I stumbled upon a new clutter/organizational blog last week. Clutterbug.me I found myself watching this video about guilty clutter. And as I was sitting and listening and watching her describe the guilt over her red sweaters...I felt a pang. Something clicked with me. I was sitting in a room full of guilty clutter.
I looked around and found that the room I spend all day in, the room we call the family room or the fireplace room, was full of things. Things. Books and photos and frames and candles and holders and even shelving that made the room seem full and small and super cluttered. Awhile back, when I was trying to decide what to put above the fireplace, I showed a picture to a friend and she suggested NOT doing anything busy because there was a lot going on in the room already. That was her nice way of saying 'HOLY CRAP you have a lot of junk in there'. She was being nice. I totally didn't see all the stuff. Until I watched that video. I went with a large clock above the mantle, not too busy but nice. However, the rest of the room was still full of junk. The picture below gives a good idea of what a mess it was. The stripes are no longer there, I painted the room yellow a few years ago, but wow, those stripes do NOT help the room at all. So imagine this, with yellow walls.
The baby is about 3 months old there (she's now almost 5y) the other is 5yo (almost 10 now) and obviously this was at Christmas time so there's a little bit extra Christmas decor involved. We've swapped out that blue couch for a red one, and the christmas tree spot holds a yellow chair now. Look at all that stuff. Floating shelves filled with frames, bookshelves full of books and avon steins and candles and clocks and wedding photos. So, when I moved the red and yellow furniture in here (we gave away the blue stuff) and painted the room yellow I took down the blue decor pieces. I still can't get over how much STUFF is in there.
So last weekend after I'd watched the video above, and read the post that went with it, and looked around my rooms, I realized that this room needed a fix-up and that large parts of it were here because of my guilt. I kept the photos because OMG you can't NOT show all your cute babies all the time, and HOW DARE you take down family photos even though you aren't speaking to some of the people in them and there have been new additions to the family since. Keep this stuff passed on from deceased family (I am keeping it, just with a better plan for display) and display it even though it doesn't GO with anything and you know the deceased would rather you were happy and comfortable in your home.
I have taken steps so far to clean it up and declutter and it's so awesome. I've donated a bunch of books to the library and I have a pile of frames and candle holders to donate to Goodwill. I took down the floating shelves and all the photos on them. I didn't throw them out, stop panicking, I am storing them in a plastic bin under my bed. So I can still see them and look at them and love them, but without SEEING them everywhere. I pared down the built-in bookshelves to hold books I acutally like or need to read and one photo of each child, one wedding photo and one family photo. I will swap the photos in those frames probably yearly (except our wedding photo of course, that one stays). Once I read the books I want to, I'll probably donate them also, and just keep books that look nice and that I want to keep (Harry Potter, etc) on the shelves. I'm a big fan of the Kindle now and of reading library books.
The room has transformed. I'm not ready to show you yet, I need to patch the holes from the floating shelves and touch up the paint and get the donations where they belong. I have loved every minute of all of it. From deciding there isn't really any guilt with taking these things down and with donating things other people can use. I gave away the floating shelves to someone on Craigslist yesterday. I love it. I think my second career calling might have been a professional organizer. I think I might love that.
Next time, I'll have pictures of the room all de-cluttered and fixed up. We still have this big desk in the room that we'd like to scale down, but that might take awhile to work out, so for now we're working around it. The rest of the room however is really coming together.