Room by Room | What I’ve Learned

Going room by room through a house is a lot of work. Mental, emotional, physical. My favorite activity is to declutter and organize the spaces around me. Just ask my husband!

I’ve always been pretty good about removing the fringe items, but never really took a deep dive. That is until this year! I’m am slowly going through ALL of my items (the kids’, too) and removing the things that I don’t use, wear, stay in storage, like…you get the picture.

So, what am I learning doing all of this? Well, lucky you, you’ve come to the right place! Eight months into this process and I’m just getting started…

1. Slow and steady wins the race.

There is NO possible way that I could declutter and minimize my chunk of stuff in this house in one days’ time. Even one months’ time. Let’s be honest, I probably could do some of it, but I’d likely get overwhelmed and burned out pretty fast. I’ve dedicated a month to each space. Bedroom, basement, kids’ rooms, kitchen/pantry. Then, once I hit the 4th room, I go back through all the rooms again with a fine tooth comb.

2. I want this to be a lifestyle change.

I’m going slow and steady for this very reason. I’m tired of cleaning up the same few things every week, month, etc only to have to redo it shortly down the line. I want to use up and enjoy what I have. I want to be able to focus on my family instead of cleaning up. I want to limit decision fatigue as possible in my life. Why make myself/my family choose between 40 options when having 2 or 3 is more helpful and leaves room for better things.

Less stuff = less to clean = more time to focus on the things we love

3. Being organized doesn’t mean much if you have too much inventory.

I am hands-down a Type-A person. Everything needs to have a place and that place needs to be named. Sounds simple, but I’m finding that the more I hold onto the less room I have for everything. The less room I have for things, the more I store items. Storing items isn’t my goal. Organization, at this point, is very difficult.

4. Simplifying needs to be scheduled.

If it’s not on the calendar, it is not happening. Even if I only schedule 5 minutes in the day, I know that I will get something done. When it’s on a calendar or to do list, there is no longer the excuse of being too busy.

In case you are wondering what 5 minutes can look like, here are some examples. For this example we will use the kitchen. Five minute tasks can be going through a single shelf in the fridge or freezer, choosing 1 drawer or cabinet, or removing everything off the island and into the proper room. Five minutes can make a world of a difference.


Are you trying to simplify your life? What room is the hardest for you? Is your family on board or is it just you?

alaina

Michael’s Second Birthday

My baby isn’t quite a baby any more! I have had MANY a tear fall in the last few weeks, so you can know that I’m not crying as I write this.

He turned two…TWO on Monday. I can’t believe how big he’s getting…

I am fairly certain that this kid is the Energizer bunny and runs everywhere! He love his brother, babies, cars, and stuffed animals. He wants to be outside ALL DAY, but doesn’t care to be dirty. If he could wear only a diaper, he’d be thrilled!

For all his rough and tumble-ness, he LOVES a good snuggle, hugs, and will give sweet, little kisses. When he’s sad and cuddly, he will twirl your hair in his hand to calm himself.

Don’t ever grow up, little boy.

alaina

Mental Health Monday | Postpartum Depression & Anxiety

It’s not Monday, but man-oh-man, does it feel like it!

Hi, I’m Alaina and I deal with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. Well, let’s face it, I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety long before babies and will have to deal with it long after my babies have grown. Sounds fun, huh?!

About a year ago, I shared a post all about this while pregnant. My days of “riding the wave” are LONG gone. Right now, treading water is the most I can do and I am realizing that it might be good enough…

I’m learning that I need to really take time for myself and practice being present. Wanting and taking time for myself doesn’t diminish my feelings for this family we’ve created, or so I’m learning.

For those, especially, who’ve had to deal with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, this is hard, complicated, and maybe a bit embarrassing to admit…

All that brain dump to say, we aren’t dealing with this alone. I’m the first one standing up to say, I love my kids, but this shit is hard!

alaina

Room by Room | Basement | Part 1

OH, MAN, talk about a doozy of a project! This took us 2 full days of going through and clearing out and 1 full day to put together shelving and arrange furniture. Because this was such a big project, I’ll be covering this area in two parts.

We started by moving everything to the sides. We’ve been in this house for 2.5 years, but these boxes have traveled with us from Army post to Army post…The back wall of boxes had not been opened in 7 years. SEVEN! We had boxes of scrap paper and mail from when we lived in Texas.

Like we did with the master bedroom, we sorted into our 3 main piles. Toss. Sell/Donate. Keep. We added an additional pile for papers that needed to be gone through. This pile would be anything from medical documents, diplomas, contracts, manuals, etc.

We decided, before getting started, to buy a Dumpster Bag from our trash company. We had old furniture and TONS of trash that I didn’t want to slowly throw away with our regular trash. This was HANDS DOWN the best decision we made!

We started going box by box . As our piles got larger, we would move the trash to the Dumpster Bag in the garage. At one point, our piles were ALL over the floor. You couldn’t easily get from one side to the other until we were about a third of the way through the boxes.

