I used to watch Hoarders whenever I needed a little motivation for cleaning/de-cluttering, but this time around I switched to the opposite end of the spectrum.
First I discovered Kallie of But First Coffee. She’s not extreme at all, in fact she is incredibly relatable. Her channel and blog is primarily lifestyle and parenting advice (but don’t worry non-parents, plenty of her stuff isn’t parenting specific). I love that she seems very authentic (ie not perfect).
Well, YouTube’s algorithms decided that this just wasn’t enough for me. Maybe they’ve seen the state of my house, who knows, but videos for The Minimal Mom started popping up for me. Dawn of The Minimal Mom is probably more extreme than I ever see myself going…buuuuut the way she she talks about de-cluttering and organizing still really resonates with me, even if I opt not take it as far as she does.
For example, this video kicked my butt into gear a few weekends ago:
I’ve read Marie Kondo’s book and found it semi-motivating, but Dawn’s method really clicked for me. I think both Marie and Dawn are ultimately getting after the same idea, but for me Dawn’s method of picking out your favorite items vs asking every item if it “sparked joy” made a lot more sense to me. I didn’t go quite as far as she did and set specific numbers for clothing items (I’m all about winging it) but I still cleared out a huge box of stuff from my closet! If you’re interested in capsule wardobes picking out your favorite pieces is also a great way to start figuring out a color scheme to work with too.
I’ve now been binge-watching organization and minimalism videos and have been going on a de-cluttering rampage. Luckily for Matt most of the excess stuff in the house is either mine or the kids so he is relatively unaffected. We’ll see what happens if I make it to the kitchen though…
So who’s with me for some spring* cleaning motivation? I’m going to try and share some of my favorite videos to kick off the weekends for hopefully all of May. We’ll see, I get easily distracted… I’ve got some house updates coming too, I just need to get photos. You’d think that would be easier with me working from home a lot of the time but no, no it’s not.
*I live in Minnesota–we’re lucky it’s not currently snowing
This is my craft room… studio… office… whatever you want to call it, and yes it’s looked that pretty much since we moved in. Sure it’s been slightly more tidy off and on, but it’s always returned to this state. If you’re wondering where my computer is, it’s a laptop I keep parked in the living because this. Awesome, huh?
The biggest culprit is probably my jewelry supplies.
I got one of these bad boys for Christmas last year and it’s wonderful and stack-able, but a little pricey for as many as I need. I picked up a couple more (1 tiny, 1 small–the “small” is what’s shown here) for smaller beads since it’s sooo nice to be able see them all at a glance. The fancy case isn’t necessary for all my stuff–findings, wire, tools–so I picked up this guy last time I was at the hardware store.
Love the drawer sizes and adjustable dividers… not lovin’ the uber industrial look. I already had some white spray paint on hand for my radiators, so I hit it with a few coats of that.
If you think this and the container units are the extent of my jewelry supplies you are very, very wrong. I have 4 full cubbies of my Expedit unit crammed with beads, wire, and tools and could easily use another 10 of the container units, but will probably work in more of these drawer units because they are WAY cheaper.
Still a long ways to go, but better right? The closet is still filled with boxes that I need to go through but I’ve also cleared out tons of stuff and rediscovered my floor so I’m calling this a success. The room is going to be a long-term project for sure, but it’s at least no longer completely overwhelming.
Last week I tackled clothing + accessories, this week was supposed to be accessories. Oops… looks like I’m an over-achiever. Because we don’t have a “master” bathroom (only 1.5 baths in the whole house) I don’t really keep my jewelry and whatnot in there anyway, but I do have plenty of other stuff I can organize and purge.
You’ve probably heard that everything in your bathroom has an expiration date, but, like most people, don’t really care. If you’re trying to crack down on your household organization though, it’s time to care (added bonus is that you won’t have to worry about nasties growing in your toiletries).
The quick-n-dirty guide is as follows:
You haven’t used it in 12 months
It’s past the expiration date
It’s empty or nearly empty
You don’t need it any longer
Even if you’re still using it, my understanding of cosmetics is pretty much if it’s older than a year, it’s time to replace it. Not too hard, right? If you’re deposing of medication, try calling your pharmacy to find out what the disposal guidelines are. I sat on some Vicodin left over from my wisdom teeth surgery for years because I had no clue what to do with it. Another note about medication–if you can try and store it somewhere not the bathroom. Lower humidity and minimal temperature variance tend to be better for just about anything with an expiration date.
