Thursday, July 23, 2009

Clearing out the clutter.

Every time I've ever started a new job, I've always asked for a week off between the end of the old one and the start of the new one -- does anyone else do this?

I always felt like I needed a week to get my life completely in order before starting a new endeavor. It's like cleaning the house before you go on vacation -- I need my mind to be free of the stuff like laundry, crap, clutter, dishes, crap and more crap.

Knowing I was going to focus more on this blog, a couple weeks ago I started feeling like I needed to get the house under control. Yeah, the basement is organized (pretty much), my closets are beautiful and I know where to find things in my pantry...

BUT. Until last week, our garage looked like this:

Stop gagging, it's better now. I swear. Please don't enlarge the picture. Please. I couldn't take it anymore and during daycare and nap time a couple days that week, I hit it hard core. And it felt soooooo good people. It looks amazing now! I have one more project to finish in there and then I'll show you. I know you can barely stand it, you are so excited. I know.

My car has been my "office" for the past two years, and pair that with a two-year-old and let's just say I would never, ever, EVER subject you to the before pictures of that. It was reheheheeeeally bad. I spent one hour with trash bags -- one for trash, one for stuff to go back into the house. Now it smells yummy in there -- nice and clean. Not like before. Three little words -- "forgotten sippy cup."

I may know how to organize, but the paper clutter just sticks in my craw. (When's the last time you heard that phrase? Wordsmith, I am.) Seriously. I cannot handle it. I've tried just about everything, but the only thing that works is this big fat basket:


I just throw every random piece of paper I don't want to deal with into the basket. You'll notice the pile started on the side as well, and on top. Ummmm...it's not working so great. About every week, month, three months, I sit down and go through it. I finally did it last night and felt like a new woman.

Then I found this bag of crap from the car clean up:

Shakes fists in the air!!!! Curses!!

And now the garage is clean, the car is clean -- but this is the laundry room:
Have I mentioned how very, very much I hate laundry? Like, a lot. A lot a lot.

And in the middle of the paper and laundry and crap, I realize that buying four new pieces of drinkware has completely thrown my kitchen cabinets into a frenzy. I was trying to figure out how to fit all of these:
Into this:Ummmm yeah. Should I mention we only really use two wine glasses ever and for parties we use plastic cups? So why the need for fifty trillion glasses? I guess I keep having dreams of having a super posh party where everyone drinks out of real glasses and never breaks a single. one. Never gonna happen.

This weekend, I plan on getting rid of as much clutter as possible. It feels soooooo good folks! I challenge you to do the same -- even if it feels too big to tackle, you'll be surprised what just an hour can do. Try little bits at a time. Make room for large piles -- trash, put away and deal with later. You don't have to find a spot for every little thing right away.

You will feel like a new woman (and a couple men) afterwards, I promise.

I am so excited about your requests for consults and advertising!! I'm beyond thrilled and can't wait to get moving -- bare with me as I get through this weekend, and next week I'm all yours. ;)
P.S. I am so glad you loved the sewing table as much as I do!! Guess how old the Singer is? You'll never believe it -- 103 years old! Isn't that the coolest??

59 comments:

  1. This was the perfect time to post this.. I realized this afternoon that I have about a week and a half before we move and I have a ton of de-cluttering to do because I do not want to pack clutter (again). Thank you for reminding me to stay motivated.

    p.s. I am actually relieved to see your laundry room with actual laundry in it. I was feeling down on myself after seeing all your beautiful organized photos and its nice to know you're human :-)

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  2. Oh the dreaded forgotten sippy cup! I've done that. Now I have teens and tweens and I follow my nose to things like apple cores and 'nana peels. Little piggies shove them under the seats. ew.

    Good luck with the paper stuff. I am actually pretty on top of that stuff, so I please keep the inspiration for everything else coming!

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  3. I always feel better when I de-clutter too. You've inspired me to tackle my "paper pile" tomorrow. Well, actually it is a "paper drawer" that I dump everything in that I don't want to look at. I've been doing lots of home and furniture projects in preparation for a HUGE family get together in a couple of weeks, and I have dropped the ball in some rooms, like my office. Yikes! Don't even want to go in there...I just walk on by. Gonna have to do it though. Thanks for encouraging me!
    Blessings,
    Traci

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  4. I found your blog not too long ago through a friends and I LOVE it! You are super amazing and I am a big fan! Thanks for all the tips, and ideas, keep them coming!!

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  5. My house next, please? :-P

    Good for you for tackling the clutter. I'm just waiting around for mine to somehow dissolve or evaporate. It's been slow going.

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  6. Ewwww...the forgotten sippy cup! I'll come do the laundry if you come do my house!

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  7. You crack me up Sarah, please come to my house next! I cannot organize for the life of me!

