My family room – the before pictures

I don’t have my after pictures ready as I am still working on this room.  Three garbage bags full of donations to take to the Salvation Army tomorrow morning, 1 1/2 totes to set aside to sell.  Since we’ve moved to this home – quite a bit has been removed – giant toybox, 3 book shelves (1 remains), a very large computer desk, plants, and more.  At one point we had a narrow walkway to get from the door to the large bathroom.  We probably would have turned the large bathroom into a closet if it weren’t for the cat (litter box and feed station in the bathroom) and for the bunny who is in the bathroom (much calmer – was overly anxious all the time before.  I believe it’s from being a daycare bunny.)

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Roughly a third of our home was unusable because of the clutter and chaos.  Also – there are no pictures of any room at it’s worst.  and these pictures are how we lived when no one was looking.  I would have never let even family who didn’t live with us see these rooms like this.  We were very, very good and stashing and dashing.  closets bursting at seems – comments about having a lot of stuff but never would I show anyone this.

Here is picture 2 – our plant is no longer with us.  We’ve had this neglected plant for almost our whole marriage.  I didn’t want to get rid of it but also didn’t want to keep it.  plant and stand were sold at one of the yard sales this summer.  bookshelf given to my brother.  I imagine many items pictured are no longer in our home.

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Our vacuum cleaning not put away but near the walkway so we can get to it.  a solitary dress on a garment rack.  nothing goes together and it’s all chaos.

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We have this gorgeous furniture set – my husband’s computer desk and matching book shelf.  beautiful set – was a yard sale find.  We obviously don’t take care of it.  it’s loaded down with too many items.  red bins on top full of stuff, piles everywhere.

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Okay so I couldn’t just post these and not give you some progress –

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Closet (taken in March) – kitchen set sold.  sewing box sold.  pink box full of motivation/ improvement audio CDs – donated to my work.  Will show updated pictures of the closet soon.

Now for some pictures I took about 10 minutes ago – I’ve been wanting to wait until it was “perfect” but I don’t really want to wait anymore.  I spent about 10 minutes straightening up before taking these pictures.

This first picture is what you see when you are looking into the room.  I’ve been going through things and decided that I’m separating out by who needs to make the decision to keep or get rid of.  The bright green bucket on the desk is my daughter’s items, the green tote underneath is my husband’s and the black (hunger games) bag next to it is mine.  The black cauldron still holds Halloween candy and once it’s empty will join the Halloween decorations in the shed.  The bag next to the desk is full of empty bags that were full of stuff.  The tall white totes next to the couch (2 of them) were full of stuff – now empty.

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Game shelf still full but not overflowing anymore as we purged a bit of games.

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Here is the tv from our bedroom – move to the family room so I can eventually exercise in here with the Wii fit and the Kinect.  Also – here is the printer stand and game shelf that was previously in the living room.  really cord heavy but eventually we will make it more attractive.  my husband’s bowling ball that he has yet to put away in the closet.

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some totes chilling where they don’t belong – empty green tote, white tote has yard sale items, gray tote next to it has our winter stuff – hats, gloves, scarves, boots, coats, etc., large gray tote has my daughter’s toys that she isn’t ready to part with but doesn’t fit in her room – going to the shed until she is ready to part with them or wants to switch out her toys.  white box full of empty bottles for homemade laundry soap and fabric softener to give away.  bag is full of stuff I still need to sort through.

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The picture below was not taken tonight but gives you a good idea on how it’s looking now.  my husband has decided to sell these two pieces of furniture which means we have to decide what to keep and what to get rid of.  red baskets still full of stuff.  shelves have less books than before.  those plastic shoeboxes are full of art supplies that we actually use.  he is also taking about selling his computer and buying a laptop.

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I wanted to share the dryer balls my husband and I have been making!  still need to be felted.

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Oh my! what a mess!

Oh my goodness – i just found my before pictures for the family room!  I’m so glad that I took them because we have come a long, long way.  Not ready to post them just yet but will definately be posting them as a before and after post.  Definately a nightmare.

Decluttering my Books and Family room

Decluttering is mentally exhausting.  I’m in the middle of a break from the dreaded family room.  My vision of the family one is reasonable I believe.  I’d like a clutter free room to give my daughter space to play during her inside time this summer.  I envision a bright, clean space with open possibilities.  My requirements for this room are as follows:

  1. The couch has to be useable at all times.  This means nothing on the couch or piled in front of the couch.  It’s a hot mess right now – just saying.
  2. Her table – clean and cleared for projects and games.
  3. It has to be comfortable for reading with easy access to the books.  My book shelf and my daughter’s bookshelf should have only books we would read that fits activities we would actually do.
  4. Art supplies – neat, organized and within my daughter’s reach
  5. Board game book shelf easy to access.
  6. Plenty of floor space.

