February Organizing Update

by | Feb 17, 2021 | a slice of life, All Things Home, Decorating, Organizing | 38 comments

Despite a busy week and feeling a little under-the-weather over the weekend, I chipped away at organizing a bit more.  I’m still avoiding the huge projects, but I’ve been trying to do something most days, even if it’s just cleaning out a part of a cabinet or one drawer or sorting one bin.  Making small strides each day will help me maintain some momentum and I know that one of these days, I’ll be ready to tackle some of the tougher areas.  I find that once I get going, I usually end up doing more than I initially planned.

Here are the little areas I tackled last week and into the weekend…

The junk drawer!  This drawer always ends up a bit of a mess (living up to its name) because we’re in and out of it so much.  It only took 10-15 minutes to get it cleaned and sorted, though.  It’s so nice to open it and be able to see everything clearly now.

junk drawer | organizing February | miss mustard seed

I also cleaned out the most troublesome cabinet in the kitchen (aside from the snack drawer in the pantry) – the place where we keep food storage jars and containers.  I got rid of lids without bottoms and bottoms without lids.  I sorted everything so that what we use most is easily accessible.  Jeff uses the blender to make smoothies almost every day, so that had to be right in the front and easy to get out (and put away.)

food storage containers | organizing February | miss mustard seed

I cleaned out and organized the cabinet, chest, and coat closet in the foyer.  None of these were too messy, but I needed to go through coats, gloves, hats, snow pants, etc. and get rid of anything that was too small, had holes, etc.  I learned that the boys didn’t have any gloves that were in good shape.  They were all too small, filled with rips & holes, or didn’t have a matching partner.  I pitched everything and I bought them each a nice, new pair of ski gloves.  With the winters we have, I considered that a necessary expense.

antique pine cabinet | organizing February | miss mustard seed

Jeff and each of the boys have a basket for their hats, gloves, scarves, etc., so they are easy to find and have a “home.”  I can’t tell you how often we’re scurrying around trying to find all of the bits of a proper winter outfit.  I hope this system will help!

This is also where we store lunch boxes and school stuff.  The Lego sets are ones the boys haven’t built and they decided to sell, so I’ll be listing those locally or on eBay soon.  (That random pencil sharpener came in the piece when I bought it and I just haven’t removed it.  I think it’s kind of quirky and sweet, so I’ll keep it there unless it gets in the way.  Right now, we have plenty of open shelving.)

The coat closet is looking great, too.  I thinned out the coats and donated any that were too small.  We have four coats in Calvin’s size, so I’m going to have him pick two to keep and I’ll donate the other two.

coat closet | organizing February | miss mustard seed

The top of the closet is practically empty now!

My hats, gloves, and scarves are in the pine chest by the door.  I’ll admit, I have a collection!  I’ve made a bunch of stuff as I’ve been learning to knit and crochet and some were given to me as gifts. I just rotate them around and I use them for decor in the winter.

gloves and hats | organizing February | miss mustard seed

Remember this empty cabinet in the living room?

built-in cabinets | organizing February | miss mustard seed

I have slowly collected and organized things we use around the house to keep in here – lightbulbs, furniture pads/sliders, interior extension cords, plate hangers/stands, furniture/cabinet knobs and pulls, the label maker, etc.  These things were all scattered around the house in the laundry room, garage, hall closet, random drawers, and cabinets, and now it’s all in one place.

built-in cabinets | organizing February | miss mustard seed

And, of course, I put the label maker to good use!

built-in cabinets | organizing February | miss mustard seed

Things are coming progressing nicely in the organization department and I’ve crossed a lot of things off of my list.

