Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Now its a room you can view!

I love to just go and sit in there and soak it in. I have my spare room back...ahhhh... It still serves as guest room/office/baby's room. But it is no longer the "junk"room!!!

Here are some before and afters:

The corner:

The bed:

The closet:

  • This room has always been a particular difficulty. We do have a store room, but it is in a very basementy part of the basement. So, anything "nice" would get shoved in the guest room. Besides that, its multiple purposes make it difficult to keep it up. I have cleaned this room up before. Usually that meant filling the closet and drawers with all the extra stuff. Which meant digging through closets and drawers when I needed to find something, causing a big mess. This clean out has made a big difference. Note there is actually some open space in the closet. It used to be like playing tetris to get everything in there just right. Also, what you can't see is even better. There is actual space in the drawers and the cabinet. There is even 1 completely empty drawer!!!

  • I am so glad to get this cleaned out. We have big plans for this room. This summer I want to make it the girls room. Everything but the tall dresser, and some of the stuff in the closet will be moving to a much smaller room. Now it is all ready to go.

  • I am up to 46 boxes now. I have finished every room in the house except for the "back room" that very basementy place I referred to earlier. It is such a big job I broke it into 6 sections. I have been wanting to clean it out for years now. That will be a huge accomplishment. I was going to give myself the day off today. But the thought of getting the back room cleaned out is so exciting I am sure I'll be in there digging out. But a completely decluttered home would be a fabulous birthday gift!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Boxes # 14 through.....


After 9 days of my decluttering challenge I have dug out 32 boxes of stuff to get rid of. (I guess I should have started with a bigger box) I would double my goal to 60, but I know I still have 2 of my worst areas to go, so I think I will just keep counting and see if I can get to 100! That sounds daunting. But really I am a third of the way there in less than a third of the month.

It is amazing once you get started how you want to keep on going. The lightness I feel after getting rid of stuff is great motivation. And I have been learning and growing through this too. I have been jotting down some of my spiritual reflections as I go along. I think I will take time during May to develop some of those thoughts more deeply.

But this past week I have heard two messages that hit home more because of my decluttering challenge. First our pastor preached a great message on idolatry on Sunday. It really made me think about what my "stuff" represented. As I sorted through a lot of my nostalgia, I thought the each item I was holding onto. Was it tangible story to pass on to the next generation? Or was it my own personal little shrine to my past? The tangible stories can stay, the shrines need to go.

Second, the devotional speaker at my mom's group spoke about making time for an intimate relationship with God. (She was really good, and just happens to be my wonderful real life mom.) As I was cleaning out my hall closet I thought about all the time I waste, moving stuff around, searching for stuff, cleaning out stuff just because I have too much stuff. God is a jealous God. I think He wants that time back, for me to spend with Him and use for Him.

So now for some before and afters:

Here we have the girl's/guest's linen closets:

I had 7 sets of sheets for my guest room!! The only people who have used it in the last year are me and the screaming baby, and my sister-in-law. I plan to use the empty space for kids games when I unearth them in the family room. I pared down my scrapbooking supplies to one long tub. That is in my closet. Hopefully the sewing stuff will move there too. Then I can use that space for the heavy blankets I'll need to put away as the weather warms up.

And the hallway coat closet:

Yes we have a lot of coats. That happens to farmers. Since I promised myself I would not declutter anything personally belonging to the farmer, we still have a lot of coats, but not quite so many. The best thing was relocating those 3 drawer organizers. Now I frequently drool over these at the store. And here I had 2 on the top shelf of my coat closet. OK, why would someone put 3 drawer organizers on a top shelf. Well, we're tall, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. So I moved one down to a useful level. And I put things on the top shelf that I could reach and move easily without standing on a chair. The other 3 drawer organizer is sitting empty waiting for me to find the perfect spot. I think my closet is calling it's name.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A special comforter

I remember a very special day when I was a little girl. I don't remember exactly when it was, but I know it was a Sunday, and I think I was 3 or 4. I remember the sunlight shining through my windows. and I was lying on my bed with this comforter.

