Day 31: Finish What You Start

No, we didn’t finish the laundry room.

A while back I stopped and started a project organizing my audio-video cords, batteries, and extension cords. I never got around to thumbing through the magazines or buying a box in which to store the batteries. I never got around to buying batteries. I decided to tackle that this month, and while it wasn’t my intention to make this my final post, I think it’s fitting.

There’s a strong temptation to stop at good enough. For some people more than others. It’s when I stop at good enough that I tend to get in trouble. This drawer wasn’t done, didn’t have an official-official purpose, so when school started it was easy for me to open the drawer and toss in graded schoolwork and random art supplies. I fixed the schoolwork issue earlier in the month. Yesterday was time to take care of the rest.

I knew the boxes of cords would fit better in the larger drawer filled with old magazines. I purged the magazines again, getting rid of about 75% of them. I kept only the ones with articles I want to keep. I’ll tear those out and put them in a binder. I also kept two dozen issues of Atomic Ranch. It’s the Mister’s favorite magazine, so I’ll put those in a magazine file in his office.

Easy enough.

I didn’t know what to do with the top drawer, if anything, until a few days ago.

I found this Better Homes & Garden image on Pinterest and immediately pinned it to my William Morris Project board, which is where I keep potential projects, great ideas I might want to tweak, inspirational articles or images, and old WMP posts of mine that that I love or have been pinned. It looked like a great way to store the tablecloths currently piled up in a glass front cabinet we’ve been trying to sell. I bought them for The Craft Cabinet. They are huge and fit tables of 10-12, if not 20. Storing them in the entry closet seemed like a good, space-saving idea.

I was all set to go to the store and buy what I needed when I realized I had plenty of places to store tablecloths. I just needed to clean and organize what I had. This is the reason I avoid most home organization blogs, books, and TV shows. The emphasis is often on the latest bin or cabinet or label maker you absolutely need to organize your life. I almost fell victim to the biggest marketing trick in the book.

We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.
–Dave Ramsey

I saved myself $20 by cleaning out a drawer and putting the tablecloths inside.

We don’t need more stuff to organize our stuff. Stuff is what goes in a house. We’re trying to create intentional homes. There’s a difference.

That concludes 31 Days of William Morris for 2012. I was going to wrap up this post with my thoughts on how the project went this year, but it was getting wordy. I’ll share how I thought it went next week. I did it! I can’t believe it.

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New here? For the next 31 days I’m living according to the famous William Morris quote, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” You can learn more about the project here, and catch sneak peeks of my projects by following me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (I’m @pancakesfries).

Comments
21 Responses to “Day 31: Finish What You Start”
  1. Monica says:

    I have been staring at this screen for a few minutes and can’t translate my thoughts into (coherent) sentences, so I will just keep it simple. Yay! Congratulations and thanks for the past 31 days of posts.

  2. Lu says:

    Well done! I’ve loved this month of posts. Thank you for sharing the successes and frustrations that come with doing this series of projects. I love that you finished with a clear out and not needing to spend more. Looking forward to seeing the laundry room when finished.

  3. Susie Davis says:

    Love this one, Jules.
    Because of you, I went all William Morris on an armoire I have in our bedroom. I was shocked by all I piled inside ~ then grateful I was able to clear out and give away what was no longer ‘useful or beautiful’ to me.
    I especially appreciate the idea of not buying more to get organized. Zoinks. Kinda defeats the purpose. Yes?

  4. Shelley says:

    Jules, this series has been some major inspiration for me. I will be referring back to this and your previous series to keep my will power bolstered. Thanks for all your hard work!

  5. Audrey says:

    I LOVE that quote from Dave Ramsey. He’s a smart man, that one!

  6. Ris says:

    Congratulations! I’ve loved reading along all month.

  7. Danielle says:

    Congrats! I’ve really enjoyed this series and hope to start incorporating lots of ideas once we’ve finally unpacked our moving boxes (I swear, it’s only been 2 months!). Thanks for sharing!

  8. HeatherL says:

    Congratulations on completing all 31 days! I would have faded around day 3. I love the table cloth solution. It can be difficult to decide when you really do need new organization items and when we are just swayed to buy the new & pretty. After years of shoving clothes in my bedroom closet that didn’t really have hanging space, it was worth splurging on a closet organization system (on sale!), but I realized with a little purging, I don’t need to trick out ALL of my closets, just because Pinterest told me to. My sweaters are stored in a dresser that was mine when I was a baby. The drawers stick a little, but it works.

