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Spring cleaning one step at a time.

Folks, I have a confession to make… My house isn’t so uh… organized as I’d like it to be.

After living in your house for a few years, things have a way of getting unorganized fast. Then one day, it takes you a half hour to find a pair of scissors although you probably own ten pairs of them. And that day is the day you realize something needs to be done.

So, you do what any person would do. Head over to Martha Stewart’s Website of beautifully organized things and you make a board on Pinterest a bout getting organized and you even blog about it. All the while you still can’t find your scissors in less than 20 minutes. And something needs to be done.

Inspired by the amazing clean-out and organizing bonanza my girl Alix did with her basement,  I walked up to my attic which is full of SO MUCH STUFF and turned right around to ward off the panic attack I get just looking up there.  It was just too big. Too much.  I needed something smaller. So I decided to organize my linen closet. It couldn’t be that bad, right?

OR COULD IT?

Oh yeah. It could be bad. Really bad. This little closet with four shelves took me EIGHT HOURS TO CLEAN OUT.  And I had a nervous breakdown in the middle of it and binged on a half box of chocolate chip cookies while watching Glee to sooth my shame of finding saline solution that expired in 2001.

But then I got into the zone. The zone where you start getting rid of the STUFF. The half used tubes of diaper cream, beauty products that made me break out, lipsticks that just weren’t my color, hair styling products that didn’t really do much for my hair.  I threw two shopping bags full of that stuff. That junk was just going to sit in my closet taking up room. Good riddance!

Talk about cathartic…

Here is the “after” of the linen closet.  It probably doesn’t look like much, but trust me–this was a full day of work.

This made me TRULY appreciate what Alix is doing with her basement. At least her stuff is cool. Expired sunscreen isn’t exactly cool…

But who has or wants to spend a full day going through stuff and organizing? It is particularly hard as the weather is so lovely. But there is something so wonderful about getting rid of three shopping bags worth of stuff from my house.

I’ve decided to take a much more sane approach to this spring cleaning. Here is my new organizing mantra:

A drawer a day. No more–no less. 

On crazy days, maybe I’ll just take a little drawer that doesn’t need so much help. And on other days, maybe I’ll take on a bit more insanity. Like this one…

I promise monthly reports with a hopefully increasing tally of shopping bags of stuff taken out of my house. So far the tally is up to FOUR.  Not too bad for one “drawer”.

Who’s with me? Any organizing suggestions? Anything would be greatly appreciated!

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Posted in Real Life : Dottie.


12 Responses

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  1. Jody says

    Love this! We keep thinking about reorganizing a smidge around here, but since we’re picking up and moving again in two months, we figure it’ll wait–although when I think about it, we should probably just purge now and have a yard sale!

    • Dottie says

      Ah, but you have all that space that you can store stuff. Mwahahaha!!!! And congrats on the house, Jody!

  2. jenny says

    OH MY DOTTIE.

    First: I am so thankful that I have spent enough time around you that I know your voice, and I TOTALLY READ THIS POST IN YOUR VOICE, YOUR DOTTIE VOICE!!!!!!!!!! Girl. I was laughing so hard, I was crying. I had to read it aloud to the mister.

    ALSO? because I have been, am, and might always be there. I AM SO THERE.
    Being a clutterbug is expensive! Like the 10 pairs of scissors, I totally understand. You can’t find something so you run out to target or the hardware store to get another (this is why I actually have THREE big ol’ mamma jamma staple guns – yes, it’s a sickness)

    Color me inspired! I actually have to — HAVE TO — tackle my basement, which currently looks like a bulldozer went through it. Like we were robbed. Like, a thrift store that was ransacked. I have a deadline, and it’s fast approaching! My brother in law is coming on the 29th and it is my goal to slay that beast before he gets here.

    Where’s my chocolate chip cookies?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    • Alix says

      LOL…..I have always said “ahhhhh it looks like a thrift store exploded in our basement!!!” I can only image what’s in yours (although I have to say I’m dubious….i know you have some gorgeous wooden floors hiding down there!! haha)

      Let it be known that Dottie is being FAR too kind because our basement/garage/storage room is still insanity. She called me the other day and said “Oh you’re so good to do that” and I was all “Do what? It’s barely a dent woman!!! If you come over you honestly won’t even be able to tell what I did…..”

