Friday, April 27, 2018

Five on Friday - Decluttering Update (Home Office)

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Another busy week in the books!  It seems like these last few weeks I’ve been so busy doing real-life stuff that I haven’t had as much time to work on my decluttering.  I have come a very long way, though, and as promised, I’m sharing some updates on my progress so far.

My goal for the year is to get every single inch of our entire house decluttered, and I’m a little more than halfway done!  My MIL and I are having a yard sale in June and I’m hoping to make a decent amount of money since we have so. much. stuff.  Everything that doesn’t sell will go to our church’s outreach center. 

I’ve also been thinking of selling some of the kids’ and my old clothes online because they are in excellent shape, but I’m having trouble deciding how to sell them.  Here on the blog?  On Instagram?  On one of those resale websites?  Anybody have any thoughts on selling clothes online?  Which is the easiest and most lucrative option?  And if I decided to start a separate Instagram account to sell some of our old clothes would anyone be interested in following along to see what we have to offer?  I just can’t decide what to do…

Anyway, enough chatter!  Here’s the decluttering update!  Today’s post is all about my home office…

O N E – Closet

This room was by far my largest undertaking because it not only holds my day-to-day office stuff, but it also holds my entire life’s worth of keepsakes.  I know I’ve mentioned this here before, but I am a very sentimental person and I have a very hard time of letting go of things.  My parents were the same way, so they held on to tons of stuff from my childhood and then gifted me with all of the boxes when we moved in our current house, so I had ridiculous amounts of old stuff.  I started with an office closet that looked like this:

And today it looks like this:

Huge difference, right?!

Every single box in that closet held old keepsakes – clothes, dolls, school papers, art work, trinkets, and tons of other different mementos. 

Well friends, I went box by box, paper by paper, item by item and decided whether or not to keep each item.  I ended up filling our four-foot tall recycling bin twice! 

My old school papers were housed in three large boxes and I whittled them down to just one file box.  Everything has been organized into hanging folders by grade, and everything else (awards, school pictures, report cards) are organized in hanging folders at the back of the box.  You can read more about my method here. 

As a teenager, I worked at the movie theater for three years, and I accumulated lots of mementos from movies, and all of those were stored in one medium box and about 15 poster tubes.  I cleaned the box out and whittled it down to all fit in an old shoebox which now fits inside one of my larger keepsake boxes.  The posters are all gone (even though I haven’t decided whether to trash them or try to sell them yet).

I had six small boxes just dedicated to mementos from weddings that I was in and I had saved the bouquets, invitations, favors, and other items from them.  Well, I cleaned all of those out.  Everything is gone except for the invitations (which are now filed in my keepsake box… I’ll have to share that on the blog here soon) and the bouquets.  I wasn’t sure what to do with the bouquets at first, but I decided to display them on my bookshelves because they make me happy.  Three of the bouquets were made of artificial flowers, so those are on display in gold wire baskets, and the three bouquets that were made of real flowers are stored in pretty blush boxes, also on my bookshelves.

I had an entire box dedicated to greeting cards that I had received throughout my whole life, and I went through and whittled those down to just a few of my faves from each year.  Those are now filed in my keepsake box as well.

And finally, I had one HUGE box and four other medium boxes of old toys/trinkets/mementos and I whittled all of that down to just fit in three of the medium boxes.  One box is for childhood mementos (birth – 5th grade), one box is for teenage mementos (junior high – college), and one box is for adulthood (after college).  The adulthood box is pretty much empty so there is plenty of room for the future.  :o) 

I also had some keepsake boxes for Jacob and Olivia in there, and I cleaned those out and put those in their own closets to free up the space in mine.  Both of their closets are fairly empty, so it was no problem to move them in there.

I also had three small boxes full of old school notes that my girlfriends and I used to pass in class.  I chunked most of those, but I did save a few that were really funny.  And I had six small boxes full of other old random school mementos.  I pretty much got rid of all of that stuff altogether.  Every single one of those boxes are now gone.  Craziness!

