Clutter, or the lack thereof

In stark contrast to the last post I reblogged from Dugan InCahoots, I writing to say that I’ve figured out how to keep your home clean and uncluttered: put your house on the market and live in fear that at any given moment someone might want to come inspect every nook and cranny, judge you (hard) for your decorating choices, and consider buying it.

The best part about selling our house? It’s never been so spotless, uncluttered, and clean… because it forces us to put things away and make sure everything is presentable all the time. The worst part about selling our house? It has never been so spotless, uncluttered, and clean… because it requires constant cleaning, decluttering, organizing, sorting, vacuuming, scrubbing, and picking up an unbelievable amount of dog shit… UNBELIEVABLE.

The initial cleaning frenzy was horrifying. I took some time off work and was like a rabid animal, foaming at the mouth as we decluttered, threw out, and donated things as quickly as possible. My husband was more than happy to go to the store and pick up more storage bins and hangars when I started freaking out about needing more places to store things, MORE! Although he never said it, I know that anything at that point, even going out to find the perfect snap-top bins to hold our precious crap, was more enjoyable than dealing with me.

In all seriousness though? I can’t organize everything without these watertight bins [clicking the pic will take you to Amazon].

We got everything to a point of ultimate cleanliness. The hard part has been keeping it that way with a baby, 90-lb furball of a dog, and two working adults living in our home. While it has been a bit exhausting making sure everything is clean and/or ready to be thrown in a box and put in the car during a showing, after about a week keeping things sparse started to feel routine. And more and more I’m realizing how much I like it.

I’m less stressed when I walk in our house and way better balanced. There’s room for me to put down my bag when I get home – I’m not setting it on top of a pile of other things that needs my attention, too. Cooking is easier because I don’t have to rearrange the room to find enough counter space. I can make a mess because it’s easier to clean up when I’m not worried about spilling sauce on a pile of important mail. Dry, clean dishes don’t sit around next to the sink because they are tucked away in the appropriate cabinet. The little tchotchkes that I hate to love aren’t collecting dust on the windowsill. Cleaning countertops and dusting furniture is a breeze when they aren’t covered in crap. LOOK! IT’S SO … CLEAR!

Don't open the dishwasher, everything from the counter is in there!

It almost looks like no one lives here… and apparently I like it that way.

Our mudroom has always been a catch-all for crap... until I put it all away.

Our mudroom has always been a catch-all for crap… until we put it all away.

This is not to say that when this journey is over, and we settle into a new home, that things will always look so naked – I mean, it will be nice to put the pictures back up at least – but there will be way less “accessorizing” going on. I’m not ready to give up the tchotchkes all together, but I am starting to think that the Gretchen Rubins and Real Simples of the world who tout all this decluttering just might be on to something.

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