Confessions from the “40 Days to a Clutter-Free House” Challenge

Oh, the things you learn about yourself when you clean out your house…

It feels good to see all those Xs!

It feels good to see all those Xs!

Confession #1:  I completed all but two tasks on the list in the 40-day period I set for myself (August 3 – September 12, 2015).

Confession #1 a:  I still haven’t completed those two tasks.

What I have left on my list are #s 10 (living room closet back shelves) and 29 (under kitchen sink).  My excuses are as follows:

The living room closet is, essentially, the BHE’s.  He keeps almost all of his clothing, his jackets and coats, his shoes, and the contents of his pockets in that closet.  And random tools and rolls of roofing tape.  And all of his hats.  And a couple pool cues.  And did I mention the contents of his pockets?  I mean, like, every day, he empties his pockets on part of a shelf then takes just what he needs for the next day, leaving crumpled receipts and candy wrappers behind.   While I do park the vacuum, mop bucket, toilet paper, and paper towels in this closet, it is considered “his.”  Therefore, cleaning up a closet that is larger than most bathrooms that is full of someone else’s things is not really a task anyone should tackle.  Really.  I think I’d just piss him off.  And then spend the next three months being asked where such-and-such is.  Not fun for either of us.  I did tidy up the things that are “mine” and removed that which I should never have put in there (gifts from baby showers before Angel Baby was born that were most definitely for little boys*).  Honestly, though, if you opened that closet a month ago and then again today, you wouldn’t notice a darn bit of difference.  Whatever.

Under the kitchen sink isn’t as bad as it sounds.  Most people automatically cringe at the thought of cleaning out under their sink.  For us, because we have uber-limited cabinet space in our kitchen, it has to stay organized under there.  We can’t afford to lose any cabinet space to stuff we don’t use.  What stops me from actually getting under there to clean it out with sponge and vinegar is the same reason that I crossed #26 (clean around washer & dryer) off the list:  spiders.  Nope, not getting myself into a cramped space that is full of creepy-crawlies.  Can’t make me. The only place under the kitchen sink where the spiders are is the only place that really needs cleaned, of course.  Where the pots, the colander, the cutting boards, et cetera are happens to be spider-free due to the regular use of those items.  But where the trash can sits?  Yeah, I’m not going behind that unless I’m wearing long sleeves and gloves, which just isn’t feasible in late summer around here.

Confession #2:  I am an anal neat-freak to the point of almost being OCD.

There were quite a few items on the list that didn’t take much time or energy due to the fact that they were recently done or are always kept neat/tidy/clean/etc.  Seriously.  Take our bedroom, for instance.  The drawers were recently completely dumped and sorted.  Everything maintains its folding and organization because I’m the one who does the folding and putting away.  Under the dresser and bed?  Nada.  I keep those clear so I can easily sweep under them… when I sweep once a week.  Same goes for our closet.  It was already fully organized and can be easily swept.  The one thing I did do in there is finally moved the two totes of Christmas stuff into the attic.  I have no idea why I left them in our bedroom closet in the first place.

Here’s what took under 20 minutes, or I didn’t do at all, because it had recently been done or is constantly kept organized:  6. Under upstairs bathroom sink, 7. Under downstairs bathroom sink, 8. Downstairs bathroom shelves, 19. Full freezer clean, 24. Under our bed, 33. Microwave corner,  and 40.  Upper kitchen cabinets.

Confession #3:  This is a great project for anyone to complete prior to bringing a new baby into the world.  It is also a horrible project for any pregnant woman to tackle on her own.

During one day’s nap (Angel Baby puts in 1.5-2 hours daily), I did #39:  Honda Pilot.  I pulled the car into the yard so it was near the back step and proceeded to clean it, top to bottom, inside and out.  Jeeeebus, that was stupid of me.  Good golly, I was BEAT for two days after that.  Washing and drying a car is one heck of a workout for anyone, really.  Add to that cleaning out the car then vacuuming it, all at high speed because you’re sure you have less than two hours… ugh.  Next time, not pregnant, it’ll still get two days.

The BHE was a huge help on some of the projects.  I wanted the wood rack out the back door cleared off.  It gathers so much random stuff when it isn’t full of wood (so basically mid-April to mid-October).  One day while I was working on some other task, the BHE did this one (#38)… without me saying a thing.  I don’t even know if he knew it was on the list.

Now that I have done almost all of the tasks, I can see so much more clearly what needs to be done … and what doesn’t need to be worried over.  Cleaning out the foyer closet (#11) showed me how much winter wear both myself and Angel Baby really have.  Going through the peak room (#s 2, 3, 12, 13, 14) to get it cleared for renovating and becoming Angel Baby’s “big girl room” gave me a chance to reassess furniture and yard sale items.  Cleaning out her dresser drawers (#21) gave me a tote of goodies to pass to my bestie who has a daughter one year younger than Angel Baby; plus, it gave me an idea of what sizes/seasons I need to shop for.  The full fridge and freezer clean (#s 18 & 19) and cleaning out the pantry (#s 5, 31, 32) showed me what foods we have, what we should stop buying altogether, and what we eat the most of.  As one of my Instagram commenters said, meal planning is much easier now.

Confession #4:  I didn’t take enough photos.

I really wanted before-and-after photos for just about every task on the list.  I didn’t do that.  Sorry.  Here are some highlights, though!

*For many reasons, we chose not to learn the gender of our baby until she was born.  That didn’t stop many well-meaning people from believing whole-heartedly that they knew we were having a boy and therefore gave us very “boy” gifts.  May I ask that if you do happen to do this to parents-to-be that you please give them a gift receipt as well?

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One thought on “Confessions from the “40 Days to a Clutter-Free House” Challenge

  1. Pingback: Jettison | Thoughtfully Sought

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