And we're done...kinda

I've mentioned The Magical Art of Tidying Up several times recently and promised I'd update you on my progress. Well, I think we are finished!

Besides this big one, another criticism I've seen is that Marie Kondo's method involves making tidying (aka decluttering) a big event. Do it all at once, do it right, move on with your life. And people say that's fine if you are single and living in an apartment but that isn't practical when you have a family and can't declutter everything in a single weekend. But I think they miss the part when she explains "at one time" means in about a six month span, not 2-3 days. It took me about 3 weeks. BUT I started off pretty organized already and with a major deadline approaching. I needed this done so we could start making progress on a few last minute pre-baby projects so if it didn't happen soon, they were going to have to wait 6-9 months and I didn't want that. And I had some nesting hormones urging me on. Overall - I was highly motivated! I think six months is realistic even for a more cluttered, larger family home. Just go through the list one category at a time. It's a bit like Dave Ramsey's snowball effect - clothes and books add up fast so you see a change and are motivated to hit those harder categories.

I wish I could show you a picture of all our trash/donations/sell piles but I kept taking stuff out to the breezeway and Craig kept hauling it away so we could still walk to our car. In all we had about
  • 4 large trash bags of clothing
  • 2+ rubbermaid storage totes full of books (the hardest part but my biggest tidying success!)
  • 4 large trash bags of random stuff (old sheets, picture frames, toys, etc)
  • several larger items that don't fit in a bag
  • At least 6 bags of trash/recycling
On the one hand, that doesn't really seem like a huge amount of stuff but as I said, our house was pretty well decluttered before starting this so we were down to the hard stuff. The KonMari method says "go until it clicks" and I can tell it has. We just have more breathing room now - in drawers and closets and shelves. All of our books actually fit single depth on a shelf so I don't have to take books off to see if the book I want is behind it or dig through a box. All of my clothes, and I do mean all (regular sizes, maternity sizes, transition sizes; all 4 seasons worth) fit in my room. And I only have a 1950s sized closet and small dresser. This was suggestion of the book that I didn't think would work for us but did, at least for the grown-ups. It won't work for the kids because they would insist on wearing shorts in January or long sleeves in August but now that the drawers in our guest room are empty, I plan to store the off season stuff there instead of bags in my closet that fall on me whenever I try to take clean sheets down.

There is also a large amount of stuff that I have mentally set aside to get rid of in about 3-6 months. This is not part of Marie Kondo's plan but she doesn't discuss homebirths or newborns in her plan so a mom has to adapt. For example - my big stack of older towels and our birth kit stuff will all go after October. And all my ratty maternity and transition clothes shortly after that. I can't wait to get rid of those. I don't think most maternity clothes are really designed to last through more than one pregnancy, let alone three. But what can I say, I'm cheap.

Once baby #3 arrives, we'll be getting rid of a lot of clothes of whatever gender he/she isn't plus some more. I've been getting pickier and pickier about what clothes I keep and Jonah grew slowly after he hit 12 month sizes so he destroyed most of those items so the toddler sizes are fine but I have way too much baby clothing. I'll actually probably get rid of a lot as I sort through the bin before the baby even comes because stains seem to emerge over time but either way, our clothing in storage should drastically reduce over the next 6 months.

Today was our last big effort in the basement, finishing up the odds and ends. The end result was that once we take all the bigger baby stuff (co-sleeper, swing, etc) upstairs and really prepare for our new arrival, the last few storage totes that we don't want to put in the attic will fit under our stairs! No more plastic storage totes in the main area of our basement! Which was my main goal for that area. We want to use that area as a living area not a storage area and now that seems possible. So poor Craig's "reward" for helping me declutter this weekend is a much longer honey-do list as we prepare to paint down there. Not exactly the way to encourage him to help next time but according to KonMari principles, I shouldn't have to - ha!

(Actually, I know as a family with littles, we are in a high transition time of life. Tidying is going to be a constant process because people are always growing and needs are changing but it shouldn't ever have to be a big project but more of a steady effort to maintain order and that's okay).

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