What I learned from decluttering our entire house

What I learned from decluttering our entire house

Back in 2016 I realized we had a huge issue in our home. The problem wasn’t trying to make seven people fit in an 1800 square foot home. It was trying to fit seven people and way too much stuff in an 1800 square foot home. Our house could work, but only with significantly less stuff or less people. Getting rid of people clearly wasn’t an option, so the stuff had to go.

I created a challenge for myself (and the few readers I had at the time) to go through our homes at a pace that wasn’t overwhelming but would still show noticeable results. Over the 52 week challenge I learned quite a bit about the role clutter plays in our home and what can cause us to keep clutter around. Hopefully by sharing these with you I can inspire you to tackle the clutter in your own home and avoid issues that we have faced.

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2017 Clutter Buster Challenge Week 9: Other Kitchen Drawers

2017 Clutter Buster Challenge Week 9: Other Kitchen Drawers

How many food containers did you find to get rid of last week? I saw some great pictures of decluttered cabinets! Great job, everyone. Are you feeling burnt out or picking up steam? I'm feeling ready to plow through and get so much done but I know for our family it's smarter to go little by little. It feels great to be ridding our home of so many things we no longer need or want though!

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Tackling a Trouble Zone: Kitchen Pantry

Tackling a Trouble Zone: Kitchen Pantry

It's time for me to tackle another trouble zone in our house! Do you have a spot where clutter builds up or the way you put stuff away just isn't working? We have several of them and I'm taking the time to show you how I'm attempting to clean out and reorganize these areas to make them functional for our family of seven. A few weeks ago I spent a couple hours tackling our front hall closet and so far it's still working for us!

This time I decided the pantry was in dire need of an overhaul. It's far too easy to keep buying new food and shoving it in wherever it will fit instead of where it makes sense. Not to mention as we buy things the older food gets pushed to the back and forgotten about. Our pantry isn't huge by any means but it still has spots where little things go hiding. 

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Update on May's Goals & My Goals for June

Update on May's Goals & My Goals for June

It's that time again! The end of the month has arrived and it's my time to reflect back on the goals I set for myself. Honestly? This month was a bit all over the place. Getting sick threw me off for longer than I wish it would have but I managed to get back on track and end the month on a good note. 

Let's look back at the four goals I set for May and how they went for us. 

1. Clean up the living room before bed every night

This was really hit or miss all month. There were nights where we got it done with zero issues and other nights where it was a huge battle. Then other nights where we didn't even bother due to activities, exhaustion, or other circumstances. Our neighbors were moving this month so I wanted the kids to get a chance to soak up play time with their friends and by the time they got inside I just wanted them in bed. I think I'm going to change this habit to directly after dinner before any more outside time can happen. Incentives ;)

2. Add in counters to the "cleaned off every night" list

I did okay at this but definitely not as well as I wanted. The nights I made a point of cleaning off the counters I also usually got the floor and table as well so the kitchen looked fabulous. The nights I didn't I felt frazzled in the morning because there were dishes or crumbs where I needed to be prepping breakfast. Definitely something I need to keep working on to make more of a habit. 

3. Sort the laundry the day it comes out of the dryer

This went really well because the boys have learned that helping = money. We have certain tasks the kids are expected to do without compensation. Chores like cleaning their room, putting away their laundry, cleaning up toys, bringing clothes to the laundry room, and clearing their dishes to load into the dishwasher. Everything else that is considered a "household chore" can earn them money. They get a quarter each time they help so they didn't mind sorting a basket or flipping loads. So much easier for this mama! This is another that will stay a habit in the house. 

4. Organize under the bathroom sink & linen closet

I got this done and shared a post on it last Friday. I'm so pleased with the results and so far they still look as good as the day I did it! Now I need to figure out what my next organizing project should be :D

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Before & After - Tackling the linen closet and under the bathroom sink

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Do you remember in my May goals post about how I wanted to tackle the linen closet and the cupboard under the sink? I got it done! It took me about an hour and a half, maybe, but that included some interruptions from the kids. I am so very pleased with the difference this made and I feel this sense of calm every time I open the door to the linen closet and see it so organized! 


