Journey to Home Organization: Learning Summary

In EC&I 831, Social Media and Open Education, we were asked to embark on a major learning project that would entail acquiring new skills. We were encouraged to find online resources, as well as personal and in print, to help us along the way. I had thought of many different skills I could learn including sewing, yoga, and meditation. However, there was another important skill that I needed to develop and hone. I needed to organize my home with the view to living a more purposeful and mindful life in a very materialistic culture. My reading on the subject of disorganization and overabundance of stuff confirmed my suspicion that it can affect decision making, increase stress, and negatively impact the environment.

As I explain in my first post, I set out to create sustainable organizational systems and processes to create an efficient and healthy household while involving my toddler and preschooler and doing so with the least environmental impact.

In my second post, I share how overwhelmed I was with the plethora of resources online, and in print, to help a person become more organized. After some study, I was able to take away what I found to be most helpful in my journey. Including the questions to help decide what to keep, toss, donate, or sell.

Here are my top five takeaways I have learned throughout my journey:

Takeaway #1: Get connected!

My success this semester in getting more organized was connecting with like-minded Youtubers to keep me motivated and accountable. I loved Cassandra from Clutterbug and Kathryn from Do it on a Dime. What was especially helpful was Clutterbug’s Facebook page specifically for her followers to swap advice by posting photos of their own hot messes or reorganized spaces. This group was closed, which means posts are not shared on a member’s main social media feed. I appreciated this separation.

Takeaway #2: Declutter

I quickly learned that before you can become organized, you must let go of the things in your home that no longer serve a purpose. Items that no longer serve you will only take up valuable real estate. I followed Clutterbug’s 30-day declutter challenge on her Facebook page in October as described in my third post. It was only 15 minutes per day in various areas of my home. The best part of following along was posting photos of my progress. Also, I was able to get some great tips on how I could upcycle or repurpose some of my items. When decluttering a space, I found categorizing the items into bins labeled keep, donate, toss, sell and relocate. It is amazing how many items you will find in your bedroom closet that belong in the kitchen. Especially if you have kids who like to wander off with things.

At this point, I also started working on my do it yourself (DIY) skills by installing a garbage can under my kitchen sink. Youtube was helpful in navigating the features of my cordless drill. The old school illustrated instructions that came with the garbage can were very helpful in this DIY project. Although the instructions said it would only take 15 minutes, I believe it took me over an hour!

Takeaway #3: Recruit household members in organizing efforts

When I was organizing my clothes closet I didn’t expect my husband to tackle his clothes as well, but he was bitten by the decluttering bug. He was even motivated to reorganize his office space!

My little ones were excited when I moved their dishes to a cupboard they can reach and therefore help to set the table or put away when clean. In my fourth post, I learned the value of involving my little ones in helping unload the dishwasher. My son was able to work on his problem-solving and fine motor skills while trying to get the utensils out of the top rack. Recognizing the need to encourage my children to become more self-sufficient I also implemented a system in our front entryway they could use to store their outerwear.

In my fifth post, I take you on a tour of how I organized this space, including hanging a shelf for the first time. The tutorial I viewed on Youtube was helpful – to a point. I learned that context matters. This is also where I discovered that math is an integral part of placing a shelf on a wall correctly.

Takeaway #4: Designate a space for everything

This has been my biggest challenge in getting organized. With four people living in my household there seems to be many things that do not have a designated space – otherwise known as homeless! These items left in the open, or placed haphazardly, can suddenly sprout legs, or with the help of your little ones, even your furbabies, be transported to obscure places.

I realized early in my learning journey that items needed a designated space to not only prevent them from walking off but to make sure that they could be found easily. It was in my sixth post I share how disorganized my master bedroom closet had become. It was time to tackle it! In this space, I installed an ironing board hanger, created designated bins, and paired down my wardrobe. I found it overwhelming at first, but I had an opportunity to reflect on our culture of thinness and the impact on a mother’s body image. I also realized it takes courage to be vulnerable and share our imperfect lives on social media, but at the end of the day, this vulnerability leads to a connection with others.

I video documented my learning adventure demonstrating my ability to install the install the ironing board hanger. It wasn’t as easy as I first thought! I also give a video tour of my reorganized closet here.

Tip #5: Labels, Labels, Labels

Since my new mantra is “a place for everything and everything in its place,” I have found the suggestion of Clutterbug to label bins or baskets a key element in getting and staying organized. Before labels, a bin could house anything I wanted….. and anything anyone else wanted as well. This created chaos and the bins just contained random stuff. With a label, it is can only house one thing….. whatever the bin says is in it!

