I will NEVER forget the moment I drew a line in the sand. The day I came home from a week in the north woods, I shifted all of my priorities aside and swiftly moved OPERATION ORGANIZE HOME to the number one thing I will focus on until it is complete. That was last August!
A Relaxing Sanctuary
Here’s the scene. I spent 6 nights 4 hours north of our home in Land O Lakes Wisconsin with some of our closest friends. We had a pretty strict no electronics rule, which I abided by the best I could while being a real estate agent. Wink wink. Kidding aside, I spent every moment I could exploring the woods and sitting by the lake, either scoping out the bald eagles or reading a book. I even boycotted the two outings the group took into town for ice cream and go karts. I wasn’t leaving the serenity of those woods until the owners kicked me out! I was so rejuvenated and refreshed after that week at the lake house! It was such a great trip!
My Cluttered Home
And then…….we pulled into our driveway, I opened our garage door and felt the tension build inside me from the tip of my toes to the top of my head. There was literally a physical response to the stuff (junk) in my home (that garage!!) and it dawned on me. I don’t hate my house! I hate ALL the stuff in my house! That was the day I moved all my priorities aside.
I recently read Can a Clear Home Bring a Calm Mind? in the Time Magazine Special Edition: The New Mindfulness. It says that a 2015 Princeton study found that the more “objects in the visual field” there are (e.g. clutter), the harder the brain has to work to ignore it. Also “Ignoring clutter causes mental fatigue.” YES!!! I literally freaked out, waving that magazine around my husband’s head yelling, “ I’m not crazy!! THIS IS A REAL THING!! HA!!” I felt so validated!!
I am so passionate about “home.” It is the single most important place! I think we underestimate the importance of the way we feel while we are home, and for me, knowing the condition of the closets/bedrooms/office can weigh me down and make me downright unhappy.
After realizing it wasn’t my house I hated, we fully committed to recreating our home into our (my) dream home.
Creating My Home Sanctuary
I have been building my real estate and design business for years now, but I decided to carve out some time to accomplish my vision of an organized home. I was able to design my dream kitchen and even decluttered the cabinets before demo began. I got rid of so much stuff that I have several completely empty cupboards in my new kitchen. I have discovered a few things I maybe shouldn’t have tossed, but now I get to find pieces that I love, and match. Marie Kondo would be so proud. I know it might not seem desirable to remove every little thing from your cabinets just to put it all back, but I highly recommend it. My new motto is “everything has a home” and I think it’s hard to achieve that without starting from scratch.
This is where I want to plug my good friend and pro, Jaime of Jaime Declutters, because for a very reasonable rate she will either help you get started or do it for/with you!! (check out her website www.jaimedeclutters.com) She has given me enough tools that I can confidently work through more and more areas by myself, and then pull her in on the tasks that are just too daunting, like my basement!
Maintaining My Home Sanctuary
One area that I have always struggled with is picking up. Before we did our remodel, I had someone come and clean our floors and bathrooms once a week. I refused to pay her to pick up because we are four able bodied people that can at least be responsible for our crap. Well, that turned into all four of us frantically running through the house 30 minutes before bedtime on the night before she came. So that meant that the 5 days prior, our house was laden with toys, clothes, and personal belongings. It bogs you down, man!!
So I came up with a plan. I emptied out my hallway closet that was not serving any real purpose, and gave it all kinds of purpose! We thought about having someone build custom shelving for it, but I couldn’t decide what I wanted to use the closet for long term, and ultimately decided to DIY it. I am SO happy with how it turned out, and I think it ran me like 100 bucks! So here is my new organization system for cleaning and picking up.
I got these 2 rolling carts at target and this handy dandy track shelving system at home depot. At the end of the day I take out my little grey cart, if necessary, and I push it through my whole house. I have one shelf for each kid and one for my hubby. I throw all the crap they left out on counters or on the floor, or wherever, into their respectable shelf. I give them through Sunday to take what they want and put it away and whatever is still there on Sunday night, gets tossed! The white cart is filled with cleaning supplies, which is so ridiculously exciting to me. To have them all in one place? Brilliant!
Next up, I’m going to make chore sticks that my kids can use to earn money or screen time. Baby steps. For now, Saturday cleaning just got a whole lot simpler. And that’s the goal, right? All this to say, decluttering and making systems that help us function on a high level really truly adds value (and joy!) to our lives.
I would say “operation home organization” is 40-50% complete!! My goal is to be at 90% by the time we go back to that same cabin this August! Cause let’s be real, I have 2 kids and a husband and 100% is just not likely to happen, well, ever. Follow along as I continue to improve our little oasis. Happy organizing!