Monday, August 29, 2011

Boys Room Complete!

Now that school has started back for all of us (my classes started today) and the weather will soon get cooler I have an overwhelming desire to get this project complete! So, yesterday and today the boys and I worked on their room and I'm happy to announce that it is complete! Now, the rest of the house looks like a bomb went off in it because of all of the stuff that needs to go to the thrift store, but at least their room looks good!

If I'd had my way we would have eliminated a lot more stuff. But, they're kids and I think they did amazing in this process. My oldest is way past ready for it to be over. He has a lot less attachment to things than the rest of us, so as long as you don't touch his books he's OK. But, I still felt like I had to ask him about everything. Overall the got rid of a ton. There are some things they kept that I didn't really see the need for because it never gets used. So, I will observe for a few months and see if they do, if not, they may secretly disappear. So, here are the before and afters!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bedroom Is Done!

I worked on my bedroom off and on yesterday and today and finally finished it up. So far, it has been the most stressful of rooms (I keep saying that don't I). I knew it was going to be rough because I have a lot of sentimental things in there. Under my bed I had two small storage bins with cards and letters, and a huge tote full of pictures in frames. I also have a big cedar chest that was full to the brim of various things.

The boxes weren't too hard. Once contained wedding invitations and other little things that I will use in my scrapbooks, so I kept all of that. There were only a few weddings in there anyway. The other box contained tons of cards and letters. Most were from my kids from various holidays and of course I had to keep all of those. There were a few from my best friend, my mom, my grandmother and my grandfather, so they all stayed too. But then there were also quite a few from my ex-husband. When I went through them last night I kept all of those. I figured that perhaps my kids would want to see them at some point. But then this morning I went through them all again and got rid of all but a few. I don't know how much of that stuff (if any) the boys will care about, so I figured one or two would be enough, and the ones I kept were about the kids so it was all relative.

The cedar chest proved to be much more difficult. There were a lot of things from my wedding, and a bunch of my baby clothes. I collect Gone With the Wind memorabilia so there was some of that in there too. I got rid of a few things that really didn't need to be saved, and then had to decide what to do with the remainder. I kept all the wedding pictures and the video for the boys sake, and got rid of everything else from the wedding.

The baby clothes were a bit tricky. Since I didn't have boys, I couldn't use them for my own child and they really don't have much sentimental value to me, because I don't remember wearing them. They mean a lot more to my mom, as I suspect the boys clothes will to me, so I'm giving them back to her to decide what to do with them. I could have kept them, but I know I have tons of sentimental things out in my storage shed and I want to try to contain all that stuff (not including things I keep of the boys) to this cedar chest. I know I have tons of stuff out there from high school, so I'm going to have to be very selective. Now I have about half the cedar chest empty for those things.

Enough chatter, I know you want to see pictures! The first is from a corner next to the closet and cedar chest.

These are from the side of the bed that I sleep on.

Lastly this is from a corner next to my dresser. At the moment I know it doesn't look that much better. However, what you don't see in the before picture is two baskets that were overflowing with fabric and used t-shirts that I use for sewing projects (well you can see part of one). They are now contained to the pink bin and its size is going to force me to work on those projects or get rid of that stuff too. Also, the workout step is still there in the box because I'm hoping to find a new home for it that allows it to be out of the way, and get used. If it doesn't, it's gone too! So I may have a better after picture of this space at some point.

Of all the rooms I've done so far this one still feels the most "full". Even though I cleaned almost everything out from under the bed and the closet was done some months ago, I still feel like there is too much stuff. It's funny how the more you get rid of, the more you want to get rid of!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What a Day

Sorry I've been a little absent, but like I said, a lot's happening around here and I won't be able to keep up the daily pace I had going. I've done some more stuff removal, but nothing too major the past few days. Mostly getting the stuff out of the house, cleaning up behind it and figuring out to do with some things. I did do my bathroom closet and my dresser yesterday. I didn't take pictures of the dresser because you all really don't want to see my underwear, but I got rid of a ton of stuff and it's nice to open the drawers again.

The bathroom closet was interesting too. If you've read my other blog I May Be Cheap (which sadly hasn't been updated in forever) then you know I'm a bargain shopper and get a lot of beauty items for free or nearly free. Well, I can only use so much of that stuff so it was really piling up. Needless to say, most of it is gone and my mom and her friends at work were the recipients of all of that.

In my last post I mentioned that while cleaning my desk I somehow managed to break my printer. This was a pretty big deal given that it was a multifunction and I used it daily. Even bigger because I did not have the money to replace it. I'm happy to announce that a very generous friend whom I cannot thank enough replaced it for me and I'm happily printing, copying and scanning again!

Today was a pretty nutty day so not a lot got accomplished on this mission. I woke up this morning and learned that one of my friends lost her husband this weekend. He was way too young to pass away and left behind a loving wife and two very young little girls. I haven't been able to stop thinking about them all day. I'm not a huge fan of my single status and thinking about how happy they were and what a great life they've shared for all of these years made me realize how much I want that too. Maybe an odd thing to think about related to someone's passing, but I guess I know he'd want people to remember that stuff about him and so would she.

