1. Go through kitchen cupboards and put anything that's in boxes in glass jars. I did this process once back in March 2011. I've been saving jars from products that I'm done with and have quite a few to work with.
In the process, this will clean out the mudroom closet where I've been storing the jars, and clean out any food in the cupboards that I don't plan to use. This will free cupboard space in two places.
I completed this project during Week #2.
2. Clean the freezer. I'm going to remove each thing from the freezer (a multi-shelved one that is separate from the refrigerator/freezer in the kitchen), and determine if it is something to keep or toss. The freezer will be defrosted and cleaned; and then items put back by type (e.g., vegetables on one shelf, fruit on another shelf).
I finally cleaned out the freezer. What a job. Over the past couple of weeks I have thrown away food that I knew that we wouldn't eat. This week, I did the same thing when I removed everything from the freezer.
After everything was removed and placed in coolers, I began chopping away at the ice. What's challenging about this freezer is that it is located in the mudroom which is not a heated or air conditioned room. The freezer (that is part of the refrigerator) that's inside the house (which does have heat and a/c) doesn't frost over like this one does. Not sure if there's a solution to this that doesn't involving moving the freezer.
Anyway...once the ice was removed (by huge knife, hair dryer, and pounding on the shelves) I dried the freezer before putting the items back in it.
Let me assure you that I do not like posting the before pictures since they show how disorderly different parts of the home got during the past year. That being said, I am also pleased with how everything turned out; and seeing the before and after pictures next to one another help motivate me to continue to tackle some of the de-cluttering and/or organizing jobs that are left.
Here are the before and after pictures:
Before (on the left): A complete disaster.
Who knows what was in there, and how to find it.
After (on the right): Much better.
Now I know where everything is located.
What I like about the freezer now is that all the vegetables are on the top shelf, then the fruit on the shelf below that, then the meat, and finally ice blocks for the cooler, ice cubes, and bags of items to make banana bread and Amish friendship bread (e.g., 2 cups of bananas frozen in a baggie, starter to make the friendship bread).
Before (on the left): Nothing was grouped by food type.
I wasted time trying to find things in the freezer.
After (on the right): Each shelf has a different type of food
(e.g., chopped peppers, bread, cookies, broth).
I am so relieved and happy that this project is done. It has been something I've wanted to do a long time, but it seemed overwhelming to do. It did take several hours to do this, but - like cleaning the girls' closet last week - it was well worth the effort and time.
3. Clean the girls' closet. One half of the closet has become very disorganized, and become the spot to place things that need to put away in another location (e.g., shelf, drawer).
This project was completed during Week #3.
I read another book this week about cleaning and organizing. It was called Clutter Clearing Choices – Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home, and Reclaim Your Life by Barbara Tako.
She made an excellent point: "Clutter control and home organizing aren’t ends in themselves. They are the means to free up time and energy for our personal priorities – whether they are spiritual, relationship, career-oriented, or anything else."
I can see her point. I'm finding that as the home is getting more organized each month, the energy and time I would have spent on these projects can be better directed elsewhere.
Next month I want to get a three more organizing projects done before starting to homeschool again in September:
1. Clean the closet in Olivia's room. By cleaning the closet, Olivia will have significantly more space to put away items that are currently in her room. This will give her more floor space in her room as well as give her more space in her closet which will help her better organize her toys and clothes.
- About a third of the closet has items that I haven't looked at in years. They are from earlier times in my life (e.g., elementary school, college, first job).
- Another third has a variety of items (e.g., bags of wool from sheep I raised in different forms - cleaned, carded, roving, yarn, and batting; bins of items from China for each of the girls; memory boxes for each of the girls; toys the girls played with when they were younger).
- The last third is what Olivia's actively uses for her clothes and some of her toys.
2. Clean the other closet in my office. This closet has books for homeschooling, office supplies, and has become a place to store a variety of items.
3. Clean the built-in cupboards in the family room. The upper shelves have canned goods and homeschooling supplies; and the lower shelves have space for homeschooling work that the girls have completed. The open cubbies in the middle have games and activities.
In addition to this, I also need to plan for the upcoming school year. I'm waiting on one major component from Sonlight which was backordered (Core F - Sophia's history/geography/social studies curriculum which focuses on the Eastern Hemisphere). Once I receive this, I can start planning the year. This is the latest I've ever waited to plan and it's a bit unnerving for me at this point.
Having the homeschool year plan combined with the organizing projects completed will create a strong foundation for the upcoming year. I'm looking forward to it...once these projects are done!