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December Room Challenge -- Small Space

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

Anyone up for another room challenge?


December can be a challenging month to just get through, let alone any extra house projects, so I am going to focus on a small space.


I've been doing several room challenges (4 or 5 months in a row) and never completely finish a room. I'm very content with what I HAVE accomplished, so I want to keep up the momentum.


In the midst of all the room challenges, I have also been working on our very small (9.5x9.5) downstairs room. Not only is it small, but it also has a lot of doors -- 6-foot slider outside, double entry doors from the hall, and a closet with a door that swings into the room. There is no single full wall in this room. A functional room challenge to be sure! LOL We've used this room for many things over the 11+ years we've lived here. The closet is most unique and is the biggest storage space in our home, which isn't saying much. LOL We'll be getting into this closet anyway this month since that is where our holiday decor is stored, so I am piggy-backing on that activity. My fabric is stored in the same closet, in front of the holiday decor. Much of what I have not completed in the various room challenges is sewing. Seems like a good time to accomplish some of that.


Here's my list:


1. Finish getting the room itself usable for sewing again. Been sewing all weekend!

2. Install the wood curtain rod in the family office window. We also installed a sheet of metal on the wall to do double duty as a magnetic board for me and to protect the wall from the back of my desk chair.

3. Touch up the paint from the previous tension rod. I touched up the paint in the entire room.

4. Sew curtains for said window. I sewed one panel (of two) and my rod pocket is too small. Boo Hoo. Plan B...

5. Hem the cotton sheers for said window. Done and hung up.

6. Hem the cotton sheers for the kitchen slider.

7. Sew curtains for DD's window (gift! she'll be THRILLED).

8. Sew pajamas for DD (she & I started them ages ago; I'm hoping it'll be easy...).

9. Create a flannel "board" in the project room, which I am considering calling a "studio" now. Done and hung, but I want to take the fabric down and wash it. LOL Washed and re-hung. :)

10. Brainstorm other ways to store fabric to make it easier to access AND put away. My current method is easy to access and easy to see it all. Putting fabric away is not so easy, though...

11. Create a garden box from an old wood toy box that has been used as a variety of things NOT including holding toys. LOL Done and filled.


Pictures below:



Anyone care to join me in tackling a small space of your own?


Could be a closet or a powder room or laundry room or mud room or whatever is easy for you or whatever is bugging you the most....

Edited by sunnysandiegan - 12/18/11 at 2:55pm
post #2 of 31

Now *this* is my kind of challenge!


I'm taking the storage area of the playroom and starting over.  You can see why I keep the door closed!  My "crafting supplies" (I have a bit of a problem when it comes to buying sale items that I know I can repurpose) have no organization anymore.  Part of the problem is that we have an addition on the back of our house that can't be used when it's too hot or too cold so we've been crafting there for months and now I need to get that stuff downstairs, too.  The toy storage isn't so bad (I did a massive declutter a few months ago), but I'd like everything to be in labeled, clear bins so the kids can take out what they need and not trash up the whole basement.



1. Remove everything from both sides and deep clean the shelves

2. Organize crafting items better

     - Take all addition items to the basement

     - Put together a "beautiful junk" box for C's school (drop off at school after Winter Break)

     - Make a box of completed projects for gifting and boxes for WIPs that I need to get to or find someone else to enjoy (work on this after Christmas)

3. Organize toy area better

     - Go through homeschool box (we don't) and take out what I'll actually use with the kids and donate the rest

     - Buy clear boxes for each type of toy and label (maybe take a photograph for the non-readers and tape to the outside?)

     - Find a better system for board games as the boxes are slowly becoming toast


Here is proof:

Door closed to keep the mess hidden:


See how much wall is between the two doors?  The shelves in the area go all the way across that area and those are the boxes that are *never* touched because they're so hard to get to.  I have a feeling a lot is going to come out of there alone...


Craft storage:



Toy storage:



Crafting spaces in addition:




Thanks for pushing me to do this particular area.  We're really thinking of moving soon and I'm going to have to do it anyway so I can downsize my stuff *and* make the area look presentable when strangers are opening my closets.

Edited by AfricanQueen99 - 12/20/11 at 11:24am
post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 

Looks like it is just you and me this month, Angela... We can do it! :)


Meanwhile, I finally booked the carpet cleaners for our sofas and stairs (living room challenge a couple months ago). They are coming tomorrow morning. Yippeeeee!!!