In my eighth post, I share how I reorganized my daughter’s closet. I allocated labeled bins for her clothes, toys, and accessories and placed them on the Rubbermaid FastTrack system I installed. I am becoming more and more comfortable sharing my projects on social media as I demonstrate in the closet video tour here:

With the development of my DIY skills, I am also starting to become more comfortable with the math involved to install shelves. However, I am still not the best at finding studs, which I thought would be the easiest part. Balancing the tools, the vertical standards, and a level is very tricky when doing a DIY project like this alone. Interestingly, putting the brackets in the verticals was also tricky!

These are the top five takeaways that have assisted me in becoming more organized. Decluttering really set me on my path to efficiently organize what was left. The major areas that I tackled this semester were the kitchen, entryway, my and my daughter’s closets. These areas are so easy to keep organized now!

Thoughts Regarding Online Learning Resources

I have come to appreciate the value of learning online even more as a result of this learning project. So many tutorials on Youtube and mommy bloggers were instrumental in my learning journey. However, the topics we spoke about in class helped me to take a critical view of the sources I used. In my seventh post,  I contemplated whether the home organization tips and tricks offered by the mommy bloggers I followed was less valuable if their messages were sponsored by corporations. I concluded that being aware of this possibility was enough to allow me to be a critical consumer of the advice given.

In my fifth post, I also talked about the dark side of sharing on social media. During Clutterbug’s declutter challenge she encouraged us to post on her Facebook page before and after photos of what we accomplished. Unfortunately, not all of her followers were encouraging. In fact, I witnessed the negative effects of trolls.  One post, in particular, was met by a very negative comment. My dismay of this shadow cast on our community was quickly lifted when 300+ positive comments were posted to counteract the negative one.

Although my official major learning project has come to end, my learning journey has not. With my newfound DIY and organizational skills, I am ready to tackle the other closets in my house and start labeling more bins!

Thank you all for your encouraging comments and support! Have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy your break.


Reorganizing my Toddler’s Closet – Mom win!

This last week I moved on to reorganizing my toddler’s bedroom closet. With each new project, I find a new learning experience. I knew I wanted to install a shelving system that I could adjust as my daughter’s needs change. As always, I went to the internet to look for inspiration. When I found Do it on a Dime’s Toddler Room Organization & Tour video I knew exactly what I wanted to do!

I went to the local hardware store to find something similar and found the Rubbermaid FastTrack system would fit the bill.  But I soon discovered that this was going to be an expensive project! I had to scale back on the number of uprights and shelves I wanted, but am still impressed with how it turned out.

This is the video of my toddler’s closet makeover tour! In this video I show the before and after photo of the closet. I also describe my rationale for each bin and why labels are so important.

My Process

To determine what configuration I would install in the closet I needed to find out what items I was going to store in this space. I first decluttered the closet by sorting the items into Donate, Consign, Toss, Relocate, Keep piles.  With the items I kept I determined I would only need three shelves. This was a good thing, considering the cost of the system.

I went to the hardware store and bought 2 uprights, 6 brackets, and 3 shelves. Turning to YouTube I found an excellent video from a Lowe’s representative installing a similar system. I soon found out I was missing the horizontal hang track that would provide strength to the system. Great, this project is getting very pricey! Thankfully, when I went back to the hardware store a representative told me that I wouldn’t necessarily need the additional item if I secured the vertical standards with a screw at every hole, and ensure I space the standards no more than 24 inches apart. This spacing will provide the strength I need. Perfect! Done!

Finding a Stud and Installing Vertical Standards

I am usually pretty great at finding things. But finding a wall stud has been difficult for me. The videos make it look so simple. Perhaps I have a defective stud finder? I did eventually locate a stud for the one vertical upright but needed to use plugs for the other to ensure the shelving would be able to hold weight. I posted my process for installing a plug when I reorganized my master closet, feel free to check it out.

Next, I attempted to level the vertical standards. Leveling is not easy to do while flying solo! Balancing the upright, the level and then trying to mark the wall was an awkward dance. It definitely takes some practice! After a few attempts, I was able to negotiate the steps and start to drill. I have to admit that it is not exactly level, but no one will notice. I have been learning to use the drill quite a bit this semester and I am happy that I really have gotten the hang of it.