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  8. You are too funny! Thanks for sharing and making me laugh so much...I can totally relate...THE PAPERS - AHHH! Papers EVERYWHERE! I have stacks of them shoved out of sight within the drawers of our buffet cabinet. Oh well, can't see 'em...

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  9. Your garage looked like mine! I was going to clean it out, but now on Docs orders I can't lift and bend for another two weeks...such a shame (I am secretly doing a happy dance, because the thought of going into that hot, pest filled hole called a garage makes me want to crawl under the covers)!

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  10. Well...I am right there with you! Just too embarrasses to post my pics! LOL! I was going to clean the garage today...it was actually very cool in Texas today...90 degrees. Did I do it?? NO! Had other things to do! I have many piles of projects waiting for me! I also have a way of buying things like dishes and glasses that I will NEVER use! Ha Ha.

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  11. Sippy cup!!!!! AHHHHHH!! I think I find one curdling away at least every other week....okay, every week. We are decluttering as we speak! LOVE THIS BLOG!

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  12. So nice to know even someone with as pretty of a house as you have still has issues with clutter like I do!

    Thanks for opening up about your mess and your clean-up! (It helps!)

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  13. Oh goodness...Can we see your garage after pic?

    Great job on getting rid of all the paper piles. It's a fire hazard as well. Just what you wanted to hear right? :)

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  14. my hubby and i are finally cleaning our garage tomorrow! we've been planning it for two weeks(had to set up sleepovers for the kids!)...but the clutter has been mounting for 5 years!! we only have one small path to get from the car to the door!! shameful! i can't wait until its done!

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  15. Yeah, I'm totally with you on the whole paper clutter thing. I've recently signed most of our bills up for e-statements only. I mean, we pay all our bills online, why keep getting more paper in the mail? That's seemed to help some...

    Two days ago I decluttered our bedroom, and it felt so good. I was on such a high that I was determined to wake up the next morning and start another room. Yeah, that didn't happen -- I was exhausted! I guess there's always today!!

    Seriously, I love your blog and I loved the post! I'm so glad that I'm not the only one going through this!!

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  16. Great post, I can so relate. I make more messes to clean of redo one thing! Eventually, it gets done. I hate the paper clutter also, it never ends theough!

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  17. Sarah ~ You should get that car out of the garage - it's taking up too much room! : )

    I used to do the same (and probably still would). Mine was more for a mental "decluttering", relaxing and getting the old job out of my mind.

    I did start on a couple of kitchen cabinets last weekend, but need to pick that up again. One cabinet is just junk (where most people have a junk drawer, I have a whole cabinet!).

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  18. Thank You for posting those pictures of "before" I am so grateful there are others in this world that live like we do (to a certain extent!). Only I don't have the guts to post pictures (kudos for that!) And the forgotten sippy (bleh) have been there - with chocolate milk - I threw the thing OUT!

    I can not wait to see the new pictures. And we are doing major cleaning and organizing before fall - we're having a huge yard sale to get rid of everything (and make some money so my husband and I can go on our first getaway - ever... alone!). :)

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  19. Yes, I do try to take off a week in between jobs, if I can. I
    have a great weekend!

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  20. Hi

    I stumbled across your blog a few months ago and have been lurking every since!! Good on you for tackling the clutter. My laundry looks somewhat like yours - I hate washing too.

    I was just looking at your glasses/storage delima and had an idea. It may not work because I don't know the dimensions of your cupboard! I was thinking that you need to install some wine glass racks just underneath each shelf, that way you could hang your glasses from the top and still use the shelf underneath for tumblers etc. It wouldn't take much to make some up to suit your space.

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  21. I am ALWAYS trying to get organized. I can't wait to see the results! I am working on my garage right now...it's going very, very, very slowly.

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  22. I organized my laundry room last night and when i went in there this morning it felt gooooood. My goal for this weekend was to organzie my house because i planned on having my 'ballard design' project compelted...can you believe Home Depot wouldn't cut one foot squares of MDF board for me! I'm going to try lowes today.

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  23. I've been cleaning the clutter for weeks now since my daughter moved back from college. Still a work in progress...
    I cleaned my pantry too, see my post, but I didn't get the containers like you so it doesn't look as pretty. Oh well, maybe if I see them somewhere on sale...

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  24. I wish you posted this last week! I went crazy in the basement (aka the dungeon) last weekend and threw away TONS of stuff! I wish I thought to take before and after photos, because even though the basement is not a finished basement, the transformation is amazing! Two of my children are down there right now playing on a car rug....last weekend I believe I swept up some leaves!!

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  25. Well timed post! I'm making today officially Cleaning Up (crap) Day! LOL!

    Sigh....and that means I'd better get off and get started.

    Yes, I HATE laundry! At least you've got a cute laundry room. :)

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  26. Good for you! ha ha! Those three little words brought back all sorts of memories and smells!

