that he’d never liked the bright colors I’d chosen for our bathroom years ago.  Now I admit, I like bright colors, so at first I couldn’t understand his concern. But as he began to detail the prospect of remodeling our upstairs bathroom, I began to become more open-minded. After all, I could adjust from bright colors to modern browns and creams.

Sadly, the paint we first chose for our extreme bathroom makeover was the wrong color. No, not a soft chocolate brown as we had hoped, but more of an avocado poop brown. We only noticed this after I had painted the entire cabinet. Off to the store we went to for different paint.  We then began the process of repainting the entire bathroom in cream-colored earth tones for the walls and accented by a true chocolate brown…

Lon begins the tedious task of taping off the things we don't want painted (like the tub)

Later…

Lon is later attacked by an especially aggressive piece of plastic

Everything that is removable is taken from the bathroom, including the toilet. Children are sternly warned “Do NOT to use the toilet in the hallway!”

Caution! Do NOT use!

A couple days later, our bathroom emerges into a modernized new room done entirely by motivated do-it-yourselfers, complete with new flooring, paint, sapphire accents, crown moulding, and, yep, you guessed it, a brushed nickel lighting bar!

Our beautiful new bathroom

My creative husband adds a few special touches…

Lon adds moulding and tile accents to our new lighting bar

Lon builds into our cabinet drawers an excellent idea complete with dazzling color…

I absolutely love Lon's idea of floor tiles and accents for our cabinet drawers!

The crown moulding outlines and finishes the look...

Phew! We finally finished our extreme bathroom makeover – and on a budget too. And I owe it all to my husband who can build and remodel anything!