to take this challenge, like you wouldn't believe! I would go take some "before" pictures, but my husband is asleep in there and might not appreciate it. Well, he probably wouldn't notice the lights on or the flash, but it would seem creepy.
For the last couple of days, I have been de-cluttering. (That is why I came to this forum for the first time tonight.) We live in a tee-tiny 12'x65' 1970's mobile home... not exactly a haven o' storage. This isn't our "starter home"... we've lived here for over 11 years and it will probably be our home til we succumb. But, we owe nothing on it at all, and it's our home
. I was always terrible with clutter, shamefully so, but now that we finally have our longed-for child it is imperative that I do something to reclaim space. She doesn't deserve to live in this mess.
For years I was in a cycle of grief over our infertility and multiple miscarriages, and I didn't have the emotional energy to keep our home as I should have.
A storage solution arrived a few weeks ago. Jointly with my parents, who live across the road, we purchased a 40 foot long trailer (you know, an 18 wheeler or semi trailer). We parked it along my father's garden, took off the wheels, lowered it and blocked it. It is VAST, dry and snug. We have the left side to do with as we please. I don't want to just fill it with junk and riff-raff, however, so I need to be ruthless as I de-clutter.
Now to describe our bedroom. Like I said, it's shameful. I'd be embarassed for anyone to go into it, except for a couple of close friends who grew up like this. If my mother said she was coming to look at something in there, for instance, I would be horrified and would move faster than humanly possible to get it presentable.
She would be aghast.
I don't know how I let it get so desolate. It looks like a scene from that shocking television show, "How Clean Is Your House?" Minus the animal poop and bits of pure rubbish, of course! It's not filthy
, just terribly untidy, dim, and dusty. I don't feel very peaceful in there at all. Yesterday, I noticed a couple of carved wooden figurines that depict a pregnant mother and a father holding an infant. They were gifts from family when Gail was born. I had put them on top of the chest of drawers then, and hadn't really looked at them since. Upon noticing them yesterday, it made me terribly sad that something which had been given in love by my sister-in-law was now so dusty and neglected, standing vigil next to a pile of clothes atop of bureau. It was as if they were just moldering away and forgotten. Who could see them there? What purpose does something pleasant have in our cluttered room? It made me want to cry to realize how bad it has gotten.
(I took the figurines into Gail's room, which is bright and pleasant, if sometimes a bit strewn.) That is why I am so glad to have found this challenge. I need it so badly!
I do vacuum the tiny bit of open floor space I have and I dust occasionally or pick up obvious clutter, but I feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff and the tiny space and my own giult over it all and... and... I need to know where to start!
The space is very small, and filled to the limit. So much so that my husband, a big broad man, must turn sideways to fit through spaces. Our bed of course takes up much of the room, and it is just a standard size bed. Underneath the bed is... everything. Books, board games, old framed pictures, blankets, baby stuff... all piled in a jumbly mess. When we moved the bed before Gail was born (so a co-sleeper would fit), I was heavily pregnant, my husband was irritable about something, and we just left all the accumulated mess of eleven years under there instead of clearing it out when we had the chance.
Now we have a small crib side-carred to it, and that takes up a great deal of room... so much so that William has been asking when we can take it out since Gail rarely uses it now, and I'm beginning to wonder why we don't put it away. Between the wall and the bed is crammed every blanket and extra pillow we have, to fill the gaps in the headboard rails and the side against the wall so Gail wouldn't get trapped as an infant. It makes it feel very close, dusty, and spidery.
The whole room feels that way... spidery. I'm not afraid of spiders, but I've positively identified several brown recluse spiders recently, and they make me worry. It would be all too easy for Gail to get bitten in one of those dark dusty corners. I would love for it to be crisp, pleasant and airy, a place where one could dangle a hand down over the edge of the bed and not wonder what it is brushing against!
Near the bed is a nightstand, but it is almost never used as such. It is full of mysteries from years gone by. Scraps of paper with phone numbers on them, books, key chains from promotional giveaways, condoms (which seem ludicrous for someone who has trouble conceiving like we do, but we're not supposed to be TTC right now due to my last tubal pregnancy), coffee cans full of coins, keys, screws, pens and pencils... oh, everything. Lots of stuff Gail shouldn't have! We don't really need or use this night stand. I do put my glasses on it at night, but have trouble finding them by morning... especially because I don't have my glasses on!
