Day 5 & 6 William Morris Challenge

Well there was an almost absolute certainty I wouldn’t be blogging every day thoughout this challenge, if for no other reason than I’m easily bored. So here are two days of challenge material for ya! Read more about the whole challenge here.

Day 5: Garage – Origins

I’m assuming that the garage will play heavily in this 30 day challenge as it is one of my most utilized spaces but also very industrial. See, I don’t entertain in the garage often so it doesn’t have to be pretty, just functional.

Here are some areas I plan to tackle:

    • laundry area
    • gardening shelves
    • recycling corner
    • tools
    • screws, nails & misc storage
    • garden tools

This is what I see when I go out to the garage:

PhotobucketSo I’ve pretty much got the work cut out for me! Today I started with the nails, screws, hangers and such. I’ve used this a lot recently in rehanging pictures in the guest room and a quilt in the living room but I’m bad about putting things away.

PhotobucketI cleaned things up and got the loose pieces put away before moving on the the other side:

PhotobucketI also pulled out a whole stack of strawberry baskets which I can recycle at the co-op. I dusted the shelves and now this space is done!

Day 6: Bathroom Caddy

Then, Day 6 came along and I decided to clean out the caddy in my bathroom. It fits right by the bath so I have a bunch of bath soaps, gels, bombs, crystals and such on hand. Here’s what it was like before, with a few new items thrown on top:

PhotobucketWhile cleaning things out I decided to take the seals off everything so it would be easier to use. And the dogs got curious:

not quite sure about this

Those noses, they get into everything.

lemme smell it...

Here’s the after, not very dramatic I know but at least it’s clean and everything there is useful!

PhotobucketI’ll be back with more of the challenge and cleaning/decluttering soon. Again, I can’t promise daily updates but I will be working on this every day.

See Day 4’s task of cleaning out the kitchen utensils here.

Day 4: More Kitchen Cleaning

Welcome to Day 4 of the William Morris Challenge! Not sure who William Morris is and what this challenge is all about? Read more here.


Okay, it’s winter, it’s cold, it recently rained inside my house and I have ants. Really? Don’t those little idiots realize there is plenty of water outside and probably dead bugs to eat? Instead they’re inside finding containers with loose seals and making me mad.

So today I continued the William Morris challenge in the kitchen by going through my utensils. I’ve always kept these out on the counter for a few reasons. a) I only have 4 drawers in my kitchen and that space is valuable. Not going to use it for a bunch of bulky stuff. b) the deeper drawers are for pots and pans so I don’t have to hang them from my ceiling or other nonsense.

Because my utensils stay out, I had to find a better solution than jamming 50 things in one container and I found these cool teal containers at thrift stores over the past year. One is technically a vase but I don’t care.

I’ve kept them on a white Ikea tray so it’s easy to move everything when the ants attack or it starts leaking water in the house.

PhotobucketBut now that Christmas is done and I’m moving around all my trays and such I decided to use this red tray from Target:


You can see that I’m grouping like items together so I know where to find a spatcula or whisk.

For the larger containers I use glass jars inside to help the utensils stand up straight (and not end up cross ways on the bottom):

PhotobucketThe short container here holds all the stuff that used to clutter up my silverware drawer like a can opener, potato peeler, pizza cutter, etc. This is just the right size:

PhotobucketI found much more here that I could give away. While I like having a variety of tools I had to admit that I don’t use some very often and others are falling apart. Why do spatulas melt and always look like someone has been chewing on them?

Oh well, here are the items which are going out:

PhotobucketAs well as some of the office stuff I pulled out to donate on Day 1 of the Challenge:

PhotobucketIt’s been good to clear some stuff out, even a little at a time. Yesterday I cleaned up the kitchen hutch/cabinet thingy and put away decorations on the top. See that post here.

Tomorrow is Saturday so I might open up the garage and tackle some of the spaces out there. Of course there’s a twin bed frame, mattress, sink, toilets, lights and couch in the middle of the garage so who knows how much room I’ll have to clean?!

Day 3: Uncluttering Decorations

It’s day 3 of the William Morris Challenge (details and day 1 decluttering here) and I’ve already had that sense that I should burn down my house and run away. You know, become a minimalist who lives in a shed on a beach. But then I remember that I like stuff, it’s just that I want my stuff to be pretty and function and make me happy (ooo pretty!) and not frustrated (dang dust!). So I put down the matches and poured a glass of wine, contemplating a less cluttered existance.

It’s a scary thing to be inside my head.

Anywho… this was the space I tackled today:

PhotobucketThis is the top of my cabinet in the dining area with a bunch of decorations and stuff that was leftover from Christmas that I just threw up there. Oh, that did not sound good…. anywho, I moved somethings out, put a few things below in the cabinets and rehung the picture in the corner so it’s level with the other one. Here’s the after:

PhotobucketI found this bread basket at Target and added the place mats to it since I hate french bread. Not that it’s not yummy, but I cannot buy it because it becomes hard as a rock or moldy before I can finish the loaf and thus, I hate it.

PhotobucketThe cabinet itself was pretty cluttered looking, probably because I stack snacks in there instead of putting them in the glass containers:

PhotobucketIgnore the angle, once again drunk camera. Or, if you assume the green tin that says HERBS has actual herbs in it, you can assume the camera has a contact high. Not that it does.

I like this cabinet. I even touched up the paint in the fall so it is pretty much “done” although I do need to fix the knobs and make the doors close better. So instead of worrying about that I just emptied the shelves, wiped down with a rag and restocked everything.

The glass jars with shelf stable food is great, definitely keeps my closed door pantry much more organized when there’s less stuff crammed in. And all the canned goods live outside in the pantry shelving Dad built me. Oh, and I can tell I didn’t dust the tops of these very well!