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  27. I agree it feels soooo good to declutter! I have a huge problem with papers too, can't seem to throw any away. And don't know what to do with those pesky receipts that accumulate on the counter when hubby gets home and cleans out his pockets. AAaaahhh, it is so maddening! Any suggestions? Cuz I have tried almost everything and it hasn't worked yet!

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  28. My husband has given me the assignment to organize our basement clutter...it is out of control and we are going to begin finishing our basement...so decluttering I will be doing this weekend! I too always feel so much better once it is over!

    Love reading your blog!

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  29. Sarah,

    I thought I was the only person that started 6 projects at once. My husband doesn't get it and actually I'm not sure I do either. I guess I just feel more challenged when I have a list of things to complete.

    Hugs,
    Gretchen

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  30. Sarah, you NEED to read this post:

    http://bedifferentactnormal.blogspot.com/2009/03/perfect-filing-system.html

    Best solution to the paper mess EVERY! I swear! I lived for 10 years with a pile just like that and for the last year NO PILE!

    I swear!

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  31. I also take a week off between jobs. How weird ... I thought I was the only one who did that!!!

    Anyway, perfect timing on the post. I'm home alone this weekend and have committed to tackling our office that has crap piled to the ceiling in every corner. I wish I was kidding :( I'll have to take b4 and after pics!

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  32. I just love reading your blog...you are so witty and down to earth! We recently went through and gathered things we no longer used and had a HUGE yard sale...now I can see the basement floor and have room to move around to organize the rest. The house is almost always organized, but I find the basement becomes the dumping ground..."out of sight, out of mind"...well NO more!! Regarding the great paperchase...I have found that if I separate things immediately into piles then take just five minutes to go through each day...it doesn't pile up. I pitch all junk mail the minute I bring it in the door, have a basket for catalogs and one for magazines. I am fortunate to have mail cubbies in my built in desk, so one gets bills, one school papers, one coupons, and one for misc. The system works well and is super easy once you get it started!! Good luck!

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  33. I sure hope you have found somewhere to display that wonderful Singer! It is gorgeous! I would totally take it off your hands if need be!! ;)

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  34. Keep up the good work Sarah! I so admire your ability to admit that you hate some kind of housework - and I am so inspired by your desire to rid yourself of clutter. So far this summer, we've fixed up our garage... and I just did the kitchen work yesterday. Ugh. Good Luck!

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  35. so glad to see i am not the only one who is going through her crap, crap, and more crap right now. (just taking a little break.) in fact that is the title of the e-mail i just sent my girlfriend last night while i was hmmm....taking another break from all of it! but i love when i get in that mood as then i will chuck stuff like there is no tomorrow! if i can't make all the crap fit into a certain area then something's gotta go!!! and won't all the ladies at church LOVE me for supplying the free stuff this week? ha! i'm a rockstar now! can't wait to see the end result. LOVE YOUR BLOG! although i do forward your posts often to my girlfriend with titles like "total pukefest of creativity that i wish i had!" "so NOT fair that she took all the creativity from everyone before we were born." "do you think she'll come do my house if i pay her in lemon squares?" etc... but it's all meant in a loving, endearing way of course. :) keep on keepin on girlfriend.

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  36. Oh, I know the curse of the sippy! I used to let my oldest (when she was 2 or so) finish her milk from breakfast in the car if we had errands. Little did I know she was dumping it upside down on the side of the carseat I couldn't see. I had NO sense of smell (ever!), so I had no clue my car smelled like an old locker room.

    I am decluttering like CRAZY this week. I'm hosting a bridal shower for my sister next weekend (my first time hosting), and I need to clean like mad. My hubs is also starting our (simple!) deck today...that's a story in and of itself.

    I love clutter to clean pictures...and it makes me feel like less of a freak when I see yours. So many blogs show their amazing homes, and I often wonder if the bloggers have like a secret clutter closet or something b/c I just have a hard time keeping up with it all plus taking care of two little ones.....

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  37. Fabulous. Thanks for the push! No really! Clutter in closets and under the sink haunts me. My toilet leaked all over the bathroom and we ended up with lots of water damage so that has forced me to dump the bathroom vanity into my bedroom... holy hannah do I have way. Too. much. stuff! Ack! Here I go!

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  38. Hey girl! I had to laugh when you said you just stuff your papers into a basket. We have one of those office paper boxes that I put every receipt, bill (that's been paid), and every little slip of paper that had to die for it to clutter up my home. It's all supposed to get shredded...but I can think of 9001 things I'd rather do than shred all that paper. Ugh! I have three rooms of my home that aren't livable right now bc we are renoing. I'm up to my eyeballs in stuff and all I can do is imagine getting rid of it all. I've got like three large bins of stuff for a yard sale...and now all I want to do is donate it just to get it out of my life. I soooo identified with your post today. Thanks for being so real.

