A few months ago, I looked around my house and realized something had to change. Clutter was everywhere, which meant cleaning was just not happening. And it weighed on us. I suddenly became keenly aware of the underlying mental burden of having a messy house. We were grumpy, frustrated, and overwhelmed by how much needed to be done. It seemed we’d straighten a little and within mere moments the mess would be back.
It wasn’t always this way, but since coming home from the hospital, our focus had been Juniper and Juniper alone. Any housework being done was the bare minimum needed to survive. Laundry (mostly hers), dishes, that’s about it. That’s all fine and good when you’re in survival mode, but eventually survival mode ends and life goes on. I realized I didn’t want my life to go on in a messy way.
And yet… I’m not the best at housekeeping. I looked around at my messy, dirty house and felt overwhelmed. Where do you even start? Well the answer is, somewhere. The answer is, anywhere. Pick a place and go. And so I did.
I picked our hall closet and started making bag after bag of shoes and coats to give away, and some to throw in the trash. The hall closet had been stuffed to the brim with coats and shoes, most of which we never used. It was the bottleneck in much of the downstairs clutter. The coats and shoes we did use couldn’t fit in the closet and so they were strewn everywhere.
A few hours work led to this:
Success! Over the following few days, I sent Andreas out of the house with four or five bags to drop in one of those giant, yellow Planet Aid bins down the street.
And just like that, with one organized space under my belt, I was on a roll. I had purge fever, and I had it bad. Next up was my closet. Another bottleneck in upstairs clutter. I wish I took a before picture because the difference is shocking. Clothes piled everywhere, practically to the ceiling in some spots. Maternity clothes, old suits from my early career, things I haven’t touched in years, things I DESPISED.
Why was I hanging on to all of these?! I don’t know. I just WAS.
So I began making up giveaway bags but quickly found that cleaning out your closet can be emotional business. We have such weird attachments to our physical belongings, particularly our clothes. I found some amazing tips on purging here and here and used them to guide me. (Do I wear it? Do I love it? Does it fit?) I didn’t realize I should have been doing small purges all along for years.
It honestly took weeks. I didn’t count but I probably sent out at least 15 giveaway bags and two giant bags of straight up trash. I’d work on a little at a time and kept the final vision of a clean, sane, organized closet as my inspiration to keep forging ahead.
I don’t have a dresser so I installed some wall drawers and got some new containers for purses, scarves, bathing suits and other odds and ends. I pulled it all together this past weekend, finishing with a thorough pass through with the vacuum and… ahhhhh. I can breathe again.
Now every time I put something away, I feel good. Weeks later, I still get a thrill every time I open the hall closet and see everything in it’s place.
Along the way, I made a list of areas that need organizing as well as little projects that need doing in each room (inspired by this). I’m not even halfway through the list – there’s still SO MUCH MORE to do! Big things. Like the giant storage closet off the baby’s room that is a disaster. The office closet which is the catch-all for every sort of random odd and end. The linen/cleaning closet in the bathroom? War zone. My baking cabinet? Eeeesh.
But, I’m getting there. And along the way, I’m falling in love with my house again. For reasons I’ll go into soon, I haven’t LOVED my house in a long time. Maybe really ever. And it matters. Especially now that I spent 97 percent of my time inside of it? Loving your house is important.
Have you been bitten by the organizing bug? Where did you start?