October 12 2017

4th Update on Office Project

If you haven’t been following along on my office cleanout goal or you are new here, welcome to the huge goal I set for myself to get done during 2017. If you want to see all the before photos of just how badly cluttered my tiny 8′ x 8′ office (formerly known as the breakfast nook) was. I realized as the month of May was ending that I had wasted the first 5 months of the year I had allotted myself for this task and so I got busy and took the before photos and posted them to publicly shame myself into getting busy.

Well, I’m sure if you have been following along, you gave up on me ever finishing by now. I am still not finished but I have done so much that I know I can finish this project this year. I have been much kinder to myself by doing just small chunks at a time that just didn’t seem worthy of reporting to the world here.

Here is the finished China Cabinet all closed up. The doors were not refinished like the rest of the cabinet and we have the drawer front that is missing where the long narrow slot is.

Ok, let’s open it up and show you what it looks like.

I wanted to show you the photo below because I had forgotten how cool the inside of the built in China Cabinet was. My Mother-In-Law is the one responsible for picking out the wallpaper and refinishing the woodwork that got done in this office. That was long before December 2000 when we moved in. Look how she wallpapered and even added a narrow border to the back wall of the shelves! I love it and it will stay that way for as long as it can last.

I need your help. I am looking for clear plastic “C” or “U” shaped trim to put on the edges of the shelves to hold the vinyl flooring edges down smoothly. I cannot seem to locate any. All I could find were 3″ long pieces meant to put to be used in the retail world to put prices on the front edge of shelves. These shelves measure just a hair under 7/8″ thick including the flooring. See how it wants to curl between the staples that are holding it in place? If you know where I can find this trim in 39″ long pieces or longer, please email me (lighthouselifelessons(at)gmail.com).

This is what the slot and bottom looked like before:

Bottom 2 shelves in china cabinet

Below are two photos showing the stuff I store in the drawer slot and the bottom of the cabinet.

This is what the top section of the cabinet looked like before.

Here are some as I was clearing the shelves and reorganizing things.

I decided the effort put in here was so huge, I deserved to splurge a bit, so I ordered these white bins in two sizes off of Amazon. I will post affiliate links at the bottom of this post in case you like the looks of them. They seem much more sturdy than those I found in the stores locally and they are nicer looking too. I was very pleased with the quality and the look they provided. The best part is they only cost about $60 total and came in 6-packs! I have since noticed these same bins in a few YouTube videos and they always look like new, so I feel like they will last.

I did most of the work on the China Cabinet over Labor Day Weekend while I had the entire weekend and house to myself. I just turned on K-LOVE radio on one of the computers and cranked it up to keep me going. also

I made so much progress that I also tackled the left and right sides of hutch.

Left inside of hutch

Right inside of hutch

Then another day, I took on the top right drawer:

Top small drawer on right small file cabinet

Then the next drawer down got the full treatment too:

Middle drawer on right small file cabinet BEFORE

Below is the one photo I forgot to take when I was doing the before shots. Doesn’t every large desk have the under the desk long skinny drawer of shame? This was mine.

No worries. I played Tetris with the boxes and trays I had around the house and did a ton of decluttering to get it to look like this. I don’t mind telling you I was really dreading this one, but it is a relief to know it is finally done.

So, you can see I HAVE been busy. I think I just need to sort thru about 3 more drawers of files and clear the tops of the tall file cabinet and the hutch. Then, hopefully, I will have room to put away the piles of paper still on the desktop that I couldn’t begin to fit into any of the file drawers.

I am thinking maybe one final check in but it may not be until after November, because in November I do this thing called NaNoWriMo and until that is over I will be busy planning and plotting and then, of course, writing at least 50,000 words on a new novel.

Stay tuned!

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience.
Please see this site’s Policy & Disclosure Page for more info.