My brother burst into my room to tell me something great. He had learned in Sunday School that if you asked Jesus to forgive you and come into your heart, he would live in your heart and you would go to heaven. I was lying on my bed pondering what he said. I decided that I wanted Jesus to live in my heart too. So I prayed a simple prayer and became a Christian.

I didn't know the four spiritual laws or exactly how it all worked. But with the faith of a child I joined the Kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14

I have kept that comforter all these years because it is part of my memory of that day. But I don't really need it. I will never forget that day. So I took this picture, praying that my little girls will one day have such a memory of their own. I bundled up the comforter and donated it to warm someone else who needs it. And I pray that they will find the warmth I have within, that comes from Jesus living in my heart.

(You can find other's pictures here)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Boxes 7-13

Spaces are deceptive. You really can't tell how much stuff they can hold until you start to clean it out. As I finished off the master bedroom I didn't think I would fill another box. But I decided to be thorough and clean out the small spaces that were left. I was amazed as I easily filled a box plus some. I think my husband might have a heart attack when he sees how much I have to go to the garbage. I really wouldn't have thought that we had that much to throw away.

We baked some cookies the other day, so I was staying in the kitchen as they went in and out of the oven. I decided to clean out a kitchen cabinet and do some needed reorganizing. I notice a simple solution to some kitchen issues that I have had. First I have mostly switched to glass storage containers. They have lovely navy blue or white lids that even coordinate with my kitchen. However the lids were constantly disappearing in a deep cabinet. Second little lamb has recently discovered that cabinets are fun, and the glass within reach seemed like a disaster waiting to happen. Third our plastic children's dishes were being stored in a shallow high cabinet, completely out of reach for babydoll to get her dishes out or put her clean dishes away. Such an easy solution. I put all the kids dishes in a tub and put them in the deep lower cabinet. I put the glass dishes in the upper cabinet w/ the lids all in one container. Now I have a "plastic" cabinet for little lamb, and babydoll has a new responsibility. Plus, I love being able to find my storage dishes and lids w/ ease. Here is the before (well mid-clean out) and after:

I mentioned spaces are deceptive. We have 2 narrow linen closets. I cleaned out the smallest one. I took out 4 boxes worth of stuff!!! I love my clean looking linen closet. In years past I would have looked at all the empty space and thought I should fill it up with other storage. But I am beginning to appreciate the peaceful calmness of empty space. Here is the before and after:

I can't wait until garbage day. I will feel so much lighter when much of the stuff is gone completely. My guestroom is starting to fill up w/ stuff for our momcycle day. I don't wish it was sooner though, because I still have plenty more stuff to clean out. I am looking forward to April 30th though. It will be so freeing!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Clothes Clean-out

That is my closet before.

This is the stuff I got rid of:

I am calling this 3 boxes. Though it might actually be more like 4 or 5. But getting to 6 boxes by day 2 seems like a good start. This isn't all from the closet. I have a few clothes in drawers as well. I cleaned out all those to. I now have some empty drawer space.

Bonus: I think I found a good place to store maternity clothes. We have a long deep cupboard in the bottom of our headboard. It isn't very accessible for regular use. But would be perfect for my maternity clothes stash. And that would free up a big tub, that is currently "pretending" it is a nightstand in my guestroom.

This time cleaning through my closet was a rewarding experience, because everything "fit"! By fit, I mean that I could get everything zippered, buttoned, snapped etc... Not that I would necessarily wear it that snug in public. But I am at my lowest weight in 3 yrs and still slowly losing.

I also have been wanting to put together a dress up box for the girls. I found lots of hats, a way too short for me -but pretty dress, a lab coat, and a pair of shoes to get a good start on the dress up box.

This is my closet after:

It still needs a little help. I don't really like those bins on top. I like being able to get to my clothes that way, but the bins are too tall, so either I combine my short and long stuff, or there is a lot of wasted space.

I have started a list of things I would like to buy. Since it is my birthday this month I usually get some birthday money. I can never decide what to spend it on. This clean-out is helping me to really think about what I want that would actually be useful.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Box #3

I needed something to do while the girls were playing in the backyard. So I pulled out my boxes of old pictures. Now I really enjoy scrapbooking. I have scrap books from 1992-July 2006. Then we switched to our digital camera, had children etc... I have now switched to digital scrapbooking (I'll go on about how wonderful it is some other time) I am working my way backwards now, I am up to date for 2010, and am almost done with 2009.

