I know, I know, it has been a long time since I've given you an update on how our cleaning and decluttering is going. Frankly, it's been a few weeks since we could set aside time to do more than basic upkeep. Week 13 was Pictures & Scrapbooks. I did pull out my pictures that week...and I used several for our Real Life Homeschooling series. Then I put them back in the boxes. Week 14 was Arts and Crafts. Half of our art & crafts things are really organized- we did that over the winter. The other half? I'm not ready for you to see that mess yet. It might be what gets tackled this next week during our Half-Time Catch-up week. Week 15 was the Master Bedroom, and while I pick up every week, it's difficult to do any deep cleaning when it seems there is almost always one of us asleep in there. Kurt works nights and sleep during the days. I work 3 or 4 days a week and sleep at night. The one or two times I wasn't too tired from work to do some cleaning? We decided a hike in the woods with our friends was more important. We had been waiting a long time for Spring to arrive!
So where does that leave us? I still need to do a deep cleaning in our bedroom, so maybe I can start that as well during this Catch-up week. I will let you know that I have been decluttering the closet for the Week 16 challenge. We don't have a Master Bath, so I didn't have an assigned task for week 17. Back to the closet...It's that time of year when I want to get out all the shorts and cute tops that are stored in the attic. The problem is the closet was still full of turtlenecks and other long-sleeved tops. (This is Indiana folks - you never know what the weather will be like so you need to keep a few cold-weather things available year round! Rain and 55 degrees for a high in July is not unheard of around here.) This morning before Kurt went to sleep I tackled the closet. Out came most of the heavy-weight tops, and the corduroy pants. I pulled a few things of Kurt's that he hasn't been wearing to take up to the attic as well. We have a really small closet, so space is at a premium. I organized what was left, including our small suitcases and my extra purses. I refolded all those things that had tipped over on the top shelf, and I moved my beading supplies to their appropriate place in the closet in the other room, (the one we organized last winter.) I have often wished our closet was not pink, but let's be honest, it's not high on my priority list - so pink it has stayed. A couple years ago I did put together a quick shelf extender to keep the hats up off of the top of the folded clothes. I'm pretty sure I still have enough lumber scraps in the basement to make another one, so I should get that done and use it to organize the overnight bags. After purging things that didn't need to be in the closet and assigning them to the attic or the giveaway pile, I found enough room to place all but two of my purses up on the shelf. One hangs on the back of the closet door with my belts, and the other is my everyday purse that sits by my nightstand. The one thing that I know still needs done is vacuuming the bottom of the closet. Hopefully I will remember to do that this evening when Kurt gets up to prepare for work tonight. I had already kept him up almost an hour past his normal snoozing time with my cleaning and decluttering, so I figured the vacuuming could wait.
Besides knowing I still need to clean off and clean out my dresser, I've been reading Heidi St. John's book, The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Romance, for an upcoming review. Just like her book I read last year, The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Daylight, this one has had me laughing and cringing as I realize that God has some work to do in me. Knowing that our cleaning and decluttering was focusing on the Master Bedroom, I've been trying to figure out a low-cost (really a no-cost) way to make our bedroom more inviting. It has never been a huge clutter magnet (with the exception of the top of my dresser,) but it needs a lot of TLC. Now that the sun is staying up later, I should be able to devote some time to getting it really clean, and airing it out, so it invites more than just sleep.
This cleaning journey is just that - a journey of 34 weeks, not a day-long project. This wouldn't make a show on the DIY network because it takes more than 48 hours to complete. Will my home be pristine when we're finished? Not likely-LOL! Will it be more of a home and less of a dump-site? It is already showing real improvement. Like anything in life, doing a job well takes time. This decluttering is helping me free myself from things I've been keeping just-in-case. This morning after I worked on the closet, we stopped by the local Christian Center and dropped off some quality things we didn't need anymore. It's a mindset to grasp, not just an action plan. Michele isn't asking us to give up things we love or use regularly. She is challenging us to give up things that are just things. Every time we remove more stuff from our home, we make the weekly upkeep cleaning easier. Our "No More Junk" drawer from week 3 still looks great. The kitchen isn't doing too bad either. I'm looking forward to having less stuff and more time. I even sold some of our old curriculum and had spending money for our state homeschool convention.
Soon it will be Mother's Day. That signals our frost-free date around here, and more of my time spent outdoors gardening. I am happy to say that we are learning even more about the value of free time around here. It's a precious commodity in a home with two working parents. Emily and Arlene are almost finished with school for the year, and we are all looking forward to Kurt taking a few days off for their birthdays so we can all four do things together. The real meaning of home is centered on the relationships with the people inside, not the amount of things on the shelves or in the drawers.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to gather the girls for another botany lesson as we plant a plum tree and transplant the escaping strawberry runners! Have a wonderful weekend!