Progress Report

July 29, 2012

I got an email a few days ago from a reader asking how things are going with my organized spaces. Let’s check up on things with a progress report, shall we?



It’s been a week since I cleaned out my fridge. Things are going well! I started meal planning last week so it’s been making fridge management pretty easy.

I’m dedicated to keeping it up. It’s refreshing opening up an organized fridge because I can see exactly what’s in there! I’m also teaching myself the beauty of an empty fridge and have adopted the idea of only going to the grocery store when I really NEED to.  To keep it in order, I’ve been more thoughtful about putting things away properly and make sure that everything that goes back in the fridge is free of gunk. As a result, it’s still pretty clean inside.

More on meal planning next week!


It’s been two weeks since I organized Cooper’s toys.

Things are looking good!

We ALL remember to put the books back after we read them so they don’t pile up around the room.

After Cooper’s bath at night we read a few stories  and now we’ve added the act of putting away his toys before he gets in bed to our routine. I’m hoping that he understands how nice it is to go to bed in a clean room. I’ve also been really good about enforcing the rule of one activity/toy out at a time. He can’t play with the trains until he puts all of his construction toys away. He’s starting to pick up on this now and I can see him making a better effort not to take too much out at once.

I hope to get proper laminated labels on his boxes soon because one night of the humidifier made some of the making tape labels peel off. Lesson learned!


It’s been three weeks since I cleaned out my shelves and it’s going REALLY well. Sometimes I look over at my shelves and don’t recognize them.

There were a few small things I did when I organized (like moving shelves and adding that extra stack of storage containers) that made a HUGE impact on my life. There’s really no excuse to not to keep things organized.

I still have to find a place for my Clarisonic. Gotta make some room!

It’s also so refreshing to know exactly where to look when I need to find something.


Every time I go into my pantry I make sure things look right. Things have been going really well because I’m taking my time putting things away properly. I’m also trying to use up items in the pantry so I don’t run out and buy things I already have. I like that feeling of “grocery shopping” in my own pantry.


Since I cleaned up my desk/office area I’ve done quite a few projects. It’s really nice to have extra desk space when I’m working so whenever things start to get a little unkempt, I quickly tidy things up. I also find that when I’m started to get stressed out while working I take a break and put things away that don’t belong on my desk

There’s a stack of books sitting on my desk that need to go downstairs on my bookshelf, but other than that my desk is pretty clean.

The drawers next to my desk are still pretty tidy! Cooper isn’t allow in this drawer, which is why it’s still clean!

When I’m working on something and need to put something away in this drawer, I’m very deliberate about where things go back. It’s working.

This tupperware of all of my nail polish has been EXCELLENT. Whenever I paint my nails I’ve been really good about putting everything back  in the container.

I also decided that most of my nail painting should take place at my desk so I don’t have an opportunity to leave polish throughout the house.

The shelves above my desk are still organized. I don’t look at them as a place to put stuff where Cooper can’t reach!


The paper sation has changed my life!! We have significantly less paper littered throughout our house as a result!

It’s made a fantastic difference. Cooper’s art drawer is piling up, which means I have to go through that soon, but other than that we’re good.

The recycling bin right next to the paper station has also been a wonderful addition. When I enter the house through the garage, I bring all the paper/plastic that needs to be recycled right to the bin. It doesn’t even ENTER our house. I love that.


Still going strong! We’ve added a few products and things are constantly changing in this cabinet but it’s going really well.

When I’m brusing my teeth, I usually open up the cabinet and straighten things up.

That’s how I keep it up!

So there you have it. That’s my progress report. I’m still doing a pretty good job on keeping my PURSE ORGANIZED. I make a point to clean it out every Sunday to get ready for work on Monday.

If you are having a hard time maintaining your freshly organized space:

Share your accomplishments with others!  It will help hold you accountable for your actions.  I know that I’m working hard at this because I have other people looking at my projects. How could I give people advice if I don’t practice what I preach?

Take pictures. Post it to your blog or facebook. When other people are watching you’re way more motivated.

Have company over. It will help motivate you to keep things clean. Most of my friends are familiar with what I’m doing on High Straightenence. And even if they aren’t, I pretend like they’re going to look through my stuff when they get to my house. This helps keep me on my toes. I want to prove to them & myself that I’m dedicated.

Be thoughtful & don’t hurry. Things have really approved around my house because I’m not trying to do too many things at once. When I set out to put something away I really THINK about what I am doing and as a result I don’t make lazy decisions.

-Don’t get discouraged! If you start slipping and start falling into bad habits, take it easy on yourself. Get back on it and maintain! You have to remember that it will take some time to make your new behavior apart of your routine.

And remember:

27 comments on “Progress Report

  1. Inspired! My kitchen has been a disaster, but once I get through that hurdle, I aim to have a fridge as organized as yours! Can’t wait!

