A few weeks ago, I joined a decluttering challenge with a group of online friends. We've been encouraging eachother along the way as we work on making our homes a little more organized. So far I've worked mainly in two areas - a room we call the summer kitchen and the master bedroom. Here are some rather embarassing befores and some very enjoyable afters:
this room is large but it has to wear a lot of hats. It is the laundry room, mudroom, sewing room, and computer room
You'll need to tilt your head sideways :) This is the corner behind the summer kitchen door. Kids' coats and snowpants in a messy pile.
After: hooks moved and added at two levels (lower ones for the little girls) make a place for coats and snowpants. Cubbies for boots. Two grocery style baskets hold all the gloves, hats, scarves etc. I suppose it's kind of still messy - hard to have that many and not be :) but much better!
Before: Laundry area - hooks for girls' coats originally too high - they couldn't hang up their own stuff - messy shelf, corner, etc.
After: organized shelf and top of dryer - straightened up corners and found homes for everything.
Before: sewing desk a total mess - no room to sew! (sorry it's another sideways one)
After: switched desks with girls' computer. It made more sense to consolidate areas of the room, so this is now the sewing area - sewing machine and serger on the desk along with my ott lite and organized bins, Lissa's sewing machine and the embroidery machine on the tv trays in the corner.
Before: computer desks - main computer, boys' computer, second picture: girls' computer
After: reorganized to put girls' computer in same area as other computers. Got stools to sit on which took much less space than all those chairs, plus saved bringing them back and forth from the dining room multiple times a day. Cleared off lots of extra junk ;)
All of which equals a room that we can actually use and enjoy! :)
Area under shelf in corner of bedroom - so many boxes that just never got unpacked - girls' winter dress coats, etc.
After: no more boxes! Room to put beanbag chairs when not in use - big basket holds all the extra blankets that everyone likes to cuddle up in while watching tv. Eventually we'll have a woodstove so there will be a stove pipe instead of a towel stuffed hole in the wall. :)
Entertainment center before
Entertainment center after - Mike's chess set collection gets to show off on top - beautiful carved ship was made by my great uncle Mike as a wedding present for us. I got another dvd zippered case, so finally everything has a place - no more dvd cases all over the place.
Dressers before, also filled with boxes on top and around
Dressers after - cleared off and usable
Mike's comfy chair corner before
Mike's comfy chair corner after - - hmm, funny how you notice stuff in pictures that you didn't see in real life. A few things left to get out of there I think. :)
Bed before - windows were covered with blankets to keep off drafts
Bed after - I made a window quilt with Mike's old Navy uniforms. :)
Other nice changes that came with decluttering:
I added a border in the little girls' room - painted the vines free hand and added leaves in a couple shades of green with a leaf shaped stamp that I cut out of a sponge. Then I put up some Cicely Mary Barker fairy wallies here and there :)
The company Mike works for bought out another company. They acquired a conference table they didn't need and gave the table top to us. We took off our old table top and put on the new one - and voila! A beautiful table that easily fits ALL of us now!
Terran took a section of the old table top and made a wonderful counter for the kitchen! We had very little counter space before, so that was a real blessing!
We had no curtain for the bathroom window - just an old towel hung up to afford a bit of privacy. Mike picked up a bolt of some beautiful lace for $1 a yard when our Walmart decided to close it's fabric section. The bathroom window looks much better with it's new dress. :)
So, that's about it for the present. A few more things to do - of course there always are! And maintaining it is always the real challenge! But what a blessing it is to look around and see the little touches and usable spaces!
God does much the same thing in our lives too, doesn't He? I love how He works through our hearts, throwing out the junk that we've accumulated - adding touches of Himself here and there - letting His beauty shine through! And, just like I sometimes feel discouraged after I declutter and the kids mess it up again and don't care - how similar it must be for Him when I go back again and again to my selfish sinful ways! I have been learning through my decluttering that we are a busy, creative family, which lends itself to clutter. That's not going to change, so the goal is to create areas and organizing solutions that make it easier to put things where they belong. In the same way, God is knows I'm a sinner but He is changing the underlying person within me - drawing me closer to Him, making me more like Him, so there is less and less desire to fill my heart with that selfish clutter in the first place. Isn't He wonderful!?