Still to do…

  • Pictures & letters  – I’m still scanning and organizing family photos and letters.  I have a couple of cabinets in the living room built-ins filled with photo albums, boxes of pictures, etc.  I haven’t done anything with it since we moved and it’s all a bit of a mess.  When the no-spend month is over, I’ll buy some archival boxes to store the photos and letters.
  • Laundry room closet – I have started cleaning this out and getting it organized, but it’s still in process.  I have asked Jeff if he’ll build out the closet for me in the spring, so we make better use of the space.
  • Hooks & shelf in the garage entry – This area is a catch-all and it’s a mess.  Snowpants, swim bags, hats, fishing stuff, grocery bags, water bottles, tools…  Since it’s been -20 degrees here, this might have to wait until spring!
  • Linen closets – There are three in the house that need some attention.  Sorting, purging, washing, folding.
  • Basement storage room – This is the one I’m dreading!  It’s not too bad since I sorted it last year, but I really haven’t gone through every single bin since the move.  I need to weed out the Christmas bins and get those consolidated and sell/donate decor that I’m not going to use.
  • Organize the studio – I really need to clean out my art supplies and donate or sell the ones I don’t use.  I like trying out new tools, materials, and supplies, but I don’t need to keep them if I don’t use them.  I’ll see what I am going to get rid of and decide if it’s worth having a deeply-discounted, gently-used art supply sale for my readers.  I just know that I can make better use of the space if I clear out some of the drawers, cabinets, and shelves.  It’ll be a project, though!
  • Sort through the butler’s pantry and dining room cabinets.  I did this last year, so it won’t take too long, but things have gotten a little messy again as I’m in and out of those cabinets.

I have a feeling some of these projects will carry into March as well!  That’s okay.  The point of this February challenge isn’t to have a set finish line but to keep steady momentum and I’ve been doing that!

How is your organizing coming along?



  1. Taria

    I lost track of your page and am happily back following. There is an ad that comes up that blocks content. I can’t seem to get rid of it so I only see part of your posts. Not sure if I am the only one. Frustrating. There must be something in the air with all the organizing folks seem to be doing. I have hit heavy on it too.

    • Susan

      Taria, I get around this problem by clicking on the two “AAs” at the left edge of the URL field, then click on “Show Reader View.” Then you can see all of Marian’s great content without all the ads and pop-ups. It’s the only way I can view her site.

      • Janet Bassett

        Thank you, Susan, for that great Tip! I believe it will be life changing! I love reading Marian’s posts, but the ads on many of my favorite pages have been getting worse all the time.
        Reader view…who knew?

      • Diane

        Thank you so much Susan, i have been very frustrated by the same problem. Now problem is solved. All i have to do is remember!

      • Sheryl

        Best tip ever! This is life changing for a lot of blogs that I follow! How did I not know that!

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes! I’m so sorry about this ad and it’s driving me nuts, too. It is not supposed to be doing that and I have notified my ad network about it. I need to check with them again to get it removed.

      • Taria

        Marion, I took Susan’s advice and things are a lot easier to see. Appreciate your page and want to see it all!

    • Julie | Home On The Hill

      I have an ad blocker installed on my PC so don’t see the adverts, but just viewed the page in a different browser – wow, so many adverts & most unrelated to the content that really detract from the more serene experience of the site. I know it’s a way for web owners to make money, but in my opinion as a web designer very damaging to the brand of a web site when the adverts don’t relate to the content & appear all over the place, especially if they load slower & make the page jump as you are viewing it. I prefer the ad blocker so I see all the page content that should be there as some of it is of interest, but filters out all the annoying & often ugly adverts.

      • Marian Parsons

        Julie, I understand that ads can be annoying at times, but they are how websites make money. In the case of this site, it is a part of my salary and how I’m able to offer the content for free. If everyone blocked the ads, I wouldn’t get paid and wouldn’t be able to spend all of the time I do creating content for this site.

        As far as the content of the ads, the ads that you’re seeing are generated by a combination of your own search history (or those of shared computers/devices) and the content written on this site. If there isn’t a match, then it pulls ads that might be of peripheral interest to each specific reader.

    • Gerr

      Very inspiring to get organized! How did you end up storing your ribbon? I’ve tried several things like hanging them on a rod and putting them in spools into a small container but they always seem difficult to corral.

      • Miss Mustard Seed

        They are just stacked on a shelf in a small cabinet as of now. I’ll probably end up putting them in a plastic bin so they don’t get dusty and I can line them up a little bit better. It would be nice if all of the spools were the same size!