It was also the first day of school for my boys. My oldest entered his last year of elementary school as a fifth grader and loves it so far. My youngest is a proud fourth grader. Upon my return home from getting them on the bus I learned there were two bus accidents, so that gave me momentary panic until I learned it was not their bus. Then, this afternoon for the first time in my life we experienced an earthquake! It was fairly minor overall and the shaking was not enough for a lot of people to know exactly what happened, but it's still not something I want to do again that's for sure! The boys didn't even know it happened though, so that made me feel better.

Overall it was an exhausting day. I'm ready for it to be finished and hope tomorrow is somewhat better. And since I know you want to see, here are the before and afters of my bathroom closet!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Working on the Living Room

With the exception of my desk area and my sons trucks I've totally forgotten to take pictures of my living room declutter. I'm sorry about that because I know the pictures make it more fun, but I just got into it and realized I'd forgotten when I was about halfway through. So, I'll try to paint a mental picture.

There were books EVERYWHERE! I love books. I'm an English major, I have a Kindle, but I cannot get rid of books. I also buy more books almost every time I go to a thrift store. They make me happy and I will likely keep most of the ones I have during this process. But they were taking over. So were toys. We had a three drawer storage bin that was full of toys that the boys never play with, so we started with that. It was packed and we got it down to having about four things in it. We also had a toy box that was mine as a child that doubles as a coffee table. It took was packed full of toys that they never play with. So, that was next on the list. We got it down to where we were able to put everything into the three drawer bin with room to spare!!

Back to the books. I have two large shelves in the living room back two deep and with books shoved in the space on top as well. I also had a basket that was overflowing and a stack against the wall that was nearly as tall as one of the shelves. All of the books in the basket, those stacked against the wall, and many that were in the space at the top of the other books have now been relocated to the toy box. I still get to keep them and read them, but they're not in the way anymore! It's fantastic!

The last part of the living room that needs to be tackled is this table that used to be used for scrapbooking. It still contains all of my scrapbook stuff (which I hope to relocate once my storage shed is cleaned out) and our bird. I'm going to clean it out and organize it the best I can so that it will be easy to move around once I have the ability to do so.

Overall it has been a productive day and once I move to the bathroom I'll remember to start taking pictures again!

Friday, August 19, 2011

My Desk Disaster

My desk area has always been a disaster, and once again a source of constant stress. I'm at it a lot, use a lot of the things that are in the space, but knew I had too much that I didn't need or use. I started working on it the other day, but couldn't complete it straight through. Last night I couldn't take it anymore and finished it off.

However, there was a casualty. I turned my printer sideways to dust behind it and now it doesn't work. Every indication is that it is toast and not worth fixing out of warranty. I'm very upset as I use it nearly every day for some purpose.

So here are the befores...

And the afters....

Now to find a bargain on a new printer!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

One Room Down!

Sorry I didn't post any yesterday but it was a very busy day. No cleaning, just work. Things may slow down a bit here because I have tons of work to do, my kids start school next week, and I start classes the following week. There might not be as much to take before and after pictures of either, but I'll do my best!

This evening I did the last of the straightening and cleaning in the kitchen and I am happy to announce that it is finished!!!!! Some things just got relocated to the room that they belong in for decluttering there, but for the most part I did everything in the kitchen so I didn't have to worry with it somewhere else.

I couldn't believe how much easier it was to clean my kitchen without all the junk in it. For the first time, it didn't stress me out to do it! If you're thinking about doing this, I highly recommend it. I feel so much lighter already!

I'm moving on to my desk area and will hopefully have some pictures for you soon! In the meantime, please share your decluttering stories with me!

Monday, August 15, 2011


My mother brought it to my attention that you had to have an account to post a comment. I have updated the settings so that is no longer the case. My apologies and I hope that means more people will comment!

I've Created a Monster

Last night I had the boys help me clean out the craft supplies because they use a lot of them and I wanted their input on what needed to be kept. Apparently, I've created a monster. My youngest son was the least on board about this process when I explained it, but he caught the bug. While I was working this afternoon he decided he wanted to clean out his car bins. The child loves his cars and they're the one thing I thought he'd have the most trouble going through. Apparently, I was wrong!

I didn't get a chance to take a picture before he got started, but here are the containers that were literally overflowing before he went through them.
And now we're down to this!!!! I'm so proud of him and he did this all on his own with my constantly telling him he could keep more if he wanted to.

The best part is, a sweet little young man is going to get the cars he no longer uses!

Today's Donations

I should have taken pictures of everything that was going out of the house as well as the before and afters. I only realized this this morning when I was looking at the pile I had to load into the car. I filled a huge rolling rack at Gift & Thrift by myself. Bear in mind, I've already donated a similar sized pile and this is just from the kitchen! Ignore the rest of the mess, my kids had stuff everywhere!

