I still haven’t finished A Simplified Life because I’m still working my way through the first round of home organization tasks. I’m about halfway through them at this point, having completed our shoe closet (see below) on Sunday afternoon. Though I still have a ways to go, I can confirm that the joy I feel as I check each task off the list only snowballs. It’s so easy to focus on more, but embracing less is freeing. Less clutter. Fewer choices. Decreased stress. I’ve been bitten by the bug and I see it sticking around for a while because having less is making me feel so much lighter.
I’ve shared our master closet makeover with you, as well as my pantry, and I’m pleased to announce that they have both maintained their new functional layout. In konmari terms, they both still spark so much freaking joy in me. Now I’d love to share with you a couple more recent spaces we’ve tackled.
The Kitchen Desk
I might have already shared this one, but it’s worth sharing again because it is one of the areas I’m most proud of. It’s a space we use everyday for pens, paper, essential oils, and cookbooks, so it’s one of the projects I’ve gotten to enjoy the most. I donated roughly half my cookbooks which was hard at the time but now I love opening the cabinet and seeing only the ones I use and love the most in front of me.
My Bathroom Vanity
It was basically a dumping ground for all things beauty/hair/makeup whether I used them or not. I had no idea until I pulled EVERYTHING out just how many little junkie samples I owned. Now everything has a purpose and a place. I’ve pushed myself to take the extra two seconds to put an item back where it belongs rather than to leave it on the counter top and it’s made a surprising difference. I wish I took a better picture of the drawers before and after because there is a huge change for the better there. I found several old make-up bags in the process and re-purposed them to hold samples worth keeping, tampons, etc.
The Master Shoe Closet
I think our closets are supposed to be his/hers, but we’ve always shared the big one and used the smaller one for shoes and towels… and apparently a million other junk items. I never realized how many shoes I had that I never (ever) wore and I finally took the necessary step to throw out our old, beat-up pool towels that needed to be replaced. Our medicine cabinet was overflowing with expired and repeated medicines and now everything is back where it belongs so we can easily find it if needed. Now we have a couple of empty shelves which are quickly becoming my new love language.
The Hall Coat Closet
I call this “how many random items can we shove in a closet.” Thank goodness it is now just back to coats and our craft table cloth.
When I told David to snap a before picture, he was sweet and only took pictures of his disaster. I must admit, my side looked very similar and was in need of an overhaul. We aren’t going for stylish here, more so clutter-free, streamlined, and effective. Sure I would like some art on the wall above my desk, but just having everything organized and in its place makes a world of difference.
Our organizational projects have been successful mainly because of three central guidelines that I’ve adhered to:
ONE: Be ruthless with what you decide to keep.
The #1 response I’ve gotten from people as I share these projects here and on social media is “Oh my gosh, you got rid of almost everything.” Absolutely I did! I’ve tidied up and organized all my junk plenty of times in the past, but what gives these overhauls staying power isn’t better labels or more bins, it’s getting stuff OUT of the house. I have waited to do each project until I’m in the right mindset to be ruthless and I haven’t missed a single thing I’ve thrown out or donated. I realize how many things I was holding onto “just in case” and that was creating a surplus of clutter in every room of my house. Never again!
TWO: Knock a whole project out at one time.
For me, this is key. I don’t start a project unless I have time to finish it because being stuck in limbo halfway through is miserable. It’s easy for me to pull everything out and put my favorites back in their place, but then I have to push myself to immediately load all donations into my car and trash the stuff that needs trashing. The satisfaction of completing the task doesn’t shine through until it’s completely done and stopping when the task is only half done waters down the high I need to keep my motivation strong.
THREE: Be discerning with what you decide to add to your spaces and make sure everything has a designated spot.
The biggest surprise for me along this journey has been how it’s changed my spending habits. You would think with less stuff around, it would be more tempting to buy things to fill it up, but the opposite has been true. It’s like I don’t want to bring anything else into the house now! It’s really helped me to be more aware of what I buy because I have a new rule that it it comes into the house, it must have a designated space to go, and I really don’t want to fill up those beautiful, empty drawers and shelves I’ve created. I’ve bought one sweater and one sports bra since I started this project. That’s it.
Next up… the girls’ rooms, which are much more challenging because of changing sizes and changing seasons. I know they need some new shoes, but I won’t let myself buy a thing until we do a full inventory check, including bringing out the bins of Hailey’s old clothes to see what we have ready to go for Kaitlyn. I think that project will take a fresh cup of strong tea… and maybe a glass of wine…
What is your BEST tip for keeping the spaces in your home organized?
Which space is next on your list?