I decided this was the space to really tackle for several reasons:
- I felt like the clutter had gotten out of control and was causing me stress - I used to have a clean and orderly house before kids and I want my kids to enjoy a clean orderly space because I am sure it is less stressful for them, too
- I didn't think the cluttered play space and messy piles of toys were really "good" for my kids - and certainly not conducive to productive play
- It was really an embarrassing mess that I was simply not getting control of until this challenge gave me a push
I purged a lot of stuff. I was very happy (ok, almost giddy) as we packed up the car with stuff. We took a lot things to Good Will and offered up the baby toys that everyone had outgrown or not played with on FreeCycle. I also tossed/recycled anything broken, had pieces missing, or that I really couldn't remember why I had kept it in the first place!
The first time (yes, first time) I saw the top of my dining room table I was thrilled. I hadn't seen it since we started using it as a "safe place" to put pretty much anything we wanted to keep out of the reach of the kids almost 3 years ago! I actually saw the top of the table come and go several times during the process as I tackled a new corner of stuff. We do still have 3 little boys - so as much as I wanted to ditch the baby gate - I just couldn't. It still protects the curved glass china cabinet and a few other antiques that had to be moved to safety.
|Boys new play space|
|Look! I have a table!|
We also moved the table on a bit of an angle and told the boys that "this side" where the cubby shelves are is "your side." All this stuff is for you to play with and enjoy (and take care of - as much as preschoolers can, which is more than you might think!) We added a little table for them to use as a work space. This helped them have a limited, central location on which to paint, color, play kitchen, etc. Then we told them everything on the other side where Mommy's china cabinet is - is the grown up side. We don't touch things on that side without asking first.
I think my advice to anyone wanting to organize a space is to set a deadline and just make it happen. Even if it feels overwhelming - you don't have to do it in one day, or even one week. All you really have to do is just start. I found that breaking my huge task into smaller ones and being able to walk away from it each weekend was helpful and made me start each new session with a fresh and critical eye. I know if I had tried to do it all at once I would have started purging less and less as the project wore on and I got tired. It would have seemed like I was throwing/giving away so much stuff, but taking a few bags and boxes out each week felt great - AND the kids weren't overwhelmed by the change or loss of 'stuff' because it happened gradually.
Now, I have printed the list of hints for purging clothes and since we are so closet challenged even upstairs - I am preparing to purge as I do the seasonal change over of the closet.
This has been just what I needed. I feel like letting go of the clutter really lightened my overall stress. I might even update the pictures to daylight when I get home this afternoon - because there is only one little overhead light and it didn't give the space justice last night!
Thank you OrgJunkie for making me start the process of getting my house back!