There were five trash bags, a box and a paper bag. I felt like a ton had been lifted off me after we drove away. I also mailed three cookbooks I sold on Amazon, gave away an ice cream maker to a friend, and a few things to my mom. It's so nice walking into my kitchen now!

If you're interested in where all of these things are headed, I donate to Gift & Thrift. All of the proceeds go to Mennonite Central Committee and it's such a nice and well organized store.

Craft Supply Overload

I was working last night and got tired of sitting, so I thought I'd do another quick clean out as a break. Turns out that was a bad idea because what I decided to work on was NOT quick at all. Because I live in a small apartment, there just isn't room for a lot of the things we have. I know I'm going to have more than I want in here but that's the way it is. Our kitchen doubles as a craft space and it had reached critical mass.

Totally insane isn't it? You can see where I was keeping the pet food that I mentioned in the pantry clean out. It took forever, but here's the after! I felt so good when I finally went to bed that you would have thought tomorrow was Christmas! I wish I didn't have to have so much of this in the kitchen, but for now, this is where it will be. Perhaps as this process continues I'll find a better home for it all.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Digital Clutter and a Request

Sadly my clutter is not limited to the world you can touch, it extends into the virtual world as well. I used to be the queen of managing my e-mail inbox and took pride in the fact that it was almost always empty or organized into nice neat folders. That is a thing of the past. Now my e-mail is always full of stuff I think I might read, newsletters I've signed up for and never read, and things that are actually important, but lost in the shuffle.

So since I'm on the computer for most of the day anyway, I have decided that as soon as an e-mail comes into my box it will be dealt with. If it is a newsletter I do not read, I will immediately unsubscribe. If it needs to be responded to, I will respond. If I just can't do something with it at that moment, then I'll leave it, but I'm going to try to avoid that if I can.

On another note, I've been hearing from a lot of people that this blog is inspiring them to get rid of some things as well. I only have five followers through Google, but I know more are reading. So, I'd like to hear from you! Please leave a comment, or even better, send me your stories and pictures so I can share them! I'd love to see what others are up to!

Pantry Clean Out

So last night after my post I was feeling good and decided I'd keep going. I went for the cabinet under my sink and found a few interesting things. The first was that I probably won't have to buy glass cleaner until the boys go to college. And the second is that I had five containers of Lysol...and I don't use Lysol. Those will be going to our SPCA. So here are the before and afters of the cabinet under the sink.

I didn't get rid of all of those cleaning supplies as they are useful. I re-homed them above the sink with the rest of those products.

Now for the pantry. This space is probably what started it all. It depressed me every time I walked into it. I knew that there was a lot of stuff that needed to be thrown out because it was expired, but I couldn't make myself do it. I knew I had to though, and so I did it finally. It was very depressing and a good reminder to myself about why I'm doing this. The excess in my house was causing me to waste, repurchase and throw out perfectly good things because I forgot about them. I felt sick while taking this on, but now that it's done I feel so much better and know it will keep it from happening again. Note that when I took the before pictures I forgot there was a light in there!

And after (though I left the vacuum and trash can out so you could see better. They did go back in.

A few things did come into the pantry that were not there before. I moved my dehydrator from a spot you'll see later and the animal food from the same spot into more logical spaces in the pantry. It's great to walk in there now!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Feeling Liberated!!!

When I started this process the anxiety of it all was weighing heavily on me. I'm still anxious about it, but less now about getting rid of the things, but more about getting it done faster! I have moved into a place of really feeling liberated and now I want more of that feeling! It's amazing to be able to put dishes away without having to take everything out of the cabinet to do so.

Tonight has been especially great so far. I decided to go through a cabinet that just makes me insane. It has a lot of frequently used items, as well as items that I would likely use a lot if I could get to them, but don't because I can't. This cabinet was so bad that things were falling out of it when I opened the doors. What you cannot see is that it goes way back to the right because it is next to my stove, so there was a ton of stuff back there. Only three things remain out of sight now.

This is the first time where I really didn't put everything back to show perspective. That's because I really wanted to move things to locations where I could use them since this stuff is used a lot. First was the plastic stuff. Remember my candle cabinet? Looks like a lot, but I got rid of a ton and these all get used a fair amount. There are a few that may go still, but we'll see.

And this is what went back into the cabinet. I also added my panini press, quesadilla maker, and the waffle and cupcake makers. They were either on the counter or hidden in another cabinet where they were hard to get to.

I cannot tell you how happy I am about this and how good I feel!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Stress of the Mess!

I have a LOT of stuff and very limited time in which to go through it. I know this is going to be a long process and I'm doing my best to accept that. However, the process itself creates a mess!!!! I have to pull everything out and go through it, then the stuff sits a little while before I can take it to the thrift store. Plus it stirs up dirt and dust and the time I spend doing this means time I spend away from other stuff in the house that needs to get done. So even though I feel very good about doing this, the act is causing me a whole lot of anxiety and stress while it's happening. I sure love dropping things off at the thrift store every day though!

I managed to get through one more cabinet last night. I did add one thing to this when done. I had my magic bullet (generic of course) on the counter in the way, and now I had room for it in a cabinet!