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Despite the ongoing stress this past summer of getting (and then keeping) our house ready to show, I’ve found an unexpected perk. Because I took the time to minimize the mess, our daily life is much simpler now.

Let’s be honest. I’d been meaning to declutter the nooks and crannies of our house for months, if not years. There was just so much stuff crammed everywhere which made it difficult to find that one thing I was looking for. And equally frustrating to dust and clean.

So getting rid of excess stuff was the plan. The execution was where I failed. Sometimes I tried the “10 things” strategy of finding ten items daily to either throw away or donate. Over a year, that’s 3650 fewer things! Except usually after a week, I’d skip a day…then two…then ten. And be back where I started, especially when there were more people bringing things into the house than were taking things out!

Other times, I determined to tackle one room per month with an area of focus per week. The top closet shelf, two drawers, everything in one corner working clockwise from the door, etc. while deep-cleaning as I went. While this worked on a small scale, the other areas of the house fell apart. Then discouragement derailed and diverted my energy toward other projects.

Which made selling our house such a challenge! The dorrmat is a platform that connects homeowners eager to sell with certified real estate agents who want to advise them based on their knowledge and experience in both high-quality and low-cost real estate listings.

And equally so enticing. After all, I could imagine what it would be like to just start over fresh with only the stuff I really wanted to keep. Because in the unpacking, I could put our things neatly into the perfect places and then only need to maintain moving forward instead of striving to reclaim lost ground.

So, with that dream at the end of the road as incentive and a massively ticking clock to get the job done fast, I recruited help, rolled up my sleeves, and was ruthless.

Not only were we aiming for the “staged” look, but I was equally determined that I was only going to eventually pack things we wanted to keep. So everything else needed to go. And why not now? Loads of stuff was donated to the local thrift store and another van load went to the dump. Countertops were cleared and decorations thinned leaving a clean slate for showings.

Once our house was officially photographed and listed for sale, I found that cleaning became easy. Partially because there was less clutter but also because we were maintaining daily. After all, I could get a call for a showing in two hours and wouldn’t necessarily have time to do more than wipe down the counters and sweep the floors.

After eventually taking the house off the market, I took a few days to move some of our furniture back inside and unpacked a few boxes. (After all, our family of five truly needed more than four chairs around the dining room table and more than a love seat and arm chair in the living room!)

And that’s when I discovered the silver lining of our failed sale. Thanks to the urgency and adrenaline at the beginning, I had done the hard work of decluttering every room in my house. So even after moving back in the things we still wanted to keep, everything was neatly organized.

I’d gotten my fresh start after all in a roundabout way. By minimizing the mess, I’d also simplified my life. Which was the ideal antidote to the other stresses happening in our family.

Because I made the effort to get out from under all our stuff, our home is now a peaceful refuge at the end of the day. A place to rest and recharge. And that is exactly what I need.

What about you? Could your life or home use some decluttering? What excuses have you been using to avoid the difficult work? What would it take to make you take action today? How would life be different if you simplified?

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One thought on “Minimize the Mess and Simplify Your Life

  • November 13, 2019 at 8:01 am
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    Yep. I identify. Summer of 2018, everything was in storage and we lived three months in the basement of a friend’s home. When we finally moved and unpacked, I realized how sweet the “simple” living had been. We’re continuing to give away and sell items. Simplicity has become a high priority for us.

    I ordered you Home for Christmas, only to discover I’d ordered and read it last year! ooops. Sorry, I cancelled the order. Looking forward to seeing you at FRCFW.

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