Now my closet is more than half empty and I actually have room to put stuff in there other than keepsakes.  All that’s left is as follows:

  1. Four medium boxes (on the left) – three of those are my keepsake boxes for things and one is a box of my very favorite outfits that the kids wore when they were babies.  I saved those to have them turned into a quilt one day, so once I get someone to do the quilt, that box will be gone.
  2. Three file boxes (on the right) – two of those are my keepsake boxes for papers and one is my school papers box.  The two on the top are empty and will eventually be stored somewhere else.
  3. One large box (on the floor in the middle) – this holds gifts that I buy to keep on hand in case we need something in a pinch.  That tiny gold box is my cards box because I also keep greeting cards on hand in case we need them.
  4. One medium box (on top of the gift box) – this holds gifts that I have bought for the kids for holidays/birthdays… I always store them in there so they are out of the kids’ sight.  That box is empty most of the time, but it’s nice to have a place dedicated to hiding gifts for the kids.  ;o)
  5. Everything on the shelf of the closet is stuff I use for the blog – photography equipment on the left, props in the middle, and a few spare office supplies up top.
So basically I went from having that entire closet stuffed full of keepsakes (literally floor to ceiling) to only having three medium boxes and two file boxes for keepsakes. 


T W O – Bookshelves

My bookshelves were also stocked with loads and loads of old stuff – CDs, old home videos, DVDs, VHS tapes, music tapes (I mean!), and albums upon albums of old pictures.  I cleaned them off, grabbed a few new bins for organizing, and voila!    

Here's the before:

And here's the after:

I know there is still a lot of stuff on the shelves, but all of that stuff gets used or makes me happy, and they also look way less cluttered in person, if that makes sense!

For the last few years, I digitized all of my old pictures and videos (more on that here and here), so it was no longer necessary to have the originals lying around anymore.  By tossing all of these old photo albums and DVDs I freed up four whole shelves!

All of the old VHS and music tapes were tossed.

I also had a massive CD collection which was stored on my bookshelves as well.  All of them are ripped/being ripped to my computer and I’m getting rid of 400+ of them!  I did save a few for sentimental reasons, but the majority are gone and I gained back five shelves in the process!

A few other things that were tossed from the bookshelves – several picture frames that no longer suited my décor, around 20 books that I know I’ll never read again, and a few trinkets that I no longer needed/enjoyed. 

T H R E E – Other Drawers & Boxes

I am a crafter/writer/artist and I used to be a scrapbooker so I have lots of stuff.  Pens, paper, paint, ribbon, stickers, fabric, stationary… my office is basically a craft room so I have lots of drawers.  Well, every single drawer and box in the entire room was cleaned out and reorganized for maximum functionality and I got rid of loads of stuff!

These are all after pictures:

It has been so nice to be able to find what I need right away and not have to dig out 500 other things to get to what I need!

F O U R – File Cabinet

When we first moved in to our house back in 2009 I took an old file cabinet from work that was no longer needed (with permission, of course), and we put it in my office to store all of our paper files.  Well now that everything has pretty much gone digital, I decided that I needed to clean out the files and get rid of most of it. 

I went from this huge, clunky, ugly, metal thing (that I decorated with contact paper):

To this nice, small, wood file cabinet that takes up half the space the other one did! 

Cleaning out the file cabinet was probably the most annoying of the things in my office, because every single drawer was filled to the brim with stuff.  The top drawer was for “People,” the middle drawer was for “Bills,” and the bottom drawer was for “Keepsakes.”  EEK.

The “People” drawer housed a section for each family member with folders for medical papers, insurance info, credit reports, old report cards, and just a bunch of other junk.  This was also where I stored all of our kids’ old school papers and artwork.  Well, every single folder got cleaned out, most of the stuff went to the shred bin, and then everything that was left was reorganized.  The kids’ old school papers got put in special file boxes (see the post here) and I only kept one folder for each member of the family for important medical info. 

The “Bills” drawer was almost completely tossed.  I barely saved anything because everything is online now.

The “Keepsakes” drawer was also decluttered – a lot of stuff went in the trash or recycling and then the rest was organized into file boxes (the ones on the right of the floor in my closet). 

The new smaller file cabinet is half empty.  The top drawer just holds a few files with paperwork for our vehicles, our home building/purchasing process, medical bills for each family member, and any other documents that we didn’t feel comfortable trashing, and then the bottom drawer holds all of our old taxes (can’t get rid of those!) and the user manuals for some of the electronics/things in our house that we couldn’t find online.  It no longer holds keepsakes at all.

It is now so much easier for me to keep up with the paper in our house because instead of filing most of it, I just toss it in the recycling bin!  This has lightened my load tremendously and it has also made my office look more spacious because I don’t have that clunky old ugly cabinet anymore!

F I V E – Wall Hangings

Prior to my decluttering journey, every inch of every wall in my office was covered with photos/artwork/other wall hangings, but I removed lots of them to give my walls some breathing room as well.

