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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My Bookshelf

So this is what I’ve noticed.  I’ve been paring down my books since my husband gave me my ereader.  Books that made the cut last yard sale weren’t so lucky today.  I pulled everything off the shelves and took a good long look at each book.  I had to really ask myself if I would ever read or use the book.  I then had to ask myself if my daughter would ever read or use the book.  I forced myself to be honest with myself and some of my “favorites” are just dust collectors.  Many more cookbooks landed into the yard sale box.  A handful of parenting books and self-help books landed in the box.  Most of my case worker books are in the box.  I figured if I don’t know how to be a case worker by now then I’m definitely in the wrong field.  My life skills books that I swore I’d never part with are in the box.  I simply don’t use them enough to justify the space they take up on my shelf.  I’m hoping someone who will put them to good use will find them.

I have about 8 books that I’m undecided on.  Most were recently purchased but I haven’t read them yet.  I have them in a pile on the book shelf so that once I read them I can either pass them along or add them to the keep shelf.  I may need to pick a date and if I haven’t started any of them I may as well part with them.

You know what’s strange?  My hoarding part of my brain is starting to flare up big time.  I think the purging is starting to trigger it.  It’s especially bad with the books.  I rarely crack open a cook book.  I either cook what I know or look it up online.  I rarely use a craft or activity book unless it’s colorful and illustrated.  Typically I go online for ideas.  I’ve been switching out my favorite physical copies of books for digital copies to free up more room plus I enjoy reading them more on the ereader.  Here’s where the hoarding monster comes in – disaster, survivalist scenarios in where there’s no way to recharge my laptop or ereader.  with no electricity I will lose all my books and have nothing to read.  Writing it out makes it seem even more ridiculous because if there were a catastrophe I would unlikely be reading but trying to survive and two, if there were a major disaster I doubt that I would last long considering my cardio skills suck.  If there were a zombie outbreak I’d be the tasty treat or the fat girl who trips and falls and gives the fitter people in my group an extra few moments to get away.

Here’s a sore spot – my bookshelf is fairly clear and has some open space.  my family sees this as a drop spot.  I need to create a habit of boomeranging their items from my space or shared spaces to their spaces.  This rings especially true for my daughter.

We always work better when we have goals in mind so today my husband and I came up with our wish list.  These are expensive items that we need/ want so I wrote them down so that I stop wasting money on items not on this list.  We can’t afford to take on new debt so we are left with the following options to pay for the following list – we can sell our clutter/ excess possessions, we can cut back on our spending to include food purchases, we can find alternative ways to increase our income (try to sell my husband’s jewelry he makes on etsy/ try to sell more of our photos and graphic designs on cafepress) and reevaluate the list periodically to see if these items are still important to us down the line.

Here’s our list – the first one is our top priority right now due to problems with our current vehicle.

  • A car – I definitely need something more fuel-efficient and something smaller than what we are currently using.  A car would use up less gas than our jeep and the tires will be cheaper when we need to replace them.
  • Fix the Jeep – tires, a windshield plus some other things needed.  Once we get the car the Jeep will be the back up vehicle.  We were going to try selling the Jeep but if there is an emergency with my daughter and I’m at work it could take an hour or more for me to get home (40 miles from home to office).  some of my visits are much further away.
  • Fix the external hard drive –  the larger dog we used to have knocked this on the ground and broke it.  It’ll cost about $2000 to recover our photos off of this.  about 7 years of photos that we are hoping are recoverable.
  • Upgrade camera – my husband and I are hobbyist photographers.  He wants to be a professional photographer but we just aren’t there.  Tonight we discussed what we needed to do to become better photographers.  We need to practice, practice and practice some more.  We are not as good as we used to be.  I haven’t taken the time to learn my new camera (my camera recently broke and we had to replace it).  I can tell you this much though – it’s way too slow and works lousy in low lighting.  It seems like my husband has gotten sloppy with his work.  The lighting is off, the posing is off, angles are bad.  We also should upgrade both of our cameras but we need to at least upgrade mine.
  • Upgrade photography equipment – some filters, a new flash, etc.
  • Another AC unit.  It’s so hot and our window unit in the living room is just not enough anymore.  My husband really wants one for the bedroom since he’s been struggling with sleeping due to the heat.
  • Paint the walls in the house.