      I mean, I DID do a ton. But it was all emptying of boxes and throwing out/recycling damaged books and mags and papers. AHHHHH. There are now some really organized piles in the garage, which make me crazy because part of me wants to sell it and part of me is like “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST DONATE IT ALLLLLLLL!!!!!” (this is non vintage/non-cool stuff…..old strollers and book cases and a play house and a rocking horse and and and….).

      Our basement is a Class A disaster zone. I’ll post a pic on instagram so you can see. (“I’ll show you mind…..”) And cross my fingers that i don’t lose half my followers who are freaked out by how AWFUL it is!!!

      For the record, my panic reak of choice is bustin’ out the Ben & Jerry’s and standing in the kitchen spooin mouthfuls of Americone Dream……..ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!

    • Dottie says

      It is so true! I’m about to go buy a cat nail clipper because the one we have is missing and the cat’s claws are killing me! It does get expensive.

      And good luck on that sweet basement! You have so many gems in there!

      I will always be a bit of a clutterbug myself–and I’m a craft as well as vintage clutterbug. Sob!

      • jenny says

        DOTTIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! regular ol’ human nail clippers work just fine for clippin’ feline nails!

        That is, if you can find the regular ol’ human nail clippers!!!!!!!
        ha!

        vintage crafty clutterbugs unite!

  3. Brigitte says

    Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! i am so proud of you girls. Can’t wait on the follow up report!

  4. Alix says

    Haha, this is awesome. But let us be clear here….your attic is no where NEAR as ghastly as my basement which is not even a NEAR being done (you are so sweet to make it sound like “And in one magical afternoon Alix totally remodeled and reorganized her basement!”). EVERYTHING is still in a huge state of disrepair. It’s ongoing. And depressing. And that glimmer of hope makes it exciting. But still. I’m a mess.

    I think you have the right idea here mama! And HOW AWESOME is it that you now have a totally organized closet?? WHOO HOO!

    I would toss in some advice though. Knowing your house is kinda like ours. (but better!) I recommend a drawer at a time BUT I also recommend tackling a non-drawer thing too….something visible to the eye. Because I did exactly what you did when I suddenly had more time on my hands. I tackled our hallway closet. I cleaned out allllll our kitchen drawers. And was SO proud of myself. They were organized! I got rid of a bunch of miscellaneous flat ware and dishes. And when greg came home and it STILL looked like a bomb exploded and he was all “Um, yes….the drawers look great?” And I felt bummed. The drawer by drawer method is totally important, but for your mental peace of mind do a bigger sweep too. I was literally just saying yesterday, OK if my mom came over, I want there to be a VISIBLE change SOMEWHERE. So i tackled Wolfie’s room (hence the giant bin of old clothes…..why did i have a 4T jean jacket in his closet when he is EIGHT??). Sigh.
    You go mama! You know I’m here with you….and take comfort that even though I started before you, I’m probably 10 steps behind you.

    • Dottie says

      Oh, I know it wasn’t a magical afternoon–more like week! I feel that is the only way to really tackle whole rooms. Just doing my linen closet nearly broke me, so I can’t imagine what it must have been like to do a whole FLOOR of your house!

      You make a really good point about cleaning stuff out in places where you can see a difference. I feel the problem with my drawers is that I just shoved everything in there to keep the rest of the place looking nice for when someone was coming over. Sigh! One day I’ll learn… But clearing off tables will be huge for me and the top of my dresser will be huge. I think it will make me feel so much better sleeping. Seriously!

  5. Alix says

    OH and the contact lense stuff had me cracking up!!!! Since i still wear contacts I didn’t have expired saline BUT the two winners in our disaster Bathroom Mystery Drawer were the 20 mini hotel size shampoos and……a jumbo VAT of cocoa butter (that I think I got at my baby shower and never used). And my elbows are still cracked and dry…….

  6. Ilse says

    Dottie,
    Rejoice in all this mess I´ve found beauty…I love the way you match images and blocks of color with text…how do you do that?

  7. Tiffanie says

    The idea of ONE DRAWER A DAY is a keeper. I have SO much makeup it’s time to part with, now that I know what suits me best. And, I have ten flat file drawers, of which five are currently “fancy” junk drawers. One of those a WEEK is probably a good start for me.

    But first our art cabinet. Dear Lord.

    Happy Mother’s Day, Dottie! And Alix, too!



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