Monday, May 9, 2016

Getting Rid of ALL THE THINGS

Hi there! I hope you and a wonderful Mother's Day weekend! We took a quick trip out to Cincinnati for the day to visit IKEA and Kings Island. We had a blast!

Not gonna lie -- I felt like I deserved a day of fun because I've been working my butt off on clearing the crap out of my house. Or decrapification as I like to say. :) I've been focused on the basement because it has the most to go through and we need to get that whole level organized before tackling the floors. We are pulling out all of the carpet and adding this flooring but I couldn't even fathom tackling that before I went through everything.

Most of our storage space is in the basement -- when we finished it years back I kept two spots as storage rooms. One is for the games and bigger toys and one is for my stuff.

But first I went through smaller pieces like this vintage cabinet we use for puzzles:
Vintage cabinet for storage

I got rid of the baby puzzles (sniff) and kept the newer ones we have yet to put together: 
Vintage sewing machine storage

And a cat. There's always a cat.

I love that little cabinet -- I've had it for years and have always meant to extend the shelves inside (they only go about half the depth of the cabinet). But now there's no need to. Less stuff = less work for me.

Our little kitchenette offers some great extra storage down here:
Decorative wood wall

One of the cabinets was so full you couldn't even see what was inside. I cleared it out and only kept some larger serving items that don't fit in my bookcase storage upstairs: 

One of the biggest jobs was tackling the game closet. I've ignored this room for years and it showed. I don't know why I didn't take before photos of any of these -- I was just in a zone and didn't take the time. This inexpensive wood unit from IKEA does a great job of holding all the games. Can you tell we like Monopoly?:  
Storage under the stairs

Seriously. That's a lot of Monopoly games -- but the kiddo does so great at letting go of things, I let these slide. He loves that game. Of course the one that lasts three hours each time you play. ;) 

Years ago I used a couple of these inexpensive laminate bookcases as storage in here, but I quickly realized going up served the space better. I kept one in here for random stuff: 
Using the space under the stairs

Did you know Nerf guns are the hardest toys to store? They are. I found a big bin at HomeGoods that fits all of them. Those are not all ours by the way, some belong to the neighbor kids too. For real, that's a lot of Nerf. I guess we babysit them? I don't know. 

My son got an air hockey table for Christmas and we don't have a good spot to keep it up all the time. It has legs that pull in and out easily to store it so I have it to the right when you walk in this closet. To prevent it from getting messed up when we pull it out I added some wheels to the end: 
Adding wheels to large items

It's so much easier to pull out and put away now! And the wheels don't get in the way when we play either. 

The biggest job in the basement was my storage room. I've reorganized it a few times over the years but it always became a mess again. This time I had kind of had it (with myself) and got really real (with myself). I got rid of more than half of the decorative items I've kept in here. 

It doesn't look like I got rid of much from this view: 
Storage room with shelves

But I filled numerous boxes and bags for donation and to sell at a local consignment shop. 

I've mentioned I'm reading this book about purging and organizing: 

I love this book and it's truly changed our home -- it speaks to me and how I look at stuff around my house. It gives me the permission I needed to let go of things. It's a mental thing with me and always has been -- I keep things "just in case" and that comes from my need (from my childhood) to be thrifty and save money. It's a hard one to shake. 

I've realized while reading this book that keeping things I spent money on but never using them is not honoring my desire to be thrifty or save money. At all. 

So as I went through this room I asked myself the two questions I ask all the time now -- do I LOVE it and do I USE it. If not, the item went. And I started to see some empty shelves: 
Storage room in basement

Keep in mind the floor was covered too. I've gotten rid of my big bins of fall decor in the garage and put those items down here so that stuff was added in. A lot of these items will go up to the loft that will become my office/craft room this year. I don't want it piled up there right now because we're finally getting the new floors installed up there later this month. I'm SO SO excited to start that space! I'm even more thrilled that our house will be organized like never before while I'm working on that room. I've never tackled a renovation project without the rest of the house becoming a disaster and I think it's going to be different this time. 

I'm finding the less I have in this house the happier I am. I'm not a minimalist and never will be, but I can certainly appreciate why people are. 

I got rid of so much in here I was able to remove some shelves and move our little fridge in here. The microwave will go back to the kitchenette soon -- we may make a slight change to that area when we put the flooring in. But for now both will say in here: 
Storage room with DIY shelves

The best part -- do you see those empty shelves? I'm not going to fill them. They will stay empty. :) Years ago an open shelf meant I could fill it with something else. I swear I can feel our house breathing a sigh of relief with every empty spot. :) 

Lest you think I have it all together -- I don't. There are still many piles down there that I need to go through. And the stairs are covered with all of the crap I need to take upstairs, put away or add to a donate pile: 

It's taking forever but I'm telling you what -- this is the last time I plan to do this. From this point on I will monitor the house and our stuff as we go. NO MORE purges that last for months. It's funny because the author of that book says it will probably take about six months to get through the entire house. I totally scoffed at that at first. I can do this in TWO WEEKS I said. I am ridiculous. It takes forever to do this right. 

I have given myself a deadline of this Wednesday to be done with the entire house and it will probably be Friday. I know I haven't shared much DIY and decorating lately and I will be back to that shortly. With every load of stuff I remove from our house I feel like I can breathe little easier and our house is easier to keep clean -- I want that for you too and that's why I'm sharing this journey. :)

You may enjoy these posts as well!: 
DIY wood planked wall

 How to add a stained planked wall


  1. I, like you, have read that book and it helped me a great deal. We are in the process of selling our house and moving to an apartment ahead of a fall move to Florida. The book helped me to let go of the emotional ties to things and made the purging process go a lot smoother. I was able to remove 6 contractor bags of garbage and three trips to the donation center along with a donation truck pick up to empty the basement.... good luck with the rest of your purge!!!