This is everything I did away with. Daaaang it feel good!
And I tidied up the bathroom closet because it was starting to get a little jumbled. I’m working on our hallway closet too, but that’s still a little bit of a dumping ground.
I’ve also finally developed a system for quick and easy bathroom cleaning. Seriously. You’ll still want to rotate in a deeper clean occasionally, but for for your average cleaning or oh shit my mother-in-law will be here in 5 minutes moments this is pretty sweet.
First I squirt some cleaner in the toilet bowl to give it time to sit and work its magic. Next I spray some windex on the mirror and an all-purpose cleaner on the sink, tub, and toilet (or any other surfaces you may have in the bathroom). Then, working from cleanest to dirtiest (ie mirror, sink, tub, toilet) I give everything a good wipe-down with a micro-fiber cloth. Toss that cloth in the laundry, scrub out the inside of the toilet bowl and BAM done. All in around 5 minutes. I have it ever so slightly easier because of the claw-foot tub (ie no tub surround), but even wiping down tiles or shower doors shouldn’t add a ton of extra effort.
I am such a sucker for design/organization challenges! Sure, I can organize on my own but I tend to get a little ADD and lose steam. But a daily or weekly goal that’s not set by me? Bizarrely enough this makes it easier.
Clearly my failure is at goal setting.
Anyways… I saw a big, shiny banner ad for The Inspired Room’s new book Make Room for What You Love and since I pretty much am every click-bait advertisers dream I went to check it out. I hoped it going to be like the KonMari trend without the talking to your shoes.
So I click on the ad for this book and it turns out they’re doing a promotional organizational challengey thing. SOLD. And by “sold” I mean “signed up for free.” Five weeks of organization goals sent to your inbox every week and since I’m in Spring Cleaning mode this works out perfectly for me!
Week One is the master bedroom. Specifically organizing clothing and accessories. This was very much on my to-do list anyway so the timing was perfect.
I am so ashamed to be showing this picture online… this is seriously what the top of our dressers have looked like for months.
My closet is actually fairing a little better thank god.
Step one is to take everything out of your drawers/closet. I decided to tackle my closet and dresser separately so I didn’t have complete clothing chaos and I started with the closet.
Ooof-duh as we say in Minnesota.
At this point I ever-so-slightly switched gears. Ya’ll have probably heard of capsule wardrobes I’m guessing? Where you pair done your clothing to around 30 pieces for each season? While that’s a little too minimal for me (and I am most definitely not a minimalist) I think the concept is solid and the guidelines to get you started can be used for just about anyone to sort out unworn items and pinpoint their style. Try not to get hung up on emotional attachments. Sure it was a gift, but is it any better for something to sit there unused rather than donating it? Or maybe it’s something you bought with high hopes but never worn. It happens to all of us, if it’s really not working, toss it even if it’s brand new.
The first things I put back in my closet were the things I wore constantly. We all have those things. After my favorites were hanging up I looked at their overall color selection and style feel. Everything I put back after this I tried to blend with that palette and style. This is the big reason I opted to do the closet first–it’s where my more stylish pieces are (my dressers is more undies, t-shirts, tanks, and PJs).
And the stuff I’m bidding a fond farewell to.
I did the same thing to my dresser, but the photos are less interesting and I am most definitely am not posting a photo of my knicker drawer. My shame does have some boundaries. Trust me though, the inside is way better.
And so is the top! My jewelry was the big killer–I never got a good system in place after we moved so the tops of both of dressers just became my personal dumping ground. The shelf brackets and hooks are from IKEA and I had a leftover board to use as the shelf. BAM storage top and bottom! I didn’t bother painting them because, while I have an idea in mind for the bedroom, I don’t know the exact colors yet. Same goes for the mirror–that was salvaged from our bathroom (don’t you recognize the brown?). I was trying it out in the space for balance. I think I have a better mirror for here though, I just need to find it….
I still have a ways to go–I want to get some drawer dividers for my dresser and completely revamp my closet system. Those are projects for another day, but purging all the clutter is the first step.
