I am an extremely sentimental person. For as long as I can remember, I would hold onto little notes my Mom would put in my lunch, birthday cards from family members, drawings friends made me, and so on and so on.
Eventually, this transitioned into clothes that I was gifted (but maybe would wear once or twice), old cell phones (in case something would happen to a new one), makeup (in case I might eventually like that shade of lipstick)––you get where I’m going. Those “Let Go” commercials? Yeah, I’m the guy needing convincing.
I am a PACK RAT. My parents are PACK RATS (sorry, Mom and Dad, but I’m outing you). My grandparents were PACK RATS. This is clearly a family trait. So this being said, you know it means things have gotten to a point that of mess to get me to really let go.
It started with my maternity leave. C.D. had been making sly comments for years about my crazy nightstand drawer. Everyone (well, those who aren’t clean freaks) has that drawer where you stash away “things.” Mine is/was my nightstand. After getting a hair up my butt, I decided to really dig through it. My lord… I found so much crap that I would never have realized I STILL HAD. And this stuff made the move with me… THREE TIMES. I’m talking Reavis house, to Houston, back to Saint Louis. AND THEY WERE NEVER USED. I grabbed a trash bag and without thinking just threw a load of things into it. Before I could get sentimental, I ran the trash bag out to the trash can and slammed the lid down.
Suddenly, I felt… relieved? Free? I know a few things I didn’t feel––bad… guilty… sad. Those items I’d hung on to for no reason at all weren’t making me feel sentimental. It was the memories I was worried I’d lose, and I certainly didn’t.
Introducing the Home Organization Challenge 2018. This group popped up as a suggestion on Facebook and curiosity got the best of me. I saw streams of posts of clean rooms, organized closets, piles of trash bags and immediately clicked “Join.”
I was intimidated at first––these folks’ homes seemed spotless. I’m a working mom, my husband is a working dad, and our kids are not the epitome of organized. How could we ever keep our house like this?
I shook off this feeling and said I’d start with what I could promise to keep organized. I spent a full day cleaning out my closet, the linen closet, the vanities in the two upstairs bathrooms and the girls’ closets. In the end, I donated eight bags of clothes between the girls and I (C.D. still needs to part with his collection of old tees––that’s his kryptonite) and threw away five large trash bags of JUNK. Here are my “afters” because I was admittedly too ashamed to snap photos of the “before.”
So how did we accomplish all of this with kids? Here are my tips!
- Prior to the weekend, we made a list of things that MUST be done. We promised to stick to all items until they were completed. If you push it, it won’t get done.
- We asked for help! You cannot get anything done with a toddler running around behind you pulling everything back out. My sister and brother-in-law kindly offered to take Evvie out for a few hours and it was the best of both worlds. Evvie had special one-on-one time with her aunt and uncle and got to play. We were able to clean and organize without chaos (well, until it was nap time and she pulled out every folded pair of pants from her drawer…).
- We put ourselves in robot mode. If I would even start to get sentimental, nothing would be donated or let go of. I went into robot mode and told myself that anything that had not been worn in the year before had to go.
- And before I could change my mind, I drove the bags straight up to the local St. Vincent de Paul store and dropped everything off. I tossed around the idea of selling on Facebook swap groups, but I realized that if something sat for awhile, I’d likely put it back on a hanger. Hopefully, they make someone else happy!
I’m still so motivated that I may tackle decor next. Stay tuned!