Installing the brackets was surprisingly frustrating. At this point in the project, I was beginning to feel uncoordinated. I soon realized, though, that it was pretty dark in the closet and I needed a light. I wish I had someone to snap a picture of me with the headlamp while fitting these brackets in. However, I did a reenactment for your viewing pleasure, without the light.

This project has been completed for a couple of days now and my toddler’s room has never been so neat and tidy. A place for everything and everything in its place. This is my new mantra, my friends! My toddler is now putting her dirty clothes and toys back into their “new homes” as she calls it. I hope this enthusiasm lasts for a mom win!

We are now at the end of the semester so I may not be posting any more major projects documenting my learning on becoming more organized. The journey has not ended though. I will continue to use what I have learned these past few months and tackle some more unorganized, hot messes! I hope to post my top 5 tips on becoming more organized at the end of this week. Stay tuned.

Thank you for continuing to share in my learning journey.

Is Your Social Media Friend’s Advice Sponsored?

If you are a parent of little ones you probably have a friend you go to when you need advice. You might be looking for the toughest stain remover out there or how to get your 18-month-old to sleep through the night. Why do we rely on our friends for this how-to information? Because they have experience and we TRUST them! With social media, the ‘friends’ we can go to for this advice has grown exponentially.

Introducing the mom blog... These ladies are in the trenches, living the life of momdom and they have valuable advice! Their videos and blogs are the real deal. Want to know how to do anything on a budget? Want the inside scoop on sleeping? They have you covered!

But what if, at the end of the day, all they are trying to do is make an income while forging friendships and connections online? Does that make their advice less valuable?

When I started my learning project to get my household, and my family, more organized I didn’t turn to Martha Stewart or Tori Spelling for guidance. I wasn’t interested in trying to create the perfect Pinterest worthy home. And trust me, I know the path perfectionism leads you on… it isn’t a pretty journey! I was more interested in what was achievable, what was real, and, more importantly, who I could identify with.

I found two great mom bloggers that fit this bill. But the more I followed them online the more I started getting hints of product placement and endorsements. It only became obvious to me when I was scouring the aisles of Wal-Mart in vain looking for the exact sippy cup that Kathryn from Do It On A Dime highly recommended. Was I just following the advice of my well-intentioned friend Kathryn or had I been had by marketing geniuses! (Clearly, in this video it says “sponsored”)

Critical interactions with mom bloggers

Dr. Stephen Brookfield, a critical thinker and adult educator, poses excellent questions and methods to dig deeper when engaging in social media. One question he asked in his article Teaching Students to Think Critically About Social Media is: “Who sponsors your Communications/Devices?”. This question led me to ask myself: Who sponsors my friend’s advice? Who is behind their messages and what are they trying to sell me? Who is really benefiting from this relationship?

Is their advice any less valuable?

Ok, so now that I am aware the mom bloggers I follow might be sponsored in some capacity, do I ignore their advice? Or, have they built enough social credit with me that I am willing to overlook the potential lack of authenticity?

After considering these questions I have decided that I will continue looking to mom bloggers for advice. However, I now have a critical lens through which I can assess what is genuine and truly valuable.


Brookfield, S. D. (2015). Teaching Students to Think Critically About Social Media. New Directions For Teaching & Learning2015(144), 47-56. doi:10.1002/tl.20162

Tackling the Master Bedroom Closet

Last month, I followed Clutterbug’s 30 Decluttering Challenge . When it came to decluttering clothes I have to confess, I skipped it. I have been putting off decluttering the two closets and three bins of my clothes for some time actually. Thankfully, this major learning project has been the answer to a lot of my procrastination with home organization. It was time to tackle the master bedroom closet!

Take the video tour of my reorganized master bedroom closet!

Before – one hot disorganized mess!                             After – Room to breathe!


There were three things I learned from this part of my learning project. First, developing the skills to be ‘handy’ around the house requires a lot of troubleshooting. Second, pairing down my wardrobe led me to reflect on my own body image. Finally, sharing your imperfect life on social media takes courage.

Being Handy – Hanging the Ironing Board Hanger

I video documented my learning adventure with installing the ironing board hanger. As mentioned in the video, it was not as straightforward as I had imagined when I originally bought the hanger in the summer. My super handy mom was my videographer for this job. I was lucky I had an expert to get me over some of the snags I was running into! For example, when I started the project, I checked for studs where I wanted to install the hanger and found none. I tried to hammer in three plugs into one of the predrilled holes – none would go in and each ended up looking like an accordion. My mom was laughing the entire time she was filming my failed attempts! She finally clued me in that I was trying to drive the plug into a stud.

