I was recently talking to a friend about all the things going on with my house and my new blog and we got on the subject of a project I recently did in my kitchen. It was my newly decluttered baking cabinet that I painted with chalkboard paint.
She said I would die if I saw how disorganized her kitchen cabinets were. I assured her that I would certainly not die if I saw them and I completely understood…I’ve BEEN there!
People tend to not believe me when I tell them I’m a messy person, which I guess I should take as a compliment. But, it’s true; I am a messy, disorganized person at my core. I’ve had to work REALLY hard to get to where I am now. I’ve been messy my whole life. My mom loves to say that she always knew when it was time to clean my room when there were no more dishes left in the kitchen. Well, I think that might be a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea.
My lowest point was when I was newly married. My husband and I were both sick with terrible colds and the house was a total and complete disaster! Dirty dishes were piled in the sink, bowls of half eaten chicken soup were on the coffee table, medicine and thermometers and glasses of Gatorade were everywhere! And, (I don’t even like to admit this) we were throwing our used tissues into the fireplace because we were too sick to get up and throw them away and we figured we could just have a fire that night and burn the evidence. The problem was that only about half of them actually made it into the fireplace and the rest fell short, littering the floor in FRONT of the fireplace. GROSS!!! Well, I was in the other room when I heard a knock on the door. As I ran to make sure my husband did NOT answer the door I saw I was too late (he apparently didn’t know the rule about pretending to not be home when your house looked like an episode of Hoarders)! There, in our living room, stood our neighbor. I honestly don’t know who was more horrified, him or me. I apologized profusely, but the damage was done and my secret was out…I was a slob!
I’ve come a long way from that terrible day and thank goodness for that! But, I think people should know that I totally get it. I get having a cluttered house and piles of laundry that need washing. I get dirty dishes in the sink and dog hair on the sofa. I get pee on the toilet seat and homework left all over the kitchen table. I even get mounds of used tissues in front of the fireplace. I GET IT!
I have also come to understand the power of getting rid of clutter and cleaning up your house. Clutter is a time killer, an energy zapper and a peace of mind stealer. Clutter makes it impossible to clean efficiently, find what you need when you need it, and decorate your house the way you want. I HATE clutter!
I’m not going to pretend that I have it all figured out and I still have a long way to go, but here are some things that I’ve learned that I hope will help those of you who struggle with the same problems. And, if you’re one of those people who are just naturally organized, well, we hate you! Just kidding! Please, share your tips with us in the comments section!
Do a little every day. This concept has really helped me. When I was pregnant with my first son, I was finally ready to get my house in order. I scoured the internet for tips and “how to’s” and came across “The Fly Lady“. This website helped me tremendously! Her philosophy of just starting with cleaning the kitchen sink and slowly building from there really resonated with me. I have been using her tips and cleaning routines for almost 14 years now. I even use some of her cleaning tools. If you are really struggling with clutter I would highly recommend checking out her site. She is a big advocate of decluttering for just 15 minutes a day. I was skeptical at first, but I tried it and I am amazed at how much you can get done in a small amount of time.
Don’t keep anything you don’t use or love. I think a lot of people struggle with this. We hang on to way too much stuff because we are afraid we may need it some day or because someone special gave it to us. I used to have trouble with this, too. But then I began to challenge myself by getting rid of stuff that I didn’t use, even if it felt uncomfortable to do so. And, you know what? I rarely, if ever, have regretted getting rid of something I was on the fence about. I have personally found that if you need an item that you got rid of, you can borrow it, improvise with what you have, or just replace the old item. The peace of mind that comes with having less stuff far outweighs the cost of having to replace something a year or two from now. If you are reluctant to part with something that was given to you by a loved one, think of it this way…You are not honoring that person in any way by having the item stuffed away in a closet, cabinet or box in the basement. Let it go live with someone that will love it and be happy that you are increasing someone else’s joy.Case in point: This lovely Easter decoration I found in the basement. It was made by my beloved Grandma Bryan. I will be donating it to Goodwill and I can just imagine it gracing some little old lady’s wall. I am sure she will enjoy it far more than I would!
Don’t procrastinate. I know you’ve had a long day and you’re super tired, but just do the dishes and do a quick straightening up before bed. It’s hard, I know. But, you will be so happy in the morning when you get up and have a nice clean kitchen to welcome you. Your morning will get off to a much better start if you’re not staring at a mountain of dirty dishes and no one can find their shoes, keys, and other important stuff while trying to get out the door. (By the way, having less clutter helps with this, too!) During your day, try to check off a few things on your to-do list that you have been putting off. You will feel great at the end of the day, I promise!
Go easy on yourself! I think this may be the hardest one of all for me. I tend to really beat myself up when I look around and see messes everywhere. But, I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect and that girl who seemingly has it all together with the perfect house? I guarantee she’s not perfect either! I have fallen off the clutter wagon many times. But, I keep clawing my way back on and each time I learn something new and get just a little bit closer to my goals of having an organized, pretty home. So, no more apologizing for messy homes and disorganized kitchen cabinets! Let’s just get going with pursuing the home of our dreams!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a basement to clean up. YIKES! See…I TOLD you I was messy! I need a work space for all my upcoming projects. I have BIG kitchen plans that I can’t wait to share with you! Wish me luck people, I’m going to need it!!!