I need help

At first, I was excited to learn that Lysa’s latest Swap & Hop was about an organization challenge.  I got out my camera and went around my house taking pictures of the places I need help.   Okay, so I won’t mention how many pictures I took or how many rooms in our house I took pictures of.  Oh my mercy could I be the poster child for having organization challenges. 

I went through the pictures and settled on one room that I really do not know what to do about.  This room was previously our living room.  Then it was changed into a bedroom for a few months (which explains why it has two doors).  I need this room to serve as a library/school/piano room.  A wonderful family from church is blessing us with their piano.  This room is also home to our china cabinet/hutch.   I just recentlly started homeschooling and have no idea how to organize our school stuff. 

This first picture was taken from the door that leads to the dining room.  The second door can be seen on the left wall.  Just to the left in this picture is an antique desk (yes, it is buried in clutter).  On the far wall is a bookcase.


This second picture is taken from the second doorway.  It shows the front window, the china cabinet/hutch and in the far corner is a small stereo with CD rack.  Behind the door on the right is a small bookcase and the antique desk I mentioned before.  This desk is home to my modem and wireless router. 

This third picture takes us back to the door leading to our dining room.  Behind it is another bookcase. 

Last week, I moved several boxes and storage containers of “school supplies” out of this room so I would have room to “organize”.  Ok, so now what?  I need to get our school supplies organized in this room plus make room for a piano.  I also would like to store photos and scrapbooking supplies in this room, but that might not be possible.  We do not use this room for doing school but it is where I need to be ORGANIZED.  Any suggestions from anyone would be most welcome!  Moving to a larger home is not an option.  I need Help!

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14 Responses to “I need help”

  1. anitz Says:

    I want to thank you very much for being so open to post your pictures. I would not like to go so far to say you inspire me ( 😉 ), yet your honesty is incredible.

    I shall be interested in what your readers have to suggest (I am NOT the person in any position to help anyone organize, as I am quite challenged in this area too!)

    Wishing you strength and resolve to a) get on top of this room and b) stay on top of this room!

    (My only possible suggestion is the Fly Lady…)

  2. schneisa Says:

    Thanks for the note. Baby Steps are what I need to remember, but first I must get out of my crib. 🙂

  3. Tanja Says:

    Oh, you are my new BFF! I was reading the blogs explaining how this thing works, and I thought, “There is no way I could post an actual picture. That would be horrifying!” And just look at you. You did it! You are so brave. And I’ll admit this to you and nobody else… my living room looks just like this! And once every couple years I go at it and make it liveable again. But it never lasts. It’s the dumping ground of all “stuff” in our house. Not that there aren’t messes elsewhere. But I can’t share all my confessions here. 🙂 Have a great day!

  4. schneisa Says:

    I must say that taking the pictures and looking at them has been a kick in the rear for me. The first step is admitting we have a problem, right? 🙂

  5. elvis Says:

    Woa, I wish I could help. I can feel your dire need in the words. You’ve done well to inspire others. Do find help soon. Cheers.

  6. cristina Says:


    i’m trying to be brave and posts some pictures…working up to it. i’m a recovering messie, so i definitely don’t have it together yet. i feel your pain.

    one thing that does help me, learned from the shows, sort somewhere outside of your space. completely clear the space. decide what the function for the room is/are (sounds like you’ve done that). only bring back what belongs in there.

    as for HOW to organize, seems like book/paper storage will be a big deal. consider a whole wall unit–something large to hold lots, instead of lots of bookcases. or at least group them all together. i’ve always thought it looks neat when the books go around a window or door.

    i hesitate to say more simply because i don’t know what you have to work with or how you like to access stuff. that’s the thing, each person’s solution is what works for them and their family. i’m a pile person, so i try to have lots of slots or vertical storage. if i file it in a lateral, typical file, it’s “out of sight out of mind”—plus it’s too much work (i have three little kids).

    *sigh* i digress….i may post my dining room table, which turns into my dumping ground….check lysa’s site later, maybe i’ll get brave. i’m also getting ready for a major purge (house on market soon), so i’m extra freaked about my messes, yes they’re everywhere too. 😦

    thanks again for sharing.

  7. wontletlifedefineme Says:

    Hi there 🙂

    I happened to stumble across your weblog and I might be able to help…

    It would probably help if you make yourself a step-by-step plan. This way you can cross something of your list each time you’ve accomplished a step and it helps staying motivated.

    You may start by getting some large containers, or bags, or places in the house you can temporarily put things (very temporarily). Then take everything out of the room and start sorting. The first thing to determine is what can go (to charity?) and what stays. Next, sort things by subject (school/scrapbooking). Assign everything to a certain container/bag/place. The most important thing is to empty the whole room, including the bookcases already there.

    Would it be possible to get some cupboards to fit along the wall where the windows are (so they reach up to the windows)? You could maybe fit some cushions to go on top of the cupboards so you have storage space and seating at the same time. It might also help if you could get some shelves in the corners of the room to make the most of you space you’ve got.

    Once you’ve got all the storage space you need, assign a space to a certain topic (school for example). Then start filling the cupboards and bookcases again, grouping everything so it will be easy to find things when you need them.

    So basically it’s to plan new bookcases/cupboards, empty the room, sort the things you have and put it all back. I used to live in a really small student room and such ‘overhauls’ always guaranteed more space.

    By the way, the wall in the first picture, is that where you could fit the piano? Is it possible to make shelves above it for extra storage?

