Decluttering my house was the second part of the “Summer of ME“. When I walk and look around, I just see STUFF! And so much of this STUFF, we have outgrown. Toys we no longer play with, books we no longer read, clothes we no longer wear. Why do we still have these things?? And these things, this STUFF, causes me stress. Your house is supposed to be a calming place, where you can retreat from the chaos of daily life. At least I feel this way when I watch HGTV. At the end of Fixer Upper, when they show off the new house, don’t you feel calm? Then I look around my house and I don’t feel calm, I feel stress. So…..here I go!!
Except, I did not know where to start. I paced around my entire house looking for a room that was not be too big or too small, not too messy but still needed attention, not one that needed to be redecorated but just the right one (geez Goldilocks, just pick one right). I settled on the mudroom closet. I am mortified to show you this picture, but here it is…….
I am hoping (praying actually) you can sympathize with me and also have a room in your house where things get tossed or thrown. For us, this is the place where shoes, coats, mittens, hats, boots, backpacks, basketball bags, plastic bags, and a bunch of other random stuff just was left in this room and forgotten about until it was needed. It is not a big room, but it is the first “storage” type room when you come into the house from the garage. Now I have read things on pinterest, I know everything is supposed to have a place and be put away…..blah, blah, blah……..
I took one day, with my five year old, Harper, and we tackled this room. Harper was really the only child I needed at home because everything gets passed down to her. Plus at 5, she is my fashionista, diva child with more attitude than both of my other girls combined. So if something did not fit her or she shook her head at it, then we didn’t need it anymore. We started by taking the bins full of shoes out of the room. I had Harper try on or separate the shoes into piles. One for each of my three girls and shoes they currently wear, one for shoes that were too small and one for shoes that did not fit Harper yet, but would eventually (and she liked). We found over 15 shoes or sandals that did not fit any of the girls in the house. I donated 10 pairs of shoes that still had some life left, which felt really good. Some I sold on the swap and shop Facebook group. I did not have the energy to sell all of them, but a couple pairs was fine. A little extra cash never hurt anyone……
Then we went onto the bottom shelves, which were mostly filled with shoes for Jason and I. We threw away four pairs of shoes right away that we had not worn in years. YEARS!! Why did we still have them? We were never going to wear them. As we continued to declutter, we found scarves, hats, mittens and gloves that could go into the tote we already had containing these items. We emptied random bags and found multiple water bottles and sweatshirts, the girls had worn to practice, but not dealt with when they got home. I moved some items to the garage, they really belonged there in the first place. I found threw away a broken mirror, a poncho with a hole in it (useful right) broken crayons and pencils with no erasers. I had an entire trash bag by the time I was done. This is the finished product. I can not tell you the last time the shelves had space on them. Maybe when we moved in…….
I would not call what we did fun………but I was so happy when we were finished. Everything had a place and you can even see the floor!! I LOVE the feeling of reclaiming this room for me and my family, mostly me. Even the girls were impressed with what had been accomplished. I asked them how long they thought they could keep the room neat and organized and they did not really give me an answer………Work for a different day I guess…….
Here are three tips I learned in my first day of decluttering…..
- You have to be in the mood. I have attempted this before (lots of times) and ended up moving stuff from one place to another without ever actually putting it away or dealing with it. All because I was not in the mood to declutter. Be in the mood to throw stuff away and let it go. I struggle with this one a lot. I can be kind of a pack rat and always worry that I might use something “one day”. I won’t, I didn’t. Those shoes I kept for the last ten years, I wasn’t going to wear them again. They were green from cutting the grass and had holes in the toes. Seriously, it was time to let them go.
- Start appropriately. Notice I did not start in my master closet or the pantry. Those are black holes where things go and are never found again. Actually, the junk drawer in my house also scares me. See, I knew what to do with the things in the mudroom closet. I could deal with them at the time. The master closet, pantry or junk drawer contains items I am not sure what to do with and they do not have a home. If I would have started with one of these spaces, I would have gotten frustrated and given up. So pick your starting space appropriately.
- Make sure you have the time. On the day we did this, I did not have anywhere to be or anywhere to go. It was one uninterrupted day at my house, a rarity for sure. It would have stressed me out to start this project and not feel I could finish it or have to rush through it. So again, even starting small and reorganizing one space will give you some momentum to keep going and find another space.
Now for the challenge. Find one space in your home, that needs some love. (Again, really hoping I am not the only one here……) Follow the three tips at some point this summer and go after that space. How does it make you feel to have that space back? Were you able to donate some things and help out others? Were you able to sell some things and make some extra money? Or did you just need to throw stuff away and regain the space? As always, I love your comments, so let me know how it goes, or better yet, what are some of your tips for decluttering because I am certainly not an expert. Follow Speaking Jelinese and share the post to grow our community of people trying to find some balance. Good luck!!!