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Did you find school or office supplies to donate or toss? How many dead pens and markers did you discover? After I cleaned it out I may have found myself at Target buying new pens and pencils because our Target had school supplies marked down 70-90% off! I got packs of red pens for $0.28! That's just crazy. But they all have a specific well organized tote to go in now so they aren't cluttering up different areas. One tote that lives in the crawl space until we need more supplies! Perfection.
If you are just joining us, here's the deal:
I still had this mindset of decluttering being a big ol’ chore up until a few months ago when I read this fantastic post from Nony at A Slob Comes Clean. It was like a huge light went off in my brain! Decluttering is simply the act of getting rid of what doesn't belong, isn't needed, or belongs in the trash. It doesn’t mean buying a whole slew of new bins for your things to go in or coming up with some type of system that you hope will change your life - that’s organizing. It’s a whole different ball game. Right now, I’m in the game of decluttering. I just want things GONE.
When there’s less stuff, especially less of what has no purpose in your home anymore, organizing can often happen naturally. You won’t be cramming thirty towels into the closet because you only need ten and they fit nicely. You don’t need to dig through a tub of medicines to find what you need only to keep coming across bottles that are long since expired.
Here’s my challenge: Each week, take on ONE area of your home. I’ve already made the list for you so that part is done. Go to the area, throw away trash, put items that you no longer need but are still in good condition into a donation box, and put other items where they belong. Simple!
Week 39: Kid or Guest Bedroom Dresser Tops
My kids have inherited our bad habit of letting every flat surface become a dumping ground. Mercedes doesn't have much for flat surfaces because she hangs 80% off her clothing and the little boys down't have many toys in their rooms to become clutter but the big boys? Oh dear. Once the school years hit and they started bringing home all sorts of art projects, memorable papers, and who knows what else combined with all their LEGO and other toys means MEGA CLUTTER on all their dressers and other flat surfaces.
I'm serious. Look at this mess.
Oy. Thankfully the boys went to their grandparents house this summer and I took the opportunity to deep clean their room. Yes, we make them clean their room each weekend... but their cleaning does not get everything. Their method of cleaning means putting all the LEGO back into buckets, picking up garbage and dirty laundry, and perhaps putting clean laundry away. There is no moving of dressers to find dropped items or getting rid of anything they no longer play with. It isn't going to happen because of course they play with everything they own and how dare we suggest they give some away. Insert parental eye roll here.
Don't try and declutter kid spaces with kids around. Every single item becomes their most prized possession and they will never, ever, ever, want to part with it. You must do these jobs stealthily until they can understand that it's okay to let unneeded items go. Watching you declutter your items can be a way to demonstrate this but don't try and include them in their own unless you are ready to hear story after story of how special that ripped hat is to them. Seriously. Multiple stories on a broken cowboy hat. Just tackle it yourself.
So, with the boys safely six hours away from home I entered the room and began the journey to a clean dresser. I started by making pile after pile. Pile of LEGO, pile of art, pile of toys, pile of books, pile of garbage. I know I kept a lot of junk as a child but scraps of paper? Broken rubber bands? Is this a boy thing?
I also decided to move their dresser across the room. The plan was that it would give them more floor space in the open area of their room but then later they moved their bed to the center of the room and eliminated nearly all their floor space. Of course. But at least for a few weeks they had a lot of open space.
I put all their personal books away and put library books on top of the dresser along with their banks. We frequently get to library day and have no clue where books have wandered to because they get mixed up in our own books. I tried using tote bags but they never put the books back in the bag... shocker.
In the last two months since decluttering their dresser they've actually done a really great job of keeping it cleaned off. Is it perfect? Of course not. But they are trying more than they used to because they've seen how nice it is to have a cleaned off dresser. Just like I'm seeing how nice it is to purge the clutter from the rest of the house. It's not an instant and permanent fix but it's creating better habits to be aware of the clutter and fix it before it becomes overwhelming again.
The real challenge will come as more and more papers come home from school that they insist on keeping. I continue to tell them we are all going to drown in paper if we keep every sheet that comes home but they don't believe me. I'm waiting for the day I open every cupboard, drawer, closet, and door to find paper bursting out at me. I swear it's going to happen if I get lazy and forget to toss something. SOOOO much paper! But anywhoo...
Share a picture in the comments or on social media with the hashtag #clutterbusterchallenge of what you found to declutter this week.
Come back next week for week 40 as we go inside the drawers of the dressers in our kid's room or the guest room. I'm sorting through the twins drawers because at nearly three years old they do not need infant socks or 24 month clothes. It's time to make sure everything in their drawers are items they can actually wear!