Welcome to my Decluttering Journey…
I have always struggled with clutter, but over the past 2 years it has gotten a lot worse. I think it is easier to SEE clutter when you come back home, but we haven’t done a whole lot of leaving lately, so I think we have gotten used to seeing it (and ignoring it).
I keep trying to remind myself that my house didn’t get this way overnight, and that I cannot expect myself to be able to fix it overnight. I always felt like if I ever had a new house, that it would solve all my problems… that the clutter only piled up in our old houses due to lack of good storage, or some other nonsense. I think I have to admit to myself that the house, or its storage potential, was never the problem. Some of the challenge was due to the frequent rearranging of the house to accommodate the changing needs of our 3 kids (who were 17, 11, and 2 when we moved in 10 years ago), as well as my then undiagnosed ADHD. I am going to be sharing my real struggles here in hopes that someone else may not feel nearly as alone, or as ashamed as I am, about their house and clutter.
So I have a PLAN. I am going to pretend that we are going to be moving… soon. We are actually planning to move in about 6-7 years when my youngest finishes school, but some days I feel like it might just take that long to get the house finished. I am going to tackle each room of my house; decluttering, painting, steam-cleaning and staging. I think this is the perfect way to deal with my house, while embracing skills that I think will benefit me in my new career as a real estate agent. Feel free to come along on my journey, just please be gentle with me, as some of this is hard for me to share.
NOTE: I will be adding more photos soon…
Craft Studio (Before)
It started out as a cold garage with concrete floors and wire rolling racks containing totes and other clutter. We had never really had a garage before, except for the rental house we lived in for a year before we moved into this house. Up until that point, all of our clutter had been shoved into random totes, to protect from the damp of the basement, or the critters in the shop. This was an improvement but not a solution.
Craft Studio (After)
This space has been a work in progress for several years. It may have started out as a garage, and a hang-out space for my adult children, but it evolved into my magical haven. I still need to deal with some clutter, but it is coming along nicely.
Stair Landing (Before)
I wanted to start with an area that definitely needed my attention, but was small enough to be manageable. I didn’t want to overwhelm myself to the point of quitting before I had even started.
Stair Landing (After)
I succeeded in finishing this project, although there are still a couple of stacks of the resulting books in various places around the house, that still need a little attention. Fortunately there are 3 large boxes of books to be donated, so less to deal with now.
My Office (Before)
I have worked from home for over 22 years, nearly 10 years in this house… and my office looks like it. I have shared an office with others, but can no longer blame others for my mess.
My Office (After)
It took a lot of sorting and decluttering, but it is finally finished. I am pretty happy with some of the dedicated areas that I have setup and feel confident that they will help the clutter not return.
Primary Closet (Before)
In our previous houses, I never really had a walk-in closet, so never quite realized just how many years worth of clutter can fit before you really have to deal with it.
We started decorating this room when we first moved in, purchasing cabinets to hold books and special items, but then it has been mostly neglected. We put some paint sample colors on the wall about 2 years ago, so it is time to finally finish this space and make it a peaceful place to retreat to.
The kitchen functions fairly well. It has gotten the most attention over the years as far as organization goes, but it still has some areas that hide clutter and could use some attention. Our main challenges here are the horizontal surfaces that always seem to attract clutter.
Our dining room/kitchen eating area doesn’t really have too much clutter… just a bookshelf that contains cookbooks that we rarely use, and a horizontal surface that collects clutter.
Some rooms fair better than others, and either have less clutter (or hide it better). This room has also served as the school room over the past 2 years, so it is time now to return it to its intended purpose.
This bedroom has housed each of our 3 kids in the short 10 years we have been here… so it has changed styles multiple times. It has some hidden closet clutter and struggles to keep the window seat clear of clutter.
This room has seen several incarnations as well. It started out as our youngest child’s nursery and has evolved into their playroom and computer space. These are getting older now though, so we have slowly been reducing the variety of toys contained here.
This is our formal dining room, but serves us better as a family gaming space. Unfortunately, it is the first thing you see as you enter the house, and next to the entryway where all my clutter is staged to leave the house.
I have tried not to enter this room much over the past 10 years. I have helped reorganize it a few times, but the kids are mostly responsible for it, so I am sure it could use some attention.
Downstairs Powder Room
This room is fairly small, so not a lot of space to clutter up, however, I should probably empty all of the cabinets and only put back what is really needed.
Hallway Linen Closet
This closet serves as our medicine cabinet, as well as overflowing with all of our linens. I usually parse the outdated medications every few years, but it likely contains bedding in sizes we no longer even use.
Primary Walk-in Closet
I have never had a walk-in closet before and this one has given me the perfect place to dump all the things that I want to keep, but don’t really have a better place for. It also allows me to keep clothing a LOT longer than I should, since there appears to be room for it.
Although I would love for this to be the first room I tackle, I fear it will be the last, since it is my staging area for all the things that need to leave the house. It is not the best idea, but I like to be ruthless in my decluttering, but like to give everyone a chance to claim any of their prized possessions before I get rid of them.