    1. After reading your post, I'm going to read the book! I am also in the middle of a move from a house into an apartment and then back into a house in the fall. I've gotten rid of a lot but I still need to learn how to let go of the emotional ties of a lot more of my "stuff". Good luck with your moves!

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    3. I absolutely love Marie Kondo's book! One of the things that may help with items that you're emotionally attached to is to take a photograph of the item. That way, you can get rid of the actual item (in my case, it was a t-shirt that my now-deceased mother had bought for me that had holes in it and I couldn't wear any more), but you can still "keep" it by looking at the photo. The memories are still there. Good luck with your move!

  2. I love love love that book. I never did the entire "system", but I used the "does it bring joy?" as I packed when moving and unpacking at my new house. I have so much less STUFF now. And I love it.

  3. I need to read that book. We are in the processing of adding onto our house and we had to move tons of stored items for the contractors to get to the needed area. I couldn't believe how much stuff we had. It actually made me think about where our money goes each month and how the things I really don't need should be left at the store and the money put into my retirement account instead.

  4. I haven't read the book, but I am just naturally a self proclaimed "anti-hoarder" :) I totally get that "lighter" feeling when I throw something away/donate/purge - trash day is my favorite day because I feel like I can breath!!

    1. So funny you say that. I freaking love trash day! Ha!

  5. Sarah, I know you know what you like and want in your house...but I have to say I am very concerned about you replacing the carpet in your basement with that fake wood flooring. In one room, yes, but the entire basement? Are you sure? The carpet looks so soft and comfy and compliments your wall color so well. Can't you just have it cleaned and invest in some cups with lids? Just saying...

    P.S. What's up with the unpainted inside cabinet doors? :)

    1. Carpet in our basement has been lovely because it's soft but honestly one of the worst decisions we've ever made for our house -- this is a kid space and the animals have destroyed it (we had an old cat that had some issues). We have wood floors throughout most of the house and I can't WAIT to get a surface that's easy to clean down there. I bought that cabinet already painted but I don't paint the insides of most door either -- no one sees them but us. :)

  6. So I've been wanting to read that book and feel like I've hit that point of desperation that I NEED to read the book and get things moving. I'm just really overwhelmed at the thought of it. With 5 kids and all the junk that goes along with them, it seems like such a daunting task. I need these posts that push me in that direction.

  7. We're in the process of purging too. Mostly because, hopefully, we will retire within the next 5 years. Most of the house is done, but the basement still needs to get done. Your shelves look great! I had one suggestion if you are interested. I hang all my wreaths up on nails pounded into a shelf stud. Leaves even more room on the shelves!

  8. So many people are reading and writing about that book....I might just have to order it! My house is very organized, as I just moved in a year ago. But there's one closet where I have linens, linens, and more linens that I've had for YEARS. It's time to let some go.

  9. I have had this book sitting on an end table for well over a year. I think I am half afraid to read it, but I sure need to. I have tooooooo much stuff! All crammed into closets, drawers, anywhere there is any space. Ugh!!!! I am too tied to "stuff"!

  10. I've been decluttering for the past couple of years. It's a little at a time, but pretty steady, and I've gotten rid of A LOT. I found out our recycling center will take textiles, so clothing too ratty to donate goes to them as well as table linens that I don't love (I kept the ones my mother embroidered or crocheted edges on). Sometimes I miss something I've donated or tossed, but not often.

    However, when I saw the picture of your stairs, I almost yelled "I'll take the red lanterns!", but really, I don't need them. Old habits die hard.

  11. Elaine in Ark (again)May 10, 2016 at 5:28 PM

    Also, we had severe weather forcast for last night. I got the closet ready and was in the living room when I thought "what should I put in there that I can't bear to lose?" and I realized "it's all just stuff".

    The severe weather skipped over us, and we're safe.

  12. I am doing that now and have been for a while. It's exhausting and a little overwhelming at times. My problem is that I am a bit sentimental and it's so hard to get rid of things that are very special; however, they just take up room unnecessarily. Just keep the sentimental things in your heart forever and get rid of the physical item - this is the problem - letting go!

  13. Think one commentor had the answer, take photo of something getting rid of but is special to you. When needed look at photo to revisit memories it brought you.
    I am one of worst people about keeping too much "stuff. I was raised by "depression era" parents that always emphasized making do with what you have, buy 2nd. hand stuff but our little house is so overcrowded in whatever storage we do have. It's not clothes so much but decorating things have purchased and redone or waiting to be redone.
    Think youngest daughter must have read that book as she's always harping at me about getting rid of too much stuff(not word for it she used). Great topic, just getting myself to do it. Need to as would be so much easier for me to clean house without having to move "stuff" first. Woe is me.

    Good for any of you that have will power to declutter. Happy week

  14. Thank you for this Sarah! It is just what I needed today. We moved into a house four years ago that needs to be completely renovated, but with five little ones it has been a SLOW process. We are constantly living in a mess! I have rooms overflowing with items from other projects, that don't have a home or are waiting to be refinished. I am soooo ready to have a clean house! Starting today. :-)

  15. I am a natural de-clutterer but that has in the past meant that in my haste to get stuff out of the house, I have thrown things that later I've needed!! Oops! Love the idea that you are never going to fill those shelves again though - that tickled me!


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