  2. Everything about this post is so inspiring! I want to leave work immediately and go clean everything! Also, I love your graphics.

  3. I totally cleaned up my pantry because i was inspired by you! So thanks, Tracy!

  4. Brooke Feb 29, 2012

    Great job Tracey!!! Your house looks awesome! Random sidenote: How do you like your clarisonic?

    • I like it a lot so far! I’m gonna talk about it on the podcast soon!

  5. Keep it up! :)

    I’m excited for your meal-planning post! We always do this, but some weeks we’re better at it than others.

    And, yes, having company over always seems to help keep things tidy.

    • It does! And a few of my friends WANTED to check my progress on things. So yeah..that was the motivation I needed.

  6. You’re right, if you take the time, it does get easier.

    Looking forward to menu planning!

  7. Well I’m known in my family and friends that I love to purge. My 1 tip, I go through my mail IMMEDIATELY – in good weather sometimes on my front porch. I make a pile of mail that goes right into the recycle outside in our blue toter and go RIGHT THERE BEFORE THE JUNK MAIL EVEN ENTERS OUR HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Makes life THAT MUCH EASIER! I really love the before and afters in all your posts!

  8. Wow, I know you’ve been organizing a lot but it’s crazy to see how much you’ve gotten done in such a short amount of time. So inspiring! Great job on keeping everything up, too. I find that’s the hardest part for me.

  9. I love spying in other people’s fridges. Thanks for letting me peek into yours! And I got even more excited when I noticed that you have Whole Foods Kombucha (Synergy). I love it! It’s quite expensive, but sooo good and sooo healthy. I’ve been drinking it for the past two weeks and I’m pretty sure it makes my skin look much better.
    Also, congratulations on tackling your To-Organize-List!!
    P.S.: Tell Joy to come to Atlanta on her book tour! I’d be happy to host her! And, as far as I can tell she’d probably have only standing room at any book store here as well…

    • Tracy Mar 1, 2012

      That stuff IS expensive. But for some reason my Whole Foods sells it 2 for $5 and I can’t resist! The place down the street from my work charges $4.39 each! YIKES.

  10. Epoxy Mar 2, 2012

    Hey Tracy,

    I love your fridge. My fridge has a whole different shelf-system, kind of like a bookshelf, so I have given up the hope of ever having an organized fridge.
    But I will definitely steal the idea with the paper station, Our paper pin can’t handle it all 😉
    Oh and I LOVE YOUR BLOG, seriously you are the reason I joined pinterest and spend several hours on


  11. Epoxy Mar 2, 2012

    ….That was supposed be: And I do not regret looking through 21334 kitchen photos. :)

  12. My roommate and I are planning an epic spring cleaning in a few weeks. It will be exciting and terrifying at the same time. Keep it up, Tracy!!!

  13. Rachel Mar 2, 2012

    Thanks for the progress report! Your blog has inspired me to get our house more organized. We’ve already organized the walk-in pantry and I’ve made a whole list of things I want to accomplish.

    By the way, I saw one of your books on the desk in your office is Joy’s new cookbook. I’m such an uber-fan of both of you and can’t WAIT for you guys to come to Seattle. I am hoping to hear an intro of Joy in the Oprah voice 😉

    • Tracy Mar 2, 2012

      OH MY GOD. Can you imagine? I don’t think I have it in me to do that voice in public…maybe if there’s bourbon there….

  14. Thanks for the update! I was wondering the same thing myself. I really like your idea of straightening up for 10 minutes each night. It makes things easier. I have yet to tackle an epic project like organizing my baking drawer or cleaning out my paperwork station, but I’m hoping with all your inspiration I’ll eventually get there! I know it’s worth it. Thanks again!

  15. Yesterday as I was getting ready for work I thought of you and said to myself…”Tracy (aka the Modern Martha Stewart), you need to do a post on organizing and cleaning jewlery or make-up. Much needed in my life. I need to find a way to have jewlery oraganized and easy to find in the morning rush my total BONKERS life!
    PS you really are an inspiration. Wish I could do it all…like you!

  16. I like your advice to have company over – always a good way to keep things clean – especially your mother (that always does it for me). Also, I love your paper station… great work keeping things clean!!

  17. Carolyn Mar 6, 2012

    Awesome progress report! Digging the tips you gave like straightening the medicine cabinet while brushing up and taking a stress break to tidy up the desk. Such good ideas! Thanks Tracy. Keep up the good work! Can’t wait to see the meal planning post.

  18. Caitlin Mar 8, 2012

    Love reading these! It’s weird, but certain kinds of housework/organizing are fun for me. I have to ask – does your husband support your organizing methods? Do you have to explain where everything goes after you’ve organized a certain area of the house? If I totally rearranged my boyfriend’s stuff, he’d probably have no idea what was going on, haha. Can’t wait to see the meal planning post!

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