Friday, February 7, 2014


Oh my goodness gracious, my child is a hoarder.  And my mother reinforces this sickness on a weekly basis by smuggling into my home more and more junk.  Sigh. 

After all of the Christmas decor went back up into the attic, I redecorated my living room using stuff I already owned, and in the process, moved everything of Wyatt's into his own room.  The only problem:  he has so much stuff that it wouldn't all fit.  And he's not the best little housekeeper, either, so the space he does have was crammed full of what-nots in the most inefficient manner.  Mother Nature provided us with two snow days this week, so we used one of them to assess the damage and get it under control. 

In case you're wondering why on earth I am sharing this mess with anyone, it's because every year I get asked dozens of times what my method for spring cleaning/purging is, and the following is essentially it:  take every single thing out of a space, clean the space, then edit what goes back into the space (harshly edit!).  Then, sell what is left over.  Spend the next year going to thrift stores and garage sales, then repeat next spring.

Please excuse the horrendous quality of these photos.  I just wasn't that into them. 

Toys bins at capacity, and in utter chaos. 

Add to that the four bins of toys and two shelves worth of books from the living room.

Not to mention the collection of every scrap of paper ever to cross our threshold.

Step 1:  Make a giant pile of every single thing in the middle of the floor.  This method is especially good for toys.  If you're purging a room with several categories of stuff, make separate piles for each.  And if this makes you hyperventilate, do one tiny area at a time (i.e. the toy bin, the closet, the hutch, the desk). 

He enjoyed this a little too much. 

We made several discoveries under the bed.  Long lost toys.  And sippy cups...really gross sippy cups. 
Step 2:  Sort everything out by kind.  Within each category, eliminate 30-60% of what is there.  For instance, he had twelve spiders.  I told him to choose seven to keep, and didn't emphasize the number he was discarding.  We did that for every toy group, almost cutting his collection in half!  A good rule of thumb for toys: any duplicates go, anything broken goes, and anything missing parts goes.

Step 3: Clean/dust shelves and then put everything back where it goes, rearranging things if necessary so that the most played with/used items are easily reached.    

Everything he plays with often is down low, as are his uniform clothes and play clothes...self-serve.

It's amazing how much neater things can be once you've eliminated the clutter!
I almost forgot he had a desk.
When all was said and done, I had two large boxes full of toys to sell or donate, and four Wal-Mart bags full of trash.  TRASH!  Broken toys, paper, toilet paper tubes, candy wrappers, popsicle sticks, ribbon scraps, mint tins, sticks, pine cones, leaves, you name it.  I'm just glad that he was so willing to get rid of so much stuff, and that he had a hand in the process.  Hopefully he'll take some pride in his work and try to keep it tidy in there!  But I'm not holding my breath.

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