That wasn’t the only snag I had to troubleshoot. But each time I needed to, I learned more about operating a drill, multiple ways of using tools, and how a house is constructed. I didn’t include those snags in my video because I had originally thought I would shoot it as a “how-to” demonstration. I haven’t learned how to edit videos yet, so after each time I solved a problem, we had to start filming from the beginning. After what seemed like 20 takes, I was so excited to have successfully completed the job.

Pairing Down Clothes & a Mother’s Body Image

When I was pregnant with my first child a well-meaning friend told me that she left the hospital in her regular jeans after having her baby. What did I do? I totally packed my regular jeans to wear when I left the hospital. Naive? Completely! There was no way I fit into those jeans until 12 months later. Even then, they didn’t fit comfortably. Yet, I kept all my pre-pregnancy clothes thinking that one day I would fit them the way I once had.

I thought my only reason for putting off pairing down my wardrobe was because of its overwhelming overabundance. Although that was part of it, I don’t think I was ready to let go of the notion that I would once again fit the pre-pregnancy body image I had of myself. I do not think it was vanity, but more the expectations inherent in our culture of thinness. Perhaps it’s maturity on my part to start my own revolt against popular media’s representation of what a ‘normal’ body looks like and start to embrace the new rendition of the mom jeans!

Once I had this realization, I started to look on Pinterest for inspiration to tackle my clothes. I found a blog post from Uncluttered Simplicity and her recommendation of shock treatment. The idea of putting all my clothes in one big pile to get a visual of the amount I owned before sorting seemed overwhelming, but I wanted to try it. I really appreciated her prompting questions as well. She asks, “What is your style today – not 5 years ago and not who you hope to be in 5 years?” It took about 3-4 hours to go through the process, but it was quite liberating. Especially once I had the resolve to embrace a more positive body image! I also had motivation as I went through the purge process as I have hope that my clothes can serve someone in my local community. To my #ECI831 classmates, any suggestions of local charities in need?

Sharing our Imperfect Lives on Social Media takes Courage

I really hesitated in sharing the before photos of the hot mess my closet was in and the photo of the big mound of clothes I had. Sharing our imperfect lives on social media takes courage. And we don’t see enough of that celebrated. We see a lot of Pinterest worthy homes we aspire to have or the perfect family photo we wish we could recreate of our own. But to share our authentic lives more often, especially on social media, takes courage and vulnerability. Brene Brown has said vulnerability leads to connection. I really hope you have found some connection with what I have shared with you.

Goals for this coming week

  • Install shelving system in children’s closets
  • Create and implement processes to maintain organization
  • Continue to identify ways in which my little people can help and benefit
  • Identify environmentally and socially responsible ways in which I can “relocate” the stuff I am ready to let go

Thank you for respectfully sharing in my journey!

The link to comment is below the title of this post. 

Mindful Decluttering and Organizing – A Work in Progress

This week we were asked to go more in-depth about our progress in our learning journey. If you recall, my learning project focuses on developing systems and processes that introduce more efficient organizational systems and processes in my home. I would like to share some insights that I have gained while endeavouring on this learning journey.

Journey to a More Efficient Household

I predicted that my house would get messier before it gets organized, and I was right! I view this as a good thing. Thanks to the suggestions of the many bloggers and online professional resources I have tapped into, I am finding that being mindful of our needs versus our wants are helping to let things go. To accomplish this, I have been concentrating on decluttering cupboards, closets, and drawers. That leaves the surface clutter. (shudder)

My house is definitely lived in, there is no doubt about it, and I make no apologies… Ok, I totally do. Anytime someone comes over unannounced I am sure to blurt out: “Don’t mind the mess.” as I kick five pairs of shoes into the front closet and squeeze the door shut.

Looking at my house with “fresh eyes” as home organization gurus suggest, I see a lot of surface clutter. Random everyday objects that have either grown legs or my little creatures find it a joy to relocate them to random parts of the house. This is certainly unavoidable, but frustrating nonetheless.

Overall, I do have to remind myself that our house is also our home. A home we create memories, raise a family and feel connected in. For that, I do not apologize. However, finding a balance between a lived-in house and one that is organized enough has been one of the greatest challengings I have faced so far.

This is where processes come into play and where I will be concentrating my effort on going forward.