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  39. Can I just say.... THANK YOU for "keepin it real". I have piles like that that drive me crazy. I wish I was one of those people who are just able to those something once and be done with it, but I like to keep things in piles and then I get to the point where I'm going to pull out all of my hair. So I combine all the piles into one big container and then attack it.

    I took a picture of my current box-o-junk to share with you, but I don't see a way on here to attach it.

    Anyway, thanks again. Everything you do is so beautiful... it just makes me assume that your whole life and house is put together just the same. It's refreshing that you are real with us. :)

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  40. I always like to have a week to regroup between jobs, too. It feels so good to get things in order & have some calm in your surroundings.

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  41. i've been digging through the crap at my house, too. i'm having a yard sale. i know i won't make much $, but at least i'll cull some stuff. you would be impressed that i reduced my drinkware to what we actually use. then the next day i went to crate and barrel and bout 6 new glasses. baby steps.

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  42. If you think that clearing out junk, "crap", and all your rooms/closets feels good, you should now sell all your extra/not too shabby stuff in a yard sale. That way you get your house cleaned and decluttered AND make money to spend on more stuff to put in your spaces. Try it...it feels so goooooood!

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  43. I am so excited for you....I know the change is going to be great for you! I am passing on the One Lovely Blog Award to you...come get it when you have a chance!

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  44. Do you have any idea how much of a relief it is to see that your laundry room actually looks like mine?!

    Thank you for sharing the fact that even decorating chick has her weak moments, too.

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  45. Oh I love you love you love you!!!! I've had your laundry room pic saved for a while now. (b/c the layout is similar to mine)When
    my husband saw the pic, he laughed and said "Our laundry will NEVER look like that."
    So let me just say I love you love you love you for posting the OTHER picture of you Hating do do laundry! We've finally connected and I have hope now!

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  46. Is it wrong that I feel a little better about me (and you) after seeing your basement, laundry room and garage?

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  47. You've inspired me. I so need to get moving with operation organization!

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  48. I love, love your blog!! I gave you an award!

    http://3cutekids.blogspot.com/2009/07/lovely-blog-love.html

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  49. This is GREAT!! It is very exciting to see how you've inspired everyone to organize their own homes!! Way to go!! I love it!!

    If anyone needs help with getting motivated or staying focused on the task, call a friend to help you (or a professional organizer - you can find one closest to you at www.napo.net ).

    Clutter didn't occur overnight. Don't get frustrated. Just keep going, keep chipping away at it - because progress is still progress!

    Remember when you reach your goal - to maintain a little each day or a little each week. Hope this helps.

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  50. It must be something in the air, or water. Because I just finished cleaning out my daughter's closet. I was shocked at how many clothes and shoes a 4-year-old can accumulate! You're right. I do feel so much better not that's it done. Now, if I can just muster up the energy to go through my closet. Wanna come and help?!

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  51. I need to get my stuff together too. I love when the house is all clean and the family is at peace...then to create! Oh what a beautiful time that is~

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  52. I have piles all over the house tonight because each clean up project lead to another project. But I have a huge purge pile, so I'm happy. And I have the wine glass dilemma as well... 2 dozen and counting!

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  53. I have been decluttering for a few weeks (since I quit my job to be a SAHM) and while I have gotten rid of a lot, there is still a lot to go. Thanks for the reminder to finish the project.

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  54. Hi Sarah :)

    Thank you for inspiring me to clean out the clutter! I hate going through mail AND laundry, but I'm gong to go for it this week and get it all taken care of :)

    xo,
    rue

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  55. LOVE THIS!! I call it decrapification. It feels so good to get it done, but it's so hard to do, especially with kids around because you need to make a bigger mess first, so you need to be able to finish it. The summer is killing me because I always have a kid (or 3 or 4) around. I just keep shoving my crap in tote bags and stashing them in corners. First week of September... I will be decrapifying.

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  56. I soooo hear ya on getting rid of the clutter! It is such a great feeling once it is done. I always remember this saying i once read: it didn't take a day for the clutter to come about, so you can't expect to have it completely gone in a day either. It's def. something that has to be worked at.. and (gasp!) maintained. But it always feels good to get a start. Can't wait to see your pics! You always inspire me to get even the unseen places (closets!) in better order :)

    Too cool about the sewing machine!

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  57. Oh the lost sippy cup! I have so been there! And I just can't wait to see the garage!!

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  58. I have all the makings of a super fancy dinner party too...then guests come over and I hand them a pepsi can instead of a cup :/

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  59. you crack me up! you blog like we'd be having a conversation. you make it so easy to read your blogs. i go thru our pile of papers, too every couple of months. blaahh....

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