My husband and I bought our first home in 2006. It was a three story townhouse with plenty of room for us at the time. We didn't have kids yet so our second Bedroom was our Office and our third Bedroom was for guests. The finished basement was my husband's "man cave" complete with tacky Steelers memorabilia among other sports stuff on the walls. I used our Master Bedroom closet and my husband used the two closets in the other Bedrooms. Coming from a small two Bedroom apartment we were living the dream! Two kids later our Guest Bed was now moved to the Basement as well as our desk and my poor husband had his clothes in three different areas. One of them was a closet under the basement stairs with which he needed a flashlight to find anything. If you have kids or know anyone that does you are aware that the arsenal of stuff needed (or you are led to think you need) for a baby is unreal. Bouncy seats and exersaucer, jumpy thing, bassinet, pack n play, high chair, swings, etc. etc. Then once they are old enough to play with stuff the toys take over the house. So living in a home where you have one small Living Room that doubles as your Entry, I got very good at organizing and minimizing anytime I had the chance. However, no matter how organized our home was when the kids were little it was a matter of minutes and it looked like another bomb went off. I would drive myself crazy chasing this perfection that was unrealistic while living with small children. Once the kids were old enough to play unsupervised for a bit we moved most of the toys to the basement. This saved my sanity.
The one thing about living in that townhome is that it taught me not to hold on to unnecessary things. Not because I was so evolved not to have attachment to things but simply because we didn't have the space for them. On a regular basis I would donate things to Goodwill or Purple Heart. I knew where everything was in our house because there just weren't that many places for things to get lost.
Once we moved to our current home which is much bigger I could no longer keep up with where everything was or belonged. So after being here for a year my frustration for messes and disorganization came to an all time high. Here we were deluded to think that we just needed more space and that would make life easier. Wrong! It actually made us more messy and disorganized. I would run around like a crazy person trying to clean up after everyone so that I could fulfill my vision of the perfect house that I wanted. I also didn't commit to teaching my children to clean up after themselves because it was easier and faster to do it myself. Many times I have said "you wouldn't leave your stuff lying around at school would you? So why do you do it here?" Well they do it here because they can get away with it!
So it's like I hit rock bottom with the state of mess and chaos in our house. I just didn't understand it because even though I was pretty good at cleaning out on a regular basis I didn't realize three key things:
There are still so many things laying around that you really don't use, need, or love.
Kids are kids and most of them aren't going to care if the house is a mess or not. It is my job as their Mom to teach them why it is important to clean up after themselves and do their part for our family. This one could include husbands too but fortunately my husband is neater than all of us.
We mindlessly add to the amount of stuff in our homes everyday. For example, papers from school, mail and magazines, the crap you bought at Target that wasn't on your list, little trinkets and stuff kids get from all corners of the earth (birthday parties, friends, prize boxes at school, etc. etc.)
Through my rock bottom was the decision to make a drastic change. Ok maybe not a "sell all of our stuff and travel the world" change but more like a "get all of the crap out of the house" kind of change. I started big time with my Kitchen. You can see what I did here to clean out and I am happy to say that my Kitchen has been clean since I did this (a little over two weeks now). I'm not exaggerating one bit. I've been so happy with my new clean Kitchen that I've now been cleaning up as I go, something I never used to do. I've also been firm with the kids about putting their dishes in the dishwasher as well as cleaning up after themselves. This project inspired me to go ahead and start this blog. I thought if I am feeling this overwhelmed then other people must be feeling it too. But there is something we can do about it!
So I can imagine how good it will feel to get through the rest of my house with this method. I've yet to miss anything I've gotten rid of. I love the feeling of less stuff to deal with. If you are ready to make a change please join me. Leave a comment on what space you want to tackle first.