Insights Gained While Learning On/Offline

Learning with others on social media

Learning from and with others online has been very interesting. As a social creature, I was motivated to join the Clutterbug’s 30 Decluttering Challenge on her Facebook page as part of my learning journey. This type of online social learning provided motivation and a community of like-minded individuals. What can I do with 14ish wineglasses I never use? This group was quick to suggest DIY projects. Need encouragement when feeling overwhelmed? This group was ready to offer support.

Although I found it to be very helpful, I did come across the dark side of sharing on social media, where a mother was Facebook shamed for her cluttered kitchen. After writing about it in a previous blog post, I came across this same woman posting a before and after photo of her kitchen despite her shamers. The 300+ positive comments and encouragement became the bright side of sharing on social media. She set an excellent example for others to believe in yourself despite others’ judgment!

Going far outside my comfort zone

After completing my front entry organization project, I was so excited! My two little kids are still loving the ease of access to their outerwear. We are still working on the consistent use of that space. This was certainly a confidence booster needed to continue being ‘handy’ with tools.

My next major installation project I hope to tackle is a shelving system for my children’s closets. However, I am a bit apprehensive of the math that will be required to space the brackets etc properly. I was surprised that this was one of my major challenges so far. Although I am questioning the level of my math literacy skills, I have a strong resolve to figure it out.

Recently, I have read two classmates talking about growth mindset in learning (Kara and Colleen). With hard work and perseverance, I will learn the math, and the logic, needed to complete this next project! I am viewing this as a growth opportunity leading to transferability – completing other projects, helping my children with math and logic and ultimately my self-efficacy!



Do you have any suggestions of resources that may help to figure out the math required to hang shelves? What would your approach be?

Goals for the rest of the Semester

  • Find another online declutter challenge to keep me motivated
  • Install shelving system in children’s closets
  • Create organizational system in Master bedroom closet
  • Continue to identify ways in which my little people can help and benefit
  • Identify environmentally and socially responsible ways in which I can “relocate” the stuff I am ready to let go

Learning on the Job – Supermom to the Rescue!

Hello classmates in EC&I 831 and beyond:

Welcome back to my journey of becoming organized to create a more efficient household. Last week, I had identified and implemented an organizational system that my small children can use for shoes, coats and backpacks. I found a small space in my entryway that is the perfect size for them.

I created my first YouTube video to show you what I accomplished. Check it out!

I seem to have a LOT to learn about shooting and editing a video. But in any event, I am pleased with my first attempt. My friend, Brandi Good of BLG Business Solutions: Social Media Coaching & Training, recently posted on her Facebook page a method to replace the “derp” resting face, as she calls it, on a YouTube video with a custom image. I need to find that post for my next video!

Installing the Shelf – a tail of two learning experiences

First learning experience

To begin this project, I searched YouTube for tutorials on installing a shelf. I like humour, so I appreciated Uncle Knackers YouTube video Hanging a Shelf in 5 EASY STEPS! Aside from the quirky humour, I found the pace in which he delivered the tutorial appropriate and it was easy to understand.

I had my list of instructions, so I gathered my supplies and go off to find a wall stud to anchor at least one of the brackets to.

Found a stud! But the position/spacing of the bracket didn’t look right. In my logical mind, I thought that there would automatically be equal spacing; therefore, the shelf would automatically be centered. How do I know where to position the shelf on the wall?? I re-watched Uncle Knacker’s video and checked out a few others. All started their tutorials with the same phrase: “Once you figure out where you will hang your shelf, locate a stud.”

This is where appropriate search phrases come into play. No matter the string of words I used I couldn’t find the right tutorial to help me determine where I needed place the shelf on the wall or how to space the brackets on the shelf itself. Context matters! I was lost. I had to call in reinforcements…. my super handy mom!

Second learning experience

She set me on the right path. The math path. I could easily follow her instructions, but to be honest, I could not really understand how the math added up or fraction-ed out.


I realized how much of a visual learner I really am! I needed her to draw what she was describing before I could really understand it. I also needed an equation of sorts.

That accomplished, I went back to the list of instructions from Uncle Knackers. The asynchronous learning of YouTube can pose issues as it relates to time. I ran into an issue with my bracket coming out crooked, despite leveling it prior to drilling. Had I posed this question to my unsuspecting teacher online, I might have had to wait days before a response. It was nice to have my mom sit on the sidelines ready to be called in.

Can you see where I went wrong drilling in this bracket?

