Polka Dot Cottage: Project: Simplify, week three

Project: Simplify, week three

Posted March 25th, 2011 by

I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to concentrate my cleaning efforts on the most public places of the house – the living room, the kitchen, any of the places that I can’t really hide, if somebody drops by.  When I have the time and inclination to clean, I always start with these rooms.

And, since I don’t really care for cleaning all that much, I never seem to make my way to the more private areas of the house.  Like the bedrooms.  That’s one reason I’m so glad I committed to doing this Project: Simplify.  So far, all of the missions have kept me upstairs in the bedrooms, dealing with things I have been neglecting for far too long.

This week was no exception.  The mission? Kids’ clothes and toys.

I took that as my cue to completely tear apart the boys’ room and put it back together again.  I think somewhere along the line I gave up on their space, and I gave up on making them maintain it.  But no more.  They deserve better – we all do!  So, let me just tell you, the before pictures that follow are, well, embarrassing!  I mean, I am usually for “keeping it real” around here, but only to a point.

Maybe I’ll show you my dining room clutter once in a while, but I rarely take you upstairs.  And to be honest, the only reason you are going up there now, is because these mortifying shots are of scenes that no longer exist.  So are you ready to see what I’ve been doing all week?  First stop: the floor.

Project Simplify week 3 - Boys' room before

Project Simplify week 3 - Boys' room after

Project Simplify week 3 - In front of their closet before

Project Simplify week 3 - In front of their closet after

Let’s just say that there were several bags of trash, and many more bags of donations generated by this cleanup project.

Next: dresser and the laundry baskets in front of it.

Project Simplify week 3 - In front of their dresser before

Project Simplify week 3 - In front of their dresser after

There were very little clothes actually in the dresser, since the drawers were blocked from being opened by the baskets.  The boys share this dresser, and to be honest they outgrew it years ago.  Four drawers for two growing boys just doesn’t work.  Their pants didn’t fit the space at all anymore, and needed someplace (besides the top of the dresser) to live.  Which brings me to: the closet.  (Please forgive the blurry photo – I had to balance myself on top of a pile of toys and wedge the door open to get the shot – not much opportunity to worry about camera stabilization!)

Project Simplify week 3 - In their closet before

Project Simplify week 3 - In their closet after

I bought these hanging organizers at Target months ago.  I’ve had this re-organization and purging of the kids’ clothes on my mind for some time, I just lacked the push to get moving until now.  (I think I need to do some laundry – Eamonn is all out of “comfy” pants, and Aidan is out of jeans.)

Next: the bookshelves.

Project Simplify week 3 - Their bookshelves before

Project Simplify week 3 - Their bookshelves after

I got rid of all of the board books, with the exception of a few Sandra Boynton books that had sentimental value, and I ditched a bunch of other books that didn’t seem worth keeping.  Now everything fits nicely on the shelves once again.

Next: the finishing touches.

Project Simplify week 3 - Boys' room before

Project Simplify week 3 - Boys' room after

The blank walls have bothered me for some time, so I re-hung the E that had fallen down, put up Eamonn’s favorite calendar from the local Chinese food place (you can’t see it from this angle), and bought a couple of posters for the walls.

I also was inspired to finish making twin-size quilts for each of their beds.  Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day, so I only managed to get 3/4 of Aidan’s top done, and nothing at all sewn on Eamonn’s.  For now I just put the lap quilts I made them a few years ago back on the beds, and am hoping I don’t lose steam on the new larger ones!

I’m so glad to have a weekend to recover now.  That hot spot took a lot out of me!  Fair warning: I may just phone it in when it comes to next week’s mission – I’m pooped!

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  • Rosemamie says:

    This looks miraculously similar to my own 2 growing boys’ room right now ;) I unfortunately have been totally taken down by the worst case of strep I have EVER had and missed out doing this one but I will catch up! You are inspiring me to get it done ;)
    ✿ Enjoy this post from Rosemamie: this moment

  • mrs. frisbie says:

    WOW! What a transformation. You worked your tail off! Nice job.

  • Jen Lange says:

    awesome!!! looks great, I need to get motivated to do similar changes in our house as we are in the same boat

    • Lisa says:

      I can’t tell you how long I have been putting off this particular task. I am so glad I threw myself into it, though. And now I’m going to be on top of those stinkers to keep it clean, LOL! Good luck getting motivated. It’s so HARD!

  • angdee says:

    Wow! That is awesome! I’ve been meaning to tackle my son’s room for quite some time, too. Most of it is contained in the closet (which is quite scary, though). The toy purge frightens me everytime I think about it though. This project has been in the back of my mind all week though, so this weekend we may finally move forward. Good for you for completing this one!! You should be proud! :)

    • Lisa says:

      I know how hard it is to get started on something like that, trust me! So glad to have had this outside influence to get me started! The more like a game it is, the more likely I am to follow through and keep going :-) Good luck facing that closet!

  • Michael says:

    It looks like you really deserve this weekend! These hot spot clean-ups are so interesting to read about and see, and I think they may just inspire me to power through a few of my own clutter challenges.
    ✿ Enjoy this post from Michael: Color 24-31- Crochet in Green

    • Lisa says:

      I really hate cleaning, but I love the results, so this hot spot thing has been very good for me. It’s forced me to clean up places I have always stuck on the backburner. I’m even thinking of coming up with a list of places to tackle after the official project is over. But, hey, that may just be Crazy Talk ;-) Good luck with your clutter challenges!