  2. Margaret

    Since I’ve started knitting again I’ve hauled my yarn stash out of the basement, and decided to keep ALL the knitting stuff in the wooden crate that I use as a coffee table/ottoman. I’m also doing a no-spend February, so the only thing I’ve bought for the project is Ziplock bags. They come from the grocery store, so they don’t count, said I to myself.
    I had never found the best use for this crate, but I think this is it. The wool is accessible, sorted by weight and color, and completely dog-and-cat-proof. I’ve also vowed to use it up before I buy any more, so I won’t need more storage space later.
    The only potential problem is finding recipients. Anybody want a hat? Or an ear band?

    • Marian Parsons

      Aw, I love that you are offering them! You can contact your local hospital or see if there is a charity group that collects handmade hats for cancer patients, newborns, etc.

    • inkspot04

      Here’s an orgnization that is looking for “child size and adult size cancer beanies for our Superhero Bags & Chemo Boxes.” They will accept donations at:
      Lisa Backer
      Martin Truex Jr. Foundation
      156 Cayuga Drive
      Mooresville, NC 28117

      Local hospitals probably have the same kind of foundation that collects.

  3. Babs

    My husband and I are planning on downsizing in the not-too-distant future so I have been cleaning out for weeks. Trips to Habitat and the dump have been the order of the day. I sometimes have trouble letting go of certain things but if I have to pay good money to move it to a new house I will have to be ruthless. Rather than ask “Do I love it?” ala Marie Kondo…I should ask “Do I want to pay to move it?”

    All those lovely empty drawer spaces…

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, I did that when I moved to MN from PA. I got rid of tons of stuff that I loved, but I knew it probably wouldn’t work in our new house and/or it just wasn’t worth moving. Some things, like a grill, would be easier to just sell and buy a new one on the other side.

  4. Brigitte

    I’ve always purged closets and cupboards regularly, since my daughters and I lived in a townhouse for 11 years. I’m in a bungalow now, but have kept up the practice. Now I’m giving items to my adult daughters that they’ve admired, because I’ve had them for a long time and it’s time for them to enjoy them. I’m hoping that when I downsize it won’t be too difficult if I keep this up.

  5. Brenda

    I’m working on things slowly. There are some thrift stores around us that have quit taking donations. It’s very frustrating! But like you I’m finding I have more storage bins after sorting through things.

  6. Bonnie

    You suggestion to organize and get rid of unneeded items came when we are having weeks of rainy weather. I’m in SC and do not suffer from cold, gloomy days. Anyway, I’ve started on upstairs bedrooms that are seldom used and the closets have been collecting items for years. Thanks for inspiring me. I love that you are recycling small boxes to help with organizing. Sometimes they are the only items shallow enough to fit in drawers.

  7. Vikki Nay

    Still working on Decluttering. I can’t believe how much I still have to purge as I do it every year. I do a finish February instead of a no spend February. Last year I finished a quilt that had been waiting for over 20 years to finish. It was a baby quilt for my son, now his baby boy has it.

  8. Cheri Dietzman

    There’s something about January and February for me and getting things tidied up and organized. I’m more of a fall and winter clean + organize than spring. I’ve been sorting through recipes and organizing and throwing unused ones away. It feels so good!

  9. Laura

    Have you considered using rechargeable batteries? They are pricier, but we found that we save a lot in the long run, because our kids are always using them and they know to charge them when they’re done.

    All your organizing makes me happy!

  10. Kay

    You have inspired me to begin organizing and getting rid of “stuff”. The tip for getting rid of the blocking ads is extremely helpful, thank you Susan for that. I love your cat, my cat would be in that drawer too.

  11. Stacey

    Love the idea of a finish February! A great month to finish up all the partially done projects around the house….What a great feeling at the end of the month when you can see all that’s, well, finished…

    I am working on sorting and emptying a relative’s home as he passed away recently. He was a pack rat and not terribly organized but we are making progress. Many categories of things to sell, donate, recycle, and toss. Lots of old paperwork, vhs and beta tapes, cassettes and even 8 track music. Gave 700 old vinyl albums to one of his old friends. He collected mounted longhorns and I now have 23 sets on shelves awaiting auction along with 17 totes full of Canon cameras, lenses, etc., 15 turntables, 10 sets of stereo speakers, 9 TVs, 75 toy tractors, 47 boxes of books, and I haven’t even started boxing up th model railroad stuff or the R/C car stuff, or the rock polishing stuff. then there are the years worth of slides, prints, negatives and digital images to deal with as well as all the regular household stuff and all his clothes, shoes, coats, kitchen stuff, a billion half used cleaners, chargers, boxes, old electronics and chargers, over 200 keys to who knows what, all sprinkled with paper clips, small screws, wire nuts and coins.
    Then once the house is empty we move out to the two garages to start with tools and equipment and supplies for a mechanic, welder, woodworker, farmer, biker and racing enthusiast. And I’m sure I’m leaving things out. And this was after we rehomed his six cats!