My mom was quick to point out that the angle of my drill would push the bracket off ‘center’. I need to be “straight on” to the drill.

Once the shelf was complete, I was able to measure out the wall appropriately for the coat rack. There were no studs for this installation, so I learned how to use wall plugs to secure the rack to the wall.

Final Thoughts

As I sit here contemplating my overall learning experience, I wonder if I would have benefited from installing a shelf in an inconspicuous place first?? Do a few trail runs before the main event. Sure, the installation of the shelf in my entryway would have taken much less time, but I am ok with my trail and error approach of learning on-the-job.

I am looking to put multiple wire shelves in my children’s closets. Are there any online DIYers out there that you can recommend to help me with this next project?

Goals for this coming week

  • Continue to follow the declutter challenge with Clutterbug
  • Share my daily progress on Clutterbug’s Facebook page
  • Continue to identify areas that would benefit from organizational systems
  • Continue to identify ways in which my little people can benefit
  • Identify environmentally and socially responsible ways in which I can “relocate” the stuff I am ready to let go

Thank you for respectfully sharing in my journey!

The link to comment is below the title of this post. 

Back to the Kitchen… Kids in Tow

Hi all, it has been an interesting week. With Thanksgiving last weekend and then the dreaded stomach flu going throughout our household I wasn’t as productive as I would have liked to have been on my learning project.  Although I was able to catch up on the daily decluttering challenges, I did not get to implement  the organization solution in our front entryway as planned.

Instead, I got some much needed down time on the couch. For an active busy bee like me, that was hard to do. I did enjoy the extra snuggles with my little ones though! It was at this time I was able to really reflect on their growth since the summer. I think I may be underestimating their potential to contribute to the daily household chores. My daughter, who is 3 1/2, and son, 20 months, have the ability and the desire to help in the kitchen, but as a busy family I do not often give them the opportunity, or independence, to. According to WebMD children as young as two need responsibilities in the household to feel like they are making a contribution.

Upon Reflection…

I remember a learning experience my son and I had a few weeks ago. It was the usual busy weekday morning. Getting the kids ready for daycare/preschool, unloading the dishwasher and loading the washing machine all the while trying to remember where I was supposed to be that day. Clearly, I need to be more organized!

I turn to see my son trying in frustration to wrangle a spatula out of the dishwasher. Cute, he is trying to help, I think. At the time, I remember being frustrated. We didn’t have time for him to play in the dishwasher. I instinctively reached out to free the utensil for him, but something stopped me. “Wait… ” I say. “Slow down city slicker. You got this.” I grab my phone to document his learning…


I also learned something very valuable that morning. By simply engaging with him in a simple household chore, he was working on his problem-solving and fine motor skills and his success brought him joy! I still try and encourage his growth, but I believe consistency will be key going forward.

I had seen some great tips on Do it on a Dime’s YouTube channel that I want to implement in our kitchen to help continue my children’s contribution and learning experience.

I have moved the children’s dishes down to their level and will start the routine of getting them to set their own place at the table and put their clean dishes away. I also gave my daughter the task of feeding the cat earlier this week (only because the smell of it made me very queasy!) and she has been asking to feed the cat almost everyday since. That is going on the chore list for sure!

My family and I got back on the healthy train this weekend, so I am looking forward to a happy and healthy upcoming week!

Goals for this coming week

  • Continue to follow the declutter challenge with Clutterbug
  • Share my daily progress on Clutterbug’s Facebook page
  • Continue to identify areas that would benefit from organizational systems
  • Implement organizational systems – Front Entryway bench, overhead shelf, and coat hanger
  • Continue to identify ways in which my little people can help

Thank you for respectfully sharing in my journey!

The link to comment is below the title of this post. 

Organization Starts with Decluttering

15 plates (2)I am not a caterer, but you might think I was one by the amount of small plates and wine glasses I have – strike that – HAD. Why was I keeping 15 mismatched small plates and 14 wine glasses?! No clue! I have NEVER used all of them in one single day, let alone one single setting.  Following Clutterbug’s 30 Day Decluttering Challenge, along with hundreds of other like-minded people around the world, has been the perfect ticket to help kick start my journey to becoming more organized! What was more helpful was posting my purge pile, or my new organized and decluttered space, to Clutterbug’s Facebook page. The social support here has been amazing! At the end of the first week, I had two boxes loaded for charity and one bag for our local Food Bank.

