If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that last week’s task (and my first task of the year) was to take on the clutter of my living room. I figured I’d start there since it’s the first room people see (including myself), so it sets the tone for the rest of our home.
If you need a refresher on last week’s to-do list, go ahead and check that out here.
Since the best way to make a task seem less overwhelming is to break it into chunks, here are some of the notes I took down before I started:
First, I assessed the functions our living room served:
Then, I addressed the problem areas that I knew tended to prove the most difficult in keeping uncluttered:
*A place to use computer/printer (we had been using the piano bench for months since our last computer table broke). Preferably a sectioned-off place.
*A place to keep frequently used books, church manuals, binders, notebooks, textbooks, etc.
*A place for backpacks and purses.
Finally, I allowed myself to dream a little.
*A fresh layout
*Different wall arrangement
*Seasonal door wreath
*Brighter light bulbs
*A movable bin to collect things that belong in other rooms
Then, I got to work. First on the list: getting my piano bench back so I could actually use the piano for what it was intended for (instead of just another gathering place for clutter).
I’ll tell you a secret (that maybe you already knew): when you’re really getting to the root of your clutter (and not just shoving things into corners or crannies), things tend to get worse before they get better.
Case in point:
Since we needed a new table to put our computer and printer, we went out in search of one with our leftover Christmas money burning a hole in our pocket. When everything within our limited price range came up wanting, we decided to build our own (more on how we did that in a later post). However, with that construction project underway and all of our cabinet space gutted, we were living in quite a state for several days there.
But finally, we were able to go from that disaster, to this:
Secondly, we tackled those books/binders/textbooks that were always lying around everywhere. We decided to clear out all the books from the bottom shelf of our existing bookshelf and reserve it exclusively for those frequently-used items. We also decided to utilize a magazine rack my mom had bought us ages ago to house all the most recent magazines that I was reading.
Finally, to address our third big problem area, we decided to invest in a 3-way hook from Bed, Bath & Beyond that would hang on the inside of our closet door, so we could hang our backpacks, church bags, and purses out of sight (instead of on the door or thrown on the couch or floor, like we normally do).
And although we didn’t get to do a lot of my wants, I was able to change around some stuff we already had so the room “feels” new (like putting our pictures up on the wall instead of on the piano, swapping out a smaller picture for a larger one, clearing out all the clutter on table surfaces, etc.)
And you know what?
I literally FEEL better when I walk in the door after work.
Here’s some more “after” shots:
Week One Stats:
Items Tossed/Donated: 61
Items Left to Toss Before Dec. 31, 2013: At least 439
Money Spent: $96 ($6 spent on door organizer, $90 spent on computer table). Trust me, this will not be typical–we had leftover Christmas money, and we REALLY needed a computer table.
All right, on to the next assignment! Since I’m trying to focus first on areas that the general public sees when they first walk in, I’m going to have the next assignment be:
This Week’s To-Do List:
*Remove from the kitchen anything that is not included in baking, cooking, or serving food, including shoes, coats, toys, sporting equipment, and seasonal items that do not currently belong out in the open.
*Clear the counters of all appliances that are not used every day. Toss all items that are broken or that are not used. Find a home for EVERY item that is left over.
*Scan the walls for unnecessary decorations and clutter.
*Clear the counters of all paperwork, mail, magazines, newspapers, etc.
*Create one small paper/mail center in your kitchen. Everything should fit into one basket or drawer.
Cleaning & Maintenance List
Once a Month
*Clear the countertops of all items that have been lying around and belong elsewhere
*Wipe the cabinets, backsplashes, appliances, and the inside and outside of the garbage can
Every 3-6 Months
*Empty crumbs from toaster or toaster oven
*Scrub the dish rack and sink with disinfectant
*Clean the inside of your stove
Once a Year
*Empty and clean the inside of utensil drawers
*Scrub down cupboard exteriors
*Clean the stove-hood filter
*All to-do lists and cleaning suggestions are taken from Jennifer Ford Berry’s book Get Organized. (This is NOT a sponsored project–I just adore the book! I highly recommend buying a copy for yourself. It literally is what inspired this whole project and is worth the money.)
Although I think I’ll say this every week, I REALLY need to work on this.
See for yourself.
I’d love it if you followed along–where are you in your own un-cluttering goals?