Last week during the uncluttered course, we got to “start easy.” Scoring some easy wins helps build momentum, and making easy decisions gives us practice for the hard ones. Our assignment was to declutter our vehicles and living areas. Happily for me, my vehicle remains continuously in an uncluttered state since I we clean it out every time we use it, mostly. Unfortunately, I have three living areas. I decided the school room was not “easy” and settled for the family room and dining room.
Day 1: the family room. Above is the “before” picture. The after picture is not much different, except in the pictures on the piano and the contents of the bookcase. Not much to declutter here. I love this room! It used to be more open, with couches, chair and pianos up against the walls to make room for wrestling boys. The couches and chair were twelve year old brown leather and had seen better days after being jumped on by twelve kids. One day I was looking at the shabby, torn up, taped up furniture and had an epiphany. Scattered throughout the house was furniture in better shape than this. I brought my parent’s blue leather couch in from my bedroom, the greenish couch in from my husband’s office, and my parent’s burgundy leather chair from my daughter’s bedroom. I moved the piano to a different wall and created this cozy, eclectic area. Almost immediately, the family started playing card and board games on the coffee table instead of moving it against the wall to make room for gymnastics, indoor parkour, or wrestling. I had a new room with almost zero cost except the dump fees for the old furniture. So all I really needed to work on was the bookcase:
I removed about half the books, brought in classics from other areas, and changed out pictures I’ve been displaying for years. Because I overthink everything, it took way longer than it needed to.
Day 2: On to the dining room.
I know what you’re thinking. It looks pretty good already. I thought so too. But observe that sideboard. I might sweep off the pictures and load it with desserts about once a year. Peeking inside, you find all of this:
The sideboard is full of stuff that has nothing to do with dining, and is also one of those horizontal surfaces that is a stuff magnet. However, it is made of solid wood and belonged to my grandmother. Happily, my son wanted it, so out it went, along with it’s contents.
Here is the before and after of the china hutch. Some of the sentimental items went elsewhere in the house, some of them went out of the house completely:
After removing about half the tablecloths, all of the silver serving dishes (polishing silver? not going to happen), and other miscellaneous items from bottom of the china cabinet, it remains about half empty and I’m not in a hurry to fill it. Ever.
I moved the china cabinet to where the sideboard had been so I could add another leaf to the table and get more of the people I love around it. This was a double win – the leaf is now out of my bedroom closet! Here is the after:
All that’s left is to figure out what to do with the blank wall. The consensus on the Uncluttered secret facebook group was to move the Monet’s closer together. Other ideas included a mirror, or a bigger Monet between the two smaller ones. Haven’t quite decided yet; feel free to weigh in in the comments.
Day 3: removing the stuff
All of this uncluttering creates three categories of stuff: things to keep, things to put away, and things to get rid of. I accumulated quite a pile of things to remove, and it was cluttering my bedroom. As usual, I procrastinated and overthought, but in the end, divided it all into five groups: trade in on Amazon, sell at Half Price Books, and donate to Goodwill, ADRN Hope Family Thrift Store, and Austin Creative Reuse.
A few books are sitting on my bathroom counter waiting for the next business day to ship to Amazon. The hubby and boys took a load to Half Price Books. Most of what they took had to be recycled, and surprisingly, we got the most money for a set of encyclopedias from the 1990s. Of course the crew spent more than we got back buying the first 17 books of the Redwall series. After painstakingly entering the items going to charity into ItsDeductible, at least the Goodwill items are out of the house, and the rest will be as soon as I can make a trip. I am frustrated that removing the stuff ended up being so intense and time consuming. Hopefully I will get better and faster at it. The frustration of trying to get rid of things without creating trash for the landfill definitely makes me want to think twice about bringing in more stuff.