We are moving across the country this summer. Par for the course around here, so honestly, it doesn’t really feel like a major ordeal. Not having to board an international flight with 15 boxes and three small children? Yes, please.
But we’re still moving, and I’ve found it’s incredibly helpful to start getting ready early. Early, early. If I wait until the month we leave, I’m no fun to be around, and the packing is much more haphazard.
So this week, as I decluttered with the kids, we had three basic piles of things: to sell, to keep out, and to pack up for Oregon.
I was so proud of my kids being so agreeable through this process — no problems at all packing up about a quarter of their things already (this would normally be part of the toy rotation), and as I mentioned on Facebook this week, I had to actually hold Tate back from yard sale-ing too many things.
Here’s our before-and-after photos for both toys and kids’ clothing.
All our kids are in the same room (the baby sleeps in the laundry room for a few more weeks, to make sure he’s totally sleeping through the night) — this means everything that belongs to them is in one spot. It’s hard to tell from this picture, but this is all the hanging clothes, on one high rack. When they’d want some clothes, either they’d break the hanger trying to yank it down, or more commonly, they’d call for Kyle or me for help.
This was the sore spot. Above the out-of-reach closet rod lay all the clothes waiting for Tate to grow into. I tossed them up there when we moved here a year ago, and had every good intention of using one of our boxes to contain them all. Apparently 12 months go by fast.
Kyle hung a short, lower dowel with some heavy-duty string; it’s simply tied from the top rod. Now the kids can reach the clothes themselves — that’s much more our style.
Turns out she was the right size for a large chunk of the clothes — the remaining fit nicely in a small box, waiting for her this fall. Feels good to finally get that off my to-do list.
Sorry about the photo’s weird coloring — it’s quite dark in the closet.
Instead of a traditional dresser, we prefer small buckets. Each kid has his or her own color, and we separate the clothes by tops, bottoms, socks and undies, and jammies.
These weren’t disorganized, I just needed to go through and update their stash, both for the season and for fit.
Reed helped me sort through his clothes. If he needs to use his grabber-nabber to make it interesting, that’s fine by me.
It looks pretty much the same, but not as filled to the brim, now that we’re only wearing warm-weather clothes (thank you, spring in central Texas).
We also moved these out from the closet and in to their bedroom, in order to make room in the closet for boxes as we pack.
Toy buckets, before:
Again, we didn’t have too much disorganization to begin with, we simply needed to cull our stash.
Tate did a great job quickly working and passing on items she no longer played with. I had to keep her from tossing too quickly her brother’s favorites.
I love using buckets, but it’s not terribly helpful when you have too many toys to fit in said buckets. Somehow we amassed too many baby toys for Finn. It was ridiculous.
Toy buckets, after:
We tossed a few in the yard sale pile, a few more in the pack-to-Oregon pile, and kept the rest in their usual home. And you might have experienced this yourself — it is impossible to organize the toys without your kids wanting to play with those exact toys. No reason to create a fake perfect shot here, I say. Toys are meant to be played with.
When you have buckets, you’re self-imposing limits — as soon as you can’t fit any more toys in the buckets, some have to go.
Stuffed animals, before:
If paper clutter is my arch nemesis, then stuffed animals are its villain.
Don’t get me wrong, I like adorable stuffed friends as much as the next gal. But one only needs so many. And for some reason, people love to give these as gifts. As a reader once said here, I think the next time someone gives our kids a stuffed animal as a gift, I’ll tell them, “Thank you. Which three would you like to take in return?” I love this.
Stuffed animals, after:
There… that’s better. I told the kids they could keep out five. We got rid of a bunch, and the rest are waiting for our new place in Oregon. They quickly picked their favorites, and didn’t bat an eye about packing up the rest. Way to go, guys.
The rest of the room:
In case you’re wondering, here’s what it looks like on the other side of their room.
I found that orange chair on the side of the road and fell in love with its shape and color. Reminds me of middle school.
The left basket is dress-up clothes, and the dollhouse was from last Christmas’ giveaway here. The artwork is simple scanned pictures from our personal library collection.
Yard sale prep
Here’s the collection headed to our yard sale in a few weeks.
Translation of “Eords-ale” = Yard Sale.
Now it’s your turn!
You don’t have to publish as many photos, by any means. Just a simple before-and-after shot is great — as many or as few are perfect, but in order to link up, you do need at least one before and one after photo.
Share your progress by linking below. Click the blue button that says “Add your link,” and follow the instructions. Copy and paste your blog post’s URL (NOT your blog’s home page — it should look like this: http://theartofsimple.net/toys-before-and-after, not like this: http://theartofsimple.net).
If you don’t have a blog, no problem! Submit your photos to the Simple Living Flickr pool, and then come back to link to your ‘before’ photo below. Copy and paste the photo’s URL.
I will leave the link submission space open throughout Project: Simplify (which ends on April 8), so even if you aren’t able to finish your master closet for a few weeks, you are welcome to share your link between now and the end date. However, to be eligible for this week’s giveaway, you must submit your link before this Sunday, March 27 at noon CST.
And what is this week’s giveaway? Let me refresh your memory…
Laura Edwards runs Simplicity Consultant, but to her, it’s more than organizing your things–to her it is a process of changing your orientation to your attachments, integrating mindfulness and fulfillment. It is an ongoing path of self-awareness.
You want less stuff, but you don’t want to go through the pain of letting it go. You already feel the resistance when you just think about sorting through and making decisions, one-by-one, of your trinkets.
Simplicity Consulting takes a different approach to organizing. Together, you focus on what you originally imagined your life to feel like. You remember your dream together. And then, with this lovely picture in mind, you gently peel away anything that doesn’t serve that vision.
Laura is giving one participant in this week’s Hot Spot two hours of Vision Mapping. This is designed to reorient the approach you have to fulfillment. Instead of focusing on externally focused goals, Laura guides you through the process of mapping out how you want your experience to be.
Laura will spend a few minutes getting to know you over Video Skype, and during the two hours, will take you through a candid and thoughtful tour of your intentions. The result will be a Vision Map that will arrive at your door that week.
Everyone is doing so well with each of the hot spots — I can’t wait to see this week’s! Keep up the good work… After this, we have two more. Even if you’re not crazy about the next one (but I think you will be; lots of you have mentioned it), I know you’ll love the final one. What do you think is left?