PhotobucketSo this space is both useful and pretty, per the William Morris quote. The bottom of the cabinet is pretty full, it holds all of my china, place mats and bowls. Pretty handy piece of furniture for the kitchen and it was only $20 plus paint.

Probably the last “project” I need to finish for this space is labels for the glass containers. Just in case idiots come to dinner and can’t figure out that there are whole and sliced almonds or cannot figure out what a lentil is. But that’s not so much a project for this challenge so I can wait on it.

Still not sure what I’m going to work on tomorrow and honestly, I probably won’t know until I open up a new post and look around the house until something annoys me enough to clean it up. That’s how I roll.

See yesterday’s post here : Decluttering the charging station and a headboard cubby

Day 2: Charging Station and Headboard Cubby

It’s Day 2 of the William Morris Challenge (for details click here) and it took me awhile to determine what I was going to declutter today. Mostly as I laid in bed and tried to get the energy and momentum to get the dogs off me so I could get up.

I decided to work on an area that gets a lot of use but not a lot of attention, my charging station:

PhotobucketI have this little area right inside the front door and it serves to charge my cell phone and bluetooth, hold the contents of my purse and corral clutter.

First step, as always, was to dump everything out. This was only possible because the dogs were outside and thus unable to steal my chapstick and eat it.

PhotobucketYeah… I found gift certificates, more business cards, 3-D glasses, eye glass cleaner, more lip gloss, random cords, a button, a rubber band… you get the idea.

Luckily, most of these items have homes. A jar under the sink collects rubber bands, a box in the bathroom has all eye glass related stuff, a jar in the guest room holds random buttons.

I grabbed some generic surface cleaner and a rag to dust the charging station and got that cleaned up. The drawer now holds my gift certificates that need to be redeemed. The 3-D glasses are in with my movies until I decide to recycle them at the movie theater and I’ve added more to the stack o biz cards to enter online.

PhotobucketWhile I like this little area I started thinking about painting the charging station or labeling the organizer. But it doesn’t really need it, they look fine and I guess I’m just not “that” domestic gal who coordinates everything. I’ve got bigger projects to worry about!

And, because I can’t just do one area, I also tackled this cubby in my master bedroom headboard. Mostly because it also holds chargers and I needed to clean those up.

PhotobucketIgnore the weird angle, apparently my camera is drunk. These corn bags are awesome, a lifesaver for my back when it’s sore or tight and easy to heat in the microwave for 5 minutes. Plus it’s feed corn, not popcorn, so they’re reusable.

The little box with all the pins doesn’t fit in here very well so off I went to find a better container. Here’s what was inside the basket is misfit toy chargers:

PhotobucketAs you can tell it’s a huge mess of cables and chargers and I’m so glad to have it sorted! Bonus: I finally found the cords for my old handheld camera so I can download videos from Christmas time. Most of these cords went to the office where I have boxes for each electronic “thing” like my ipod, phone, audio, video camera, ipad… all that jazz.

As a result I was able to get this down to the essentials, a spare phone charger and the iPad/iPod charger, both of which fit in this small basket (which originally held a bath set gift I got for Christmas):

PhotobucketThe small blue container has travel stuff like ear phones, a compact charger and iPad converters. Easy to pack too!

Well, that wasn’t as hard as I thought once I got started – what are you working on making useful and beautiful in your home?

To get all the details see the Day 1 post here – office supplies & an Ikea Caddy

January Uncluttering

Like everyone else in the world I find January a very motivating time to declutter some old stuff and clean house. Especially after getting some great new things for Christmas it’s time to make room.

I recently came across the William Morris challenge and thought I’d give it a try. It’s all about creating the home you want based on this quote:

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

–William Morris.

So, with that in mind the goal is to clean, declutter and donate items every day. At least one thing per day in one area. I can’t promise to blog every day or even to track what I’m working on but as long as I’m making progress it’s all good. Let’s start with today, shall we?

By process of eeny, meeny, miney, mo I chose this organizer in my office closet that I got from Ikea years ago:


It’s not particularly beautiful, but it is useful. And the labels mean I don’t have to take it down every time I need something.

I was able to clean out an entire drawer of  coupons that I don’t use, many of which expired 18 months ago.

There was a drawer for BART cards… well this one was interesting. I have $6.45 in metro cards from trips to Washington D.C. and $8.83 in BART cards (across 6 different cards). So I’ll use the BART tickets for my next trip to the airport, a one way is about $10.

I do have a lot of calendar stickers, stars, price stickers and such which are fine – the container keeps them organized and the drawers are labeled well.

Business cards also came out and I replace that drawer with label refills and a drawer for Post-its. Still going through the huge stack of biz cards and tossing the old ones, entering the relevant ones and finding myself amused at the items I’ve kept. Like a Borders reward card. Organ donor card. Rebate cards and even more BART cards.

PhotobucketSince I was going through the office supplies I decided to empty and refill the bottom drawer in my desk. Here’s what it looked like before I moved the post-it’s, label maker refills and paper to the closet:

PhotobucketI filled the drawer here with items I use all the time but don’t need right at hand. You know, glue, tape, paper clips. All that jazz. I didn’t throw much away, just cleaned it up so everything is visible (no stacking):

PhotobucketWhile I was working at the desk I decided to go ahead and do the second drawer which has pens, pencils, highlighters and sharpies. Also a slot for my 3-hole punch.

PhotobucketThere were only a few things I actually threw away/donated, most went back into the desk.  Does that count for 3 areas? I know, I should spread it out over a few days but once I get on a roll I need to keep going.

I purposefully am not creating a list, a process or a system around this project. Just keep working on one space at a time and only keep items that are useful or beautiful, preferably both.