Starting with the Kitchen Cupboards

I am a visual learner and this is one of the main reasons I am drawn to following Cassandra from Clutterbug on YouTube. Each day of the challenge she posts a few minutes of her process in decluttering that days assigned space, followed by a personal story or inspirational message. (trust me, Day One’s story will have you in stitches!)

In addition, her highly organized home is providing great ideas that I can adopt in my own. I found her recycling system under her kitchen sink to be a great idea, one in which I wanted to implement. Efficiency is the goal! Although our outdoor recycling bin is about 15 steps from my kitchen sink it was a real chore to continuously travel there while cleaning the kitchen. This idea reminded me of Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management  I learned in Business school. Applying those principles to the task of cleaning my kitchen should certainly save me a lot of time and energy. (Side note: Sadly, I didn’t just invent this notion. Apparently, Christine Frederick did almost 100 years ago!)

Finishing under the Kitchen Sink

It was late last Friday afternoon and I decided to tackle the installation of my new recycling bin under the sink. My mom was scheduled to come over to assist. Why my mom? She is super handy! But I decided I was going for it – alone. I grabbed the cordless drill, two Halloween candies, the instructions and went for it. The instruction sheet said it should take 15 minutes. I laughed. An hour and a half later….

I figured using an electric screw driver… um cordless drill… would be easy enough, so I didn’t bother YouTubing a “How To” video. This might have contributed to the longer than predicted time to complete the installation. I ran into a couple frustrating moments that might have been prevented had I watched Bill on YouTube.

First, tightening a drill bit in the keyless chuck is counter intuitive. You need to turn the chuck counter clockwise to tighten it. Righty Tighty doesn’t apply here! Second, stripping a screw can be avoided by adjusting the torque. How do I know I was stripping a screw and that it is bad thing? I remember the high pitched sound and my mom’s reaction: “ROBERT, stop! You’re stripping the screw!” In his defense, he is a bit hard of hearing. Thanks to Bill I now know one way to prevent it!

The drill will be an essential tool with the upcoming organizing systems I plan to install. In light of the little I have learned so far on YouTube about the drill, I certainly plan on tapping into other resources to become more efficient.

The Dark Side of Sharing on Social Media

Sharing a personal journey to becoming more organized requires vulnerability. In my exuberance to share on Clutterbug’s Facebook page the momentum I have gained in my own journey, I did not for one moment expect that others may be Facebook shamed. This past week I witnessed a mother, who posted a photo of her over cluttered kitchen to seek advice, shamed for the way she lives. Online shaming is real my friends, and it is ugly. What is more shocking to me is that most, if not all, the people sharing on this page are adults.

While this incident was ‘contained’ to Clutterbug’s Facebook page and didn’t go viral, it still happened. Shouldn’t adults know better? It is increasingly becoming apparent to me, as an adult educator, that there is a need to promote appropriate digital citizenship in adult education. Online shaming is being done by adults, not just the youth. And that is a shame.

Goals for this coming week

  • Continue to follow the declutter challenge with/ Clutterbug’s
  • Share my daily progress on Clutterbug’s Facebook page
  • Continue to identify areas that would benefit from organizational systems
  • Implement organizational systems
  • Identify ways in which my little people can help

Thank you for respectfully sharing in my journey!

The link to comment is below the title of this post. 




Finding the Golden Ticket to Getting Organized

I like to consume…. I enjoy materialistic goods, as is apparent in my closets, drawers and kitchen. I also like to consume information. I am a curious cat! When embarking on this project I went on a journey to find the golden ticket to getting organized, the perfect solution to the state of my disorganization. I went to the smorgasbord of organization strategy and had a feast! I sampled so many organizational resources, both in print and online, but did not find the perfect one. What I did find was a workable combination, and that makes me excited!

Resources – You could eat for a lifetime!

If I am continuing with the smorgasbord analogy – you could eat for a lifetime with the amount of organizational resources that are out there. From mommy bloggers, to professional organizers (books), to mommy bloggers who went pro and now offer online courses for the low price of $100USD. It’s true!  On that note, I’ll have….

A huge helping of Overwhelm, with a side of Indecision

As I already identified in my first post for this learning project, having a disorganized and cluttered home can lead to a sense of being overwhelmed and can impair decision making. However, it is not just my current state of disorganization that has me  paralyzed…. It’s also my perfectionism…. there I’ve said it. This all to familiar trap of not wanting to start a major project until I have found the right (a.k.a. perfect) solution.