Here are the links for the bins I used (The price is for a 6 pack of each size so total cost was only about $60!):

Sterilite 16288006 Deep Ultra Basket, White Basket w/ Titanium Inserts, 6-Pack

Sterilite 16268006 Large Ultra Basket, White Basket w/ Titanium Inserts, 6-Pack

You can see previous updates here:

The Elephant in the Room (6/1/17)
1st Update (6/11/17)
2nd Update  (6/15/17)
3rd Update (6/17/17)

August 10 2017

How Do You Know Which Way to Go?

Sometimes in life, you know things are not going well, but you have no idea what to do to make them better. Sometimes what seems like the easiest answer also seems like the worst choice. The best answer is often the most difficult choice.

Sometimes, the signs are unclear or downright confusing. Then what should you do? How do you choose the right path? Well, when I’m not clear on what I should do, I have been told to turn to God and Pray Until Something Happens. (PUSH) Until the path seems so clear that the choice is obvious. The problem is, sometimes, I have no idea what His answer is. Am I missing something obvious? Was I just not listening hard enough? Maybe God didn’t hear me. I mean there are most likely millions of Christians praying at any given time, maybe my prayer got lost in the chaos somewhere. I should pray again and again. Eventually, he will hear my pleas and answer them. Sometimes the answer is simply, No. Not what any child wants to hear when they ask something of their Father, but sometimes the answer is “No”, or “Not Now”.

If no clear answer is presented, I often put off acting in order to avoid making the wrong choice. I’m still waiting to hear that still small voice I’ve heard so much about. Have you actually heard it? Does God answer you in the spoken word? Perhaps you are lucky that way. I am not. I seem to have to go more on instinct and the idea that if it doesn’t open, it is not my door. Maybe it is not my door right now, perhaps if I try again later, it will open. I often ask God to give me a sign and make his answer very clear to this clueless child of his. Sometimes it seems he tells me to wait or be still. That is a hard one because I want to be doing something, anything to move my life along the path he has chosen for me.

Sometimes it isn’t easy turning everything over to God. Sometimes, I just don’t want to give up control, but then, did I really ever have control in the first place? I know I am supposed to “let go and let God” handle it, but that is not an easy thing to really do. I can say the words, but am I really letting go or just going through the motions?

I find it difficult to know if I am making decisions based on God’s will or my own selfish wants and needs. I’m no expert. I’m open to suggestions on how to better do this in my life. How do YOU know if you are following God’s plan for your life? How does He let YOU know which way you should go? Does He give YOU signs to follow?

June 17 2017

3rd Update on Office Project

On Wednesday, 6/14, I spent a total of about 3-1/2 hours working in the office. I didn’t intend to work so long, but I had pulled up a video on NetFlix to watch that didn’t really require much actual watching, just listening. It was a two-hour video and I told myself I would just putz around a bit while I watched so I wouldn’t feel so guilty about not doing anything constructive. I started out by moving the boxes of paper that were so overfilled they had become piles. I decided to disconnect my desktop computer and pull out all the wires. I wiped everything down to get rid of the thick coating of dust that had accumulated. I found I had tons of things connected to my computer. A few were disconnected but never reconnected because I want to reevaluate whether I even use them. I figure I will reconnect them if and when I need them.

One thing led to another and before I knew it, I could see some real progress. As the saying goes, things had to get much worse before they could get better. I felt like I was making a huge mess when I moved things out of the way to wipe the desktop and get rid of all dust bunnies hiding everywhere. Apparently, I don’t have a dust allergy. I tried arranging things a little differently but discovered they wouldn’t work in the new places I thought I would put them, so things went mostly back the way they were but without the piles of paper and clutter. Here are the before and after photos.

Right side under hutch (Before)

 

Scanner area of desktop (Before)

Desktop (After)

Continue reading

June 15 2017

2nd Update on Office Project

On Monday, 6/12/17, I put in another 3 hours of sorting and tough decision making to get a lot more accomplished in my office.

One problem I am coming up against is that until I am done going through everything, I really have no way of knowing how I want to store the things I keep.

