April 23, 2014

Organizing Room-by-Room: How I Became the Accidental Hoarder

It all started this cold and flu season.  Well, actually it all started when we had the first of our eight sons, 15 years ago, but that’s another story.  This is the story of how I accidentally started a massive room-by-room over-haul of our family’s home and how we’re reaping the benefits. (And no, the baby shoving an entire orange into his mouth has nothing to do with this story, minus the fact that Vitamin C is an excellent help when sick.  I was just struck by his persistence at keeping this orange that he grabbed and insisted on gnawing on until I took it away for fear he’d choke.  So, I snapped a picture.)

So, we got the flu.  Isn’t that all I really need to say?  I mean, who needs me to give the entire account of 117 blankets, 54 towels, ALL the pajamas in the house, the forgotten pull-ups in the corner of the bathroom, and all the dishes that didn’t get done while I was cooking, cleaning, coughing, nursing, or sneezing?  No one?  That’s what I thought.

Yes, the flu struck, and it wasn’t pretty.  It took me three days to put away the humidifiers, the nebulizer, the inhaler, the herbal remedies, and all four pages of the medicine log that my husband and I had kept on the kitchen counter which we used to avoid confusing one of the boys’ medicines.  It was a good time.  I felt pretty great just getting the kitchen and downstairs living areas cleaned up.

We opened the back door the first day that it was warm enough to let the breeze clear the air, parked the air purifier in the kitchen on full blast, and declared to all that today was the day we strip ALL the beds.  And somehow, mysteriously, I had been able to keep much of the laundry done until…well…just then.

That was the day it began.  My process of de-funk.  Three weeks of almost continuous cold and flu, I was on a mission to not only clean our home, but organize it, too.  And not just the normal organizing which typically includes putting the clothes away and straightening drawers and visible shelves, countertops, and desktops, and putting fresh sheets on beds.

I was already in this organizing mindset when the boys’ upstairs bathroom flooded…

straight down….

into my master closet…

where I have a massive amount of clothes stored.

So, of course, not wanting to chance any of them getting wet, I decided to move them all out AND wash ALL of them immediately.

As I began pulling them out, I realized these were things I no longer needed, or were clothes that the boys had outgrown, or were simply a surplus of clothing I’d been storing.

I also noticed how many things were baby items that I simply never used.  Having had this many babies, and especially all boys, I had become the Ultimate Accidental Hoarder.  That’s right.  Having one boy after another after another, I always rationalized that I didn’t need to get rid of any baby boy clothes, or any baby items in general, since they could be put to good use.

That’s a theory that only holds up for so long.  Advance forward 8 boys and 15 years.

That.  Is a LOT.  Of stuff!

The clearing of that one closet, that is really supposed to house clothing and shoes for my husband and myself, catapulted me into sorting and organizing baby clothes, baby accessories, baby equipment, maternity clothes, baby blankets, diaper bags, you name it!!

There are a couple of other reasons that I can give for putting off this type of organization.

1.  Getting rid of baby things can be an emotional thing, and sometimes it’s just easier to leave them in the closet.

2.  And trickier, getting rid of baby items forces me to think about whether or not we’re having more babies, which isn’t something I’m focused on right now, so I thought I could put the closets off.  I decided that whether or not we have any more children is not the point.  We have too much stuff.  If we ever have another baby, there is no doubt in my mind that baby will be provided for.

So?  Away with the stuff!!

I’m working all day between meals, checking boys’ school assignments, cooking and cleaning, to gather, wash, dry, sort and package up an abundance of mother and baby items as well as baby and boy clothes  that I hope to bless the mothers around me with in the very near future.  I haven’t even found all the nursing covers (that I haven’t used since about four babies ago), several slings (I found I like to carry my babies in my arms best), and other things (like the belly support strap) that I know I have lying around to give some mothers who will use them.

I’ll update you all with my progress on this particular phase of our whole house organization project, and stay plugged in here, because we’re doing it all – every room in the house!  The boys’ bedrooms are next!  I shared on my Facebook page, that this is what we’re building for their new bunk beds.  What do you think?

Are you starting your spring cleaning early this year?  What organization projects are you working on?

And I hope you’re inspired, if nothing else, to look inside your closet and see if there’s something you can bless someone else with.

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Comments

  1. How did I miss the post about the boys’ beds? I love them!!!!

  2. I am in the process of doing the exact same thing….started as a New Year’s goal to accomplish this year. Struggling a bit, but hoping that blogging will keep me motivated and accountable. Reading your post should keep me moving and uplifted as well….Thank you!

  3. Okay. If a mom of 8 boys doesn’t need her nursing cover, neither do I. I haven’t used one since baby one (of three) so it’s probably time to pass it on. I’ve been thinking a trip to the Pregnancy Center here would be in order. Thanks for the kick in the pants.

    And good luck!

  4. I only have 2 kids but I am so much in this phase! especially because we live in a small appartment and I really need to do more room for our everyday stuff.
    thanks for your inspiring article!!

  5. I LOVE the bunk beds! We are also in the process of decluttering around here. Piles of paper are the worst for us. Junk mail, notes, worksheets, homework, Church and AWANA hand outs, etc. I need to come up with a better filing system. I thought I had done a great job passing on clothes that we no longer needed this time last year, but they keep outgrowing stuff! It’s time to sort and give away again. Rich and I disagree about how much stuff we “need” to keep. Do you have a rule of thumb about how many articles of clothing each person needs? Or how many sets of sheets per person/bed. Would love to hear your thoughts.
    And by the way, we have started baking our own bread and we LOVE your recipe (the one you make in big batches and freeze, can’t remember the name of it at the moment). Miss you guys!

  6. love your living room couches….where did you get them from?

  7. I had to laugh over the “flood”! We JUST had the same thing happen here. Boys’ bathroom, OF COURSE, which flooded down into our school room.

    I’m in the process of organizing too, but my reason is different. My mom flies in soon, so we want everything to be neat and tidy! Our closet, like yours, stores ALL of the baby clothes, seasonal clothing of all the kids, and baby items not being used. It’s a jungle in there! So I’ve been working in there and in our bedroom, where I have school and craft supplies stored.

    With this many kids, our room really isn’t ours! ; )

  8. I know that there are a ton of pro-life pregnancy crisis centers in tx that would love anything you’re donating!

  9. Awesome! I love purging! We’ve been in declutter/purge mode for several years now, and I just started a blog this month about how we make things work now, and our progress as we continue to get rid of unnecessary items. (http://simplylivingwithmore.blogspot.com/)

    And I love the bunk beds! We may need to do something like that for our kids someday. :)

  10. Slowly working through doing the same thing. Just found your blog…love that you have all boys like me…only 5 here tho ;) Looking forward to reading more!

  11. This is exactly how I feel- only we had girls (and only 5 so far). I’ve been working on this process now for several months and every time I take a box or bag of stuff out of my house it feels sooooo wonderful!

  12. I have to declutter my house, when we moved into our house we had 1 child, now we have 3 and feel like the house is busting at the seems. The thought of decluttering our house is really overwhelming to me. I have a 9 year old, 2 year old, and 6 month old. I feel bad taking time away from the kids to declutter but there isn’t enough time in the day and the baby has me up all night :( Any tips to get rid of the clutter?
    Thanks so much!

  13. We built those bunk beds for our 3 kiddos. My hubby changed the measurements a little, but the general idea is the same. We love them. :)

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