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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 50: I declare today a sick day for the Do One Thing challenge, although I did manage to read and recycle two magazines.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 47: This is going to sound totally lame, but I’ve wanted a groovy tissue cover box for a while. I mean, if you’re going to have to keep a box of tissues around, it may as well look good. Bless their hearts, tissue makers try, but their box designs just scream “Go get grandma her tissues.”

Target has been slowly marking down tissue cover boxes for a few months And by “slowly,” I mean they’ve been marking down $19.99 boxes to $16.49. Not exactly what I call a clearance.

Today’s Target journey, however, turned up the beauty pictured above for $4.99. It was the only one that I could find, and it was perfect. It’s groovy without being flashy, because a flashy tissue cover box would just be gauche, no?

Previously:

Day 46: Tightened a couple of cabinet pulls in the master bathroom with the handle on a pair of nail clippers. Because sometimes rattling cabinet pulls compel you to fix them RIGHT NOW without having to wander into the freezing garage to search for a proper screwdriver.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 45: Rescued a florist’s vase from the garage. Normally, this sort of thing would end up in the thrift store box, but I like its minimalism. I cleaned it up and filled it with colored glass pebbles that I bought for a tiling project. (We were going to intersperse the pebbles in a pattern among the tiles, but it turns out that both my husband and I HATE tiling and there was no way we were going to work any more complications into the project than we had to.)

Anyway, I’m sort of not digging the whole colored pebbles in a vase thing, so it may end up at the thrift store anyway, but at least the garage is a little neater.

Previously:

Day 44: Dropped two magazines from our subscription list. Both are guilty of misguided attempts to blend their print and online operations, attempting to increase subscription prices while publishing all stories on the Internet for free. This is not a survivable online strategy. Besides, my husband cashed in a bunch of airline miles a couple of weeks ago for still more magazine subscriptions, so we’re still in the dead tree business.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 42: I picked up a Michael Graves drawer organizer, priced at $4 rather than the normal $10, at Dirt Cheap, which seems to have an unending supply of items from Target this winter. I had three small kitchen cabinet drawers filled with accessories and gadgets, all of which I use sometimes, but some of which I use ALL the time. And drawers are like handbags — the thing you need is always at the bottom under other things.

Now I have the stuff that I use all the time sorted into four little organized rows in a larger drawer. I moved the contents of the larger drawer (rolls of foil, plastic wrap, parchment paper, etc.) into two small drawers, and the third small drawer holds the things I use sometimes.

The three small drawers before organization.

 

(If you haven’t heard of Dirt Cheap, it’s an offshoot of Hudsons Salvage. When I was growing up in South Mississippi, Hudsons was known for selling what I called “disaster merchandise” from stores that had suffered fires or flood. Today, Hudsons and its offshoots, Treasure Hunt and Dirt Cheap, sell what’s known as “problem inventories,” which apparently include everything from closeout stock to seconds. Shopping at these stores is an adventure, to say the very least.)

Also this week:

Day 41: Filled all the liquid soap containers with liquid soap, then forgot to bring them upstairs for a whole 24 hours. But it’s the thought that counts, right? And your hands can’t be that dirty anyway.

Day 43: Sort of organized some school files I brought with me on a CD from my last job. This is the sort of task that makes Dropbox pretty appealing.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 35: Pinpointed the cause of the problem with one of the closet doors in my office (other than the fact that cheap, hollow-core bi-fold closet doors are the worst invention ever marketed to uncaring builders and unaware homeowners). Whoever lived here before yanked on the door so hard that the bottom pivot screw was actually ripped from the door, leaving a gigantic hole that I’ll have to fill with epoxy. Assuming I don’t simply replace both the doors with an awesome beaded curtain first.

Day 36: Spent the better part of the morning helping the husband set up my mom’s new computer via telephone and remove connection. He configured her wireless connection, while I ran Mac orientation. And if your mom has ever had computer problems while you were eight hours away, you know that helping her launch a reliable new computer setup totally helps your peace of mind. Ergo, this counts as a point for life organization.

Day 37: Spent a couple of hours researching online backup systems. I tried Mozy, but it’s become extremely unreliable lately, and its non-detailed interface doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies about which files have REALLY moved into the cloud. I’m currently leaning toward Dropbox, but I’m still taking nominations if anybody has a strong opinion.

