The amount of stuff that our small family has accumulated is absolutely astounding. We have a 2,200 square foot house (thats 12 rooms) thats just bursting with STUFF. We hope to list our home in 4-6 weeks. The amount of work we need to do before that is staggering, but it is possible. The neat freak inside of me (you should see my moms house) is coming out.
When I first got my condo and lived with my roommate our place was clean almost all the time! No pets and no kids certainly helped that. Somehow we managed to do the dishes and keep the trash picked up and for the most part everything had a place and stayed in that place…. Over the next 5 years or so things changed, a lot … My roomate moved out, I got a cat, then another, then I got married, then we got a dog, then we got a new roommate, then we got another dog then our condo had too much stuff and we had to move. We moved and had several roommates in and out throughout the years, managed to get THREE more dogs and have a baby!
Our house, needs some help. Badly. I’ve read several sites on how to declutter and get organized and I’m actually slowly doing it myself! You should see how much stuff we’ve already given away and how many more boxes we still have to give away! I’ve found three things that are absolutely true in the times I’ve had to work at this.
1. Uninterrupted time is the best.
If you have a toddler or people bugging you, its near impossible to get any real work done. I’ve mostly been working during nap time or when Ace has Mark. This next week we will all be out of the house a lot due to painting, but I’m hoping the following week to have even more baby free time.
3. The three or four box method WORKS.
Depending on who you ask there are either three or four boxes you need. They change a little from list to list, but basically they are “Keep” “Get rid of” and “Other”. Sometimes they are “Keep” “Donate” “Trash”. For us there is generally “Keep”, which usually isn’t a box, but a place somewhere in the room, “Get rid of” for anything that isn’t staying in the house or isn’t trash, this goes in the garage for our friends to pick though before it goes to salvation army, and “Trash”.
Sometimes we do have an “other” box which is usually for things that need to be returned to someone, or need to go to a different room of the house.
4. Deal with all the boxes NOW!
Last night I had a decluttring success. I went though the kitchen again. I already did back in November, but there was still more to purge! In a 20 minute sweep I had three boxes of stuff to donate and a big bag of trash. With Ace’s help I got the boxes and trash out to the garage before going to bed.
Last week I had a decluttering FAIL that is still sitting there. We started to go though all our clothes, putting keep clothes away, donate clothes in a box, and trash clothes in a bag. I had to leave to put Mark to bed. Those clothes are still sitting on the floor in our room, now next to a pile of dirty clothes. Decluttering isn’t much good if the clutter is now out of your dresser and on the floor! Every time I get the boxes dealt with right away it really makes a big difference. When I put it off even for a few minutes it gets put off for days!
I’ve found that a little inspiration each day can help a lot! For example, unclutter.com has a “Workspace of the Week.” It is clean, clear, organized workspace. It looks how I wish my whole house looks! Looking at other people’s sucsess really helps me get a vision of my own.
Also working in smalls sections really helps. Back in November I decided I was going to deep clean and organize the entire kitchen. I didn’t succeed, but because I worked in small sections I made lasting change. The most noticeable is the fire place.
I took all my old trophies and gave them to my Tae Kwon Do school. I scrubbed the entire fireplace. I went though Ace’s photography and found my most favorite non-personal pictures. Then I went to the local grocery store and got it printed in a large size. I hung it on the fire place and rearranged some of the coolest bottles from our collection.
Though its not perfect, its certainly, much better than before! Not pictured is the new watering station I made for the dogs. I bought two matching stainless steel bowls and a waterproof mat. Much nicer than the mismatched plastic bowls on the fireplace.
I hope in the near future I can share more uncluttering success, but for now I must get back to work!