Grid Cleaning - 4 Steps to Conquering Clutter

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the clutter around our house. Seriously, we have way too much stuff. I know, #firstworldproblems.

We've been in this house a little over a year now, and although everything has been basically put away, it hasn't necessarily been put away well. Nothing is organized, nothing makes sense, and don't even get me started on the toys! They're everywhere!!

So, I had this idea to go through the entire house and evaluate everything we own. Why do we have what we have? What purpose does it serve? Do I love it? Am I really going to ever use it? Does it need to be fixed? How should it all be organized so that we know where things are and can fully utilize our stuff?

Basically, I want to purge and organize the entire house. Exciting stuff, huh?!?

That's a big job though, and I'm a woman of limited resources - the biggest one being "time". So, I'm mentally breaking down each room into smaller sections, like a grid, and tackling them here and there when I can.

The other day, I started with this corner of my bedroom.
It's looked like this for sometime. There's a bag of clothes to give away, two boxes that have yet to be unpacked since moving in, my wedding box, a random barbie, my violin, and a music stand.  Not exactly the view I want to be looking at from my bed each night.

Here's how I tackled it.

The first thing I did was go through the items and quickly sort them into three separate piles: 1) Trash, 2) Donate, and 3) Keep. If you're so inclined, you can even add a fourth pile of items to sell. Be realistic though. Are you really going to take the time to organize a garage sale or post items on ebay or Craigslist? I knew I wasn't, so I didn't even bother with that. I thought, better to just donate. It helps others, and gives you a tax break.

Here's where it gets a little hard. Now, go through your keep pile a second time. This time, start asking yourself questions. Do I love this? Does it serve a useful purpose? Is it something that was supposed to be temporary that I just never upgraded? Does it have sentimental value? How would I feel if I didn't have it anymore?

The red box above was a bunch of items from my childhood. The cardboard box had a bunch of unused drapes and crochet stuff. At first I thought I wanted to keep it all, but upon closer inspection I realized I could get rid of more.
For example, I had these four packages of drapes. A few were opened and used in our last house, but some were still in the package brand new. I really liked them, and hoped to use them again in this house. But, they just didn't work anywhere. Why was I keeping them? They were brand new, and I paid good money for them. If I gave them away I'd have to admit that they were a waste of money. The more I thought about it though, it was so silly. They were serving no immediate function, so I ultimately decided to donate them. Let me tell you, it's really hard to donate brand new items. Don't think of it as wasted money though. Instead, try to think of it as helping those in need. It really helped me to think about how excited someone shopping at Goodwill would be to discover these brand new drapes.

The souvenirs from my childhood were tough too. For those I asked myself, what memory did they bring to mind? Do they help tell my story? How would I feel if I didn't have them anymore? The pig figurines, piggy bank, and statue of Mary I donated. None of them held any sort of real memory for me. Yes, I collected pig figurines as a tween, but I didn't need to keep the figurines to remember that odd little tidbit of my childhood. The rest of the items I kept. I also kept my violin, music stand, barbie, and my wedding box.

I wasn't done though.

Once I knew what I wanted to keep, I cleaned everything up and made a list of anything that needed to be fixed to become useful again. The figurine of the girl in pink holding a teddy bear is actually a music box my grandmother made me. It was really dirty though, so I got a Q-tip and some soapy water and cleaned it up. My violin needs new strings, so I made a note and will fix shortly. Make sure you don't wait too long follow through on this step though. Dirty and broken things don't get used, and you're just left with more clutter.

By now I was left with a much smaller group of items in my keep pile, but none of the items belonged in this corner of my bedroom. The newly cleaned music box I gave to Madeleine. She loves listening to it play, and I get to tell her stories of my grandmother. The Christmas snow globe was put with our Christmas decorations. The champagne flute and bow tie from my prom went to another souvenir box for safekeeping. The yearbooks put on the office book shelf. The wedding box went to my closet. The barbie put with my others. I have a plan for the trophy that I'll share soon. The violin went under my bed, and the music stand moved to the office. I added to my "fix-it" note to buy a decorative basket to hold my crochet supplies. I'll pick that up soon.

Finally, I was left with this! This is what this corner of the room should look like. It's not a storage area! I'm going to get a chair or a chaise for this corner. Then, instead of causing me stress, it will soon be a place where I can just read, gaze out the window, or take a good nap.
I thought I needed everything that was there, but I didn't. Everything I let go, I've been fine without. Things are now being used that were previously just taking up space, and everything else was put away properly in places that make sense. Purging is not easy. It takes a while, and is emotionally draining. I was exhausted, and I only did this one little corner!! Take your time, but start tackling it bit by bit. I was so glad I did, and you will be too!!

Now for the rest of the house!

Go purge!

Side note: I kind of want to watch that Ethan Hawke movie, The Purge now. I never saw it. This is how my mind works, and probably why I never get anything done.


  1. Cheers to a clutter-free nest!

    1. Still working on it. Someday I'll get there. Thanks for reading!