I have my music pretty solidly under control since I switched to download only for any new purchases and ripped everything else to computer several years ago. I’ve known some music snobs though who still prefer to buy CDs so they can control the settings when they rip them to their computer. If you’re among the music snobs you may still want to back everything up on an external drive and then rid yourself of the physical CDs. Seriously, you Do Not Need Them.
My personal favorite media player is iTunes (yup, I’m an Apple fan girl*). It’s free, and I really like their sorting options. Most people know iTunes, but not everyone knows the extent of their sorting options (heck, Matt still complains about their options and I don’t think he’s used iTunes in a decade). I also have a nice Bluetooth speaker so I don’t have to haul my computer around to listen to music around the house.
Movies + TV
DVDs are my main trouble spot. Most downloads are protected and will only play on whatever player the seller says (ex: iTunes, Amazon Video). I don’t particularly care for these restrictions so I continue to buy hard copy.* Unfortunately DVDs take up gobs of space.
It’s not even that bad, but shuffling through all the boxes was annoying, plus Matt started to complain about my collection so I decided to compact it because I’m a good wife. Matt’s a fan of the disc binders but I think they look kind of ugly. You can get nicer looked ones, but they’re pricey and the style still doesn’t fit what I’m looking for. I opted for inexpensive CD sleeves, labels, and a couple small bins.
Labels: $10/350, Mircrocenter
Sleeves: $2 /100, Microcenter
Bins: $6, Target
Please ignore my slightly dysfunctional curtains…
I have one bin for movies and one for TV (and a third for the extras/special features disc). I may add some dividers for genre/TV Show Name, but right now it’s just alphabetical. The movie labels have the movie title, rating, and run time, and the TV labels have the show name, season/disc number, and episode names. On some I could fit the episode names on the main label, but for others I had to print a second which I just stuck on the back.
It works for now, but I have dreams of creating a CD sized card catalog style drawer system some day. I’ve been looking for plain wooden CD drawers that I could cobble together, but no such luck so far. I may try and make the whole thing from scratch, but drawers are a little finicky.
If you have oodles of free time, you could also rip all your discs to a portable drive and plug that right into your computer. My current computer is USB only and my old laptop was very slow at ripping DVDs so that may be a super long-term project for me…
Oooh this one’s touchy for me. As I’ve mentioned before, I LOVE books. Not ebooks, real, physical books. I also tend to hoard despite the fact I live right across the street from a library. Basically, don’t use me as your role model for book storage (but if you do, no judgement here). I still browse through my collection occasionally and weed out things that no longer hold my interest…. when we moved I think I got rid of about 5 books…
Also, does anyone else wish amazon paired an ebook with any hard copy books you buy like they do for CDs? That would make travel delightful for me (which is like the only time I really use ebooks).
Last time I touched on cleaning up photo files on your computer, but what about preserving your photos? You take them for the memories right? So you probably want to go back through them now and again.
I’m not much of a scrapbooker, but I love having nice printed albums. You don’t have to print off your photos before hand, you can resize as necessary, and they’re so much slimmer than if you scrapbooked by hand. I tend to have individual albums for big trips/events, but I’ve also been toying with the idea of creating little “yearbooks” to use the random photos I take over the year. I saw the idea on Young House Love and I think it’s a great idea. I’ve been using Shutterfly for my printing so far because they always have coupons, but there are tons of options out there.
If you don’t want more stuff (more power to you!) albums might not me for you. You may still want to put together slideshows to make your digital photos a little more accessible. iPhoto has a slideshow option, but my dad (who is not a total Apple convert) just uses Powerpoint and it works for him. Bonus, if you hook your computer up to your TV you can show off your photos to a whole room of your captive family and friends.***
*Except for the iPhone… I have an irrational dislike of their charger. I hit charger Zen when I realized all my small devices took a micro USB. Why do you want to take that away from me Apple????
**Ok, Doctor Who I still buy off of iTunes so I can get instant gratification
*** I actually like seeing people’s photos, just pleaseplease spend at least a little tend editing them before showing them to other people…and I don’t even necessarily mean like Photoshop editing, just weed out the super blurry ones and the 20 bajilion duplicates, mmkay?