Seeing the clutter with new eyes | Dinner guests

Well, I have a cleared island, and a mostly decluttered kitchen and living room, but I’m not that happy about it.

Can you guess why?

A bunch of the clutter was just moved to a different location.

What is it about guests coming over that changes the way I see? I suppose I see the clutter through their prospective eyes.

We had friends over for dinner on Tuesday (Yay!). So, I started thinking about cleaning up over the weekend.

I got a bit more serious and actually worked on it on Monday with the kids. It seemed like we accomplished quite a bit.

We cleaned the kitchen floor!

And the kids liked it!

 We decluttered and organized the children’s books in the living room!

We eventually got rid of that dirty sock, too.

We moved some of these books to another room, put some in a give away box, and put the rest in one red box that we keep in the living room (you can see it by the fireplace in a picture at the end of the post).

We cleaned out and organized the shoes, etc. that were pouring out of the coat closet!

Yes, most of those shoes were mine! I admit it!

We took most of them to the bedroom closets upstairs, and one pair is heading out the door. We are trying to just keep 1 or 2 pairs each in this closet.

That empty spot is for one pair of my shoes. Just one!

 Monday night I even made a ‘To Do’ list for Tuesday.

On Tuesday, I spent the day working on decluttering and cleaning (and of course making dinner), but it seemed to be going very s-l-o-w-l-y. At about 3:00, I realized that there was clutter everywhere. I was seeing clutter and dust that I hadn’t noticed in….months. It was worse than I thought.

Around 4:30 I started doing bad things with clutter. You know. The crazy desperate clean up. Throw everything into a container and hide it somewhere!

Trash, papers, toys, food….all together in laundry baskets in my husband’s office . Oh joy!

Hiding clutter. Nice.

 And check out this before picture of our fireplace.

There really is a fireplace behind there. For fun, look for Christmas items still there in August!

A lot of this is evil paper clutter that I thought surely I would sort through and organize if I put it right there in the living room!!! Nope. Apparently not.

This next picture shows the recycling that went straight from that pile out the door!

This recycling was just sitting with the other clutter. You know, just hanging out.

And now for the “After” picture. The “After-hiding-a-bunch-of-the-clutter-in-another-room” picture. Let’s try to get excited…

Still not perfect, but much better than before!

I know from my past that I really need to dig into those laundry baskets and boxes soon and not just ignore them. At the same time, I need to maintain the order that I have. I’m not expecting it to be easy, but I am going to fight for it!

By the way, we had lots of fun with our guests!

Do you know what else is fun?

I told them about my blog.

I’m linking up with OrgJunkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing.


25 Comments on “Seeing the clutter with new eyes | Dinner guests”

  1. Cindy says:

    I totally do the same thing — when someone’s coming over, I start seeing things I just ignored before. I think we still have a bag of clutter in our bedroom closet from a party we gave three Christmases ago. Maybe I see a weekend project coming on. The fireplace, by the way, looks great!

  2. Good for you for outing yourself! 🙂

    Let me know if you need me to come over and make you go through the laundry baskets. Hee.

  3. Abigail says:

    When I read the last line I said “WhooooaAAAAH Ha ha ha!” I LOVE it.

    You did get some real bona fide decluttering and cleaning done before the desperate stuff at the end. Post about the laundry baskets when you go through them!

  4. Theresa says:

    A thought on the shoes – eons ago I bought a small four wire shelf rolling rack that fits 2 pairs of shoes per shelf. It sits out in our living/dining/TV room for the world to use and see. When guests come, think the President or someone foreign dignitary not your everyday friends, the rack rolls off to the closet under the stairs. I think I found it in a K-Mart or Wal-Mart in the laundry or home organization section. It was the best $30 I ever spent. Shoes stay off the floor, most of the time, and everyone is limited as to the quantity of shoes they can have on their shelf. I tried to find you a picture but couldn’t. If you really want to see it, email me and I’ll take a photo.

    • I actually have a 4 or 5 shelf rack that is not even being used. But I think it is smaller than yours and I would need to make some space for it. Sounds like it works well for you. Thanks for sharing!

  5. MonicaB says:

    I think we have all done that – hide the piles! Even if you hide some of the clutter, it looks like you decluttered quite a lot.

  6. Nice work though! New Eyes always help me!!!!

  7. Farm Girl says:

    I look at your ‘before’ photos as a confession and they say confession is good for the soul. It’s motivates an action for change. Isn’t it interesting how others empathize? Makes me think they might do similar things, like hiding clutter to impress – who me? Hiding it only makes for more work later. Learned that one!