I started by telling myself I was just going to clean out one easy drawer to put my bullet journal supplies in so they were easy to get to and off the top of the desk.

Top drawer on left file cabinet (Before)

Top drawer on left file cabinet (After)

After that, I decided I needed the other small drawer under this one for additional supplies, so I kept going.

Middle drawer on left file cabinet (Before)
Middle drawer on left file cabinet (After)

Now you might be asking yourself what I did with the weights and such from the top drawer, and that was one of those tricky things I mentioned. I put them on the bottom shelf I had already cleaned. In theory, I am telling myself I will use them more if I see them. They were after all, out of sight and thus out of mind. So here is what that looks like now.

Glass & Metal Shelf (After Phase 1)
Glass & Metal Shelf (After Phase 2)

By this time I was getting excited about the amount of progress I was making and I was enjoying listening to an audio book while I worked. So, I told myself I was just going to try to make a little bit of progress on the left side of my desk because the height of the piles was beginning to make me nervous and they really bothered me. Here is how it looked when I started, and while I made some progress, it will still need another pass or two before I am finished.

Left desktop (Before)

Things go a lot worse as I covered the entire desktop with various piles as I sorted. I wanted to stop a few times but I told myself just another inch of the pile, then I would stack it all back there neatly. It is difficult to know what to do with things once they are sorted because until I do something about the file cabinets and the china cabinet there is no place to put papers I am keeping. I persisted and peeled a few layers off this particular onion and finally got to what I considered to be an acceptable stopping point for the night. After pitching some and recycling some and putting a few things away where they belong, for now, it looks like this.

Left desktop (After)

Now, finally, I am getting somewhere! Now I wish I had tackled this back in January when the piles were smaller. I moved everything that was on that section of desktop and washed the surface and let it dry before putting everything back. Now, I can look and see real progress. It feels good. I have reached the point where I know it can happen and I know I won’t give up before it is finished. Do I have a long way to go before I am done? You betcha! But I can do it. I can see that now. I think my confidence in my ability to finish the project was buried deep under all those piles of paperwork and such on the desk. No worries, I found it. Stay tuned. Now I am wondering how quickly I can finish the whole office. End of June? Fourth of July? End of July maybe? We shall see.

June 11 2017

1st Update on Office Project

I know you are all wondering if I am actually working on the office clean out. Posting my photos of shame for all the world to see is extremely motivating to me. It is just the accountability I needed to spur me into action.

I tackled the little library shelf first. All I had to do was return a few library books so it was under control again. That got done Friday 6/2 since I was going to the library on Saturday for a meeting and could easily return them without a special trip.

Library Book Shelf (Before)
Library Book Shelf (After)

Then I finally got around to doing a little more on 6/10. I worked on going through 2 of the file drawers and while I didn’t completely clean either one out, I did find lots of things I could throw away. Many of these articles and printouts were from the late 1990s! Not worthy of update photos yet but here are the 2 I worked on.

Large file cabinet drawer 1 of 4
File drawer on right small file cabinet

There is at least a little wiggle room in them now and several empty file folders. These drawers may be like peeling an onion…it may take getting rid of a layer or two at a time.

Sorted through the magazines stacked on the saddle stool. These are possible ideas for submitting freelance articles, so not ready to get rid of all of them yet. Eventually, they will be given a new home when the room is made somewhere else in the office to store them.

Saddle Stool (Before)
Saddle Stool (After)

Probably the most noticeable thing I accomplished was cleaning and wiping the dust off the glass and metal shelf in the corner between the doors. Not much actually came off the shelves, but they look so much better now. I even moved it and swept the dust bunny out from under it.

Glass & Metal Shelf (Before)
Glass & Metal Shelf (After)

It still feels overwhelming but begun truly feels like half done right now. I am excited by the small amount of progress I have made and want to keep the forward motion going. Will check in again when there is more to report. Stay tuned!