Image adapted from Organized Enough

Here, the author of Organized Enough: The Anti-Perfectionist’s Guide to Getting–and Staying–Organized has set out realistic expectations that even this perfectionist can handle. I am going with being organized enough!

Getting, and staying organized, is a mind shift to a new perspective on how your living space best works for your lifestyle. I have discovered through the readings this past week that even though I don’t know what the finished product is going to look like exactly, it’s a journey in self-discovery and it just might get messy before it gets sorted!

Starting with a Network of Clutterbugs

I have discovered some great tips from fellow Canadian, Cassandra Aarssen of Clutterbug on home organization. Fortuitously, on October 1 she launched the 30 Day Decluttering Challenge! Each day, I can follow along with Cassandra as she illustrates on YouTube her methods of decluttering each of the spaces listed below. As a bonus, I can tap into the very active ClutterBug Organizing Advice Facebook group, which has over 23,000 members, for advice and to showcase my wins. I am excited about this social learning opportunity!

Photo source:

What to keep, what to toss, what to donate… oh my…

When decluttering I need to decide what I keep, toss or donate. This can be a challenge – I mean for the most part, the items in my home were brought in for a reason. To help me make these decisions I can follow Clutterbug’s S.P.A.C.E Method, aided by the anti-perfectionist’s list of questions:

  • Do I need it?
  • Does it belong here?
  • Does it fit with who I am now?
  • If I were to let it go, would I end up replacing it?

On a side note, I did consider Marie Kondo’s advice to hold each item and quietly ask myself, “Does this spark joy?”, but then I would have to throw out my can opener, and most definitely my Spanx… both of which I need!

Goals for this coming week

  • Continue to follow the declutter challenge with Clutterbug
  • Share my progress on Instagram
  • Identify areas to that would benefit from organizational systems
  • Identify ways in which my little people can help.

Thank you for respectfully sharing in my journey!

The link to comment is below the title of this post. 

Proposed Learning Project

Does it bring joy? Getting to a purposeful and mindful life….

As an adult, I sometimes take informal learning for granted. There are times when I learn without even realizing I am learning. Can anyone relate? As I am reflecting on my summer as a stay at home mom with my two very active and curious children – my daughter, who is three (turning thirteen) and my son who is twenty months – I am amazed at how much I learned about them as individuals and us as a family. For example, I learned that my daughter has an amazing capacity for empathy and even though my son isn’t speaking intelligible words yet he can communicate. I feel incredibly blessed that I could spend this time with them and get to know them better. Here’s the but… the rub… the 21st century/1st world problem….

I didn’t spend as much time with them as I could have. Why? Because I was consumed by organizing a lifetime worth of stuff! My house is full of STUFF. Please do not get me wrong, we are not certifiable hoarders. Although on busy days, or during our current home office renovation, you would think we might be. I believe we are an average North American family who have unwittingly, and at times knowingly, subscribed to the materialistic culture we live in. Bothered by the impact it has had on my life, I turned to Google and started my journey of learning about this culture and how it impacts families.  I was not surprised to find a University of California study documenting how American middle-class abundance has lead to a cluttered life. This study confirmed my belief that clutter leads to higher stress levels in women.

Furthermore, Regina Leeds claims that parents who exhibit disorganization in their homes can lead to disorganized children. It can also lead to indecisiveness for those who live in this environment. This makes sense, if my daughter has 13 pairs of jeans it may be hard for her to decide which pair to wear! How does this affect her decision making abilities in other areas of her life? Thankfully, “the essential organizational skills, to eliminate, categorize, and organize, are learned and can be applied to all areas of life.”

This brings me to my major learning project proposal. I want to start living a more purposeful and mindful life while minimizing the impact of a materialistic culture. More importantly, I want to learn how I could negotiate a life within this culture that doesn’t rob me of my time with my children, my husband and even with myself. I believe the start of this journey is to get my house in order! I am purposing the following learning outcomes:

  1. Identify and implement sustainable organizational systems and processes with the view to create an efficient and healthy household.
  2. Explore methods of engaging my young people in the process of becoming organized and mindful in a materialistic world.
  3. Identify methods of disposing of material goods with the least environmental impact.

Proposed learning resources

Too Messy?

As this is a journey of self-discovery and a new way of being, it just might get a little bit messy (literally and figuratively). I do have a concern of finding the right balance of sharing visual evidence of my learning without infringing on my family’s privacy.  Also, wondering about an appropriate hashtag. Something light and fun, perhaps.

Feedback on my proposal is appreciated!