However throughout the years I got free double prints. Even though I have my lovely srapbooks of these memories, I saved all the doubles. I had 4 plastic shoe boxes filled with pictures. Now I have one.

Here is the shoeboxes and the box of pics to throw away:

Here is what I have left to save:

As a bonus, I now have 3 plastic shoeboxes to use for other storage needs.

Missionary Mementos

I found a great idea from this blog. I have lots of things with sentimental value. However in many cases it is not the object, but the story behind the object that is valuable. In order to simplify and remove clutter, Tanna from Complete Organizing Solutions suggests taking a picture and recording the stories of things with sentimental value. Then you can get rid of the stuff, but keep the memory.

So here is my first memory picture.

These three mementos traveled to me from three different continents, were given to me in three different states, by three different people, in three different years. What they have in common that they were from missionaries. We were blessed as children to have parents who welcomed missionaries into our home. Both my brother and I developed a strong love for missions. I'll take them in order:

1. The grass skirt and bag wall hanging is from Papua New Guinea. I received it in Rochester, NY about 26 years ago. Stuart Merriam was the missionary. But what was most exciting is that he brought tribal people with him when he visited our Church every few years. That year two Papua New Guineans stayed overnight in our home. One was a boy our age. We had so much fun playing with him, and he taught us how to use some native toys. They sold these little wall hanging to raise money for the mission.

2. The round fur is from Bolivia. I received it in 1987 in California, where I lived when I was in Jr. Hi. The missionaries were the Wymas. They were with Wycliffe Bible Translators. They came to our home for dinner when they were visiting our church. I still clearly remember their stories and our visit. They brought us the fur as a hostess gift. It is literally falling apart now. Pieces of fur fall off when you pick it up.

3. This little cat box is from Honduras. I received it here at my home in Illinois. It was a gift from my brother and sister-in-law when they worked at a mission school in Honduras.

While I have lost track of the missionaries who brought these (except for my brother of course). And these items don't take up space in my home anymore. The memories of the warmth and excitement accompanying them still keep a place in my heart.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

30 Boxes, 30 Days - Decluttering Challenge

I have been busy! Of course 2 little ones keeps you hopping. But the past several months I have been working on becoming more organized.

The idea that I would enjoy becoming organized may be a shock to my friends and family. One word that describes me well is "random". I like to say I have a tendency toward entropy. But I have made great strides and changes in the past 6 months. I have discovered a lot of tips and techniques to make my journey toward organization easier. And I really enjoy the added serenity in my home. I discovered that the first and most important thing is to cut the clutter!

April is a special month in our home. Not only do we have Easter, and 3 birthdays (including mine), we also have the end of tax season!!! As a bonus my mom's group is having "momcycle" on April 30th. Its basically a big free garage sale, where I can unload a lot of stuff. So it is a great time for a decluttering challenge. I want to get rid of 30 boxes of stuff in 30 days. Now this idea really isn't original to me. I need to acknowledge this blog, and thank her for the inspiration. I am even using some of her method. I made a calendar and divided my home into 25 areas. (I am giving myself Sundays and the Saturday after tax day off.) I assigned an area to each day taking into account busy days. Here is my calendar

I know it is hard to see, but today I assigned our bathroom. I thought it might be hard to fill a box. Our storage space in there is very limited. Boy was I surprised. I easily filled the box to almost overflowing. I amazed at the amount of junk I had under the sink. Now it looks so nice and neat. No before and after pics of the bathroom though. It is so tiny I could hardly take one. Besides who needs to see my organized toiletries. But here is Box # 1:

Seeing all those expired medicines etc... made me wonder what was lurking in the other bathroom. So I jumped ahead and did the guest/girl's bathroom too. Here is box # 2:

Tomorrow is going to be a major clothes clean out for me. A bit of an extra challenge since I am between sizes. I did this almost 2 years ago. It needs it again. But, hopefully it will be easier this time.

I'll let you know...