So it took me a whole 24 hours to realize that I initially spelled "peek" wrong, in the photo edits (which I am honestly too tired to fix) and in the title and twice in the body....and yes, I am college educated- I blame it on exhaustion ūüôā ¬†And now...on to the Sneak¬†Peek!

We have a TON of stairs in our house....seriously.  I think we trek up 35 or so from the garage to the main living area in our "stacked town."  A stacked town is just a really fancy way of saying we have a two story condo with a garage- and because our unit encompasses the 3rd/4th building floors that means we get an AMAAAAAZING workout when we carry up the groceries....or the kids...yep...it was spectacular when I was 38 weeks preggo- I had to stop and take breaks to breathe.

Anyway, our builder-grade condo came with builder-grade Carpeting!!! on ALL of the stairs.

See the carpeting?  That crap was all over the whole house!  It killed my Dyson- literally!
See the carpeting? That crap was all over the whole house! It killed my Dyson- literally!  See the pretty floors I replaced it with?!

We put up with that vacuuming nightmare for about a year before I enlisted the help of my dear Dad to rip the carpet out of the main level and the stairs leading up to it and replace it with very pretty high end but budget friendly tropical darkwood laminate (dogs, kids, heels people!=laminate=no scratched up floor two weeks after installation!)

And I assure you that this project had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that H was overseas at a warzone and I was pregnant and nesting like a hen whose about to hatch eggs.  Neither did the repainting-the-whole-house-project or the ripping-out-my-closet-shelves-and-installing-custom-ikea-shelving-at-all-hours-of-the-night-project.  My poor neighbors- apparently this is what creative DIY women do when they are nesting.

Anyway- I digress- on a fluke we discovered that we could do the stairs, so we thought it would look really nice with white paneled risers:

Told you we had a lot of stairs...I've dubbed this the Stairwell to Heaven.
Told you we had a lot of stairs...I've dubbed this the Stairwell to Heaven.
A better view of the paneled risers. I think it gives the stairs a clean cottage-y feel!

By now you should see the dilemma we've been in since- the banisters look downright gross next to those floors!  And I'm ashamed to say that- one year in Afghanistan (H), a stint in Nairobi (again H), a high school graduation, an off to college move, two pregnancies and two babies later- we still have not even touched the banisters.  So now I've finally begun working on them- except its taking a little bit of time because, well, let's face it babies don't operate on your DIY schedule, or any other schedule for that matter.

I've been working on it in phases, but I'm determined to get it done this upcoming week.  We have family coming in to town and I just need to have something DIY and house related finished.  So I'm looking to my readers to keep me accountable and showing you a Sneak Peek with a promise that a full account of the methods, steps, calamities and hilarity that involved this project will be posted in the next week or two!  I think I'll try Abby's advice here and take a stab at time blocking to get it all done!

Okay...now for the sneak peek:

Sorry for the fuzzy photo- it is daaark in that stairwell!
Sneak peak
Remember....it's NOT finished yet!

Love and Happyness to all!


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Let me start by saying that something AMAZING happened tonight!  Today was my first full day back at work, the boys first full day at daycare in a loooong while, and, aside from being a bit emotional, I just knew that I was going to drop when I got home- and in my delirium I would try and get dinner on the table, things cleaned up, babies dressed for bed before I drug myself in to bed by say.... I dunno midnight?!  Seriously- visions of frizzed hair, fried brains and blood shot eyes danced through my mind periodically throughout the day....and THEN A MIRACLE OCCURRED!  H managed to get the boys home and start spaghetti by 5:30 (huge props to the Hubby for that!)  I got home, served up dinner, with relatively little crankiness from anyone.  We ate and cleaned up pretty quickly- I even had time to run over the living room with the duster and some Pledge.  Last... but most important of ALL.... we got both boys- yes that's two, dos, deux, due- however you want to say- it in bed before 8:00!  Sweet Jesus, I never thought such a thing would ever happen before Little R was, like, 6 years old.  Whatever magical-stars-aligned-with-Jupiter-on-the-north-axis-of-Pisces-28degrees-south-of-Jerusalem-hail-Mary-miracle took place to make that happen I have no idea- but I'll TAKE IT!  For the first time in months (almost five to be exact) we had a house of silence at 8:00 pm- and it has lasted just about all evening long!

