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How and why did I decide to take part in the Great Big GIANT Spring Cleaning Purge? I’m glad you asked! As we rolled into the New Year, I found myself reflecting on the previous year. The first half the year was super productive and I accomplished many goals. The second half of the year was total chaos with me being completely bedridden and hooked up to an IV due to pregnancy complications. The housework fell behind although my husband did a pretty amazing job holding everything together on his own. But the endless piles of laundry were always somewhere. Even when they were clean, there was simply too much going on in a day to wash, dry, and fold so somewhere along the busy schedule, clean piles of laundry rested on the couch where they pretty much hung out until they were worn.
My Christmas Valentine:
By the time February rolled around, we still hadn’t taken down the Christmas tree. It was Aidan’s 3rd birthday and we had a Peppa Pig party planned. A Christmas tree didn’t exactly go with the theme and I was still feeling sick and could hardly move around without extreme back pain. We were running out of time to get everything ready for the party. So we did what any couple would do under pressure…. or perhaps any crazy couple…. we relocated the fully decorated Christmas tree….. into our closet! I wish I could say I was joking, but I am dead serious. And at this point, I knew something had to change.
You see, for 2016, I had about 30 resolutions only to find that life had other plans. I learned that you can have the best of intentions but sometimes you just have to roll with it. I was also sick, sore, and exhausted. For 2017, I wanted my resolutions to be simple: I wanted to get our entire life, and most importantly, our home, completely organized. I wanted to have a place for everything and everything in its place. I wanted to declutter. I wanted to purge all of the stuff that caused stress because it was too much of an effort to put it away 20 times after the boys made a mess. And I wanted to be a better mom. I wanted to enjoy the time with my kids rather than always feeling guilty about the housework that was never-ending. And so, at nine months pregnant, I set out on a mission. This was no ordinary nesting. This was war. War on clutter. War on disorganization. And war on stress.
Well, we were able to get the Christmas tree and decor packed up and stored away in the basement the weekend after Aidan’s party. Whew. That felt good.
What Not to Wear:
I began going through our closet and the massive amounts of clothing that I knew I couldn’t/wouldn’t wear again. It took me several weeks due to the health issues I was dealing with, but I chugged along and piece by piece I ended up getting rid of NINE trash bags full of stuff! We donated six of them to a local charity thrift store and the rest I honestly just threw away because seriously, clothes that are more than ten years old really don’t need to be worn again. Like ever. I have moved so many times since my late teen years that this was the first time I really went through and evaluated everything. Instead of moving a bunch of crap from place to place, I really wanted to only keep what I absolutely wanted. I asked myself, If I saw this item in the store today, would I purchase it again? If the answer was no, it went in the trash/donate pile. If the answer was yes, I still had to check the size. Being super pregnant and all made it where I couldn’t try everything on, but I could give my best guess as to what would fit me after the baby was born. So a few more items went in the pile. And you know what? Getting rid of stuff never felt so good! I became so excited about getting rid of things that I had to convince myself to keep anything. It was amazing!
Of all of the items I decided to keep, I wanted to further simplify everything. If it was something I could wear throughout the rest of my pregnancy or within the first three months postpartum, it was hung up. If it was something I’d have to work back into, it was folded into a bin. This makes it SUPER easy to get ready in the morning because now I know that anything hanging up will actually fit! For the non-pregnant mamas out there, this process can also be done for seasonal items. As summer approaches, pack up the winter items so they aren’t taking up space and then start introducing them back during mid fall. I promise you, it’s life changing!
[clickToTweet tweet=”Surround yourself with things you love and forget the rest. #springcleaning #lessismore” quote=”Surround yourself with things you love and forget the rest. #springcleaning #lessismore”]
We Got ROBBED!
A few days before Avalynn was born, I begged my husband to help me completely clean out and organize the pantry. It was overflowing and almost bursting at the seams. Every shelf was full. Every shelf was disorganized. The entire pantry floor was covered in boxes of cereals and snacks and I don’t even know what to say other than it was absolute chaos. You see, I’m a little OCD sometimes about sorting things. I had a “system.” But when I quit being involved in daily household things, my system went out the window. And it needed to come back, and quick! Not only did we have a baby coming, but several family members visiting from out of state. I wanted them to be able to easily find things and not get overwhelmed by the disorganization that had taken over our lives. So armed with trash bags and my label machine, we got to work. My husband was a huge help since I was in excruciating pain at this point and could hardly move. But I pulled up a chair and did what I could. He was surprised to find that many of the items in our pantry had expired. It made sense though….before I got sick we were all about our Costco and Sam’s Club runs. So everything we had was super sized. And when you don’t/can’t eat for 6 months, a lot of things don’t last. FOUR trash bags later, we put the remaining items back into the pantry. I’m not going to lie, it looked like we got robbed. By a family of hungry bears. But at least now we knew what we were working with. I got to use my system again. Everything was back in its place and while the shelves were sparse, the stress went out with the trash!
