I was talking to my mom the other day, and she told me about a book and article she'd read about hoarders. She wondered why my sisters have an easy time keeping things minimal, whereas she and I tend to hoard stuff. At first, I took offense, envisioning people buried in their possessions with rotting food and 50 cats. Hoarder! I'm no hoarder! But after I thought about it for a while, I started to see her point...
While I don't feel like I'm a hoarder, I do tend to buy this and that, thinking it will fix what I don't like about a space in our home, when really it is the wood trim, the brown everything, and too much stuff that I don't like. Problems that a new throw pillow cannot solve. And what happens when I'm over that purchase a few months later? I feel guilty letting it go because I paid xx dollars for it, so I store it, thinking I'll sell it or repurpose it. But that never happens.
With that in mind, I decided to take a close look at our spaces to clear out the clutter and organize what we really use. I realize that the purging process is ongoing. I'm sure I'll have to continually revisit our spaces (especially the kids' areas). I also think that with time I can get more ruthless about what I let go. But we've all got to start somewhere.
The good news is, I love to organize. The bad news is, the first step in organizing is purging. And that is not my favorite part. But it is crucial.
The purge really all started back when I decided to relocate Liv's room. In the process, I had to clear out everything in both bedrooms so that I could paint them and clean the carpets. I told myself that nothing was going back into those two rooms that was not intentional. To me that meant three things: every item belonged in that space, every item was needed for that space, and there was room for that item in the space. This left me with a very large pile of crap in our hallway. (The mattress and borrowed dresser went into the guest room, but pretty much everything else needed to go.)
Slowly but surely, I've dwindled down the pile. I found homes for a few things: I snagged the cutest little lamp shade at World Market for Liv's room and was able to use it on a lamp base I've had for years; I fixed up that garage sale nightstand. But the rest I donated.
This progress motivated me. Really, most rooms in our house need work, but I started with the worst offender: the playroom. (Well, the basement is the worst offender, but that is a whole different kettle of fish.)
Unfortunately, I didn't get a good "before" picture. But you can see below how we had the Expedit horizontal with the aquarium and lots of crap on top of it. And the grocery store crowded in the corner, making it hard for the kids to get behind it to play. Though that didn't always stop Liv; she's making me an egg here.
For the playroom, I started by relocating Ben's aquarium to his room so that I could move out the Expedit it was sitting on. This made room for their table/chairs (which were taking up space in the office).
Then Ben and I went through all of the toys together. He did a great job of letting go of many toys. We gathered up two big bags full of toys for B&D's baby-to-be, along with several larger baby toys that Liv has outgrown.
Next, I moved all of the stuffed animals and most of their books (and we've got a lot) up to the kids' rooms. This freed up space to bring in their coloring books, art supplies, etc. and create a zone for artwork. I have to store it all up high though, because Little Miss LOVES to get into this stuff.
In an effort to "pretty up" what was left, I invested in five of these Rugby bins for the Expedit. I saw them in this blog post and fell in love (and I'll take that large art print too, please).
Sorry for the glare. We really need better lighting in this room.
I really think that we can pare down even more. I may move some of the toys living on the other Expedit (the one in the corner below) to Ben's room and put the shelf to work somewhere else. But for phase 1 of the purge, I'm feeling pretty good. There is actually ample floor space for playing and everything has an uncluttered home.
I've got a few more plans for this space, like a new coat of paint for the walls (no more brown!) and a ceiling light (which requires an electrician to wire the ceiling), but I'm happy with the progress.
Next up--the office. Stay tuned. :-)