Okay- now on to the actual point of my post....  I have a very pretty, albeit small, corner in our kitchen/family area that is all mine.  Except there is one problem:  Because it is located in a common area, it has become the entire households catch all, dump all, clear the table for dinner place.  See:

Pile-O-Mess!  Yep- that's a vacuum back there :-/


What a disaster it had become!  And this happens on a weekly basis.  For the longest time I kept trying to wrap my head around a  system.  I had file folders and baskets and binders and containers galore, but could not manage to keep my little oasis even remotely inviting for more than a nanosecond.  And she and I have gone round this little cycle for months now.  We had a great love/hate thing going on- completely not conducive to my Happyness zen.   I was going over and over things- and drew up a sketch per usual- and still couldn't figure out what the issue was.

And then the light bulb went off- sometimes there is too much of a good thing.  I realized I was suffering from container overload.  I had out organized myself....and my systems weren't working because they were overlapping and never-ending.  There was too much stuff, and too many containers.  I had a container for filing, shredding, To-Do, to put away up stairs, to fix, to sort (yep that's right- I had a whole big basket of things that needed to be sorted in to more baskets).  I had folders that the filing from the baskets went in to, so that I could then, eventually, put the filing in the folders in to the filing cabinet!  This was over-organized madness.

So I emptied every container I had and set it on the table- I sorted through every sheet of paper and filled two trash bags full of junk mail garbage!  (Junk mail almost deserves it's own post here- and I forgot to take a pic of the trash bags before H took them downstairs- I now have a new found -or rather rekindled- hatred of junk mail).

Then I purged further.  I tossed a ton of magazines.  Last time I purged I said I'd keep my dressage magazines, two equestrian catalogues, some travel magazines for visitors, parenting magazines (you know because being a parent isn't enough), and our UNC Alumni publications- because I do like to occasionally remind myself that I went to college and spent my days at the coffee shop and sitting on the quad doing homework- back when I had that sort of leisurely time!  I also want visitors to know that our lives do not revolve around Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Curious George and matchbox cars.  This time- I committed to tossing out all of Dressage Today and all of the parenting magazines and a handful of DIY magazines that I picked up in airports.

After the cleanup- H and I discussed keeping the dictionary because we figure Little P and Little R should learn to use one some day- and they've become so obsolete that they hardly teach kids how to use them in school- so Webster's gets to stick around for a bit.

After five hours of hard work....VOILA!....my little Happyness haven is all nice and neat!

Such a fresh start!
Such a fresh start!

I decided to use the containers for more permanent storage- i.e. sewing and craft supplies.  I vowed not to give myself any containers for mail or office upkeep:

Now this is finally a workable system!

On the desk:  I allowed myself the file folders I already had and our family binders (if you are wondering what the heck I'm talking about then check out Jen over at IHeartOrganizing)- everything else had to be filed where it was supposed to go right away.  And then- like with the Kitchen- I focused on keeping the surfaces as clear as possible.

The binders had to be gone through after all my sorting, so they were stuffed- but their proper home will be along side the magazine racks by the printer. ūüôā

How was that for a Sunday afternoon?  Now here are my goals to keep it that way:

1- Take 15 to clean up every night.

2- Touch it once - and put it in it's proper place- not some holding cell (i.e. a basket/folder/desktop).

3- Disallow anyone else's inclination to pile it on.

4- Deal with the mail every day- including the junk mail.

5- Read the magazines and then toss them ( Exception:  UNC Alumni Review and travel mags- can't let go of those!)

How do you attempt to reign in the clutter and keep your office space neat?

Thanks for visiting and Happyness to All!


I sometimes share at these parties!