    I loved seeing the children helping. They are learning lessons that will benefit them for a lifetime. Keep confessing – I have lessons to learn from you too.

  8. Jill M says:

    Thank you for having us over for dinner!!! 🙂

    And thank you so much for having the courage to share your blog with me. Your honesty and openness are disarming, refreshing, and inspiring!

    I read through your previous post also, and the play room looks FABULOUS!

    I, too, am attempting to declutter and organize and establish routines, and I, too, typically have stuff to hide before company arrives! And I, too, have been meaning to start a blog. Like I said, you are very inspiring!


  9. I worked like crazy last weekend before family came over at 6pm. Then the Rambling Expat called at 4pm to tell me they were heading over at 4:40pm. I got crazy frantic and hid the paper clutter in boxes at the very last minute!!!!!

    Then they wanted a tour of our home. So I closed the bedroom door asked the The Rambling Expat to make the bed and tidy up the superficial top layer stuff. I told them they would need a few minuted to see the room as the Rambling Expat was changing out of his work clothes….

    We have just returned from camping and I will continue to declutter and clean up today as they are coming for dinner tomorrow. If only I could maintain the mess and control myself from dropping things where I am.

    I love your blog. Lets me know I’m not the only one with the clutter/mess problem 🙂

  10. WilliamB says:

    Several thoughts, in no particular order:
    1. I admire your honesty in showing the “before” pix. Now you can tell us whether confession is good for the soul.

    2. Based on what you’ve shared here, it sounds as if you may have a problem with following through? If so, the next question becomes, what’s the best way for you to keep progress you’re making? Is it focusing on keeping the territory you’ve taken (fridge, island)? Is it finishing something then letting it slide while you do and finish something else? Is it attacking several things 90% but not finishing any fully? Whatever it is, go for it.

    3. Everything looks better when lined up. My favorite trick for making my desk look better is to turn sloppy piles of paper into lined-up piles of paper. Makes an amazing amount of difference. Along the same lines, having multiples of the same storage container looks a lot tider than many different ones – even if the stuff inside is just as well organized.

    Glad to hear you had fun!

    • I wish I knew the best way to keep up with the progress I’ve been making. I think I’ve tried all of your ideas at one time or another. I’m still figuring it out. I just know I need to keep trying, and the more I do, the more it should get easier.

      I love the idea of the storage containers looking the same. I think I have that in some places, but I’m trying to save money by using organizing stuff that I already own as much as possible. One of these days I’ll upgrade a bit.

      • WilliamB says:

        Step by step we can walk around the world, and even god couldn’t create the world in one day.

        I’m looking forward to seeing how your Island Photo Project works out. Also – look around you. I bet you’ve made progress since you started this blog. Or maybe Kristen will come over again and point out where you’ve made progress. In either case, you have the basis to think about what’s stayed the most organized since then, or what’s the easiest for you.

        For me, what works is keeping a clear space clear; and working on something else best I can; whereas finishing multiple jobs 90% is a guarantee of frustation. I also spend some time thinking about what will make it easier for me to stay organized. Often the answer is a box or bin.

        Yeah, the problem with storage that looks the same is that it costs a bundle. Another possibility is to cover the random stuff with the same decorations – contact paper, brown paper (with kids’ drawing on it?), etc. Yet another possibility is to get multiples of the same box from a store – office supply store? supermarket? ask for the shipping manager – and covering it with pretty paper if you want. I haven’t done this, but I have gotten multiples of the same box from a supermarket when I needed moving boxes; the key was that I promised to get the boxes immediately – they were happy to give them to me but didn’t have space to store them.

  11. Becky L. says:

    Amazing job and thanks for sharing your story. I’ve been there and done that! Years ago, when we were living in a house with a big kitchen counter top, I’d wind up with stuff all over it. it was stuff, including lots of papers and I hated it when people came over cuz I had to clean. I got to the point of keeping less on there and it helped alot. I still pile it here and there but am getting better, thanks to Laura at OrgJunkie and people who share. Makes me realize I’m not alone and I can keep an organized house. I just think maintain is an important word in the process as we continue to organize and not go crazy at the same time! Keep it up the process and you will succeed!

  12. erica says:

    I usually do the exact same thing. I just wish my guests could have seen it before, just to know that I did actually try to clean for them.

  13. Megan says:

    Oh, I hide clutter. I have little baskets everywhere.

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