The kitchen (last month) is in great shape and is so easy for us to clean up now!!! We had a service technician come out today for a recall and he needed our kitchen table accessible, unbeknown to us until his arrival. It was a breeze to not only clear it quickly, but also to return it to our needs after he was finished. So nice!


I haven't done anything towards this month's challenge, yet, except inform DH of the plan. LOL I hope to get started tomorrow...

post #4 of 31

I need to join.  I've been watching for many months and going along with the decluttering challenge.

I moved over the summer and somehow this little apartment never got fully unpacked.

1.This month I am going to tackle the 2nd closet in the 'dining' room which is functioning as my office.  We eat at the counter on bar stools.  This said closet is meant to be storage for office supplies, homeschool supplies and craft supplies.  Right now it appears the closet puked.

2.My desk could use a good year end cleaning in prep for tax season.

3.The kitchen counters need to be cleaned again - a never ending battle


Wish me luck



*no photos because its just too dang embarrassing *

post #5 of 31
Thread Starter 

Welcome to the challenge, Zebra! :)


We accomplished quite a bit this weekend. YIPPEEEEE!!!!


Living room: The sofa and loveseat were professionally cleaned by a healthy, locally-owned family business. He also cleaned the stairs and the upstairs hallway (the size of a landing pretty much, except he went into the two rooms at either end for us, also -- at no charge for any of the upstairs). We loved that the smell was pretty much nothing! The sofas took 24 hours+ to fully dry, but we adapted. ;) The stairs and upstairs area was dry in less than an hour.


Office: DH installed a wood curtain rod and supports above the window. While we was at it, he installed a sheet of metal behind my desk chair. It is doing double duty as a magnetic board and to protect the wall from my chair back.


Master bathroom: DH, my dad, and I installed a new faucet and stopper in the bathroom sink. Oy! That was more challenging than we were hoping for...hence three adults required. The faucet looks nice. The water test will come a little later.


Outside: I swept the front walkway and ended up talking to several people and coordinated THE BIG GIFT for our DD for free! So excited!!! I also swept the backyard (mostly a patio), so that I could lay down packing paper and the old toy box to spray a clear coat on the bottom (outside) to prepare it for becoming a garden box. I gave it 3-4 light coats over a few hours, then DH secured the casters to the bottom, drilled 23 holes in the bottom, and fixed the one loose corner. (I've got some more spraying to do today once it warms up a bit.)


Today, already, I have cleaned up THE BIG GIFT for DD and need to go put air in the tires and take pictures for DH. It is at my dad's for now, but we need to move it tomorrow morning since DD has easy access to gpa's. (She has a playdate after school today and will be otherwise occupied. :) )

post #6 of 31

Go you!


I started on the top shelf of the toy side of the closet and took out a ton for donating.  I need to get some bins and am just using packing boxes for now.


Once my youngest goes down I'm going to learn to use my sewing machine to make Christmas eve PJs for my kids.  Let's hope it goes well!

post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 

Good luck with the sewing!


I finished with the bicycle. It is all functional and spiffy and beautiful now. I even took it out for a spin and *I* love it!!! DD will be THRILLED on Christmas morning! I'm still in awe that we received this awesome bicycle for free.


I sprayed the first coat of clear paint on the rest of the garden box.


Dad and I finished the faucet and stopper and drain. It took some more fussing, but it appears to be working leak-free now!!! YIPPEEEE!!! We've got another bathroom sink to do and I need to go buy some more silicone sealant before getting my DD and her friend from school.

post #8 of 31

Wow, sunnie! Impressive work. Good for you! :)



post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 



The bicycle is stashed until the big day. :)


The garden box has 3 light coats of clear paint now. I think it needs another coat, but it needs to warm up a bit before I can do that. I have rocks for the bottom and soil, but I haven't decided exactly what I want to plant in the box yet.... Hmmm.... I am thinking lettuce and spinach and broccoli (winter annual veggies for our area), so I can change my mind in the spring without having to dig anything out. LOL


My dad and I removed the other bathroom sink drain yesterday and replaced it. I tested it today (24 hours later) and all is well!!! DH & I will replace the old faucet in that bathroom this weekend.


I need to clean up both upstairs bathrooms today and teach an art lesson this afternoon. My sweet kitty is sleeping on my lap, though, and she is so warm and snuggly.... ;)

post #10 of 31

I reorganized the toy area and need to get the clear bins.  Today I tackled the crafting side and got rid of so.much.junk. via daughter's "beautiful junk" for school, trash and Goodwill.  Tomorrow I'm taking the addition's junk to the basement and then going through it all again.  Totally stoked I did so much today!  Plus I addressed the holiday cards and am taking time to Zumba tonight.  Oh, and I had a great ultrasound today.  It was a great day!!

post #11 of 31
Thread Starter 

Sounds awesome, Angela!!!


