Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Motivation to Declutter- 40 Bags in 40 Days

I came across Ann Marie Heasley's blog, White House Black Shutters last summer through Pinterest when she had started her "Summer Simplify" series. She shared inspiration for simplifying spaces around the home. I tackled quite a few areas and shared my success on Instagram along with her and other followers.

Now it's time for spring cleaning and our house (and garage!) could really use some decluttering and simplifying. Anne Marie came along again with 40 Bags in 40 Days and I was sold. Over the 40 days of lent you focus on areas that need to be decluttered and/or purged of the overflow. She even has a printable chart (see linked post above) to help you plan and keep track of your progress. I've got my whole house mapped out on one and am ready to start TOMORROW!

I chose fairly small areas and even broke some up into two days, for during the week. Saturdays are for bigger projects that Ben + I can take on together or one of us can spend time on while the other keeps track of the kiddos.

This is a layout of our teensie not even 900 square foot home to give you an idea of what we're working with here...

To answer the number one question we've heard since announcing my pregnancy with baby #3, no we are not planning on moving into a bigger house.

Here are some before photos of our house. It's BAAAD! Way worse than usual due to prolonged sickness, a hospital stay and the exhaustion + nausea that come with early pregnancy. Enough excuses, come along for a very real and very messy tour of our home...

We don't call either of the two living areas of our home the "family room" we just call the front half the front room and the other is the living room because we watch tv and spend most of our time there. Because of the blind spot in this layout with the skinny hallway we have a baby gate right at the end of that hallway between our bedroom door and the bathroom so the "front room" is where we house a lot of things we don't want kiddos getting into. It also becomes a catch-all because of that...

Our coat closet just inside the front door is home to gift bags and wrapping (top shelf), the coats we are using for the particular season along with a hanging storage thing with hats + scarves, and a shelf with craft supplies.

Our bookshelf is home to books, photo albums, knick knacks, DVD's, our printer, and some preschool activities. Our desk has the desktop computer, my filing system that I failed after all the sickness (I shall be reviving it during the next 40 days!), and drawers that are cluttered with stationary, office supplies and myriad electronics. Next to the desk is an end table with preschool supplies and a general pile of mess. The piano catches a lot as well, and next to it is another end table with our basket for library books.

I pre-cleaned this room yesterday to get it ready for the real decluttering. It had suffered the most over our time of sickness and recovery.

Next to it is our bedroom...

It's quite small so I wouldn't dare call it a master. It's marginally bigger than the other two bedrooms. Our large furniture doesn't help things. Not pictured, to the left of the folding chair, hidden behind the dresser is a matching vanity. The set belonged to my great grandmother and I just LOVE it, but it is all fairly large.

That sad pile of yarn is on my side of the bed. Our closet is in a sad state as well. The shelf is our bedding and some out of season or bulky clothing, the hanging space is lacking and under it are our laundry hampers. I'd love to do custom built-ins in each of the bedroom closets, they are all this size and layout. They also all randomly have popcorn ceiling inside them (the rest of the house does too, but WHY the closets?).

The bathroom is diagonal from our room, I don't have any before photos because I recently went through it and got rid of 2 bags of stuff. I will go through it again, but it's also too tiny to get a good picture.

The playroom and future nursery for baby #3 is next to our room. We also currently use this room for our preschool lessons. I don't know if we'll continue to do so once it's a nursery, only time will tell.

The dresser in here is mostly Malakai's clothing but also has some homeschool stuff and some random things. It's the upper right photo with the cluttery top. Things get put up there a lot to keep out of Desmond's reach. The closet used to be quite organized, I had a system in that dresser for clothing the boys had outgrown and new clothing. There is also a drawer for baby items that I didn't want to store in the garage for temperature control reasons, and another for puzzles and coloring books. It's all a mess now, as you can see. I plan to put my system back into place and possibly add labels. 

Next is the boys' bedroom. They've been sharing for several months now and it's going quite well. We plan to rearrange and swap the dresser from the playroom with the changer/dresser in here. I didn't do a collage of this room because I was interrupted while taking photos. The thing I need to declutter most in here is behind those closet doors that I can't get to, which will be remedied when we get to rearranging. 

Our main living area is pretty minimalist to keep from clutter and from kids getting into things because this is where we spend most of our days. The biggest issue in this area is the linen closet between the boys' room and the playroom. Blankets and towels have been piled. I hate all of our closets because the metal bi-fold doors are so noisy. This one is the worst because it's broken so I hate even using this space. 

Then there is our tiny kitchen, which I affectionately refer to as "the galley" due to it's size. I've honestly seen RV's with bigger kitchens and more storage. Our counter-tops are constantly cluttered because it's another "out of kid-reach" zone (except when Des gets an itch to climb) and again, we spend the most time back here so if I don't have the ability to head into the front room where I can't see the kids to put something in it's rightful place, it lands here. We also have a toy time-out on top of the fridge, so that doesn't help matters. 

The cupboards are hard for me, I'm only 5'2" and being pregnant is a lot like shrinking. The further my belly pushes me away from the counter, the shorter my reach to the shelves. Our tupperware shelf is the worst. We don't have enough lower cupboards to put them down low and there are only 5 small drawers, the largest of which holds all the lids. I keep the knives in there too because of the aforementioned climbing toddler. He can't climb that side because it has a dishwasher instead of drawers. 

We randomly keep medicines next to the cookbooks and other gadgets when they are in frequent use, which they have been the last couple months, so that also makes for clutter. Things are constantly falling out at me. 

I've saved the best for last my friends. In case you thought the rest of the house wasn't so bad, let me introduce- The garage. We haven't parked in it every since we got our van last summer, it doesn't fit. So we made plans for craft, toy, tool, garden, and pantry storage. It also houses our laundry room. Homemade gift projects took over one area, then Christmas decor and gifts exploded in here, toys, toys, toys, Ben's long neglected tool bench, and my sad laundry area are all in here. I also have an embarrassing collection of "reusables" that include toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes, and other containers that I had hoped to use for preschool projects and other DIYs but really they've just taken over an entire bin in the hamper and the top shelf of the outdoor pantry (which is just a small 3 tier shelf by the laundry). This area could REALLY use built-ins. Our biggest want is to build shelves to store totes on to rotate toys more efficiently. 

So that's all my clutter, laid bare for you to see. I need the accountability of putting this all out here so I can make sure to GET IT DONE! Ben is with me on all of this, and he'll be doing a lot of the garage. I put most of that at the end of the list in hopes that we'll all be healthier by then, and the weather will be warmer so we can move things out into the driveway as we rearrange and make our piles of trash, recycle, donate, sale, and keep.

If you'd like to join the 40 Bags in 40 Days crew, check out White House, Black Shutters for the details and let me know that you're in!

I'll be sharing my long term progress here, but short term I'll post to Instagram and Facebook so be sure to check in with me there and feel free to share your progress too! It's motivation to see others' success! I'll be using #BNGblogdeclutters to track my progress.

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