This is the before. It's not TERRIBLE but it's definitely not as nice as it could be. I did try to reorganize this sometime last fall and managed to at least get similar items grouped together but there is still some crazy stuff going on in here. The random boxes of toothpaste in front of the movies? The game controller tossed onto the towels instead of put away in it's bin? Bedding on THREE different shelves? The extra shampoo and conditioner not in the bathroom where we'd actually want it when we realize we need some... after we are already in the shower? Yeah, all problems. 

Then there is under the sink. 


Oodles of cleaning supplies, baby wipes, more baby wipes, "goodies" the hospital gives you after giving birth... THE BABIES ARE NINETEEN MONTHS OLD! Sorry, didn't mean to yell. How do I ignore some of these things for so long? They get pushed to the back and forgotten about, that's how. 

I decided to go about this almost in a KonMari fashion by pulling everything out and then sorting through it. The hallway and bathroom were unusable this way but it forced me to get it done and not get distracted. I had a pile for keep, a pile for donate, a pile for trash, and a pile for items that belonged elsewhere. 

I found a rubbermaid tote with rusted razorblade heads and layers of dried soap. It also contained a jar of dried out oxyclean pads that I'm pretty sure were Micah's from college (he graduated almost ten years ago!) and random sample bottles of various products. I tossed the blades and the oxyclean pads (cause really?), sorted through the samples for anything worth throwing in a travel bag, and soaked the tote. Then I filled it with all the extra toothpaste tubes and kid shampoos and stuck it under the sink - where it makes sense for them to be! 

I decided to move all of the cleaning supplies up into the linen closet on a high shelf. We've got two little guys that are starting to get interested in potty training - woo! But this also means that we are spending extra time in the bathroom. The less stuff in there that can cause trouble, the better. I also tossed several bottles that were empty or only had a squirt or two left. Really? Is there a reason I need to keep an empty cleaning solution bottle? Goodness. 


With the closet I had a couple goals - get rid of lots of sheets (we inherited twin sheets from my parents from my childhood and the elastic on many of them is shot) and create a space for the kids movies. Once I pulled everything out I did the same thing as I had done with under the sink. I had moved the soaps and other "bathroom items" into the bathroom already so that cleared up a little space. By getting rid of over half the sheets (what? for reals) I was able to move all the bedding to similar areas and make space for the cleaning supplies and all the kid movies. I also added a board to one of the shelves to prevent the books from falling through. Why books in the linen closet? Toddlers. 


And look at this box of sheets and other random items I found to send to the thrift store!

We even dropped this box off already so it's not cluttering up the garage. I think I need to make tackling an organization project should be a monthly task. It felt great to get it done and really makes a difference when I open either spot. What to do next? Front closet? Pantry? Refrigerator? So many choices!


Have you tackled any organization or cleaning projects lately? Tell me about it in the comments!


My Week's Joy - 2/1-2/7

Inspired by one of my favorite blogs I thought it would be a great idea to look back each week at those things that brought me the most joy. This is far too fitting for my blog to ignore the idea so I look forward to posting these each week!

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  • Finding what "sparks joy" (affiliate) in my closet and ditching the rest. I haven't gone through anything except clothes and books so far but I already feel better knowing I've only kept what I love.
  • Fresh cinnamon bread and coffee as an afternoon treat? Yes please!
  • This boy and the dog. Our dog went to live with my inlaws last summer when we were in the middle of moving and she has been there ever since. She gets more attention and less wrestling time living there which for a dog of nearly 10 years is good. But oh boy is she loved by the kids. Seeing him cuddle and snuggle into her fluffy fur with a big ol' smile on his face just makes me beam.

What brought you joy this week?