How are you doing, Zebra?


I got one bathroom reorganized and clean before teaching a challenging, yet very fun art lesson. I've got laundry in progress at the moment while my DD plays at grandpa's. I cut DH's hair over the weekend and cut my dad's hair this afternoon. All in good trade, eh? LOL I'm a little tired now...

post #12 of 31

I'm in - albeit a bit late.

I need to reclaim the guest room aka "room of junk" .


My sewing stuff is in there, my extra monitor for my computer is there, my hanging clothes are there, dog crate, bookshelves, futon for guests.....



  1. Move bookshelves to the basement except for one.
  2. Move white bookshelf into the closet, extra fabric back to the basement.
  3. Move the book bookshelf into the basement, move dh's desk stuff back to his desk area.
  4. Cut the piece of plywood to replace the too narrow desk we have now.
  5. Trim that piece of plywood so it looks like a desk from pottery barn, not like a piece of plywood over the file cabinets.
  6. paint the file cabinets + desk piece. (this is a lofty goal!)
  7. Finish holiday sewing:
  • pillowcase for dd1
  • pillowcase for dd2
  • pjs for dd1
  • pjs for dd2
  • holiday skirt for dd1 (just need to put on a button)
  • finish up long johns for dd1 (not holiday gift but need to finish).
  • if time: sew a few doll clothes.
  • line blinds that are there

 8. Wash windows + cover with plastic for winter.

9. vacuum thoroughly

10. move dog crate someplace else

11. make up bed.


post #13 of 31
Thread Starter 

Welcome Kristin! Good luck with your list.


I am just about finished with the new garden box...waiting for it to dry completely after the final coat (#5) of clear paint. DH added two support pieces today. Tomorrow I will fill it with rocks and soil and seeds!!! I found a "before" picture online, which was challenging since ours is an older model than what Ikea carries now. (I had forgotten to take a "before" shot.) Once it is filled tomorrow, I will share the "before" and I will take an "after" shot to share, also.


Meanwhile, I measured the wall where I want the "flannel board" and measured the device I want to use. Super close! I convinced DH to try it anyway... LOL He said tomorrow.


That's all I've managed to do thus far on my list this week.


I am more excited that we are maintaining the living room/foyer/stairs and kitchen and DD's bedroom all this time...and working in the bathrooms in the midst of the room challenges. DH finished the faucet project this morning and we tossed out the unsalvagable parts already. We packed the reusable parts into the new faucet boxes and will donate them.

post #14 of 31
Thread Starter 

Very productive weekend again! biggrinbounce.gif


Hall bathroom: New faucet is installed. No leaks and the stopper works!!! WOO HOO!!!

Both bathrooms got thoroughly cleaned, too. Decluttered and all spiffy now. :)


Studio: DH & I got the flannel board device hung up. It was a close fit, but it works!!!! We had to move nearly everything in that room over the weekend. LOL Excellent time to declutter it... I've been sewing and ironing all weekend, so it is in great working condition now. love.gif


Garden: DD prepared two rows and planted baby carrots in the ground. She also helped me with the new garden box. She collected little rocks for the bottom layer and then helped me add compost and soil to fill it. I planted lettuce seeds and spinach seeds. I left room for one more row in three weeks. I like successive plantings and find three-week intervals is good. I also tidied up other plants.


General: We started packing up the donations and DH took a small load to the car. I'll finish this week and deliver them when I am out running errands.


Pictures....mostly "before" shots, but includes "after" for the garden box and flannel board.





post #15 of 31

ok so the gateleg table .... does it bounce a lot when you sew on it? I love that you could cut out something on it and sew on it....and it can fold back down when we need the space for guests.

post #16 of 31

Hi I'm still here.  Not exactly organizing yet, more of a decluttering mode.  I am using stuff up from the kitchen pantry, really slowing down on the grocery shopping.  This needs to happen so I can get all the bottled drinks IN THE PANTRY.  Then I can clean off the counter top.


Second I need to start wrapping presents and get some of these shipping boxes out of here.  I have one last HH request to mail out and some swap bot envelopes to do this week.


Third my desk.  OY!  I am in the middle of a fiasco with group tickets for a homeschool trip to the theater.  Year end homeschool stuff for my son and honestly I just want to run and cry.


