A year ago, I read about this challenge Cut the Clutter on Chrissy Halton’s blog Organize my House. Since my house still looked like I had just moved in a few days earlier, I decided to take on this challenge. I was so looking forward to have a decluttered house and to actually create a home, a place where I would feel peaceful and happy. However, life got in the way and the challenge got forgotten, after just the first two weeks.
A few weeks ago, one of my neighbors visited me to ask back for something we had borrowed of her. I greeted her in a hallway that looked like a dump, then had to escort her through a sandbox of dog poo into my shed, where I literally could not even set in one foot, because the clutter was greeting us at the door and reached to the ceiling. And after all of this, I could not even find the thing I had borrowed in the first place. This all made me feel so ashamed. I want to feel comfortable greeting people into my home. I don’t want to have to say sorry for all the poo they might step into. I want to feel proud of what I am showing them. And I certainly don’t want to lose things I have borrowed. I am not that kind of a person.
Later that day, I knocked down something in the hallway just by moving. That was the moment I lost it. I was so fed up with all the clutter. It felt like I had been living in a dumpster and I had this feeling for a couple of years now. I’d had enough. I felt like throwing out everything I owned and just start over again.
That seemed a bit rash though, so instead I decided to re-start the Cut the Clutter challenge. But this time for real.
How does this challenge work?
Every week of the challenge, there’s one room to declutter. The week has been divided into six days (well, technically seven, but the last day is always a rest day). Every day you will do a specific task. This really helps to not get overwhelmed! Chrissy will send you the tasks for each room every week. At least, she did that last time, I don’t know if she still does that. But she has also put the tasks for the challenge on her website.
How bad is my home, really?
So, in order to succeed at this challenge now, I think it will be wise to regularly share my progress with you, guys. This has really helped me on my Day Zero Project so far, so I believe this will also prevent me from throwing in the towel on the Cut the Clutter challenge this time. In the first week of the challenge, Chrissy asks you to take pictures of all the rooms in your house. If you ever get demotivated or think that the progress is too slow, you’ll just need to look at these pictures as a reminder of how far you have come already.
So I took the pictures and here’s the damage:
This actually doesn’t look half bad, doesn’t it? Apart from the clutter living on some of the cupboards and the couch which is kind of falling apart because the dogs tried to eat it, this looks like a pretty livable room, doesn’t it? Hmm okay, and there’s the Christmas tree, but I am proud to say we have taken it down last weekend! Yes, the 6th of February… There are still so many finishing touches I’d like to give this room, to make it feel more homey, but clutter-wise, it’s quite okay.
Don’t open up the pantry though, because you’ll get attacked! It’s partly stuffed with pillows (to safe them from our dog’s teeth), but mostly it’s stuff that shouldn’t really be here at all. See that wooden thing on the ground? That’s a marvelous wooden suitcase filled with pencils, paint and markers. Which i cannot use, ever, because otherwise the pantry will explode and all the stuff will be everywhere. Hurray for having nice stuff!
Okay, this before picture doesn’t do our kitchen justice, as we’d actually had it decluttered a little while ago. And we kept it clean and tidy ever since! However, recently our dish washer broke down, so now the dishes are piling up in our kitchen. We thought it might be easy to fix, so we stalled washing them by hand. It seems like we need to let it repaired by a technician though. This shouldn’t be any problem at all, since we’ve still got our warranty. But we couldn’t find the receipt up until now, because…. Yeah… Clutter.
This is one of the most terrible rooms in the house at the moment, in my opinion. I cannot go to the toilet without walking sideways, because there’s a giant freezer in the way! And it has been there for months now! Why would one have a freezer standing in their hallway, you ask? Well, because we got this from our friends who moved a couple of months ago. It was super nice and having an extra freezer would be very useful, IF IT WAS CONNECTED AND HAD STUFF TO EAT IN IT. But standing in a hallway without a purpose….? Yeah, not so much. The problem is, that we cannot actually move this thing, because it is supposed to be standing in our shed. Which we will discuss later.
Oh and let’s just not talk about the giant door standing there or all the bags, boxes and piles of mail, okay? Okay.
Although it’s a temporary solution, the books don’t look half bad over there, do they? But the laundry, oh my god! Imagine waking up in a room being greeted by a buttload of work! I’d really like to be able to sit down at my beautiful desk in the morning and wake up peacefully. Practice my lettering, coloring in one of my coloring books, write a letter to my pen pals… That would be so great.
