Thursday, March 8, 2018

how I spent my Wednesday

Yesterday was just a normal day, but I was already feeling really productive that morning, so after I had my quiet time, I got up and started cleaning out and organizing a few areas in our home that get really cluttered really quickly.  (We do not live in a huge home, it's a normal three bedroom, two and a half bath, one playroom -turned bedroom- house, so with four boys, I always had to be creative with space.)

(Also, I say that like I'm complaining, but I promise, I'm not.  I love our home, and I don't want one any bigger than this one, because it is hard enough keeping this one clean.  Our home is a blessing, and it always has been.  James 1:17 tells us that every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.) 

Additionally, I have a few mom friends who have asked about keeping things organized with lots of little ones running about, so this is about that too. 

The first area I tackled yesterday was the closet under our stairs.  It's appropriately named the tornado closet, not because of an impending tornado, but because it always looks like a tornado went through it.  (That made me chuckle.)  There are so many things in that closet, including school supplies, bibles and bible studies that I've gone through over the years, coats, paperwork, extra stuff (like solo cups), Crash's dog food container, and all our electrical equipment for the tv in the living room.

The shelves always get really messy, so I straightened those, then I pulled everything out and vacuumed.  Lots of stuff needed to be thrown away, or just put somewhere from where it had fallen.  I went through the coats that are hanging and neatened up all of those, and added some more from a couple areas I'll mention in a minute.  Then I put everything back neatly and parted with other stuff. 

I found an over the door hanger, so I added that for a purse I might use soon and the bag I take to church on Sundays to hold my bible and journal and such.  I hate the way those shelves above the coats look, but it's out of my hands.  Those are the wires that allow us to have our tv mounted above the mantle.  My husband created an outlet for the tv (several years ago) for the tv, then he ran the wires under the beams in the living room back to the wall behind the couch, which is where you see them now.  We have a remote that works, even with the wires behind us. 

Here is the floor.  The dining table leaf is in here, cords and such in that basket with the fan on top (to use when it gets too hot in there), an electric griddle, art supplies.  There's more, you just can't see it.

The shelves that aren't pictured are where I keep all the school supplies, batteries, games, and on the top shelf is where all my bible study books are.  Some are work books, some are held in notebooks, some are just notes I've taken as I've read, but the shelf is filled and overflows into a few other areas in my home. 

On keeping things organized, the only way to do it is to do what I did yesterday.  Just pull everything out, go through it all, and decide what to keep and what to toss.  I no longer keep a lot paperwork from the kids, because they will not want it someday.  They do have folders with some things, but it's not much.  Boys are not sentimental about things like that.  If something is in there we haven't touched in a year or more, I donate it.  There is no sense in holding onto things we may or may not someday use.  I know several would argue this point, but I hate clutter. 

Here's another spot that we use all the time.

Two sturdy peg racks.  I think my sister Lisa gave me these years ago, but they are anchored to the wall so they can hold a LOT of weight.  I always hated backpacks strewn all about, and coats, so we hung these to alleviate that.  I cleaned this up significantly yesterday, it was in sad shape.  Atop this are all our movies and a few other things.

I'm all about usable space.  We use every inch of space we have, we always have and we always will.  This was one way we were creative with what we had to work with.

Even with that peg rack, we still use our coat rack as well.  Todd brought this home for me a long time ago, and I cleaned it off yesterday.  With all these boys, comes all their friends, and they need a spot to hang their stuff.  This gets used all the time.  I considered getting rid of it at one point, but I couldn't let it go, it's way too useful and practical. 

I always have spots for all the things.  That was what I always told the boys.  I made sure they had a spot to put everything.  Being able to actually put things away was important to me, because again, I hate clutter.  I taught the boys that same thing and that is how my house always looks decent.  It may look clean, but it's not always, I promise. 

I always do a little bit at a time, so I never get overwhelmed with tons of junk we don't use.  I take it a room at a time, sometimes a closet at a time.  The kitchen gets messy (the cabinets) and these areas I wrote about.  Also our bedroom and bedroom closet can get that way too.  I had done a big clean out before Christmas in our room and closet, but when we had those rooms painted, it got messy again, and stayed that way until yesterday.  After I was done with the downstairs, I headed to our room and cleaned our closet again, got rid of some clothes we don't wear, and switched our things in the dresser and lingerie chest we have in our room.  I gave Todd the dresser, because most of my things are hung, and he needs more space for t-shirts, sheriff's department stuff and such, and now I'm closer to the lingerie chest, so I'm glad to have my stuff there again. 

So the big take away tips and tricks are this:

Just jump in, even if you're overwhelmed.  You have to start somewhere.  Take it one small space at a time.  Whichever is most important to you, start there.  For me, it's always my kitchen.

Make a goal of doing ONE area each week.

Have a plan for where to take the stuff you'll donate.  (Goodwill, Salvation Army, Disabled Vets.)

And then take it there, or arrange the pick up.  For me, when I'm done, we store it in the garage until we can drop it all off.

When you have stuff laying around, put it away.  (Coats, mail, paperwork, whatever.  For us, mail is another issue, so years ago, I purchased a "mail container" that we keep ours in.  I've added another cute box to that as well, one that is shorter, so we never have it just laying around.)

Keep the kitchen clean.  Always.  The counters, the sink, the table. 

Make your bed.  That helps me stay motivated.

Do the laundry, dry it, fold it immediately, and then put it all away.  You would be amazed at how much that helps. 

Practice self control.  If you don't have room for it, don't buy it.  If you buy one thing, make it a rule of thumb to replace it with something else you don't need or want.  For me, this is books.  UGH.

I hope this inspires you to do a little spring cleaning!  I'm going to tackle another catch all today: our laundry room. 

Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

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