Zone Defense Progress Report: Your Personal Space

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This year we’re on Zone Defense, tackling clutter and disorder. Each month we’re tackling a different zone of home and life. This month was “personal space.”

So, today we’re talking progress reports. Your task is not to compare yourself to someone else, but to compare yourself to the you of a month ago. Is your personal space in better shape now than it was on February 1st. Hopefully the answer is yes.

Can I talk my coach’s cap off for a sec?

What would I do without you people?! I know for positive that if I hadn’t had you on my team, there’s no way I would have accomplished what I did this past month in getting my act just a little more together. To be honest, my closet, bathroom, purse, and car were a shambles. But, because I knew I had to train right alongside you, I got those areas in much better shape. (Thank you!)

We tackled five aspects of your personal space in February. Since I didn’t want to be like Mrs. Hammond, my 8th grade PE teacher who never ran a lap in her life, I tackled every zone I told you to tackled. Here’s a little peak at my progress:

1. The Clothes Closet

We talked a few weeks ago of the importance of a wardrobe that works for you, about how having a closet that only contained a few usable items was significantly more valuable than a closet brimming with “nothing to wear.”

Last year I did a fairly big purge in my closet, but I knew going into it after Christmas that there were more things that could go: clothes I hadn’t worn in years, shoes that were past their prime, not to mention the post-holiday clutter that accumulates when you hide and wrap the gifts in your closet.

Here’s my closet in all it’s post-Christmas glory.


I have no idea why it has a holy-like glow about it. Must be my trick photography.

Or bad lighting.

I got rid of a trash bag full of clothes as well as six pairs of shoes. I even tackled my dresser. That is not my dresser. Well, it is. My dad made it for me when I was seven. From a box. From Kmart. I’m sentimentally attached. I just haven’t figured out what to do with it. It used to belong to one of the boys.

The closet now looks like this:

And yes, I’m still holding onto two pairs of “brand new, but they’re too small, and I can’t return them” pants and the dress I wore to my sister’s wedding reception. They are part of my “you get to keep four that you don’t wear” collection.

If you missed the Clothes Closet assignment, go back and do it. You can easily catch up with us!

2. The Bathroom

We are very blessed to have a large bathroom with double sinks: his and hers. His is always pretty tidy which is weird, because I don’t think either one of us would consider him the tidy one. But, here we have evidence to the contrary:


Apparently, I’m a total slob. Not very nice, eh? Boy, did it do me some good to clean things up. I had stuff that was two years old or older in the drawers, cabinet, and under the sink.

Check out these drawers:



I emptied each section of my bathroom storage, condensing little collections of like items as I went. Here is where I’m at now:



That hair pick is over 20 years old. Yes, yes, it is. Vintage high school from my permanent wave days. I use it at as a long-toothed comb now.

Want to see what I did with that random pencil case that was on the floor?


I poked holes into index cards and strung my earrings through them. Now, I can see what I have and actually wear them. I also discarded a fair amount of costume jewelry I never wear. And I relocated my necklaces to the closet:


This rack was from the previous tenant. It’s mine now. And now, I can actually find a necklace I want to wear.

Somehow, I forgot to take a pic of the medicine cabinet before. While it wasn’t very full, I wasn’t making good use of it. I decided to relocate all my daily use items into the medicine cabinet and leave the counters mostly clear. Gasp.


In the process of this bathroom redo, I decided to try out Simple Mom’s Oil Cleansing Method. Yes, really. It took me awhile to remember to buy castor oil at the store. And another while to find it. In case you’re wondering, it’s with the laxatives at Walmart. Apparently, I’m washing my face with a laxative. That cracks me up.

I’ve been doing the regimen for about a week: half castor oil, half extra virgin olive oil. I’m optimistic that it will lessen the appearance of wrinkles and moisturize my skin more naturally than other things I have used. We shall see.

My medicine cabinet tells you that I’m only half crunchy. Got all kinds of “natural” skin and teeth stuff. But, when it comes to hair and cold medicine… well, I’m happy where I’m at. 😉

Here’s that counter I was telling you about. Whoohoo!


There’s hand soap, my toothbrush, and a small dish to hold my everyday pair of earrings and chapstick. Talk about simple. Can I stand it?

If you missed the Master Bathroom assignment, go back and do it. You can easily catch up with us!

3. The Bedroom

Our bedroom decor has never been too fancy. We have the cedar chest that hubs bought for me on our one-year anniversary. And the chest of drawers that he built on our second. Then we started having kids, so furniture acquisition moved lower on the list. As I mentioned in the “clean up your room” post, I was planning to repair that comforter that’s coming apart at the seams as well as repaint the bedside tables.

Hubs said he would prefer to save the money from the spray paint and get rid of the tables. They aren’t his favorite. And they cost me $2 each at garage sales years ago, so I’m good with that. Instead on our wish list is a real bed, you know with a headboard and a footboard and all that jazz. Oh, and a new mattress, since this one is older than all our children.

I got too lazy to get out my needle and thread to repair the comforter. Instead, I found our quilt! I totally forgot about this quilt that I pieced together during our first couple years of marriage. The project ended when the top was pieced. And it would have never been completed if my very talented Aunt Karen hadn’t taken over.

Yes, we need a boost to our interior decorating. But, we’ll wait until we go furniture shopping. In the meantime, it’s clean. And my minions very happily cleaned out from under my bed. They loved it! (Weird.) And a certain FishChick volunteered to vacuum. Go figure.

If you missed the Master Bedroom assignment, go back and do it. You can easily catch up with us!