    I hope this helps! Good luck and take care.

  8. Christy Says:

    YOU ROCK! Thanks for sharing pictures that could have come from my house! I don’t have any good answers for you. But if you would come organize my stuff, I’ll come organize your stuff!

  9. Tammy Says:

    I think the hardest thing for me to do, so far, is to get motivated enough to do something about my mess. For me it’s my storage room, so I think since I don’t see it unless I go out there, it’s invisible! 🙂

    You can divide and conquer in small baby steps, maybe set time limits for your sorting and purging each day. Don’t make the task so large by thinking you MUST get it done in one day. Say, maybe you could give yourself a month and do a couple hours a day only.

    Good luck!

  10. Rick Wiedeman Says:

    Loved the post. I have the same problems, and you’re right — moving to a bigger place would just give you more space to clutter. 🙂

    I have found that the only thing that works for me (and I’m a seriously disorganized person) is a weekly schedule. I break the home into 7 parts, hit one part each day, along with the daily stuff (trash, dishes, laundry), after dinner.

    I keep this list on the fridge, and the kids help out; we usually don’t spend more than 20 minutes on any given day, not counting however long it takes the dish/clothes-washer to cycle. Exactly what we do in a given area varies — we just look at it, decide what needs to be done, and do it. Sometimes that’s just picking stuff up; sometimes it’s vaccuuming, Windexing/Pledging, etc.

    I’ve never been good about keeping things in “their place” or assigning any permanent location for anything, but this basic “moving clean spot” seems to work — at least, nothing gets terribly dirty/chaotic in the six days since it’s last cleaning.

    Anyway, I’m a single dad with two kids (7 and 10), and this seems to keep us within “code.” 🙂

  11. Lori Says:

    I just stumbled on this myself. Your photos look very similar to my apartment. 🙂

    I’ve been working on massively decluttering and I still have a LONG way to go, trust me.

    The biggest hangups have been (in no particular order):
    1. My belief that one day I will use it, need it, read it, eat it, wear it, etc.
    If I haven’t by now, most likely I am not going to use it, need it, read it, etc.

    2. I cringe at the waste of money I spent on things that I thought I needed, wanted, wanted to wear, listen, read, etc.

    3. It’s very overwhelming.

    4. It’s a form of security in a warped, weird way.

    5. Sometimes I’d get the idea that things were worth money and I shouldn’t give/throw it away.

    My solutions have been to be as brutal as I can be.
    –If I haven’t read it, it went into a pile of books to be donated to either the library sale or SPCA sale. The exceptions were books that would be very hard to replace but even then, you could be in danger.
    –If it’s busted, trash, greasy, stained, or damaged in any way, it’s not worth keeping. Throw it away.
    –Like things went with other like things. I have two drawers for computer disks, software. I have Christmas CD separate from other CDs in a box in the closet. (You might be the person who listens to Xmas all year round but I’m not.)
    –When sorting, put baskets in the hall for other like things going with other like things/rooms. Things that belong in the bathroom need to go there at some point; having the baskets help organize you during this purge.
    –You do have to get rid of things. If you have 100 square feet of space, you can only put enough things to fill that space — otherwise, it becomes sloppy. You do have to get rid of things and use some criteria.
    –Clothing — divide into seasons and by clothing size. If you have children who can grow into a future size, put the future size/season in one bin and you can find it. You can probably apply this same principle to books and paperwork.
    –Organize by project. Beads go with other beads, scrapbooking goes with other scrapbooking supplies. I’m going to be honest with you — don’t get anything more until you get this straightened out because you will never find the new stuff. I know this from first hand experience.
    –You will cringe at throwing out perfectly good things but trust me; once it’s done, you will no longer cringe at your space and it’s really very unlikely you will NEED whatever you threw away. We need food, prescription medicine, water but everything else can be extraneous.
    –With the space thing that I mentioned above — I decided that one drawer was enough for my underwear and I organized it — once it was full, I had to get rid of some extra underwear and so I kept only the stuff I really liked and fit well. I got rid of the nasty stuff and made room for the things I really liked. I did this with my closet too.
    –I gave away purses and other things. How many purses do I really use? (I’m also not the kind of person who can change out purses easily. It’s like major surgery so YMMV.)
    –The other thing is I had to give up a self-image that I had with certain items. WHen I was younger, I liked this writer or this singer — now I’ve changed and it’s okay to say, “That’s not who I am any more.” It was hard b/c to me, rejecting a writer or a singer is a bit harsh. But space is important. 🙂

    Really, you have taken the first step and feel free to contact me with any questions. I still have big piles of things to clear out — my goal is to get rid of CDs that I do not listen to anymore. I apologize for rambling.


  12. onebagnation Says:

    The first comment mentioned this but I want to say it again FLYLADY. NET. I don’t pretend to have it all together (or even close) but I’d be in a much bigger mess without flylady. I think you’ll enjoy it and find a good community there.

    Good Luck!

  13. Org Junkie Says:

    Hello! I am so excited for you to get your room organized into a functional space that your whole family can enjoy. It can be done!! I just want to encourage you to do a little bit each day. I have many helpful tips on my blog that might help you including a step by step PROCESS. Look for the tab at the top of my site called Getting Organized.

    I can’t wait to see it finished!!!

    Many blessings,
    Laura (I’m an Organizing Junkie)

  14. themoplady Says:

    The very first thing is to just get started and begin deciding what can I put up box up for awhile and give to the church . and you will find the way .

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