It’s not spring; but I’m obsessively organizing! I’m determined this is THE year.
Are any of you like me, continuously frustrated with stuff that seems to multiply when we sleep? Any of you want to join me in this goal I’ve set for myself? I’m determined that this year, by the end of the year I will have achieved a goal I’ve wished I could for a long time.
The shop outside is a whole nother beast, but by year end (really I hope by summer’s end, but I’m giving myself the whole year, in case):
- All closets in my house will be orderly and well organized.
- My stuff (in closets and storage areas) will fit in those designated spaces without any random stuff outside of those areas because there is too much to fit.
- I no longer want to look around certain rooms with a feeling of annoyance at what feels like clutter to me.
To achieve this goal, we will need to :
- Remain committed, not allow ourselves to forget how the clutter makes us feel, therefore making this a priority.
- Although it’s a lot of work, keep in mind this won’t last forever. Remember, we’re doing this by year end!
- Be ruthless in getting rid of things that we don’t need, use or love.
- Establish some guidelines to help our homes stay de-cluttered, not overflowing.
I used to have a hard time parting with things. I am married to someone who still really struggles with parting with things, although he’s definitely gotten much better!
I used to think the only risk was in getting rid of something I might regret. I came to realize though KEEPING THINGS HAS A COST TOO. I’m more willing to risk the possibility now that I might wish I had something I got rid of. I love to look at clean spaces and that is worth a small risk. Things we keep have to be cleaned or dusted or reorganized. Again and again and again. I’m so tired of that cycle. There are much fewer things that make the cut these days.
It has taken me a long time to get to this point, but I’m much quicker to donate something that I have a small pang of worry that I’ll regret, rather than keep it.
If I’m not using it, I don’t want to dust it or wash it again.
I’ve gotten off to a good start, and the progress I’ve made is providing motivation to keep going. So far I have:
Reorganized My Christmas Decorations
Okay, these items are stored in our outdoor shop, but I wanted to include them in my progress. I’ve wanted to do this for YEARS and finally did it. After I donated a small bag of ornaments, I reorganized all of my Christmas decorations and labeled them.
In years past, Jay and Evan would bring all the green and red boxes from the rafters of the outdoor shop. You can see this is a lot of boxes. I would have to lift the lids to see what is in them, and because it takes more than one day to decorate inside and outside, I would have to look in all the boxes TOO many times to find what I was looking for.
The before! All the Christmas decorations spread out for for sorting/reorganizing, plus any other items that had been shoved in here from other places to have room for the spread we had out on Christmas Day. What a mess!
All the boxes, sorted and labeled for easy retrieval of what items I’m looking for.
Ah, and now I have my little table back. It was used for food set-up on Christmas Day. It’s my favorite spot to work on blog related stuff. This is one of my favorite places in my house. I’ve got this little corner just how I want it.
Until this year, when I have a spare bedroom for the first time, these boxes would be cluttering up my kitchen and living room until I was done with them. This way, they can be put in another room out of my way and I can easily find the box I need at that time and leave the others stacked up till I’m ready for them.
Two Options of How to Label the Boxes
I listed on the front all the categories of items that are in the box. I’m going to try this method. If I add much to the Christmas decorations or need them organized differently, I will try the second method, described below the pictures.
Alternate box labeling method: you label the box itself with 1, 2, 3, 4 etc and then keep a small notebook or card file. The card or page labeled #1 would list all the items in box #1 .
If what is stored in the boxes changes much this might be the easier way. OR, if you wanted to look at your list and pull out from storage only certain items this is a good way to go.
Done a TON of Work in my Closet
I’m not 100% satisfied with the state of my closet, but I’ve put in a lot of work and it’s much closer to my end goal. I will share pictures when it’s finished. There’s still a couple of things I’m unsure of how to best store, and I didn’t get to the corner that has our Christmas boxes, ribbons and wrapping supplies.
One reason our closet is such a big job is for years it has been a catch all for stuff we didn’t have room for elsewhere. We have board games, boxes (from purchases, like iPhones, Kindle’s, laptop) extra blankets, gifts purchased in advance, a box for donations, Christmas wrapping supplies, a large box of frames and decorative things not currently used, and memorabilia in addition to the “normal” closet stuff. No matter how much I clean it, seems like before I know it, we’ve accumulated a bunch of stuff in there again. I’m working now not only to declutter and organize what is there, but to stop the flow coming in.
With the exception of the small corner I didn’t get to, everything was pulled from the walls and I vacuumed crevices, dusted baseboards and any walls that needed it. Every game box and stored item was wiped with a damp cloth. Y’all, that alone was a pretty big job with lots of ups and downs on the step stool. The sore muscles I experienced the next day were a felt reminder of a job well done.
I worked a couple of hours on one day just getting rid of things, making quick decisions about clothing and items easier to part with. The 2nd work day I spent the entire day cleaning, reorganizing, washing blankets and the baby clothes I mention in a paragraph below. AFTER I had gone through the first time, on the 2nd day I had 3 boxes of donations and 2 bags of items I threw away.
This is my back seat loaded up with donations after the 2nd time going through my closet!
I Sorted Through the Linen Closet (except for the shelf with medicine that still needs to be done)
I got rid of a few things and washed almost everything that remained in here. If it had been used recently, I didn’t, but all others got washed. No more dusty/musty smell.
This closet houses the bed linens for all beds except mine, I keep those in a closet in our bathroom. We also keep the medicines that aren’t used regularly, and first aid supplies on a shelf here. That shelf still needs reorganizing.
Several years ago I read this tip and it’s right up my label-maker-loving alley! All the sheets on this shelf are full size. Another shelf for twin. If you have fewer you could keep them on the same shelf and just label under each. This is a time saver when you’re looking for a particular item. And, I just love how it makes me feel when I see those labels. It makes me feel a bit more organized whether it’s true or not.
As I Organize and Clean Closets I’m Washing any Dusty/Musty Smelling Items
The blankets stored in my closet and the linen closet smelled dusty/musty so I washed them with a 1 1/3 cup of vinegar in the wash water and then used a good smelling liquid softener in the final rinse.
Those Few Pieces of Sentimental Clothing Items From Each of My Kids
Over the years I had pared down and pared down until I have just a small amount of clothing items from all 3 kids. And the blankets that were special to me (they never cared a lick for blankets or stuffed animals!).
These items have hung in different closets in our home, moved from room to room over the last several years. I took them off the hangers, treated the stains that had bled back through and packed them all up together in a clear comforter bag. Did you know that “old” stains that have been cleaned will bleed back through over time? Most of stains came out but there were 3 or 4 items that I didn’t put in the dryer because they need to be treated again.
On hangers, these items were taking up prime real estate space in my closet. Stored in a comforter bag (and this is for all 3 kids so I think this is pretty good!) I can find a better place to put them.
Some of the Things I’ve Held onto in the past that didn’t make the cut this time:
- I had saved some pillows and had planned to reuse the insides and make new covers. They had been in my closet long enough to be dusty/musty smelling. It made me sad, but I threw them away.
- Pretty bags I like but don’t love. I realized that I never chose those bags anymore. Although I liked them, I have others I like more. Pretty bags (I really do use them!) are a real weakness for me.
Our homes are continual works in progress. I will never reach the point I think my house is perfect, I know that. Something will always need doing, cleaning, organizing, freshening up with decor. I will never feel like I’m finished.
But, I am determined that there will be LESS to clean, LESS to reorganize and I know that some empty cleared spaces will feel so good to me.
What do you think? Is this YOUR year to reduce and declutter? Let’s do this together!
Hope you’re having a great week!