Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Purging Your House from Top to Bottom (and Left to Right)

It's that time of year when I have high levels of motivation to purge and organize our house. This year was even more motivating because I had a full two weeks at home (instead of traveling somewhere for Christmas like we normally do).

I started by moving the boys into the same bedroom, so we could have a guest room/office. I finally realized that even if their sleep goes badly, I could move one of them back into the guest room just to sleep (without it turning back into a child's bedroom).

Matt and I decided to empty the room out entirely. Yes, entirely! Well, we did it in stages. First we emptied out the main part of the room (without touching the closet). We pulled out the shelf, desk, etc. We were able to clean really deeply, including washing the baseboards and cleaning the floor. I also thoroughly cleaned everything before bringing it back into the room--even the plant, which got refreshed with new dirt!

Once the main room was put back together, I tackled the closet. Again, I pulled everything out, so I could purge, clean, and then put back in in a more organized way.

Once that room was done, I was on a roll. I started listening to The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying on audiobook (downloaded from the public library for free using the OverDrive app). It's so inspirational (I know I'm behind the times on this one...). It affirmed what I already feel to be true for myself: when our physical spaces are more organized and beautiful, it creates space for us to focus our energies elsewhere in the world.

I shifted my focus to the guest room/office. Again, I pulled everything out of the closet, purged, cleaned, organized, and put it back in. Matt and I were able to say goodbye to a lot of things. We followed the ritual prescribed in the book, which included thanking the object for the role it played in our life and wishing it well on its next journey.

In the book, she says that we need to do an overall of our environments in "one fell swoop" so that we don't rebound. If we feel the benefits of a truly calm and organized environment, we will never go back.

I'm happy I found a spot for almost everything before I went back to work!


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Sasha-Ingenue said...

Hi Sara! My 3yo is gloriously NUTS over his books. I'm curious how you grouped or categorized the books that are standing up in the plastic bins? We have the perfect shelf for this in our hallway, and its already stuffed with his books. He gets frustrated when he can't find the book he's looking for - he is often VERY specific. We have a front facing book shelf already, but... any other tips/advice on organizing books in non-overwheling ways for littles? Thx! <3

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Sasha-Ingenue! The books in the closet are actually randomly sorted into bins because I rotate those bins out of the closet and onto the shelves on the wall (see photo here:

If I were organizing them into bins, I would probably go back to this system I used a long time ago. Each book has a piece of tape that matches to the label on the front of the basket:

Let me know if you have more questions...wishing you the best!

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