I have finally pinpointed the source of my anxiety and depression, and am taking action to combat it.
In one hand is a trash bag, in the other, a donation box. Bring it on.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Big Changes

I am discovering a major truth. When you make big changes in the area where you live, it makes big changes in how you live. Shocking, right?

So much in the past month has changed here! I am, of course, not done. I don't know that I ever will be "finished" on this path. I have made some serious strides, though. After suffering through a lot of frustration while working on my bedroom, I finally sent my kids to spend the day at my best friends house. My husband, Carl, and I were able to accomplish our goals within about five hours.

The shameful mess at the beginning. 

I have no idea how it ever got so bad. I am not, by nature, a dirty person. I've never been naturally immaculate, but I am... tidy. The piles of projects and boxes from storage were confined to our room, away from crazy toddler paws, and it just... grew. It's like you start with a small mess, and it builds on itself. If you never make any progress and things are continually added to it, it eventually becomes impossible to do anything with it. Then what's already there hinders progress, because piles are blocking where other piles would be "put away". Eventually it just.... implodes. This room is the reason I decided to start researching minimalism. I've been so busy with it, it's also the reason that I haven't updated in a month. It was time well spent.

We started by moving it all out of the bedroom and into the living room.

Carl preps the wall with a safety bracket and slides the new bookshelf into place.

Next we loaded up the shelves so that all the books wouldn't be in the way. I've moved them around a little since then, rearranging and editing. I ended up moving the yellow magazine holders into the dining room (I'll show you in a moment.) and I've put some more craft supplies up top.

Next we moved all the furniture back in, in our new arrangement. I even took the small (mostly unused) dresser from the boys' room and slipped it in. Even though there are still some boxes and piles to go through, and TWO more pieces of furniture, the room still feels more spacious. I don't know if it's the layout, or the fact that the piles are cut down to 1/3 what they used to be, but I'm digging it.


There's still a few bins that I need to go through, mostly decor and linens, and there's now a pile of boxes in the corner. I still haven't had a chance to completely go through my closet, though I've finished going through everything (of clothes) that was in storage. That's the bad news. 

The good news is that our apartment building is having a yard sale in two weeks, everything in the boxes in the corner is marked to be sold, and I have a garbage bag stuffed full of 99% of the clothes that were in storage, ready to be sold! My goal is to have gone through EVERYTHING by the yard sale! 

One major undertaking that I've accomplished, but you can't really tell from photos, is cleaning out the filing cabinet. I collected ALL the piles of paperwork from around the house, (the top of the computer desk in the living room is now clear!!) dumped out the files, and went to town. 

I had thought that I would need to invest in a taller cabinet, one that had four drawers. After going through everything, it all fit into one drawer! It's amazing how much crap was shoved in there. Now that there is more space in there, I'm planning on getting all of the photos and momentos from the "precious things" bin in storage. That way they'll be accessible and I can start working on putting together baby books and memory albums. I'm saving these things for that purpose, I should probably actually do it!


Our bedroom isn't the only place that has changed. I've been revisiting the kitchen and dining areas. Tweaking where things go, realizing that I don't use things, (A giant wok?? I forgot I even HAD that!) placing them aside for the yard sale, and slowly finding homes for things that used to live out on the counter.

The results?

Check out those counter tops!!
Whenever I go into the kitchen, I just want to trail my hands along the empty spaces. 
It's like it's just BEGGING to have food prepared on it! 
Cooking is so much more enjoyable when you're not working in the middle of a mess.

The container on the washer with the white powder? My own homemade laundry soap!

I don't love where the booster seat trays have ended up, on top of the microwave, but it's certainly tidier than the old solution: sitting on the counter top or dirty in the sink! I'm sure a better solution will occur to me sooner or later. (Eventually my youngest will just grow out of using them, I guess!)

The top of the fridge is clean and clutter free. I've managed to train myself to not just toss stuff up there when I'm not sure where it should go.

The old dish rack is chillin' in the corner. My Mom loves me and gave me a portable dishwasher for Christmas, so the rack hasn't seen much action. I'll still bust it out occasionally, when there's a large stock pot or something that I don't want to eat up space in a load of dishes. The turquoise bin is where we stash our bread. Then we have my thrift-store finds, a 70's chic glass fruit bowl, and a cutesy-utsey mushroom cookie jar. (Which is currently empty. Sadness.)

I've also taken the time to clean up the top of the pantries. 
You may remember the hot mess they were from my early entry Operation: Pantry.

Having these supplies tidied and streamlined has not
only made it easier on the eye, but it's so much easier to use! 

The binder has loose paper for free-coloring and practicing shapes. Behind the coloring supplies are poster boards, held tidy with a chip clip. All of the crayons and chalk are contained and easy to find, as are the coloring books and home making magazines.

The smaller vases are tucked back behind the smaller cook books, and everything is organized and clean. I've even tucked a notepad up there, which I've started using to jot down meal and recipe ideas.

Last, we have the shelves in the kitchen and dining room.

The shelf in the kitchen is where I've allowed myself to display a few kitschy, cluttery things. I still feel like it's too much, so I'm sure I'll be editing and switching things out. 

The artwork that's up there is inherited, so I don't necessarily LOVE it, but it's working for me. I'd rather have something I sort-of like, at this stage, than no art. I look forward to the day when I can walk into my home and only see things that I LOVE.

Here is the shelf in the dining room! It used to be absolutely covered in junk, and I'd constantly find myself dumping mail up there. Keeping it clean means that there's somewhere for Carl to put his wallet and sunglasses when he gets home each day from work.

Well, now that I have overloaded you with photos, I'll be on my merry little way. I have a lot to accomplish in the next two weeks, before the yard sale. I need to go through the rest of my clothes and my bathroom. There's a few more areas that I considered sharing photos of with you (the game closet, the linen closet) but I'll save those for another day. I need to start updating more frequently so that it doesn't all pile up like this! (Funny, how it's not that different from keeping a home clean!) 

I hope you are inspired to minimize and streamline your own living space. If I can make such strides toward a tidier and more enjoyable existence, then I guarantee that anybody can.

1 comment:

  1. Your apt looks so great!!! I'm going to have to go to the yard sale!! Love them! I recently have also discovered what it's like to live in a clean-er space. It's so nice! And I'm actually keeping it clean. My newest job is cleaning out my closet. Oh boy, that's going to be a tough one!!