Chapter 1 – The Beginning
It all started one summer day. I looked around my cluttered, messy house and felt like I couldn’t breathe. The walls were creeping in and I couldn’t find things. I decided in that moment that something had to change. My mental stability and joy were on the line.
I did what I always do when my life takes a new course – I bought a book. (Eventually I bought several books.) The book, The House That Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark was recommended to me by a good friend who also struggled with housekeeping and clutter. As it turns out, the title was a little misleading, but it was a wonderful book with a clearly laid out plan that appealed to my logical brain.
I began with a small space that was not in too bad of condition – the entryway. I took before pictures, a very helpful strategy, and wrote notes about what I wanted to change. Then I took everything out, and held every object in that area from coats to junk collecting dust on a small bookcase. I sorted those items into categories: belongs here, belongs somewhere else in the house, trash, and give away. During these early days I did not try to sell anything. I did not want to slow the process of things getting out of the house. I filled my first two give away bags just in this small area. Then I deep-cleaned this area. As a final touch, I rolled up the area rug that I usually just vacuum. I took a picture of the dirt underneath, but that picture will not be published! As I took the items that belonged in other rooms to those places, I did not obsess about where to put them. I just delivered them to the correct room. I chose to focus on one area at a time which allowed me to see faster and more vivid results.
The entryway was gorgeous! I took after pictures and could not believe the difference. It felt clean, open, even pretty. We have a small bench for the children to sit on and take off their shoes. Of course it was always covered in stuff and unusable, so when I was done I posted a sign: “This bench is for sitting people, not stuff.” It made us all smile and reminded us not to drop our stuff there.