I took down the cross hanging to the left of my computer and I moved it to one of the shelves on my gallery wall.  I took down two framed prints above my printer, three art pieces to the left of my closet, three art pieces to the left of my window, the art piece over my door, and eventually I’m going to remove the giant floor to ceiling bulletin board (that I never did anything with) behind my door. 



I also did away with my collage wall above my file cabinet because it just looked sloppy and I replaced it with a travel gallery



I still have more things on the walls than the average person, but over all, there is a whole lot less than there used to be, and everything that’s hanging is something that I cherish.

Whew.  What a job this has been!!  And sorry for not getting to the rest of the house yet… the office kicked my butt so this post was already long enough!  Recaps for the other rooms are soon to come!  Or you can always follow along with me on Instagram Stories in real-time!

And before I go, a few more piles of unwanted stuff that went to the recycling/trash can/yard sale pile… because I’ve accomplished so much, y’all!

Happy Friday!

*Linking up with A Liz Adventures and Carolina Charm for Five on Friday, A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites,  September Farm and The Farmer's Wife for Oh Hey, Friday, Meet @ the Barre for Friday Favorites, and Cup of Tea for High Five for Friday.


  1. Your decluttering is amazing and honestly so inspiring!! I really want to get rid of everything after reading this post! You could try ebay - that's how I sell clothes :) xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  2. You have made such amazing progress and have the MOST organized and decluttered house in all the land!! GREAT job and Happy weekend mama!

  3. Wow! Office goals :) This is the push I need to get into hardcore spring cleaning this weekend!! Have a great weekend! - Shannon

  4. You have done the best job girl! Very impressive! I would love for you to share when you decide if you receive feedback on selling clothes online!

  5. oh man, you have made such great progress!It feels good to declutter doesn't it?! I used to be sentimental, but then my parents moved, gave me everything that I never wanted, so I toss ALL of the kids stuff. I don't really keep anything any more. That's awful to admit out loud, I'll keep a few mother's day or fathers day things, but for the most part, all goes in the round file :) I'm sure they are not going to want their first grade I know I didn't! haha, makes it easier to not keep everything. But I do like how you do one box per Good luck with your garage sale! Andrea has a great post on doing the best garage sale.

  6. Wow! Everything looks amazing. Just thinking about organizing gives me anxiety. I so want to organize my office closet but my husband always wants to keep everything because you never know when you will need it! I really need to start cleaning out closets this summer.

  7. OMG I love this post so dang much! you did a kick ass job!!!!

  8. Wow, you've done soooo much! I really like how your shelves look now!

  9. I used to be super sentimental and then when we moved into our first house, it didn't have a lot of room for storage, so I got rid of EVERYTHING! Now everyone makes fun of me saying I must not have feelings because i don't keep a thing lol. Much easier to deal with and I do take pictures of everything- and then store the pictures on an external hard drive ;)


    1. Lol. The older I get, the more I'm convinced that's the way to be! It's so much less stressful with less STUFF!

  10. wow. girl seriously start a business! you can do online consulting... etc... you are amazing!

  11. You are so brave!! I am hanging on to much of the same stuff you got rid of and the thought of it leaving my house gives me heart palpitations! You did a great job decluttering this room - way to go!

  12. I really don't hang on to much of anything. I grew up in a cluttered house (it was an old house with small rooms and no closets and there were 6 of us in it) so I tend to err on the side of tossing it out. In fact on a whim my boys and I cleaned out a good 12 bags of toys, crafting supplies, outgrown school supplies, games, puzzles, etc. and it feels so good to see those empty spaces again.

    1. Oh girl, I'm right there with ya! And the older I get the less I like STUFF! It feels great to get it GONE!

  13. I am loving the progress! Doesn't it feel amazing to purge things?! I usually just attempt my clothes at a yard sale or on local facebook groups. Maybe ebay or letgo? I hope you have a great weekend! Sierra~Beautifully Candid

  14. Seriously could read posts about your organizing allll day long. You have done such an awesome job!!! And I love the more simplified look of your office!

  15. You're doing such a great job! I'm trying to accomplish the same thing, but it's really hard finding time right now with sports, activities and end of the school year stuff. Hopefully, I will be able to finish over the Summer (and make money selling all the stuff we don't need)!

    1. I know, girl! It's so hard trying to get anything done when you have kiddos around! Good luck to you!

  16. Where did you get the bookshelves from? This organization is're inspiring me!

    1. Hi Brittney, the bookshelves are the Billy Bookcases from Ikea. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. They are super affordable and super sturdy. Thank you so much for your kind words!


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