Organize! The Dining Room

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I haven’t read that book about tidying up that everyone else is reading these days, but I gather that the main idea is “get rid of all your crap,” which I am already totally on board with. Also something about not holding on to things that don’t “spark joy,” which I think maybe underestimates my ability to derive joy from completely useless crap that happens to be shaped like a squirrel or be extra shiny or something. So, anyway, I decided to skip the part where I stall by reading the book first and just dive right in and start getting rid of my crap.

And I’m going to blog about it, of course, because, why not? I have a blog! I’m going one room at a time (even though I just went and read the back cover of the tidying up book on Amazon, and apparently I’m supposed to go by categories instead of rooms? That sounds harder to blog about. And like I’d need to buy the book to figure out what the categories are. I bet one of them is books. Books spark joy. Sigh). And then it will double as a sort of casual updated house tour, with some talk about changes we’ve made or want to make.

Honestly, I started with the dining room because it was the easiest. Also because it’s right in the front of the house, so one of the first things people see when they walk in. The before picture has a week’s worth of school books plus all our stuff from swimming the night before in it. Also Ari:


…and that big bison, which you’re not really supposed to see yet, because it’s for Abe’s room. But that’s what I get for letting my dining room get so messy. I HAD to let you see the bison.

So in this room we do very little dining, but lots of school. Our school stuff hides away in that big buffet. Or it’s supposed to, but the door’s broken right now (and there is no hardware available at Home Depot that will fix it. So we’re not quite sure how to fix it. But we haven’t tried that hard to figure it out yet). The buffet is too big for its own good, really. Look at those big drawers! They just INVITE lots of crap to get dumped into them!


I got a garbage bag plus two boxes out and went to work:


One box for stuff to sell or donate (we’re supposed to be having a garage sale this weekend, and then anything left over goes to the thrift store). And….I can’t remember why I got the second box out. I didn’t put anything in it. I guess this is why I might need a book after all.

And then I just went one drawer or big, messy compartment at a time. I made piles of things that needed to go to another part of the house, and added things to the trash bag, the recycling pile, or the sell/donate box as I went. Then I moved all the stuff that belonged elsewhere wherever it belonged before moving on to the next area. As mentioned, this room is less of a disaster organization-wise than most in my house, despite the big buffet for things to hide in, so the whole project probably took around two hours (heavily interrupted, so it’s hard to say exactly how long) over the course of the weekend.

How about some really exciting photos of the inside of my buffet: organized!?


Okay, so I know this drawer doesn’t really look that beautiful, what with the lack of adorable little baskets and whatnot. But! There is nothing in here except school/office supplies! No random pipe cleaners. No programs from plays Gus was in 3 years ago. No tax returns from 2014.


Cards from banners past, plus Ari’s computer/math stuff.


Look–it’s itty bitty Milo the summer Dave took him for a haircut and let them cut his curls off! And also plenty of room for more crap.

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Neatly organized books!

The china cabinet wasn’t really too terrible (surprisingly, given how much space there is in there. Apparently the glass doors shamed me into keeping it reasonable), but I straightened it up and added some things from it to The Box:

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And then also I cleaned off the table. But sometimes I do that even when I’m not trying to organize my entire house.


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(I can still put the door on the buffet. But it just falls off if you try to open it).

So. Now that the dining room is not full of messy, disorganized drawers…..this room’s kind of been floundering ever since we painted the table and chairs. I haven’t really had anything intentional on the buffet since my Christmas stuff came down. So right now things are looking very minimalist.

I want to lighten up the mood in here. The sad pilgrim painting (which I love) and the very traditional light fixture (which I don’t, especially) are bringing me down. So we’d love a new light fixture eventually and something else over the buffet. I thought gallery wall, but now I think I’d like to still have one big thing there….I just don’t know what. I actually kind of wish the bison could stay, after seeing him there for a few days….but, alas, he is needed elsewhere. We also STILL need to touch up the chairs (the squirrel fabric is holding up very well, though, I’m happy/relieved to say). But probably the next thing that will happen in here is our traditional themed Halloween display on the buffet. I have some ideas :).

Where to next? I can’t decide if I should take on a real challenge (Milo and Gus’ room? My closet?) or stick with something relatively easy (if I did the library, I could organize books. Which I sort of love).



Organize! The Dining Room — 12 Comments

    • ha! that would probably be fun: “I don’t think this giant brass deer REALLY sparks joy in Cassie; maybe I’d better just take it home with me….” 😉

    • ha! I love her–she’s always hilarious (but I hadn’t seen this one). I’ll check D Lawless….I hadn’t thought of that–thanks! I’m just worried it’s going to be so specific I’ll need to call Lane and try to track it down through them….and I have no idea how old the thing is.

  1. Looks great! Your garage sale is inspiring me too. I think I need this book though….Although I was on Amazon checking it out with the “Look inside” option and three pages in one of the testimonials declares that “Now I know what I really need and what I don’t. I got a divorce.” LOL

  2. I love to decorate and I love to organize but I do not have the patience to spend hours (or lots of money) making pretty coordinating containers for every drawer, so your buffet drawer is just my style! 🙂

  3. I could be totally wrong about this, but if the cabinet door holes are stripped and won’t hold the screws, you can fill them with wood putty stuff that hardens.

    The Lady who has had to Fix Many Broken Doors Because of Boy Children

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