Fabulous Facelift – Clearing Clutter, Phase 1

The hard work has officially begun. They say you have to make a mess to clean a mess. I’m finding this to be most true! Before we can get to the repair, maintenance and upgrade projects in the house we have to clear the clutter.

Last week we tackled the forbidden fruit room. No pun intended. This room has been the holding center for all “things” for as long as I can remember. Technically, the very first round of clearing took place a few weeks earlier. I forgot to take the before photo so it’s harder to appreciate our progress. Suffice it to say, the first step of clearing involved pulling down the towers of rubbermaid bins stacked up against the north wall. Placed in the room over six years ago and stacked floor to ceiling, these towers had a creepy lean quality to them that made one nervous to walk in front of to get to the food storage shelves. Secretly I always held my breath and walked extra quick when traversing the two foot wide walk way. Maybe this is what prevented me from remembering to take the before photo of said towers.

Step one, involve mom. We sat her down on a “sorting chair” just outside the room and started piling bins and boxes in front of her.

As she sorted through the items to keep, we organized them in the corner of the family room and hauled the rest away. In total, the amount of  stuff cleared was about half. It looked like this:

It’s not to say that this wasn’t progress, but it was only a few Saturday hours and really only opened the amount of real work waiting in the room. It was daunting, and it took a few more weeks to muster the courage to go back. But go back we did and Thursday of last week the hardest stuff was tackled. It began with sorting bottled food storage. It was a hard sell, but with my niece’s help, mom was persuaded to clear out anything more than 5 years old. It was a gross, dirty, sticky and muscle wrenching job. I couldn’t have done it without my niece, Amanda’s help. She made at least 20 trips up the stairs carrying heavy boxes laden with bottled food to be dumped. She dumped the contents in an empty garden spot and started piling up the jars for cleaning on the deck.


Because the builder will need to access the plumbing running across the ceiling on the north side of this room, we needed to clear that entire wall. To accomplish this, the rest of the storage shelving had to be cleared. Here’s the before and after:


It’s hard to see, but in the first photo you can just see the corner of set of shelves behind the yellow shelves. This entire set of 9 shelves was cleared of food to be dumped. In addition, the after photo still shows the remaining jars to be dumped which happened with reinforcements on Saturday. Today, that far right, double shelf section is completely cleared of any jars and all the emptied jars have been cleaned and put back on the bottom left shelves. I cannot express how hard the work was for this day of de-cluttering. I personally found the greatest sense of accomplishment when I discovered the end of the storage under the stairs! Amanda will attest to my discouragement as I kept pulling back wall after wall of stuff. I was sure there really was no end for a while. We kept each other going by chanting, “It will be so worth it!”  Here’s the before and after photos of that space:


The rest of the cluttering clearing efforts in this room are probably best told in pictures.



At the end of Thursday, over 750 lbs of garbage was hauled off to the dump and a large thrift store donation pile was building. It was a long and grueling day, but I am still amazed that we got that entire room cleaned and cleared in only one day.


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