Now, I can’t talk about our “after”, yet. We have gone through every box and know what is where, but needed to re-box the majority until we could get some organizational items down here. Like I’ve said, it’s a process! Our next, “project” for the basement is finalizing shelving units, re-box items into clear bins, and creating storage, an office, and a little guest area. For us, for now, we need this area functional and simple. Comfortable, too!

Once we finish the basement, I will hop back on here and share our after photos! In the meantime, if you have any suggestions when it comes to organization, function, or comfort–leave them in the comments!

alaina

Room by Room | Kid Bedrooms

Unlike the master bedroom clean-out, the boys’ bedrooms are MUCH simpler. I know it won’t stay like this forever, but (for both rooms) I spend no more than 30 minutes.

These 2 spaces have been the one area of the house where I am consistent. The only toys upstairs are in Michael’s room, in a single chest. Their books are put away once daily (usually at bedtime). The clothing is sorted and dispersed every quarter, instead of seasonally. This goes for both the dressers and closets.

Cleanup is super easy and Michael is even starting to truly help me every day.

Since this is such a short post, I thought I’d share a few tips that have helped me maintain the bedrooms, especially during those early baby days.

First, I keep 2 bins/buckets in the closet. The closet with the easiest access is for all the clothes they outgrow. The lid is never on, and I only throw clean clothing in the bin. I don’t bother folding anything at this point. The bin that is farther away always has a lid on it and is one size up from their current size.

Second, when hanging clothes, I always hang left to right. Things on the left are items that fit him and should be worn first. Depending on the seasons and current size, this section will fluctuate in size (amount of items). The farthest items to the right are the largest size and usually smallest amount!

Third, we don’t keep a bunch of toys in his room. Right now, the philosophy we follow is that the bedrooms are for limited (if any) play, reading, and sleeping. (I’m sure that’ll change as the boys get older, but for right now, it’s working for us.)

Do you have any tips, tricks, or questions? If so, leave them in the comments below! If you want a more in depth look at their rooms, head on over to Instagram and look in the highlights tab (on my profile) for “Room by Room”.

Next up, is the basement! Keep in mind still had things in boxes that we hadn’t seen in 7+ years…

alaina

Room by Room | Master Bedroom Clean-Out

I don’t know about you, but I love a good home-purging session. Top to bottom, every nook and cranny, random box, and drawer. We have been going through the ENTIRE house and recently completed our bedroom. When I say that we touched and looked at every item in our bedroom, I do mean every. single. item. Clothes, shoes, accessories, random items that didn’t belong, trash…EVERYTHING!

We’ve lived in this house for 2 years and 4 months and hadn’t done more than contain the mess. Like you, we’re busy. At that point, we were focused on the new house, new job, and soon-to-be new baby. Then 6 months after after the first baby, we were pregnant again. So here we are. Seven months after our second was born, we are finally ready and willing to put the work in to decluttering and minimizing our space!

Our bedroom took a solid 2 days to declutter. A few hours the first day of going through every item of clothing and shoes and then about 5 hours the second day to go through bins, reorganize, and clean. We were surprisingly efficient. We had 4 areas in our room to help avoid cleaning up throughout the process. Our floor in front of the bed was the dump zone. All the items were put here so that we could go through them. The bed was the keep zone, the floor on either side of the bed was donation, and the broken hampers/hall were the toss zones. I also purchased a cheap clothing rack to place hanging items.

We took everything out of the closet, drawers, laundry room, bins, and old boxes and got to work! Donating, tossing, and keeping each had a set of rules that we both followed. Keep these few things in mind when looking at our rules. One, we live in a four season environment and need a full year to see what we’ve used/not used. Two, our “memories” included thing related to military, graduations, weddings, and children. Three, our seasonal items were kept for now knowing that if we don’t wear them during that season they’ll be donated or sold.

Donating/Selling

  • have not worn in the last year
  • have no interest in wearing again
  • change in styles, age, and size
  • never worn/still had tags, but could not return

Tossing

  • damaged beyond repair
  • donation centers did not accept it and no one we knew would want the item
  • was actual trash
  • unable/unwilling to clean before donating (ie gum stuck to something, large long-lasting stain)

Keeping

  • we wear it/will continue to wear
  • unsure about wear during an upcoming season
  • we have memories attached to items (wedding, graduation, etc)
  • uniforms and/or memorabilia (military, graduations)

We removed SO MUCH from our room! 3 garbage bags of donations, 4 Costco diaper boxes of clothing to sell, 2 full hampers to throw away (hampers included), plus one garbage bag to toss. Now, it’ll be easier for me to go through clothing/accessories and get rid of what doesn’t fit our rules as time/seasons pass.

As for the things in our room, we tossed what was used (but no longer using), donated unused items, and kept what we reached for daily.

What room do you use daily that needs to be decluttered? I was dreading clearing out this space, but it’s so much more calming when you’re not wading through chaos.

Next up, is the kids’ bedroom!