Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Declutter My World

Confession: Steve and I hadn't really decluttered/deep cleaned our house since we moved in...over 4 years ago.  I've deep cleaned the kitchen and the bathrooms but certain areas of our house, like the basement, sat ignored.  Stuff accumulated in those areas.  A lot of stuff.  You see, I would go through things in the main living areas of the house and say "This is going to Goodwill" and down to the basement the item would go.  And all of those items stayed in the basement until last month.  Earlier in April, I decided I needed to dedicate a day to deep cleaning when the kids would be at daycare.  I knew serious decluttering/deep cleaning would not happen if our kids were here.  I picked a day and told Steve my plan.  He decided to also take the day off and help me.  I'm really glad he did.  We were able to work together but also divide and conquer.  I had an ambitious list.  A list I knew would not get fully completed.  My list: basement, coat closet, office, porch, and other closets.  We conquered the basement (no small feat), the coat closet, the kids' toys and our porch.  I'm pretty psyched to say all of the areas are staying clutter free.  I'm really proud of the basement, even though there are no before and after pictures to illustrate my point and we're the only ones that see it.  It was cluttered with stuff that needed a designated spot or crap that just needed to leave our house for good.  We made 2 trips to Goodwill and filled our large garbage can outside.  It was so nice!  The coat closet was also a huge success.  There was too much stuff in there: board games, coats that were too big and small for the people living in our house, coloring books, crayons, random outdoor toys, etc.  It's a small closet and it was packed to the brim.  There was no breathing room in this closet whatsoever.  I moved the board games and decks of cards to the basement.  Steve and I haven't been able to play board games since Katherine was born.  Something about small pieces and a baby just didn't seem like a good idea... We'll have family game nights when the kids get a little older but for now, the board games don't need to be upstairs.  The coats that didn't fit were moved to the basement.  The outdoor toys were taken to the porch and added to the outdoor toy tote.

I'm most proud of the toys.  Any parent can attest to how easy it is for toys to get out of hand.  Our toys had spiraled out of control.  I refuse to have a designated toy room in our house.  My kids don't need that many toys and they usually want to be where we are anyways.  I did have to stop halfway through the toys and run to Dollar Tree for storage containers.  All of the food-related toys and play kitchen stuff went to the kitchen where we have their toy kitchen set up.  After I came back with the storage containers I started separating the toys.  Here are the categories I came up with: Little People items, blocks, puzzles, dress-up items, cars, balls, Legos, random small toys they like, stuffed animals, baby dolls and baby doll items, MegaBlocks and craft items.  I do have a few miscellaneous toys that stayed upstairs but all other toys were taken to the basement.  If we had duplicates of toys that weren't played with often, the duplicate went to Goodwill.  I didn't take before pictures but here are a few after pictures:

The white drawer thing still contains MegaBlocks and craft supplies.  I didn't see a reason to change this.  The white baskets contain dress-up items with accessories in the small white basket on the top shelf.  The small purple basket on the top shelf holds the random small toys they like.  The tote next to it contains their Etch-a-Sketch toys and vintage music boxes.  The Minnie Mouse bucket holds Legos.  (We don't have a ton...yet.)  The square tote on the end holds balls.  Cars are in the pink basket and puzzles are in the purple tote.  Blocks are in the orange basket and Little People items are in the blue basket.  

The toy box contains their stuffed animals.  As a kid, I had a hard time letting go of stuffed animals and as an adult, I still do.  I know it's silly.  The gray tote next to the toy box holds Katherine's babies and baby things (blankets, pillows, bottles, carrier).  

The best parts of this toy system:
1. They play with their toys more.  Katherine and Sean can find their toys and actually play with them.  
2. Katherine knows were her toys are.  Just yesterday she told me "Mommy, I want my pony that goes with this car. It's in the purple tote."  She knew the exact location of the toy... how awesome is that?!
3. This system makes picking up really easy and fast.  Whether it's me picking up the toys or Katherine picking them up, it's easy to know what goes where because everything has a different color and a specific place.  

Steve decluttered our porch.  We had a ton of junk on our porch that didn't serve any particular purpose.  Items either found their spot in the house or were donated.  And the best part, we've actually been able to use our porch for playing and eating supper.  Here are a couple of the after pictures: 

(Sorry for the blurry quality!)

Is our house perfect?  No.  Does it look exactly like the pictures I shared?  No, because real life happens and as long as the basic frame of organization is being followed, that's all I want.