I never post before photos. Too scary. I don’t want reveal the clutter of my home. As I said it is TOO scary. But today I am doing the unthinkable posting a couple of before photos. The first photo is mostly an after photo, but from the clutter on top of the desk you can see why I would shy away from posting before photos. Shudders.
I see my home as a work in progress. I’m ALWAYS in decluttering mode. Looking back I can just barely remember a time when my home was clutter free. There was a period from July 1994 til early December 1995 when my home was free of clutter. We had moved from a tiny two-bedroom townhouse to a four-bedroom home. We had the home built. We traded three teeny closets for 5 massive-to-us closets and an entire basement. Our new home even had two attics; one in the garage and one in the roof. Our townhouse did not have a basement or an attic for that matter. Almost twenty years later, we don’t use either attic, BUT should we need the space the attic is ready and waiting.
But back to my previously clutter-free home. If you read my blog, you know I am ALL about going off on tangents. I’m one big stream of consciousness! When we moved in, the contents of our townhouse looked like doll furniture in our new home. We had to spread out all our furniture to make the house look less spartan.
1. Purge the Baby Stuff
Our descent down the clutter-y slop was a gradual one. But once we were sliding down that slippery slope, there was no escape. You see I found out I was pregnant in the early spring of 1995. Soon our house didn’t seem so empty. That first piece of baby furniture was a new crib for our soon-to-be bundle of joy. That crib was the first baby item. The first of many. Next came the baby changing table. Followed by a stroller. Then a baby exersaucer. And of course we had to have a variety of baby soothers and bouncy seats. Sometime in early December with my due date looming, I looked around my home and wondered where all the space had gone. Babies need a lot of stuff!
2. Organize the Chaos
We had no idea how much stuff we would accumulate. No idea at all. Our family went from 2 to 3 to 4 and finally to 5. Five people. Three children. The toys were stuffed and packed in every corner of the house. I remembered finishing our basement and thinking “Now, I can put all the toys in the playroom. Finally an end to the clutter problem!” How naive I was! The basement playroom was loaded with toys, but the kids had toys in their bedrooms, there were toys in the family room, and even toys in the garage. No room was free of clutter.
The birth of my youngest child was a significant event. First, he was a boy. After two girls, I was anxious but excited to have a baby boy in our family. His birth also marked my exit from work. I had quit my job before my oldest daughter’s birth to embark on a freelance editing and product management gig. Loved my job. Loved that I could work from home AND still be home with my babies. But working from home with minimal daycare was the pits. Some days I got my work done and raised the kids, but much of those first six years is a blur. 🙁
I felt reckless quitting my freelance job, but it made sense for our family. Without work assignments looming and deadlines beckoning, I was able to be the stay-at-home mom I had always wanted to be. My youngest and I joined several playgroups. I joined a mom’s group in my community and one at my church. I became an active classroom volunteer. I worked a couple of fundraising events at my church. I LOVED being at home.
4. Deep Clean Your Home
With time on my hands, I was able to look at my home with a critical eye. I had to admit it was a big mess. I was actually shocked at what a mess it was. And I am not just talking about messy bathrooms and kitchen floors. Although the bath tubs were in need of a scrub. I had done the bare minimum to keep my home passably clean in the first six years of post-kids.
5. Clean Your Home Regularly
Once I had time, I set to work cleaning and scrubbing. I became a devotee of everything Swiffer has ever made. I developed a fondness for Magic Erasers, although years of fingerprints was often too much as I destroyed one Magic Eraser after another. With sparkling bathrooms and kitchens, I set to decluttering the house in a BIG way.
Stay tuned: My tips for decluttering will be posted this week!
Until then, here’s a few of my #organization posts for you: