Clean slate: a house transformed, 2014 can officially begin


That pretty much summed up my December. I started January still reeling from the December mess that had still suffered from my November neglect and then added a house guest. For months, I was under the impression that we’d have to move out of our house in February, so I never fully fixed some of the organization problems in my house, thinking I’d just have to pack it all up anyway. Why bother actually moving in properly when we were just going to have to move out again?

Then I found out we wouldn’t have to move after all! Suddenly, I couldn’t bear another day in the house the way it was. I couldn’t crochet or write or play or even eat or sleep. All I could do was clean and organize and move furniture until this place was perfect. I needed the house to feel like a clean slate. I could barely have a conversation, I was so focused on the task of making this home a comfortable and productive place to be.

I started by flip-flopping the location of my piano – a very sadly neglected household dust-collecter that had become more a piece of furniture than an instrument, mostly because we feel it is too loud to play in our townhouse. I figured if we moved it into a small room with a door we can close and get it off our neighbor’s wall, we might actually play it.  It has worked! I moved the big shelf cubes into the piano’s old place and now our living room feels like a living room. The toys live there instead of the tiny understairs closet I couldn’t go into without hitting my head. My most-used craft items live there, too, so I make sure to put the things I use away, instead of let them sit on our dining room table.

Clean House

The office had a big, underutilized closet with annoying, large sliding  doors that squealed loudly when opened, so we just never opened them. I removed the closet doors and put them behind the piano to help as added sound-muffling material. Now I have a big open craft closet that stores my newly color-coded yarn drawers and streamlined shipping/packaging shelves.

Craft closetCraft Closet12107383656_48f01d194c_b

I learned that teal must really be my favorite color as I had somehow aquired enough teal yarn to justify its very own drawer.


I have never lived so happily in a space as I have this past week, since the house was transformed. I can enjoy the treasures I have – things that weren’t displayed since I had had no room to display them before -things like my handbound books and Ben’s colorful collection of Moleskine notebooks.

Handbound books

Things like my West Wing box set, the colorful giraffe my Mom bought me, and my favorite books (also color-coded of COURSE).

Display shelves

I can play with my kids and feel like the house might not be totally destroyed because their toys actually have a place to live. I have been continuously channelling my Gramma-who-isn’t-actually-my-grandma who once told me “the key to keeping the house picked up is for everything you own to have a place. If you give everything a place, it will always have a place to go.”

For example, I had no real place to crochet! I’d tried everything to solve the problem. Yarn baskets next to the couch always got overfilled and messy and hard to find things in…plus, on the couch, I had no surface on which to work. I tried a little lap desk that held my work well, but, when I wasn’t working, there was nowhere for the lap desk to go! I tried keeping a basket near the dining room table where I always found myself working because it was the most convenient and centrally-located spot in the house with a flat surface, but then I’d cover the dining room table in crocheting projects and we had nowhere to eat.

When I rearranged the house I realized there was a perfect spot for a long narrow desk to go behind the couch. Then I could sit at a flat surface and watch TV at night while I work while also being close to where the kids play with their toys and eat their snacks. While walking through IKEA the other day I saw THE desk, bought it without measuring and hoped for the best. It’s perfect.

12107372346_ba82556716_b craft desk

So now, when you order a crocheted buddy from me, it will probably have been made while sitting at that desk.

Besides keeping the house clean and organized, I also feel like I really need to squeeze in some time for some of the things I haven’t done in a long time, but have always loved doing…things like reading and making music. I am pleased to report I have actually gotten to page 44 (!) of the Walt Disney biography I’ve been wanting to read for years. You can see it sitting on my now clean nightstand along with some of my favorite things (gerber daisies, Kurt Halsey prints, and Burt’s Bees lotion) and my new  (teal, of course) comforter.

Some of my favorite things

My husband also bought the family a ukelele for Christmas and we all love it! I can’t seem to spend more than 30 seconds with the red little beauty, though, before a family member comes and steals it from me.


I even found the perfect spot for kite girl to fly. I really think, if the house were on fire, kite girl would be among the top five things I’d save.

Kite Girl

Now that she’s hung in her new and improved spot, 20 months since we moved to California, I think I’m feeling officially moved in, fired up for 2014, and ready to make you crocheted cuties like this black bear (Or you can make it yourself! I just posted the pattern on my Etsy site for purchase!)

Black bear amigurumi

Any other patterns you wish were available? Please let me know! I am going to try and create more this year and it’s hard to decide which ones to make first.

OK! Off to crochet a frog at my new, pretty desk. Creativity IS messy, but that doesn’t mean my whole house has to be.