Here is P's room; 98% done! We only have pictures to hang on the walls, and it will be complete. How's that for a snazzy dresser? Solid wood, great condition, and $60 at Frenchy's. Where else? Jute mat, slightly modified cotton curtains over the closet door (which is used for storage of extra bedding and my greatly reduced craft supplies) and Snoopy, ready for a nap on the slightly rumpled bed. (It's such a pain to make the bed with that bed rail!)
The man himself, looking serious next to his tiny closet. It's about a foot deep, and Adam's going to build shelves in it. But we don't have any stuff to put in it yet (yay!) so there's no big hurry.
I've been in a bit of a nesting frenzy during my time at home, and in a similar yet different kind of nesting at work - trying to get all sorts of things done before going on maternity leave. As I've mentioned before, I feel like I must get everything possible done before Son #2 arrives, and things are pretty much in place. His room is all set up, clothes washed and folded in his dresser, and my hospital bag is mostly packed and ready to go. There it is on the crib in Son #2's cleaned, washed, scrubbed, and ready room!
But the biggest thing we've been working on over the past month or so was redoing P's 'big boy' bedroom. It had turned into a storage room, mostly for stuff we didn't use or need. Living in a 110 year old house can present some storage challenges, and my new mantra is "If there's not a place to put it, get rid of it!" Seriously - as silly as it sounds sometimes when you hear or read professional organizers or people on reality TV talking about how getting rid of stuff and organizing what you have will make life better, I think they're onto something. Maybe your whole life won't change, but you will feel better about your surroundings, and will avoid frustrations when you can't find or get to something because of clutter.
Redoing that room has spread to the whole house, and we've been cleaning, organizing and purging like maniacs. It helps a lot that Adam and I are on the same page about 'stuff'. We've also used it as an opportunity to teach 2-year-old P about giving stuff away as we've gone through some of his toys and books with him. I can't stand the idea of getting rid of a child's things without telling them and then lying to them about where it went. (I know that this will become increasingly difficult as P gets older, and I may change my tune in a few years, but for now, that's that.)
It feels so much lighter, more useful, and homey since we've been seriously purging for the past few weeks. All in all, I think we've probably given away at least 15 bags of 'stuff', as well as some small furniture. And I don't miss a single thing.
Here are some tips for getting things organized:
1. Get rid of the 'stuff' that you don't use! Sort things properly: If it's junk that is beyond hope or repair, just let it go and toss it. Recycle when you can, Freecycle when possible, and if it's in good shape, donate it to a charity that can make use of it or give it to a friend who will love it. If it's too large to move easily (i.e. furniture), just set it out on the side of the street - someone will pick it up and use it.
2. Keep your goal in mind. I was picturing a tidy, simplified, organized (dare I say "Martha-fied"?) house where we would be able to enjoy doing the things we like to use the space for. (Note: I'm still picturing this, as we still have a very small amount of stuff to go through, so we're not quite at the very end yet, but I'm hoping that this weekend will be the finish line. Yay!)
3. Keep a perpetual 'donation' box or bag (I have one in the bottom of my closet). If you try on a shirt and think "I hate how this fits", then add it to the box - you're probably never going to enjoy wearing it, and someone else can. When the box or bag is full, drop it off at your Goodwill or Salvation Army, and start a new one.
4. This is perhaps the most important, and the thing which I'm getting better at - don't buy it in the first place. There are tonnes of great things out there, but if you don't have a specific place or use for it, don't buy it. Otherwise, it will just be clutter that you'll feel bad about having spent money on.
5. If done well, this whole process can take some time. And things will inevitably get worse before they get better. Keeping the end goal in sight is key (and having a deadline like an impending baby helps, too!) Having said that, every little bit of time spent does make a difference, so...
6. Start with a small space like a drawer or shelf, and see how much better you feel about it after it's cleaned (like cleaning the crumbs and old takeout forks out of your cutlery drawer - holy satisfying every time you open the drawer!) I think that picturing the outcome is the thing that gives me the most motivation to do any kind of cleaning or organizing. It's completely addictive.
7. A place for everything, and everything in its place. It's not going to magically find a home for itself, so find a place that works for you and how you use it, and stick with it. I think of putting something back immediately as a treat to myself - it means that I won't have to do it later.
One more picture - this is a fantastic dresser which Adam picked up at a local antiques place for his very own. I love it!