There is also a huge trunk in the room, a gift from my mother. It holds childhood memories like school annuals, stuffed animals, drawings, notes when William and I were dating as teens. It is really much too massive for the space, and will soon go to the storage trailer. That alone should give us more room to breathe, and will be a relief. But first it must be emptied, which will take a long time. I know I'll sit and read every note in there.
: And even after it is empty, will it still fit through the hallway? We have new bookcases now. Hmm.
We don't use the small closet for clothes (well, a couple of suits of dress clothes). I don't really believe in hanging up casual clothes... never have.
: William uses a chest of drawers which are brimming full and cluttered with more clothes and knick-knack boxes of coins and such on top. I use a multi-tiered Handi-Snack shelving bin from a grocery store. Yep. Floor-to-ceiling red plastic bins boldly emblazened in white lettering. I don't really believe in folding
clothes, either... so it is quite the mess. When looking for a certain item, others fall out and litter the floor. They don't always get picked up promptly.
I know that if I took a realistic look at what clothes I no longer use, I could pare that down considerably. William's too. If I could find a different storage unit for my clothes, I could possibly transfer the Handi-Snack shelf to Gail's room for toys, which would be a much more logical use! Between the chest and the Handi-Snacks unti is a pile of travel bags, William's cover-alls, and a giant stuffed hippo. He would make more sense in Gail's room, too.
In the closet, besides the few formal clothes, are many items including all of our Christmas decorations, wood plaques for pyrography, books, suitcases we never use, old home videos, and so much more that I don't even want to imagine the sliding, chaotic piles. It is dark and unpleasant. We can't really get to that closet easily, anyway. Floor space is at such a premium that we keep a little miniature bench in front of the door for William's clean work clothes, so he won't have to suck in his belly and slide past the side-car crib to get to his o'er-full drawers! Gail is always raking these clothes off the bench and sitting on it. It is just her size and should probably be in her room instead of ours. Under the bench are shoes, many shoes. All William's, by the way.... I only own four pairs of shoes, each with a distinct purpose (yard, town, church, funeral/wedding). William has many. Regarding most of what is in the closet, it could be given away or stored in the new trailer. Then I could get some "Space Bags" or something and properly
store my blankets and winter coats.
Also in the room is a stereo cabinet (missing the glass door). Inside is our stereo, photo albums, and two shoeboxes of important papers. It is surprisingly neat... I just cleaned it recently. Atop the cabinet is the alarm clock and also our television, which we rarely watch in the bedroom. I can't think of a way to improve this space, but the important papers should be gone through and a new box set up.
There is also a gun cabinet holding William's family heirloom guns. They're all unloaded, and thankfully so, because there is no door to the cabinet. My father had said he'd build us a new one that is sturdier, so we took off the glass door two years ago (so he could get the pattern) and it still sits in his shop. He hasn't built the new door and I hate to bother him by reminding him about it (he works so
hard at his job and helping everyone else that I can't bear to ask more of him). So we put a blanket up to keep the dust out. It doesn't really work, and the guns which belonged to William's grandfathers are in dire need of cleaning and oiling.
Near our bathroom door (I won't even begin to talk about the bathroom!) is a shelf for towels. But it has gone from a towel shelf to a catch-all... books, soap, toilet paper, with only three shelves left for towels! Thankfully I rarely have that many cleaned and put away at a time, anyhow!
The two windows in the room are covered with (very dusty) black mini blinds. One of them also has a blanket to block sunlight (it was waking Gail too early). They're sort of a non-issue, since one faces the wall of our shed and the other is hard to get to because of our bed. If it was cooler weather, I'd leave that one open to let in fresh air, but I can't let in 95 degree heat! Maybe in fall. I know that many folks use window-dressings to liven up a room, but that isn't really for me. I don't have a single curtain anywhere in my home, for some reason.
This current challenge for me is less about decorating, though, and more about making a space usable.
Basically, it is all in a terrible state. I need to do something
. It can't be healthy for us to sleep amidst all the clutter and dust. And it certainly isn't pleasant or peaceful to do so. I don't need scented candles and flowing curtains or anything... I just want a simplified, uncluttered space.
I can't imagine that anyone read this far... but it is getting late and I need to go to my un-restful bedroom to sleep. I may post pictures tomorrow, if I can muster up the courage.
Thanks for reading if you did!