There used to be a time where this room was divided into two sections. There was my half which was super tidy and organized. And there was Ruud’s half, which looked like a bomb had exploded. It made me so demotivated to keep my half tidy, so I ended up piling up stuff on my half too. But a couple of months ago, Ruud and I discussed this and he took this very seriously and started decluttering his space. My half is still untouched though… Oops. Now it is the other way around! I hate working here because of all the stuff laying around. Not to mention working next to all the laundry. Can you imagine having laundry hanging in your office? This used to be one of my favorite rooms, and I want it to be that again. I mean, look at that wallpaper. It deserves to be tidy and beautiful, right?
At one point, this will be our library, but at the moment this is the room where I refurbish all the furniture. (At least, that’s the plan.) So I am not demotivated by all the furniture stacked up against the wall. Those are my projects and I get happy when I see them, because I see what they will become. It’s the space in the middle of the room that bugs me. It should be totally empty, so I can move the project I’m working on there and have free space to move around it. There are a lot of crates, boxes and bags, but technically it should not even be that much that has to be done in this room. I just don’t know where to begin.
This room is okay, except for the one trash bag standing there. Although I would like to create more atmosphere in this room. But that’s a different topic. What I would like to do for this challenge, is sort out all the things I do not use. I think I have quite a few unused products here that just take up some valuable space in my baskets!
Omg, the stairs to the attic. Honestly, this picture doesn’t do the clutter justice. How someone can even walk these stairs is beyond my imaginaton. I am always afraid I will fall over and break my neck or something. And that is without carrying laundry baskets with me. When I see this pile of clutter, all my motivation sinks in the gutter. Why even bother? I mean, the pile is up until the banisters! That is an awfully large pile of clutter. It probably isn’t even that much of work to get rid of it, but just seeing it demotivates me to do anything in the house. Seems contradictory, but somehow that is how my brain works.
Oh. My. God. The attic. I know lots of attics are full of clutter, but I believe mine tops most others. One cannot walk here. One cannot find anything here. There are unpacked boxes here from the time I moved in here. That is three and a half years ago. I have lost so many things for over three years now! All my scrapbook supplies, my Nintendo DS, my movies and series, to name a few. And I miss them so much! I want to find them, unpack them, use them. But I don’t even know where to start.
Oh, and have I mentioned this actually is supposed to be a game room? Yes, I had lots of dreams for this room. It would have all my retro game consoles and a retro TV. And maybe a big table as well, with some board games we don’t want to store downstairs. The walls would have huge Super Mario wall stickers. There would be square floor tiles, some of them making 8-bit Nintendo characters. And of course there would be gadgets and other game-related thingies, like a Tetris clock or a Yoshi plushy or a Final Fantasy poster. This would be the most awesome and nerdiest attic ever.
Except I do not even now how to paint the roof and the walls, let alone decorate this place. Ruud made a start of moving all the stuff to one side, but it takes up so much time. At this pace, we will probably have painted one of the walls five years from now. And maybe I will have my game room by the time I retire. That doesn’t do it for me. I want it NOW. I’ve waited three and a half year for it already. Okay, I will settle for just a decluttered space for this year and then maybe build the game room next year? Yes?
I feel most ashamed about this area, to be honest. Half a year ago, so many friends and neighbors took their time to help us creating a pond and leveling the ground in our garden. It was supposed to be a huge step towards finishing our garden. But it looks exactly the way they left it. No progress. Oh, except something has changed. There’s dog poo all over now. As a thank you for all the hard work all these people did, we let our dogs shit on it. I really don’t know what to say. The garden looks as if I am totally ungrateful for the help we have gotten, as if I do not appreciate it one bit. But I really do feel grateful. Now I just need to find a way to actually show it…
Did you think the attic was bad? Well, it’s quite a little paradise compared to this area! At least my attic I can enter. Do you remember the freezer in the hallway? Well, now you know why it is still standing in the hallway. I don’t even know where to begin with this place. All I know is that we should do it on a sunny day, because everything should be taking out to the garden first, before I can even begin sorting stuff out. This is a task I am really, really dreading.
Now you know why I need this Cut the Clutter challenge. It was not easy for me showing all these pics to you, because I am terribly, amazingly ashamed by how my house looks. But I felt like this is the only way to get me going. It’s not easy, decluttering anything if you’re chronically fatigued, let alone cleaning up this huge mess. But seeing this mess around me all day gets me even more fatigued. I think that living in a tidy, spacey house will really improve my energy, (and if not, at least my mood and my overall happiness) so it is something that I will have to do.
Like I told you, I will be doing a different room every week. But sharing my progress weekly will be a bit too much I guess (after all, I need time to actually declutter stuff!). So I will be writing an update every four weeks. That will be five updates in total, and after that, my house should look amazing!
If you got inspired and also like to take up this challenge, check it out on Organize my House. I’d also love to know your tips for a decluttered home. Feel free to share them with me in the comments!