Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Little Spring, I Mean New Year Cleaning

Purging isn’t pretty, folks.  It’s so ugly in fact that it could possibly maybe almost make a certain redheaded perfectionist in ruffled flats freak out a teeny tiny itsy bitsy bit.  Not me, of course, but some other person just like me.

Tell me, if your home looked like this for three days straight would you go a little crazy?




2011 was a huge purging year for us.  We combined all of our stuff, purged all of the duplicates and things we didn’t use anymore, and then did this again a few more times after bringing home wedding presents and reorganizing our laundry/storage room.  Well, when we brought home Christmas presents after being away for a week and a half, we were not happy with how our home was looking.  Our first full day back (New Year’s Day), we purged until we couldn’t purge anymore.  The above shots show what our home looked like during this three-day process.

After Thanksgiving, I came home with a few tubs full of decorations left over from our wedding, such as the many vintage jars/vases/pots/etc. that we used to hold flowers on all of the reception tables.  I was sick of them sitting in the middle of the laundry room that Mr. Converse Sneakers now uses to do a punching bag workout in, so we went through every item and kept only those that we loved the most.  We also went through the following areas in our home:

  • Every box in the laundry/storage room
  • Our closets
  • Ever cabinet in our kitchen
  • Our pantry closet
  • All boxes in our living room entertainment stand
  • Our office

So, we basically went through all of our belongings, ready to get rid of anything that didn’t fit.  As we were going through everything, we asked the following questions of each item:

  • When did I last use this?
  • When will I use it again?
  • Will this be essential/come in handy when we buy our first house?
  • Will this sit in storage when we buy a house?
  • Could I easily replace this for cheap if I got rid of it and needed it later?

I definitely have to be in the right mindset when I purge.  Last year, I was a tad too sentimental since we had just gotten married that I did not want to let go of as much.  However, the new year brought in a new cutthroat attitude that was perfect for purging.

Before I get to some after photos, here is an iPhone shot I snapped of our first car trip to Goodwill:


It’s hard to tell how full my car is, but it’s a station wagon with the back seat folded down, so it’s pretty crammed.  We also recycled a lot and got rid of unnecessary boxes we were hoarding, since we can easily get new boxes from Mr. CS’s work when we move.

Now, for some of the after photos.

Although I did some major reorganizing when I revamped our pantry for only $5, things were getting out of control.  We just had too much stuff in there that it was never easy to put anything back in its designated spot.  Here is a tiny peak at what it looked like – just imagine utter chaos every time we opened the door.


Nothing was where it was supposed to be.  In addition to taking everything out of the pantry, we emptied many of our cabinets so we could move things around so not everything was being stored in the pantry.  Here is what two of the shelves looked like after:




Notice how nothing is cramped?  Now, we can easily move things in and out with room to spare.  No more perfect placement leading to randomly throwing things in there when it all comes crashing into chaos.

Here’s an in-progress picture.  Most of these items were relocated to the basement since we don’t use them enough.


While we were purging in the pantry, we decided to heavily focus on our corner cabinet in the kitchen as well since it has a lot of space with the lazy susan.  Here is how it looked before:


Definitely not bad, but not great either.  After laying everything out, sorting, and putting things back, it looked like this:


It may look more cluttered now, but everything has a space and is organized by type (much-used cooking items on the bottom, baking items in the middle, extra spices and protein shake items on top), making it much easier to keep track of and keep organized.

One poorly-used space was the cabinet above our range/microwave.  It housed canisters of flour, sugar, baking powder, and brown sugar as well as left over spices and for some reason some inexpensive Ikea flower pots.  Don’t ask me why they were there, I have no idea!  Since we are very short, we have trouble reaching anything in the back of that cabinet, so we relocated the canisters to the pantry (seen in the photo if you scroll up with the red popcorn bowl) and the spices to the corner cabinet shown above.  We relocated much-used and easy-to-grab items to this cabinet such as Mr. CS’s new French press (he’s a coffee snob now), snacks, and oft-used carbohydrates and cooking oils.  Oh, and wine.  We don’t drink it often, but we wanted it to be easily-reachable whenever we have a really bad day and want to pour ourselves a glass or two.


While we were tackling the kitchen, we couldn’t help but notice the coat closet that was running over with games.  See?


A simple little purge and reorganization did the trick.  Now you can barely see the games behind the door way.


In addition to these updates, I also got rid of about twenty-five items in my closet that I was not wearing and probably never would.  However, I added about the same number of items, but all are to be worn as teaching apparel (more on that in a future post).

Now, for the big room that contributed to most of our donation pile: the laundry room.  You can see photos from our first major purge and reorganization of this room here.  Since then, we added some interlocking floor tiles to make Mr. CS’s workouts a little less painful on this joints.  I like stepping on it when I’m doing laundry.

Here it was in November:storageafter5

And, here it is now:


Some major things we got rid of: the dresser that was empty after purging, our standing mirror (sad, but we don’t have a use for it now and don’t like how much room it takes up as opposed to a hanging mirror), and tons of empty boxes. 


We had so much space left over that we were able to make a little storage area for all of our newly-acquired Christmas items that were clogging up floor space after Christmas.  It’s in the area next to the water heater and under our upper art storage.


Our kitchen-overflow bookshelf dwindled down after the purge.


We also had leftover space in our shelving unit for the leftover interlocking floor tiles and our camping chairs. It doesn’t look that great still, but it’s a storage room.  I can’t ask for much more.  Now, it’s organized, clutter-free and full of space for Mr. CS to workout and me to do laundry in peace.  I’m no longer afraid of going in there!

Whew!  All of those words and photos just to say that we got rid of a lot and are now living happily with less!  I’m glad we got this out of the way now because spring cleaning will be a breeze (hopefully).

Did you take on any major organizing projects already in the new year?


  1. ampardini@yahoo.comJanuary 10, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    You have created a self-sustaining ecosystem with the RIRF and Goodwill ... you giveth a lamp and taketh away a cardigan!! Your place looks great!

  2. I don't think you're a follower of our blog, but this week and next we are featuring some fun cleaning and organizing efforts on the blog. If you'd like to be featured send me an email and we'd love to share some of your ideas. lojerle@gmail.com

  3. Looks great! Organizing always makes me feel good!

  4. great,Organization is the key to everything!


Thank you for stopping by! I am a little crazy sometimes (it's probably the red hair), but I would really appreciate if you would leave a comment. I love getting to know my readers and reading what everyone is thinking! - Mrs. Ruffled Flats


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