I have a little bit of an obsession. I’ve talked about it before, but I haven’t shown you the full extent of it until now. My obsession is with starting new projects, especially creative ones. I like to RUN with an idea and jump in headfirst. But not all of these projects get finished! In fact, if I had to take a realistic guess … maybe 25% of them actually get done. And that leads to a very messy craft room.
A messy craft room is an understatement really. Our craft/homeschool/sewing/art supply storage room looked like a craft store and a fabric store threw up all over a yard sale. Toss in some very random office supplies, dried herbs, and five or six boxes of assorted empty glass jars, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what I’m talking about.
It’s easy to imagine why I put this room off until almost the end of our decluttering spree. I imagine you probably have rooms or things you are putting off too. When there are so many different things going on, and attachment to all of the things, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.
I recognized that this room was very difficult for me, because it represented two things for me. One was all of the things I wish I had time for. Before I was a mom, there was time for more creative projects, but it has been harder to work them in. Usually I am okay with that, but trying to get rid of the stuff feels a little bit like giving up.
The second thing it represented for me was frugality. Many of the things in that room were things I meant to mend or repurpose, but just hadn’t had the time to do it. And really I didn’t know how to do it .. but I thought one day I would look it up and figure it out.
I would love to have time to do all the things, to be creative and save money, and be a perfect mom, and write a blog, teach my children …. the list could go on forever. But we can’t do it all, and I knew I had to let some things go.
The One Thing
I have started decluttering this room so many times, and it was always SUCH slow going … but this time was different.
The one thing I did was to decide what was most important. I decided to pick a few things from each area that I could accomplish, that I would accomplish down the road.
- Out of all the craft projects I hoped to do, I picked a few that I thought would be most fun, and ones where I would really enjoy the results.
- Of all the things that needed to be mended, I picked four that were very easy fixes, and also nicer items that would be treasured and valued if fixed. The rest I could easily turn into cleaning rags.
- From the fabric, I picked some that I could envision making into something specific.
I tend to look at things the opposite way. I tend to go through each item, and think about whether I should get rid of it. I’m focusing on whether I feel like I want it, instead of deciding what is MOST important when I can’t do it all.
By picking a few things that felt reasonable to accomplish down the road, it did two things:
- I got excited about the projects I had picked. They were no longer part of an overwhelming pile of stuff; they became tangible goals for the future.
- It was a lot easier to let go of the rest. Letting go of those things wasn’t giving up. It was clearing the way to make time for what was important.
Before and After in the Basement
I don’t know how I got myself neck-deep in this decluttering series, and sharing all these embarrassing photos and stories of my home. This might have been one of those all-in, dive in head first things I was talking about earlier in the post. Sharing about the animals in my garage, and the mess that used to be my basement is difficult.
But before and after pictures and stories have made such an impact on me in my own journey. When I see where people have come from and where they have gotten to, it makes me feel like I can do it.
This has been a long road for us, but a rewarding one.
And I hope you know you can do this. Wherever you are at now, you can get there. I hope these posts can inspire you.
Some of you saw this picture before, and I have to share it again, along with the after photo. A lot of the things that are on the floor in the picture were actually spilling out from the homeschool/craft room!
Here is the before picture from the main room in our basement:
I forgot to take a “before” picture of the craft room, and I am kicking myself for it. It really did look BAD. So don’t be afraid to take those before photos, because you’ll appreciate being able to visibly see the difference later.
When you look at the “after” photos of the basement, you’ll see that these pictures are not “Pinterest perfect.” I didn’t go out and buy all matching containers, and the curtain currently in the main room is not quite big enough to cover the storage area.
But this is our basement, and we have come a LONG way in every room. In the craft room, I can find what I need. I’m ready to start some projects. And most of all I FEEL much less overwhelmed. I feel lighter, and FREE from the clutter!
In the main room, my kids have a super fun space to run around! We put down foam, so they have a “gymnastics” floor, and it’s also where I work out. Since the photo, we have also finished the floor (covered the green square) and put up a small flat TV on the opposite wall for streaming workouts!
Here is the main room that you saw above:
That corner with the too-small curtain is where we store kids’ clothing and gear that is waiting to be used by the next child. I have pared it all down a little, but I may go through it a more … we’ll see.
And here’s the after photo in the craft room:
Seriously. We could barely get in the door to this room before. This is all our art, craft, DIY natural products, and homeschool materials! I know it still a lot, but this is an area where we place a lot of priority. And I am happy with it now, because it will all be used. It is organized and doesn’t stress me out!
BONUS: I want to share one more trick for you if you have little ones. This REALLY helped us out with cleaning out the basement, especially when it was FULL of stuff, and dangerous for my toddler to be down there. The very first thing we did in the basement was clear out a safe, gated off area for her to play! It helped so much with finding the time to get through things, and we didn’t have to limit our cleaning sessions to nap time.
Here is a picture of the toddler area:
Our little one usually plays there while I work out, and the older ones go in there to play with her some too. I know it will also help when we go through the boxes from the packing party! (If you missed it, check out the Packing Party article here).
I really hope the first trick in this post, choosing what’s most important first, will help you, especially if you have a craft room like mine. And if you have a toddler, creating a safe and fun place for them to play can make it easier too!
After this post, our series is almost done. I will be sharing a post soon about selling and donating your items, and then hopefully you will have what you need to finish clearing out. If you still have questions, please be sure and let me know!! You can leave a comment or email me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would also *love* if you’d take a minute to share with me how this series has impacted you. Did it inspire you to work on your home? What areas did you work on? Which articles were the most helpful? And were there things that were missing?
I’ll be posting a “minimalism update” a month or two into our journey, so I can let you know how it’s going. (I also hope to post pictures of our house after we paint and re-do a few things, which should be simple now that it’s cleared out)! And I’ll always have simplifying tips scattered throughout my blog.