That 2nd pantry that is the craft/office/catch all closet.  It needs shelves.  That closet is set up as a 'coat' closet with a hanging bar and one high shelf.  I have nothing to hang, this is AZ, we don't have coats  LOL.  I need to get measurements and look for some type of shelves to stick in there.  Then I need CLEAR boxes to put things in.


I have discovered about my self, if I can't see it, the item does not exist. So clear boxes are a must.



So my game plan is:

1. eat from the pantry

2. mail out packages and envelopes daily or as needed and stay on top of the mail

3. start to wrap presents and get rid of boxes as I go

4. measure the 2nd closet in the dining room and search for shelves  (if shelves are cheap, get some for outside storage as well)

5. do not self explode with the problems for group tickets this week.

post #17 of 31
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by kerc View Post

ok so the gateleg table .... does it bounce a lot when you sew on it? I love that you could cut out something on it and sew on it....and it can fold back down when we need the space for guests.

No, it doesn't move one bit. I've used the serger and the sewing machine and neither one creates any movement! (SOOOO EXCITED ABOUT THIS!!!) This gateleg table is unique in two ways compared to similar gateleg tables:

1. The center stationary section is about a foot across by the width of the table. This alone creates a better "base" than most gateleg tables. When the sides are down, the unit is still stable. By comparison, most are wobbly and people prefer to tuck them away when not in use. This one can be out and used as a shelf.

2. The center section has six drawers (three accessed from each side), which adds a lot of WEIGHT to the "base". This keeps the whole table anchored while it is in use. (Not to mention how CONVENIENT they are for sewing notions!)


Our floor is cork, so every part of the table touching the floor has felt. I was prepared for it to slide around due to this and was going to use rubber "feet" under certain "legs" to stop it. (We have the half felt and half rubber under our washer and dryer for the same purpose and it works beautifully.) However, the weight of the table keeps this from happening, so I never had to get out the rubber "feet".


I am currently storing those two machines (sewing and serger) on the white bookcase when not in use. I love that I can just grab one machine (there are two more in this room) and easily set up half the table and get something done quickly! I'm working on clearing room on the blue shelving unit for the machine on top of the white bookcase in order to give better access to my new design area. Ultimately, I'd like to either giveaway the white bookcase or the white stacking units. I need to whittle down my WIP pile (UFOs) and/or my fabric stash to accomplish that. The white bookcase could slide over to the other wall when I want to design, but the closet door would not be able to open right now because I have to be able to sit in the chair at the sewing machine and the white stacking units are literally directly behind that chair. I have several cutting mats and they fit on the table in the set-up you see in the pictures. I wasn't cutting that type of project, though. I was using the giant cardboard "tool" on the floor in the living room...

post #18 of 31


I've been pacing myself on the wrapping.  Slow and steady right?  I'm been doing 3-4 items a day.  I have some type of undiagnosed hand pain that makes things painful (however crochet is not affected most days??)  Movements like writing, scissors, etc become painful after 15-20 mins.  So slow and steady.  I have been very good about putting all my supplies away after each 'presents session' and only taking out a couple presents at a time.


While my son was a theater class today I stopped at Target to look at shelving for the 2nd closet in the dining room/office.  Tonight I hope to get measurements of the closet and see what will work. I did remember to write down the measurements of the available shelving at the store thumb.gif


I've been staying on top of the mail, staying on top of the group tickets for my homeschool 'fiasco' this month and things are going well in the paper in-paper out area.


I have ONE more box to mail. Hopefully tomorrow.  


My reward for finishing some of these 'uglies' is a day trip next Thursday 2 hrs away with my wonderful, lovely, adorable 11yr old son to see 'zoolights' at the next zoo over.  Plus spending the day in the next city!

post #19 of 31

Ok brace your self ladies..... Drumroll please....




This is huge!!  


The majority of the present wrapping is complete.  Things have been going to the dumpster as they are finished up.  Boxes go, bags go.

Mail continues to be process daily, sometimes 2x a day.   Everything that needed to be sent out is gone.


Joann's is having a coupon krazy thing this weekend so I may stop over and get some storage containers, for the shelving.  I promise 2013 is going to be an organized year. AND I'm going to get my desk, office area back.


I am keeping up with the issues from the group ticket fiasco. I almost have all the re-payments.  Hopefully the tickets arrive this week and I can send them out.  (If I get lucky they will arrive Saturday and I can process over the weekend)


Thursday I am going 2 hrs south for a day/evening trip with DS.  All this needs to be finished by then.

post #20 of 31

Go you!!!

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