Currently, it’s filled with everything.  It’s also full of too much – books, games, supplies.  I called my mom and asked her for help.  We have a declutter date planned for two Saturdays from now.  She will help hold my hand through this process and I will buy her lunch.  My mom reminded me of how hard it was for me to originally sort through my daughter’s clothes.  I wanted to cling onto everything regardless of the size or condition.  Mom pushed me to keep only what was good and what fit her.  Since that initially struggle it’s become easier to maintain my daughter’s clothes.

A big problem is that my husband and I hold onto things because they are in good condition, we paid good money for it, it might be useful someday.  We both agree however to not keep things deemed to be garbage but sometimes I think that certain things could be useful someday.  We also differ on when we want to purge.  When my husband is ready he gets rid of things and I want to beg him to reconsider some of them because I can’t let go.  When I’m ready to purge I want to donate everything just to be done with it but there are many items he will only get rid of if we sell it.  I do need some help though because we have nice things, useful things.  It would be easier I think if the family room was full of junk but it’s not.

I realized that my daughter would save everything.  scraps of paper, every assignment and worksheet ever brought home, expired coupons, dollar store toys, outgrown toys and more.  She saw me sorting through her school papers and wanted to know why I was throwing some away.  I told her that I look carefully at all of them but only handpick a few to save.  She said okay but I could tell she wanted to reach into the trashcan and pull out the papers.

I think the big reason I hold onto things is because of dreams – I dream that I’m going to be a crafter selling beautiful items on Etsy.  I have glue guns and felt and pins, buttons and beads, this and that.  I had a great idea for felt flower pins with button centers.  I rushed to Walmart and bought the supplies.  A year later and everything is still in the wrappers.  not a single flower pin created.

I dream that my daughter and I are going to explore the world together.  I dream that I’m an outdoorsy adventurer type – even on a good OCD day I will never be that person.  I dream that I’m a muscian, an artist, a photographer and a writer.  We have books on art and science and crafting, cooking, camping, play activites and 101 things to do and be and training guides and research materials.  We have camping gear, photography props, crafts, art supplies, graphic design books, paper plane kits, gizmos and guitars, a microscope and hats – tons of hats.

I worked on a pile here and a pile there today in the family room.  Slowly the garbage can is filling up, the yard sale tote as well.  Too much still is still piled around.

I needed a noticeable difference to the room or at least one area that finally looks decluttered.  I worked on the four red baskets ontop of the shelf.  I labeled them finally, one for cords, one for DS/electronic games and items, one for photography related items and an assorted bin.  I cringed when I wrote assorted on the label.  Almost any article you read about decluttering and organizing tells you not to label things misc or assorted.  How do I define the hodgepodge items in this basket though as anything other than assorted?  (air pump to my exercise ball, foam piece for the AC, spare brita filter, voltive candles, etc).  No other title seems to fit.

I worked on my book shelf.

My beloved Harry Potter series is now in the yard sale pile.  I’ve read them twice and have an electronic copy so the books have got to go.  Also in the pile to sell are my Lemony Snickett books – The Series of Unfortunate Events.  I love them but they take up so much room.  Parenting books and social work DVDs are being donated to my work’s collection.  How-to books on things I’ll never do are in the pile to go.  I held on to some that really should go but emotions are wearing me down.  At this point in time – there are no books doubled up on my shelves.  That makes me feel real good.  One series remains on my shelf even though I have the electronic version for my ereader – i guess I’m just too attached to my Hitchhiker books.  maybe someday but definately not today.

The yard sale pile is getting bigger and the mess is getting smaller.

I look around my living room and am reminded about why I am going through this emotional roller coaster of decluttering.  I have ADHD and I believe my daughter does too.  My husband is chronically depressed.  We need a calm, clean environment to be healthy.  The dirt and clutter wears us down, makes us worse.  Our home is our santuary and we need a place to relax and heal.

My living room is calming down, clearing out.  The purpose is known.  Our gaming center with tv, three comfortable recliners, a table for our laptops and a folding table for games or folding laundry.   a student desk tucked away for my daughter.  the dog’s crate and the cat’s tower.  the clutter sneaks in but is swept away in 15 minutes or less.