Every January I go through the house and purge. I LOVE to do this. I know, I know, that’s weird. What’s even odder is that I enjoy this so much I’m trembling with excitement just writing about it. However, I’m not the only one who adores to downsize.
Blogger, Amy Clark, MUST be related to me. She writes, “I can hear the drawers in our home give audible sighs…” and, “I am the mother of two small children. It isn’t just my clutter that I am trying to maintain…I want to create a home that is lived in, loved, and maintain a space that we all can love and appreciate. It is a modest goal that I know I can accomplish!”
Like Amy, I find great satisfaction in organizing my cupboards, closets, and unloading the excess stacking up behind closed doors. I’ve discovered many women would like to do this, even long to do this, but are overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. So I decided to break it down for you in manageable tasks. I made a list of the neglected spaces and tackled them in order of ease.
Tupperware drawers, kitchen cupboards and utensil drawers
I discarded Tupperware missing lids or parts. I started to fill the donation bag with dishes and utensils I rarely used. Storage space is at a premium in our kitchen so I only kept the basics. It was amazing how neatly everything fit back into its proper place when all the extra was gone. This took about 2 hours.
Hall linen closet/ my clothes
After a day of rest I tackled the hall linen closet (which also holds my MANY hair products and beauty items). Again I filled the donation bag with mismatched linens and tossed old and half/used items into the trash. I sorted my closet by donating anything I haven’t worn in the last 1.5 years. This only took 1.5 hours. I purposefully made fast, sure decisions. I took two days of rest.
Hall storage closet
Next I undertook the challenge of the hall storage closet, which is the catch-all for everything on the main floor that needs to be easily accessible but out of sight. It’s fairly large so I gave myself 2 full hours. I ruthlessly donated rarely used kitchen items and anything we hadn’t pulled out within the last 1.5 years. I spent most of the time organizing, adding a shelf and some hooks to hang shopping bags and aprons. You might find it interesting that I kept all three (yes three) crockpots. I use them all.
Dining room buffet (it’s amazing what I found tossed in/under this thing!)
I took a few days rest here. The house needed a good cleaning and I needed to catch up on laundry. After 3 days of catch-up work I opened the doors to the dining room buffet. Wowziers! I had LOADS of things to go through here. We ate dinner on the kitchen island and I took 2 days (the stretch from 1-2:30 each day while the kids enjoyed some quiet time) to sort and file the papers I needed to keep and to shred the ones that could go. I tossed used up coloring books, found bins for crayons, donated tins and gently used trays, and found space for the sentimental items handed down from family. This was a tad overwhelming, but rewarding. I no longer have items falling out the doors or stacked underneath. Plus my cherish heirlooms are safe and easy to access.
Laundry room, shelves, and closet
The laundry room was accomplished in spurts of time over one week. This room had boxes we never unpacked in our last house and somehow missed the past few January purges. For some reason, I hesitated to give them away. Really, if I haven’t missed these items in SEVEN years – do I need it? I sorted and bagged according to the destination of each item. I picked up some storage bins from a friend (also purging) and organized what was left. I finally have usable space in there!
Spare room storage closet
I have to admit, 18 days into the January purge and I’m losing speed. I have one more space to tackle – the spare room closet. This daunting space is loaded – floor to ceiling. Thankfully my husband is helping out in this space and we are both very motivated because this room is the next in line for renovations. (You can count on a future post about a Murphy bed and a built-in office.) I expect to finish this closet within a few days of this post.
So far, I have taken two FULL VANS of donation bags to the Goodwill and we have a borrowed trailer in the driveway to hall the garbage to the dump. It feels good to start the year shedding material items. We are NOT planning to replace any of these items, so this was not an ‘upgrade’ purge. We are truly trying to get down to the basics of what we need. And the bonus is, the less clutter, the easier it is for me (and the kids) to clean, play, and enjoy one another.
Room by room, space by space, closet by closet. Purge.
If you’d like to go further, you can join the 12-week home organization challenge
Or visit the Martha Stewart Organization and Storage page on pinterest.