  9. Jenn says:

    Congratulations on 31 successful days of William Morris. I’m loving this move towards less consumerism, more intentional use of the items already owned (that Dave Ramsey quote is excellent).
    Maybe November can be 30 days of celebration, culminating in one superbly special day for you too :)
    Here’s to intentional living. Thanks for being such an awesome role model.

  10. Kristen says:

    Congratulations! I’m with some of the other commenters, I would have been done probably on Day 2. The title of this post is very compelling for me, too. I’m a perfectionist, very much to my own detriment, so I thought a few months ago I would try something different. I thought I would start a project and then when I got tired of it, I would just jump to the next one (thinking I would go back to the other projects later). That way forward progress would continue, and I wouldn’t be bored. Of course you probably see where this is going – dozens of projects all over the house in semi-finished states. So yeah, my goal between now and Thanksgiving (house guests coming!) is to hurry up and finish everything I started. I would not recommend either of these strategies, btw. Oh but I just thought of what does make me finish projects. Maybe I need to have people visit every 2 weeks or so….hmmm. :)

  11. Jaimie says:

    Haha, I have to thank you for posting that inspiration image because it gave me an idea for how to organize my too-tall, too-deep linen closet shelves (with hanging baskets clipped on to the shelves!) But yes, there is definitely a lot of satisfaction in organizing things by simply getting rid of what’s not needed and using what you have to corral the remainder.

  12. Susan G says:

    Congratulations!! You did it!!

  13. YJ says:

    Congratulations on finishing!!!

    As for Nanowrimo, I think it’s a perfectionist thing, no? Or putting things on paper feels like so much commitment.

  14. Terri says:

    Congrats on the 31 days!

  15. Shaina says:

    Yay for you! Was there really any doubt you’d finish? I really don’t believe you could have quit knowing that we were all anxiously awaiting the next post about what you’d found to beautify within your home. ;-)
    I’m looking forward to your “wrap up thoughts” post. I read on a comment (I think Facebook?) that you weren’t planning to do this again next year. Not that I should need you to do it in order for *me* to do it – but yeah, that’s where my mind immediately went, LOL
    Love the Dave Ramsey quote. I used his snowball plan to get out of debt a few years ago and I haven’t gotten another credit card since. That quote is absolutely spot on. We *do* buy so much crap that we don’t even truly need just because we think that’s what people expect us to have. Not that I’d recommend it, but it was really easy to get out of that warped sense of logic when I barely had money to pay monthly bills.
    I still have one really quick project left, and then writing the blog post, and carving pumpkins, and getting into costume, and passing out candy to trick-or-treaters, and working the night job. ;-)

  16. LauraC says:

    I think I’ve said this before, but I’m IN LOVE with that blue lamp in the first pic. I love October knowing I get a post from you everyday, thanks for all that extra work.

  17. Zakary says:

    Hot damn, we are finished! Also, I saw that photo of the linen closet and I almost fell out. I thought you really went for it.

    Next year? 31 Days Of Wine. I’m not kidding.

  18. Nice! I recently also started putting extra cables into a box like that. LOVE it! So much more practical than having them running around everywhere or filling up a desk drawer and a tangled mess.

    And I love that you stopped yourself from going out to buy something!! I’ve run into that vicious cycle too many times. But since I find that Germany is not quite as obsessed with creating organizational supplies as in the US (yet) I usually just find something around here that works first. And there’s also always the threat of my husband who routinely tells me to just throw stuff out — which I seriously cannot do if it’s got a useful purpose still. ;)

  19. May says:

    Congratulations! That was a marathon!

  20. When Nester linked over to your series awhile back, I popped over and oh. Oh. OH. How I have loved it. Your purging of the closet post still has me itching to dump everything out in mine. So far? Only two little shopping bags worth. But baby steps. Baby steps. You are an inspiration – just thought I’d let you know…

  21. Lisa says:

    A little late to this post, but wanted to add that another way to store table clothes is to just hang them on hangers in the closet. I learned this from my grandmother, who would press them, then fold them with tissue between layers and then hang them over a padded hanger to prevent wrinkles.
    I admit that I don’t even bother to iron mine before hanging, but it does help to minimize wrinkles and they store compactly when hung. I then cover them with garment bags to protect from dust/moths when not in use!

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Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.