I also thought it would be helpful to write down how I want to be spending my time so that when I’m trying to declutter I can see if it fits into my categories.

How I want to spend my free time

  • NOT CLEANING
  • Working on adding designs to cafepress
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Gardening

This list came rather quickly to me and there were a few things that surprised me.  Gardening came without hesitation which means my OCD exercises are working.  Gardening would not have come anywhere near this list this time last year.  That area of OCD is weakening and I am getting stronger.  Three of my four activites are solo activites.  I went to write down “playing games” but the urge really isn’t there.  I’ll play if my husband or my daughter asks me to but it’s not as strong as it used to be.  Arts and crafts are no longer on this list.  I think it was my fantasy self who liked these activities – the person who I wanted to be but not who I actually am.  I really just want some time to myself, to read, think, process and write.  I want to have outings with my husband and daughter, eat meals together, spend some time talking together but I need time alone as well.

Zone Cleaning the Master Bedroom

So zone cleaning in the master bedroom is increasingly difficult but I don’t mind so much.  My husband definitely needs his sleep too.  I did do some work in it today.  I finally bought a lovely comforter for this room.  When husband and I got our first place together we bought a lovely blue comforter that both of us enjoyed.  Through the years it became worn and tattered and we needed to let it go.  It felt so hard to buy a new one because we are often the fortunate recipient of other people’s unwanted clutter.  They mean well but we often cannot say no but most times the items are not our style.

Give you an example – we were using a brightly colored quilt covered in Macaws!  YUCK!  It would annoy me so our other options were a bright pink down comforter (also a gift) that crinkles when we move or our patriotic quilt (a purchased item I love but not for our bedroom.  It’s our picnic blanket and living room blanket.)

I was shopping at Aldi and found the quilt set below.

I have to say even though I’m not drawn to floral patterns I fell in love with this one right away.  I bought it and it looks lovely on my bed.  I decided that the comforter in my daughter’s room needed to go as well so we went shopping for her.  The current one was given to us and was closer to her style when she received it (pink with princess design) but over the years has become stained from us allowing her to have crystal light at bedtime.  After several stores she decided that she wanted the same quilt that we purchased so I went back to Aldi to pick her up the same.

So today I made our bed and put freshly laundered sheets on.  It smells lovely now and feels great.  I pulled the two totes out from under the bed and took inventory.  We’ve purged down to two sets of sheets for our bed with the matching pillow cases.  Our daughter has three complete sets of sheets and mismatched pillow cases.  We’ve kept two flat sheets that don’t go to either bed but I love them.  One is a lovely pink and white checkered sheet that i have used for a picnic blanket, a table cloth, a make shift play tent and more.  The other is a lovely blue and green floral sheet that is a perfect summer coverup when a blanket is too much.

besides the bed we each have our own dresser and husband has a side table with two drawers.  I cleared husband’s dresser top off to two picture frames, a jewelry box, a vase, his tv and dvd player.  My dresser top still needs a little work and I need to purge through my drawers.  Closet needs a little work as I need to go through my clothes still.  Fortunately it’s a small closet – about 6 feet wide and only slightly deeper than our hangers and we share so I only have about 3 feet of space plus the shelf.  There are two small totes of seasonal clothes and husband’s dress shoes on the shelf.

on the floor some work is needed.  there is a large tote full of dvds that I would love to purge by half but need husband on board with this and then there is a large basket full of blankets.  There is also a GINORMOUS piece of thick glass that came with the house.  It’s so heavy I can’t even move it out.

On my to-do list is to convince husband to go through his drawers, flip the mattresses to staple the lining back in place on the box springs and finish sorting my clothes.  I believe it’ll take 30 minutes total to finish.

 

On a completely different topic –

Here is what I found at Aldi that I bought for my daughter.  This ball is 4 foot 3 inches tall when inflated and is super amazing.  (ad picture below).  We took it up to mom’s house and I let her play with it.  Super, super awesome.