Day 38: I made the mistake of taking the humidifier apart before I filled it up with water before bed. Oh my. The scale buildup on and around the heating element was simply horrifying, and I spent the better part of 30 minutes trying to scrub it clean. Even more horrifying was the knowledge that my husband had, indeed, actually cleaned it before. More than once. Meaning that the mess I saw did not take three years to accumulate, but possibly only weeks.

Day 39: I sorted through two catch-all UAH file folders. Not the biggest task, but I did manage to merge the documents that belonged together and get rid of some duplicates. The paperless office remains elusive.

Day 40: I grabbed a small stack of old copies of the New Yorker, tore out the stories that I had marked to save, filed them and put the old magazines in the recycling bin.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 33: Computer file maintenance. My digital belongings aren’t as messy as they could be, but they’re not a miracle of modern data preservation, either.

Day 34: Lugged a heavy piece of construction debris to the curb after watching it languish in the garage for nearly nine months. The trash guys effortlessly carted it away. Girl muscles FTW.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 32: I fixed a bathroom door that was sticking by tightening and loosening hinges in a procedure that can only be described as haphazard.

And effective.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 29: Listed a couple of books and CDs for sale at Amazon. I’m always tempted to keep every book that comes into my hands, but I don’t have room, and I don’t miss them when they’re gone.

Day 30: I have been granted permission to scour the garage and make executive decisions. Best. Fling. Ever.

Day 31: Who’s the genius that came up with side-by-side refrigerators? The freezer section isn’t necessarily small, but it acts small, with two deep drawers that items just get lost in, and a couple of flimsy wire shelves, one with too much vertical space, the other with too little. The design of the refrigerator section is slightly better, but it’s not proportioned quite right either. And, because it’s shoved into a just-right-sized hole in the cabinetry, I can’t open the fridge door enough to remove the drawers. So they’re only as clean as I can get them while they’re still inside. No soaking old dirt and grime off; it’s there for life.

I’ve only chosen my own refrigerator once during my entire life, and we had to leave it behind when we moved four years ago. Therefore, I’m always stuck with somebody else’s bad decision and missing accessories.

Sigh. Today, I repacked some small bags of frozen cantaloupe, strawberries and greens into bigger bags in an effort to make one of the freezer drawers less of an abyss. The other one may hold a human head for all I know.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 28: Clean angry. Choose a room. Get rid of anything that you don’t wear, don’t use or don’t love. Get rid of anything that doesn’t make you less angry. Get rid of anything that makes you angrier. If you start to feel less angry, go have another strong cup of coffee and remember why you were angry to begin with. Choose another room. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Previously this week:

Day 25: Chunked a couple of small, miscellaneous kitchen gadgets into the thrift-story bag. I can’t tell you what they were for. Seriously. Better to toss than to research, since I’ve lived without them for this long.

Day 26: Faced my true feelings for 3/4-length sleeves. I despise them, yet always seem to have a few in my closet. I was always a little tall and long-limbed as a child, and I sometimes had problems finding shirts with sleeves that were long enough. So, 3/4-length sleeves always make me feel like I should be tugging them toward my wrists. They’re gone now.

Day 27: I organized nothing, but I did go to a King Arthur Flour baking demonstration and might stand a chance of making a proper pie now. And pie makes any home nicer.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 24: I realize that some people have an entire room dedicated to their crafting supplies. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I yearn to be craftier. But I also associate crafts with stuff, and I don’t need more stuff.

So, my craft supplies consist of magnets, Mod Podge, a few rolls of post-Christmas-sale ribbon, colored pencils, a hole-punch, an X-acto knife and embroidery supplies.

Wait. Embroidery supplies? I know. Because I was TRASH at embroidery when I attempted to take it up a couple of years ago. Trust me: The embroidery supplies are just biding their time until their turn comes on the circle of thrift store donations.

Anyway, today’s Do One Thing activity was to organize all my craft supplies into two stacked storage units that I got on super clearance last year at Michael’s. Yeah, yeah — a couple of corners are kind of weathered, and one of the smaller drawers is a slightly different color, but I got them both for less than $20.

The storage units are currently serving as a nightstand in the guest bedroom; at the rate I buy new furniture, they’re likely to be serving in that capacity for a while.

Really, the embroidery supplies were the only thing that needed moving. They were hanging in a bag in my office closet, and I’m trying to take down everything that’s hanging in that closet to make it neater.

All crafting supplies in one place, and a closet that I could walk into, assuming I could actually get both bifold doors open (grrr). I’m nearing neatnik nirvana.

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