Reorganizing in the new year

Hello all and happy new year! I had a fantastic year in 2011 with milkshake. Thank you to everyone who supported me and my little biz this past year.  And by supported, I mean - kind comments, help with shows, purchasing artwork, asking me how business is going. I am thankful that I get to do what I love every day.

During the week between Christmas and the New Year, Jimmy and I reorganized a few rooms in our house. We live in a 100+-year-old house, and storage space is practically non-existent. Also, our house isn't small, but it's broken into small rooms. On our first floor we have a living room, dining room, a kitchen, a (tiny) mudroom and an extra little room between the dining room and kitchen. When we bought the house the realtor called it a breakfast nook. We originally put a table and chairs in there, but we never used it since we have a dining room right next to it. Then about 10 years ago we turned it into an office. At the time, we were both working from home a lot and needed somewhere to put our computers. Jimmy built a big L-shaped desk in the room which had lots of storage underneath. Since we only have laptops now, the room hasn't been used much in the past few years.


 {Our dining room during the transformation. Yikes!
This just made me want to keep working and get it finished.
By the way, anyone watch Hoarders?}

 {Jimmy taking the desk apart.}

Malayna's toys had been stored in the dining room - pretty much because that's the only place we could put them. Her bedroom isn't very big, and she doesn't really play in there. Since the office space wasn't being used, we decided to convert that room into a small playroom. My intention was just to create a place to store Malayna's toys, but since we converted it she's been playing in there. This is a big deal - up until now she's been loading up our dining room table with all her toys and stuff. We eat there every night, so we'd have to clear the table every day. Big pain in the neck.

 {The armoire before.}

 {After! The chalkboard will go on the wall
to the left of the armoire.}

 {And inside. Lots and lots of Polly Pockets!}

The difference in the organization of her toys is huge! Everything has a home, and it's all accessible. Before this, her games were all piled haphazardly on top of her toy storage bins, and if you weren't careful when taking one out they'd all fall. I bought an inexpensive armoire from Craigslist last year, and we now use that (after I painted it) for all her Polly Pocket toys (there are many!).

{Art supplies. I did have paper and pencils inside here, but I found
Malayna wasn't using them as much as before. So I took them out and
put them in plain sight. They're being used more now.}

 {View from the dining room. I may eventually
change the color of the bins.}

There are still a few things I'd like to change about the room. I'm not crazy about the contact paper on the doors of the craft storage, but I just wanted it done and that's what I could find locally. A few spots on the walls have to be touched up with paint. This past weekend I painted a 2x4 with black chalkboard paint, but I'd still like to build a frame for it.

{Desk in the dining room.}

Our desk is now in the dining room, and is less than half the size of the previous desk. That means less space for me to fill with papers, which is good. We reused the wood from the original desk. I have gray fabric tacked up around the edge of it, which eventually has to be sewn into "curtains" to hide all the stuff under the desk. The bulletin board above the desk is a piece of fiberboard covered with Ikea fabric. Easy and inexpensive - we already had the fiberboard and the fabric cost $16 (and I have a lot left over). You can put thumbtacks into fiberboard easily. This area still needs some work…

By the way, we donated or threw away lots and lots of stuff. Board books, baby toys (yes, we still had those lying around), things Malayna didn't play with. Facebook was a great way to get rid of things that were in good condition.

Did you tackle any home improvement projects lately? Or is there something you're planning to do?