We have done so many great things! I am soooo happy with the progress in our home! All of the bedrooms are much better. I am HAPPY when I walk in to them!
When the Challenge first started I hoped to accomplish more rooms but I now see that was COMPLETELY unrealistic. But having such a large goal kept me moving forward.
We started with the bedrooms and stayed there. Why? Because the more I thought about it I came to the realization that if the bedrooms are clean and organized we would all have the chance to greet each day in a non-chaotic state. Clutter is like the plague you've learned to manage but you're never really well. I wanted each of us to have a better outlook on our days. We homeschool and so we're here all day. How much nicer it would be if we could have a pleasant place to be to do our learning together.
The children's rooms were terrible. When I think back to just how bad they were I get a little teary. There were piles of toys, clothes, books, jewelry, light sabers, action figures, and even some garbage. And we have two small dogs that had left little "presents" among the debris. It was, at times, disgusting! As the kids and I were cleaning out their rooms we took most of the bags to the garbage can. I'm sure our garbage service wondered what was going on inside our house! We also took several loads of things to the thrift store. We were careful to donate only clean, usable items. We also set aside several things to "pass down" to cousins that had been outgrown. The hardest part was to just keep going. It was so overwhelming at times. They would beg me, "Can we stop now?!?" I had to be the "Mean Mom" and make us all stick with it. I think my proudest moment in working on their rooms was when dd age 13 came up with a surprise for ds age 9. She created labels for his drawers. She then attached them with velcro so that he could change where he had things easily and on his own.
We are not really done in their rooms. We still need to rip out carpet and paint. But until the weather warms up a bit more and we can get to it I think we'll be able to function and not slip backwards. We have put some systems in place to keep "control" of the remaining "stuff". In ds's room there are clearly labeled and designated places for all those legos, action figures, books, and "treasures". Dd's room is still a work in progress. She will start painting this weekend so nothing will go back in until that is done. I'm so proud of both of them.
Our master bedroom has had a majority of the peace restored that I wanted it to have. I have always been a clutter fiend by nature. And even though I've cleaned out our bedroom before I've always slipped backwards really fast. I cleared some major areas that had been "emotional" for me in the past. It took me one full day to clean out the little green dresser. It was full of so many tender items. I only kept 6 of the tender items and let the rest go. All of these tender items had belonged to dear family members who have passed on to the next life. I was close to these people. And I miss them terribly. I had been holding on to too much stuff in an effort to not forget them. I realized as I was going through the little green dresser that if I kept my favorite item from each person that was enough. I didn't need 20 items , just 1. Now my memories are more manageable. And by letting the other things go I've cleared a part of my psyche that needed to move in to the present.
The other areas of my bedroom that I cleared ARE STILL CLEAR!!! That's a new record for me. I've been waking up each morning and seeing that it's still clean and I get out of bed in a much better mood. I think the one thing that I was most surprised by in working in my own bedroom was the amount of silly stuff I had piled up. That pile that was directly next to my bed is now organized in to 3 magazine boxes in the bottom of my nightstand. Obviously ALOT of it was tossed in to the trash can. I love the sense of peace that is in that area now. My new rule is if I'm not CURRENTLY reading it it can't LIVE there. I had to become very honest with myself about what I was really reading right now. No future reading allowed in that space. I also found myself really coming to terms with the fact that I like to do a lot of things but I really only love to do a few things. I'm now focusing on keeping the things I love, not just like.
If I had to give only one piece of advice to someone starting with a mess that they hope to clean up it would be this: Love yourself and your family enough to do this! It pays great dividends!