Last year I took a chance. A big one. With my husband’s support and encouragement, I quit my job of nearly 9 years to pursue a lifelong dream-Interior styling. To my delight and surprise, I quickly gained clients and found myself happier than I could ever remember being.
Shortly thereafter, I became an Empty Nester. I wasn’t prepared for the truly life-altering experience. I’d been a Mom, needed daily, relied on for so much for 20 years. Then, it was over. Just like that. The realization was jolting. I became sad, felt lost and without motivation or creativity. More on that at a later date. Today’s post is a Happy one! 🙂
The “big change” began while I was searching for something in the guest bedroom closet several months into my Empty Nest-ism. I specifically remember standing there, gift bag from a long past Birthday in hand, that had never been put in its respective space. As I opened the tote that held many, many years worth of gift bags, I thought “WHY do I need all of these? What was I thinking saving all of them?!” And so it began. Disposing of gift bags from the 90’s, yes you read that correctly, the 90’s lead to the throwing out of gift bows and gift wrap and old tissue paper. This lead to going through every drawer and every inch of the closet. After a complete day spent in that room, I walked out with 5 drum size garbage bags FULL!
I was in absolute shock. I had always been very neat and organized. Or so I’d thought. The realization of having that much junk, stuff no one would miss or need, in one room was astounding to me. I was mortified. This is the day I refer to as the day I “cleaned house.” It wasn’t only time to accept and embrace that I was a very clever hoarder. 🙂 It was time to accept and embrace this chapter of my life.
Here is a BEFORE photo of THE room that started it all. Eventually this room would get a complete makeover. I’ll share the AFTER later in this post.
Over the course of a year I tackled each room. A few rules I established for myself and strongly advise if you too are attempting to declutter: If I hadn’t used it in a year, two max, it had to go. I made 3 piles- Consignment (People! Tap into this resource!), Donate and Trash. One of the most difficult struggles was décor. I loved knick knacks and filling walls with things. Don’t get me wrong, if you love knick knacks and non-bare walls, well there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. For me though, I knew what was necessary for the calming, restful retreat-like space I desired my home to be. I needed tranquil, neutral spaces.
With each room that was reorganized and decluttered, with each trip to Donation or Consignment, I learned that living in a space that is free of meaningless décor, or what I refer to as “things”, goes hand in hand with a mind that is free of “things” and creativity is born. A decluttered home equals a decluttered mind!
Do you desire to live in a clutter free home? Do you frequently find yourself wandering around your home with a “thing”, attempting to find somewhere to display or even hide, said “thing”? Ask yourself the question I learned to ask myself every time I work on a new space. Does this item have any real value? Do I LOVE this item? Do I NEED this item?
Okay, let’s talk Consignment. This is important! If you are like me and on a shoestring budget, this is where I’ll blow your mind. This past year, between things sold through Craigs List, Online Yardsales and Consignment I’ve made well over $2000. Check your homes people! Remember the questions above? Ask yourself those and scour your house! That money can be used for new, budget-friendly projects!
Below was the first room I updated. My powder room and adjoining Laundry room which are separated by a pocket door. Side note. That pocket door? One of the best decisions I made when we built. I love that I’m able to hide the sometimes messy laundry from guests.
In this room, I chose a lighter paint color, added the EASY DIY ladder, industrial shelves and light. New light fixtures and store bought shelving just wasn’t in the budget so I had to get creative here. My handy husband DIY’d them all. I can hardly wait to have him as a guest blogger here and share all of the details on his projects.
In the Living Area, I’d always wanted built ins from the time we built but it just hadn’t been in the budget. My husband was hired last Fall to build Sidecases and to my fortune, needed some practice. Using inexpensive dimensional lumber, he built these beauties. He even made the mini barndoor hardware. Just look at how these shelves alone transformed this space!
Such a great update! So much brighter and perfect for styling the “things” that made the cut. Just LOOK at the difference in clutter! The cabinets below shelves, hidden by those adorable mini barn doors, are perfect for books and storage. They’re so roomy and I just love them. I especially love the cost efficiency of them! The Mister will be sharing plans for these in the future as well.
I had gotten very lucky and scored my awesome farmhouse style table from a client who no longer wanted it for a STEAL (I worked for a table!). I knew my dining area would need some updates in order for my table to “fit in.” So next on my list was my Boho Inspired chandelier and of course SHIPLAP! How can we live in Chip and JoJo’s world and NOT need shiplap? And so I did a little research and in one day my dining room went from dark and dated to light, bright and airy! To date, it is one my most favorite projects.
No worries, I’ll be sharing how I did this faux shiplap in a later blog post. You can find the tutorial on the chandelier HERE on my blog. I’ve since taken it back to black. Not because I didn’t love it but because I wanted to test the theory of how easily it could be done so for anyone afraid that it may be a permanent change. SIMPLE to take apart in case you’re wondering.
Next up, and yes, saving my favorite for last. My Master Bedroom. That DIY Shiplap headboard, the DIY enormous rugged mirror, the Barn Door with hardware from THE BARNDOOR HARDWARE STORE and that Bleached Jute Rug. Oh how this room gives me all the heart eyes. The BEFORE photos are from exactly one year ago.
If you are in the market for excellent quality, reasonably priced, Made in the USA, easy to assemble Barn Door Hardware, be sure and check out the link above. Be sure and use code MIDDLESISTERDESIGN at checkout for 10% off your order too!
And you guessed it! Mr. Campbell will also be sharing his secrets to the DIY’s in this room, including this amazing shiplap bed, when he guest blogs here in the future.
A few more BEFORE and AFTERS throughout the home….
A very awkward, space consuming place for a desk
A wasted space loft, turned perfect work space.
Kitchen space AFTER:
And that very GREEN guest bedroom that started it all?
So, I ask the question again. Are you longing to live in a less cluttered, more updated home? Along with the other tips I’ve mentioned above, my BEST, most important is this…. Take your time. Remember when I said this transformation has taken a year? It didn’t happen overnight, I promise. Remind yourself of that when overwhelmed. One room at a time. One closet, cupboard, drawer at a time. One tote of seasonal décor at a time. Whatever the space you desire to be transformed, take it one garbage bag at a time.
Oh, and remember, SELL your unwanted items!!!!
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you gained inspiration, are looking forward to future posts and as always, I welcome your feedback/questions in the comments below. I’d love to know your thoughts on the comparisons of a decluttered home equals decluttered mind!
Until next time,