Part of avoiding “spring cleaning” our guest room was not having a large block of time to devote to it. But the other factor in avoiding it was the mental energy it took to deal with the stuff that had accumulated in it. Between things that people wanted to get rid of so they gave them to me, and things that I was keeping “just in case,” there was a good amount of stuff stored in there that I wasn’t using.
What heirloom keepsakes of my life were taking up precious space in this room (and others)? Among other things…
- Tissue paper from past gifts I’d received (a whole drawer full)
- Lots of gift bags
- A 20-year-old ragged beach towel that belonged to my mother’s ex-boyfriend
- Fondue forks (we don’t have a fondue pot)
- Grapefruit spoons (we rarely eat grapefruit)
- A comforter that doesn’t fit in our washer that well, so it never got used
- A collection of unused desk lamps
- Empty boxes
- Clothing with holes
- Things that were broken, scratched, or chipped, and unable to be fixed
I was weirdly impressed by the sheer amount of tissue paper that I had managed to carefully smooth out, fold in half, and stuff in a dresser drawer. Because you never know when you’ll need a 10-year-old piece of gray and black checkered tissue paper with a repeating pattern of Elvis’ face on it…right?
After realizing that recycling all the tissue paper (and buying one pack at the dollar store if I really needed it) meant I could get a whole drawer freed up for storage, it had to go. After looking at the other items with fresh eyes and realizing that they weren’t being used, they had to go also. While I didn’t have a whole day to devote to cleaning out the room, I realized that working as fast as I could for an hour or so was better than nothing. Decisions about what to keep/toss/donate/recycle also get made faster when time is limited. (The KonMari method helps too).
There’s a bazillion posts and articles about the KonMari method of organizing, but that’s because it works: you really don’t have to ask yourself 20 questions about each item that you’re thinking of giving away, donating, or selling. That’s exhausting and slows your progress. If you don’t use the item often AND love it, there’s your answer right there!
Reading Home Staging That Works was helpful also. It’s the best $8 you could spend if you want to learn how to re-do your home without spending alot of money. One of the topics that the book discusses is how to rearrange or remove your furniture to make rooms feel more open. After donating a few pieces of furniture to Habitat For Humanity, I noticed that my home spaces felt lighter and rooms were easier to walk through.
After reading this book, I realized that having a desk, a bookshelf, a bed, a nightstand, and a short dresser was too much for the guest room. The placement of the short dresser made the entrance into the bathroom more narrow. By donating the bookshelf, I was able to move the dresser over to the right of the window, which opened up the whole room.
The bed doesn’t have a headboard, so putting a long tan rectangle pillow behind the blue pillows not only keeps the tan pillow out of the way when not needed, but props the other pillows up:
Without spending any money, the room is organized and more open! Learn how to make the DIY travel maps here.
What are your favorite ways to refresh your rooms? Please share!