    So keep in mind you aren’t just decluttering for yourself and your household. You are helping whomever is left behind when it is time to clear out your things. It is exhausting and extremely time consuming to go thru so much stuff! We have given ourselves 3 months to get it done and have high hopes of being able to get back to our own projects by April 1. I am not complaining; I loved my relative and having him in my life was more than worth the trouble of going thru his things. That’s why I need to sort them, treat them with respect. But I do wish he had tried a little harder to edit and organize them.

    • Jeannie

      And a partridge in a pear tree! Your post made me snicker to myself! I’m slowly working on clearing out my lifetime of collecting so my kids don’t have to.

  12. Dianne

    I love your daily blogs. They are so motivating and encouraging! And, like you mentioned, it only takes a few minutes to go and organize a drawer. So when I saw you organize your batteries, I just hopped up and in a few minutes one more kitchen drawer where we keep batteries was cleaned out! Oh, the trash that had accumulated! Thank you.

  13. Cindy

    Marian, Your organization is wonderful, but my question is, where did you buy those beautiful cream and blue drapes? If there still out there somewhere online, I’d love to find that pattern! Thanks!

    • Marian Parsons

      I made the curtains, but the fabric is Canterbury Indigo by Covington.

  14. Jo

    Thank you Marian for the encouraging push through these February challenges. And thank you Susan for the wonderful computer tip!

  15. Carol

    I absolutely Love the way you wrap your ribbon on the clothes pins, that’s soooo cute!!
    I must admit I had visions of tiny, Marian Parsons originals on the backside of all those business cards!

  16. Rachelle rubio

    Oh, Marian, how I love a good organizing post! And taking items to good will is so satisfying 🙂

  17. Kimberly Westby

    Seeing stacked and organized supplies makes me feel happy, even if I get to enjoy organization vicariously.

    Wrapping ribbon on old fashioned clothes pins, in Christmas colours, mixed with larger rolls is a nice decorative touch for Christmas decor. Double use, storage and seasonal display.


  18. beverlee lyons

    Yay, you! I thought I was the only one who felt anxious with all the drawers and shelves full. I don’t like to be responsible for all that stuff anymore. It is such a good feeling to ‘know’ what you have and where it is. Thank you for all the tips. Good for us all.

  19. Michele M.

    I need to get busier. I lost my organizing groove and you have helped inspire me to keep at it little by little.

    I am happy for you – it’s just so good for one’s soul and a better way to live.

  20. Addie

    Oh!!! wait before you throw away those business cards…… I too had outdated ones that I started to throw away. Then I thought they could be good for something. I use them for bookmarks ( books I am reading and OR reminders in craft crochet/sewing books), use like post it notes, sticking a cute note in a lunch pail, small grocery lists, making notes onto a pattern for sewing or crochet…the list is endless. You would be surprised how often you could use a small size of paper that is a bit thicker!!!!

  21. Rhonda K

    What do you do about thread storage? Seems my spools multiply when I’m sleeping!
    Also wrestling with ribbon and fabric storage as well.

    • Miss Mustard Seed

      I have them in a little medicine cabinet above my sewing desk, but I need to fit it to suit storing spools of thread a little bit better. I bought a wooden spool holder and I’m going to cut it to fit. We’ll see how that goes!

    • Susan

      Rhonda, I use this thread case. I think I bought mine at Joanne Fabrics, but found same one on all stitch.com (about $15): “48 Madeira Thread Spool Plastic Storage Case.” Spools fit in spaces on both sides, snaps tightly shut, and has a carrying handle. Keeps dust out. Not beautiful to look at like Marian’s cabinet though! Her storage solutions are always pretty and often vintage, which I love.


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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