Fancy a Spot of Tea?
Ahh, the “tea cupboard,” as we like to call it. But it had basically become an extension of the junk drawer. While there was quite an assortment of tea inside, it was beyond chaotic. A cluster of all things that didn’t belong in that cupboard made finding a bag of tea more like a hunt for Waldo. I love to enjoy a cup of tea before bed. But dealing with that cupboard just wasn’t worth it. It was the next job I decided to take on. Surprisingly enough, I filled an ENTIRE trash bag from this one cupboard just getting rid of expired tea and medications and random stuff. I sorted, labeled, and organized the family medications and vitamins along with teas, hot chocolates, and coffee (this is new for our house! I hate coffee, but….we have a newborn so my husband is giving it a shot). I can’t believe what a huge difference was made! I mean, wow! I will definitely be enjoying my nightly cup of tea stress free! That makes me one happy mama!
A Little Spice:
The same thing happened with the cupboard that keeps all of the spices. I didn’t take a before picture, but the transformation was something that could make the angels sing. I was quite proud of it!
You get the picture. Basically, the entire kitchen is organized and labeled. Just as I wanted…..a place for everything and everything in its place. The labels not only serve as a reminder to us (okay, my husband), of where to put things, but they also make it very easy for anyone else who may be here helping out as we transition into life with a new baby. Yep, it took three babies for me to willingly accept help. And I wanted to make it as easy as possible for anyone kind enough to do so. The label maker is basically my new BFF. I may or may not have labeled the entire house and I am very excited about the level of organization I’ve achieved!
[clickToTweet tweet=”Labels are not for people. Labels are for things. ALL the things. #getorganized #springcleaning” quote=”Labels are not for people. Labels are for things. ALL the things. #getorganized #springcleaning”]
I mean, check out the linen closet transformation:
You’ll notice everything isn’t perfect. These photos aren’t staged. This is real life. This is what it looks like for our family of 5 living in it. But my goodness, we’ve sure come a long way. I am loving the progress and I can’t wait to see how much more our lives improve as I complete more and more organization projects! I have a few rooms left to tackle and then I plan to work on our daily routines and meal planning!
[clickToTweet tweet=”Spending time with my kids will ALWAYS be better than spending hours cleaning. #lessismore #getorganized” quote=”Spending time with my kids will ALWAYS be better than spending hours cleaning. #lessismore #getorganized”]
If you’re stuck in a rut of housework, consider doing a complete overhaul on your stuff. As much as you think it’s worthwhile to old onto something that you may need later on, I can promise you that you will find so much more satisfaction in getting rid of things you don’t use/need regularly. It will become your favorite thing. Your house will look amazing. Your stress level will go down…..and that will make you a better mom. You will be able to truly enjoy spending time with your kids without any worries about the house. If you’re like me, it will take more than one weekend. But just keep at it. One room at a time. And eventually, you’ll complete your giant project and you will be so, so happy!
LABEL ALL THE THINGS:
If you are planning to tackle a major organization project and you love the idea of labeling, I highly recommend this handy little label making machine that I purchased from Amazon. It comes with a small amount of sample labels, but you will want to buy the refill cartridges so you have plenty to last your project. So far I’ve done almost my entire kitchen, linen closet, all the shelves and compartments in my kids’ playroom, and a few other areas around the house on less than one cartridge so they last for quite awhile! You can choose from several fonts, font sizes, and use all caps, all lower case, or a mixture of both. I got white labels and it prints black letters only. The machine is battery operated. What I really like about the labels (aside from how awesome I feel having things labeled), is that they peel off SUPER easy so no mess, no messing up paint, etc. If you put something on crooked, you can take it off and fix it without any issues.
How often do YOU purge your home?
Share your organization tips with me in the comments!
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Owner and operator of Paperclips & Pacis, a motherhood + lifestyle blog sharing all the best of #momlife. Wife to Drew, Mommy to Andrew (age 7), Aidan (age 5), and Avalynn (age 2). Lover of Disney World, office supplies, subscription boxes, and social media. Instagram: @paperclipsandpacis