  • Jill Long says:

    Great Job. I know that it was a lot of work! Once you finish the quilts, it might be nice to add a dust ruffle to the beds to finish the room off. My mom used to take a solid color queen size sheet and stitch a couple of box pleats into it. She would sandwich the sheet between the matresss and boxspring.

    • Lisa says:

      Good idea. I actually have a dust ruffle for each of the beds already, but it’s such a pain to lift up the mattresses and get everything placed just right that I flaked out on it. Plus, I was thinking we might have bought them bunk beds yesterday afternoon when we were out (but we didn’t). I didn’t want to waste the effort :-D I’ll probably put them on when I finish those new quilts, though.

  • Wow — amazing work! Nice, nice job. And I LOVE the quilts. Love them! Did you make them? Either way, stellar work this week!
    ✿ Enjoy this post from Tsh @ Simple Mom: Project- Simplify- Kids Clothes &amp Toys Results

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks! And thank you so much for picking this hot spot – I so desperately needed to stop ignoring it, but I could never get myself started. And yes, I made the quilts a few years ago (more about them here). They’re lap-sized (a little small for a bed, actually) but they work for now!

  • Amanda says:

    wowzer! How many days did that take? And how much mess did you have to make to clean up the mess? I’d say that you are inspiring me, but that means I’d have to actually do something. But you have planted a seed. Just waiting for the cleaning faeries to come and water the seed! :}
    good for you. Now you can breathe! Hope the boys appreciate it and keep it the same.
    ✿ Enjoy this post from Amanda: wool dryer balls

    • Lisa says:

      Ah, cleaning faeries would have been nice… :-)
      I worked on it a few hours per day, Monday through Thursday, and about half an hour on Friday. I did most of it while the kids were in school, but each day when they got home, they’d have a box of things to go through to decide their fate. They were very good about letting go of things. And, yes, now my hallway is a big mess of bags and boxes waiting to be donated somewhere!

  • CraftyHope says:

    AMAZING!!!

    And those quilts on their beds. . .I want, I want BAAAADDDD!!

    Now rest, that was a big job to tackle.

  • jennifer says:

    this transformation is so wonderful! thank you for sharing the wonderful before/afters and your process.

  • Tracy says:

    Very nice job!! It looks great.

  • Joan E Brands says:

    Rock on Lisa, You’re an inspiration. I have been without a washing machine for a few months which has caused a great deal of pile up in our clothing. Don’t be embarrassed by the photos. Are you sure those aren’t MY KIDS rooms? You are so right about cleaning what can be seen by drop in guests. I am finally the owner of an amazing new washing machine (my husband’s even doing some loads, YEAH) so I too, hope to get those hidden areas in order. Keep up the good job!!
    Joan

  • Sharon says:

    Those quilts are amazing-love them! And great transformation!

  • Julie Smith says:

    Unbelievable transformation! That has got to feel so, so good! Excellent work and, yes, I think you deserve a break now. :)
    ✿ Enjoy this post from Julie Smith: The First and Second Born

  • I really enjoyed reading your blog – especially this post about organizing the unseen corners! My bedroom and closet are awful and you’ve inspired me!

    I found your blog when I googled “Skirt Tutorial” and found the great tutorial “I like my skirts fast and cheap”! I have a cute new top and have been looking for a cute skirt to go with it. I don’t sew, but I can sew a straight seam, so this looks perfect for me! Thanks so much!

    Come by and visit my blog if you like!
    ✿ Enjoy this post from Paula Gonzales Rohrbacher: Adventures in Blog Land

    • Lisa says:

      That’s great! I hope the skirt tutorial works for you. It makes a very full skirt, so feel free to chop several inches off the sides, if you’d like it less full. I’m glad my experience with “unseen corners” spoke to you. It feels so nice to finally do something about those areas!!

      • Well, the skirt tutorial worked fine, but I look like a whale in the skirt, so I cut it down and made a cute skirt for my God daughter. I cut some hearts out of the fabric to applique to a t shirt for her. She will look cuter in the outfit than I will. But it was a good incentive to make an appointment with my doctor for a weight loss consult, so when I’m svelte, I’ll have you to thank!
        ✿ Enjoy this post from Paula Gonzales Rohrbacher: Adventures in Blog Land

        • Lisa says:

          Oh, funny! I hope the weight loss thing works for you. And if it makes you feel any better, I felt like a whale in my skirt that I made for that tutorial, too, and eventually I cut about 30 inches off of the width of it, and now it is *so* much better. Some of us were just not meant to have a lot of extra gathered fabric around the waist and hips ;-)

  • Amy says:

    Great job! I know I’m chiming in over a year after this project, but I had a specific question about the hanging closet organizer you used. I’ve seen these in the store before, and wondered how they held up to being used…well, by boys. :) I was hoping you could tell me how this organizer held up since this post. Thanks!
    ✿ Enjoy this post from Amy: Wordless Wednesday: Sunset

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