Friday, August 7, 2009

helping a friend get organized

Recently a friend mentioned she needed some help organizing her school room. I took her up on her invite and showed up yesterday with a label maker in hand ready to work. Actually it turned out another friend who enjoys organizing joined us and the 3 of us tackled the job.

First off, I don't want to skirt past the idea that this friend asked for help. Rather than hide behind the overwhelming feeling of not knowing where to start with the clutter and the mess. She swallowed her pride and became real and invited us in to see what life can really be like when you are trying to home educate 3 different ages of kids (not to mention all the extra activities that go along with it). I reassured her we were NOT there to judge, but to help.

Just this past weekend I just got back from a homeschooling convention and was challenged and blessed in so many ways (eager to post more about it). One of the speakers really challenged us to GET REAL. Break down the walls that we hide behind and let true friendship begin. Find those friends that you can be honest with and that will spur you on to "good works". To be a better you. The ones that will walk with you when times are hard and encourage you when you are struggling. And not to mention the ones that will speak truth into your life. Those friendships all start with getting real.

So yesterday when we arrived we started our work in the Dining Room. This is where most of the seat work will take place this year. We needed to move out the china hutch and store and toss the dishes. And I will be honest, we really challenged her to get rid of the extra things that are broken, or the ones she doesn't like or the multiple pairs of candle sticks.

before



Here is the before picture. This room had 10 chairs in it (too much) and you can't see the keyboard off on the right or the china hutch on the left. Both of those have now found different homes and only 4 chairs remain.

After sorting the dishes we moved onto her curriculum. Finding all the books and teacher guides and workbooks she will use THIS year. We grouped it all in subject categories to store on the shelves. Everything else found new homes. I am so proud of her. We made about 3 huge trash bags and several large totes to take to Goodwill. Some extra things were stores in her expanded laundry room and the rest upstairs at the built in desk on the landing.

before


Click on the pic to see the clutter up close. We really did more than just clear off the surfaces (which is what the before and after pics look like). You have to sort keep / donate / trash , group like items together and store in a tidy and usable way. That is the part that takes so long.

before


We also reorganized the kid books. My favorite way to do this is to stack them in categories. Easy readers, chapter books, picture books, science, Bible, art and craft (what ever ones you may have). Then we let our friend quickly go through and toss the ones that she is willing to part with, the put them back on the shelf with labels. Still needs some book ends (that makes a big difference). So here is the big AFTER reveal. What fun to step back and enjoy all the hard work.


after


Hopefully this will challenge and encourage you (it did me...I came home and cleaned out my fridge and reorganized Tally's bedroom shelves).

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Miracle Workers!

12-arrows said...

awesome.....I <3 organizing. It's what makes me tick. I have one small basket of junk on a pantry shelf and it drives me crazy that I can't get rid of it. LOL I like fine clean lines, closets organized with labeled bins, etc. not a big fan of anything laying around and nothing, nothing on my counters either! Its crazy but it just looks so good to see space! you did a fantastic job! and I bet your friend was blessed by your skills and your gifts.

Karen said...

I love to organize!!! It is so great that she asked for help... many people are to proud. I am glad that you accomplished your goal!! Remember to encourage her to "maintain" the order.... that is the hard part for many people :)

Thanks for sharing~ Way to go "clean sweep"

Salzwedel Family said...

You have such a wonderful gift for organizing Cris! What a huge blessing to do this for your friend. Great job!

Tiffany said...

My favorite part is the organized and labeled book case. Mine could use a good going through!!

Stacia said...

OK, friend, when are you coming to my house? I am good at organizing, but it doesn't stay neat for very long... any tips for that problem?

Elle J said...

Great Job!! I bet their school year will be much less stressed now that they have an organized place to work.

Ginny said...

Wow! I love before and after shots. Good job!

Lea Whittaker said...

Those truly are the friends we need! Ones that are real to us and that we can be real with. Why does it have to be so hard to find? I love looking at your posts and am often inspired! Want to get together sometime, let me know what may work for your family.

K-Sue said...

How did you get that picture of my dining room table? Oh, wait - someone else's table used to look like mine...

Great job! This sort of project is long overdue at my house. What a great way to start the new school year.

Lee and Bev said...

What a boost for your friend! I'm sure she is ready to begin a new school year!

Julie said...

WOW!! When can you come to my house?!

Tonya said...

I just painted and organized our classroom area, and I wish I would have taken before and after pictues! Great work, organizing inspires me! Yay for asking for help! You are a good friend to help without judgement.

Tim and Susan said...

It looks TOTALLY amazing...what a difference. I love things to be clean and organized. What a SWEET friend you are. I bet you all had fun in the process.

I just got through going through JT's (15 years old" closet and desk. It was an all week job!! Whew.

Rachael said...

Oh my goodness - I NEED a friend like you!!!

Erlinda said...

I want to hire you to do my school room...

ScienceGeek said...

Awesome! It's just like a show on HGTV!! Even though my shelves are organized by subject, you make me want a labelmaker. It just looks so cool!!

I look forward to hearing about the homeschool convention. Just curious if the speaker who challenged you to "get real" was Todd Wilson, one of my favorite speakers. I heard him speak before my second year teaching and it was life changing. I bought his book "Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe" (or something to that effect) and I've read it a couple of times, just to remind me. A couple of years ago after reading it, I decided to "Be Real" with a friend of mine and we've both stuck to it. We acknowledge even the ugly thoughts to each other, and it's a very refreshing relationship to be in.

Sherry said...

You should start a business...Home Staging by Cris :)

Cristy said...

I want a label maker, I want a label maker, I want a label maker. See a pattern? I have organized as much as I can, now to get the kids to keep it that way.

You are a great friend. What a fantastic job you did.