4. Your body

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was on a mission called the 30-Day Shred. I was on Day 9 and making really good progress. And then I threw my back out. Unloading the washing machine. I’ve done this a number of times before. And so, I’m waiting until I’m 100% again before I start to shred again.

If you missed the Taking Care of You discussion, go back and read it. It’s short and easy!

5. Your purse, car, etc.


I tackled these last two areas of my personal space this past weekend. I made the car a family project. After all, I only ever ride in the front. However, the middle, back, and trunk area were pretty atrocious.


I enlisted the help of FishBoys 9 and 7 as well as FishChick 5 to dig and tote. One would hand me stuff that he dug out and the others would tote it into the house where it belonged.

Much better:


Then I called in the older two to man the shop vacs and get it cleaned out. It was then too dark to take a picture, but trust me when I say we’ve pimped our ride a little bit.

The Purse


My purse, for lack of a better one, is a tote bag that I got at Blissdom two years ago. It holds a lot of stuff quite easily. However, it holds a lot of extra stuff quite easily, too. I think I probably need something different. This past week with a bad back tells me I need something different. But, purses aren’t cheap. So, I’m using what I have.

Cleaning out my purse took a total of ten minutes. And I’m so glad I spent that ten minutes. I ditched expired coupons, filed receipts, found some money! and otherwise set this bag to rights.



So much better! I have room to carry my household notebook as well as my wallet, coupon pouch, and little purse fill of gift and club cards.

If you missed the Purse, Car, etc assignment, go back and catch up. It won’t take long.

So there you have it! It seems like a lot of work, but spread out over four weeks, it wasn’t so bad, was it? One of the things that amazed me about my personal space renovation was that it didn’t cost me anything. Since we’re holding off on the bedroom spruce ups, I didn’t go buy the things I originally had on my list.

All the containers and drawer dividers that I used were things I already owned. I have a new, clean looking space that cost me nothing but some sweat equity. Of course, it could be prettier. But, you know what they say, pretty is as pretty does. If my space is more functional, that is what matters most.

How did YOU do?

Tell us in the comments or link up your post, telling us how you did on Zone Defense this month.

Coming up in March: The Kitchen

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    1. Well, if it’s any consolation, I haven’t really been able to use them for the last two years since they were stuffed with junk! 😉

  1. I hope the facial recipe works for you. I liked it, but then it started making my face break out really, really bad. I had cysts under the skin for several months, until all the oils finally got out of my system.

    Thanks for sharing your personal space. I love to see before and after pictures.

  2. I tackled my closet and much of the master bedroom – and thought about tackling the bathroom but ultimately realized it was going to involve purchasing more storage and we haven’t had the money yet (soon). I never got around to the car or my purse but they are on my list. As for personal health, I’ve been consistently working on that for a couple months now.

  3. You did a great job on all of your spaces!

    I just have to finish cleaning out the back of my car. This has been a great series! Can’t wait to get started on the Kitchen.

  4. You did a wonderful job organizing and cleaning, Jessica! I am in the process of doing that now. Could I ask you why you use Flax Oil? I have Blepheritis – dry eyes- and my eye doctor told me to take Flax Oil. I think it is also supposed to be good for the heart.
    God bless, Kathy in Illinois

    1. I started taking it when I was nursing babies. It can help boost the fat content in breastmilk.

      Now, I take it for heart health reasons.

  5. Got my bathroom and associated bathroom storage closet space in the hall cleaned out and got my husband to put a couple coats of paint on a well scuffed cabinet that I’ve been meaning to do something about for “a while”

  6. Can I tell you that I love how big your bedroom is? And that chaise-lounge. I’ve been telling DH that I need one of those. 🙂

    Ugh, I have a lot of work to do. 🙂

  7. Well, I got my closet and my bedroom mostly cleaned out (there are a couple of drawers that still need work, but they close. 🙂 — at least my half of it. I still need to do the bathroom, but got derailed by a major kid-room cleanout (at the kiddo’s request). And, sorry, there’s no way I’m doing a car cleanout in the middle of winter in Minnesota. We save that for when it’s warm.

  8. Everything looks great! I cleaned my closet and bedroom out this month, too. I did a huge purge of my clothes, and I am so glad that I did. I feel so much better about my closet even though I have 20% of the clothes I once did. It’s great!

  9. Okay, that’s it! I’m inspired to get going again on my entire house overhaul. It’s been almost three months since I started, and it’s been a real challenge, but what a rewarding one it is! I stopped about three weeks ago, and now that I see this, I know it’s time to get moving again! I still have to do the closet in my bedroom, and my whole bedroom, actually, but I’mdone with every other room…all seven of them!! I really wanted to hand the car over to DH…sigh…but after looking at your car, I have decided to just do it myself. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your personal space with us!

  10. I am totally giggling about the “applying laxative to my face” comment. I too want to try the oil method but keep forgetting to try and find castor oil when I am out shopping. I am so glad you mentioned that Walmart sells it as a laxative cause I would have never thought to look for it there.

  11. Thanks so much for sharing. I have been inspired by your post and am on a mission to declutter!!!

  12. Oh, you did a great job! I haven’t posted about it so I can’t link up…but maybe next month. I love the inspiration, though, and it’s made a big difference.

    My closet is a bit neater, the bathroom was cleaned out a bit, we sewed new bathmitts out of an old towel (actually Miss 9 did, as I posted today), I tackled my mending basket, and our bedroom looks a whole lot better. As for fitness, it was a lousy month, but I’m keeping up with Fit Mommy Friday (also on my blog).

    I’m looking forward to kitchen clean up with you! Too bad we can’t help each other and have the kids go sledding down our snowy hill.