My masters degree is in (basically) organization. Although my parents might dispute the following statement, I've always craved order in my life. Maybe not in the "keeping my room clean" kind of way when I was younger, but it has certainly evolved into that in both my professional and private life now. Only now, I've added the element of "simplicity" to the need for order...which has nudged me into making some major changes this year and joining my first ever "challenge". I hang out a lot on the Mothering.com discussion boards and there's one in particular there that is about having an organized, simple, and efficient home...right up my alley! We talk about things that might be boring to some, but speak deeply to me and my need to streamline the housework so that it never becomes a burden...just something to be dealt with quickly so that I can get to the fun stuff.
The challenge that was raised was to get rid of / de-clutter our homes of 2010 items in the the year 2010. I thought, "No frakking way that's gonna happen...still...maybe I'll join just for the accountability factor and it's not like I couldn't stand to throw some stuff out here and there".... Well, I have to tell you that as of this posting, my total is at 1487 items out of 2010. I can't believe it. And I started this in February. Seriously. That I had that much extra "stuff" in my house that was redundant / unnecessary / extra / pointless / useless / hadn't thought about in years and years. I mean, take a look in your junk drawer in the kitchen and I bet you could toss 20 items right then and there! At this point I've done just that: looked in almost every drawer in the entire house, making sure that what was in there had a purpose. In the kitchen I realized that I had 2 of a lot of things because as I learn to cook, I get better appliances / tools and forget to pass along the old versions. In my bedroom closet I found clothing that I hadn't worn in over 5 years and, lets face it, would probably never fit into again...so that got bagged up to sell / donate. There was stuff like that all over the house and there still is in sections but we're working on it. So far we've had 2 garage sales and done a lot of Goodwill runs. Our last garage sale is coming up this weekend and once that's over, almost everything that doesn't sell will be taken straight to the donation pile. (Some of it I'll continue trying to sell on craigslist but if it isn't gone by my deadline, out the door it goes).
Because why hang on to all of these "extras"...just in case you need them someday? Trust me, we do plenty of that...no need to add to those piles. That's why the garage will be our last purging project...I've been slowly working my way through every nook and cranny of every room in the house, working my way out into the garage (which is a veritable sty at this point, full of garage sale items, boxes, odds and ends...it's cluttered to say the least...). I've found that getting rid of this stuff has got my house feeling cleaner, lighter, brighter...and that makes me feel the same way. Being surrounded by only the things you need and/or love makes for a calm space...a place you can breathe easy...a place that doesn't scream, "Clean me! I'm a big mess! Don't you feel bad that you've ignored me for so long that it's gonna take days to get me organized"?
This challenge has been a lot of work. It will continue to be a lot of work but I have a deadline and that is June. My youngest will make his appearance in July and I want to have a chance to rest before that happens so it will all be done by June. If I don't make it to 2010 items...so be it. But my house will be a clean, simple, version of it's former self and I will be content. And from now on, if something "new" enters the house, something "old" will exit the house. No more collecting "stuff".
So...on to the closet. One of the specific parts of the challenge was to tackle a storage space that wasn't working for us. For me, it's always been the master bathroom closet. It would intimidate me every time I opened the door. Nothing would ever be where I'd left it, baskets of items would mix with others and make a jumble of "stuff" that nothing could be found in. So here's the before (I can't believe I'm showing you this...):
And here's a picture of what all the stuff looked like all over my bathroom when I took it all out...I can't believe it all fit in there in the first place...well...I guess it *didn't* really fit in there now that I think about it...otherwise it wouldn't have been such a mess!
And finally, what it looks like today. In fact, I just took this picture so you wouldn't think that I cleaned it up special just for you...this is really what it looks like now:
I threw a ton of products that hadn't seen the light of day in years away. I moved some of it to my pantry to live with other like items. And I got some plastic, see through containers to store the stuff that we actually need to store. And I labeled those containers so there is NO QUESTION where something is to be returned (I heart my labeler). We now have room! I don't wince upon opening the door! I can find what I'm looking for! It's awesome.
If I can tackle this closet...I bet you can do the same. Take on one small space and get rid of that extra stuff that only serves to weigh you down and clutter your life. Who knows...you might get on a roll and join me in my pursuit for a simple, organized, and stress-free space!