Year of the Purge: Messy House Tour

basement before

I’ve been spending most of January catching up from the holidays and reflecting a bit on what I want to focus on for this new year. I’ve also been feeling the strong “urge to purge”. Any one else feeling the need to PURGE ALL THE THINGS in your home this time of year?

I get this bug about every three months to go through things and get rid of excess, and I LOVE the feeling of getting rid of things I don’t need and having some control back with what is in my home; less overwhelm.

ESPECIALLY helpful when your home is a constant construction zone. Though there’s a ladder sitting in our hall for the past month and we have a bare studded wall in our kitchen, I can have SOME SANITY in other rooms of our home that I can retreat to or use without inducing more stress.

kitchen floor renovations cabinets
hellooooo gaping kitchen wall…

There have been moments in the last year that I felt like ONE MORE BOX being in our home and left somewhere random until the room it went into was ready was going to send me to the looney bin. Like when I couldn’t put our new pack of paper towels away in the kitchen because we lost half our cabinets, and so they stayed in the laundry room…on the floor…totally in the way of EVERYTHING.

Ya feel me?

Therefore, I’m finding it necessary that this year will be more than doing our home restoration projects; I want to go full throttle with getting rid of our clutter wherever I DO have control over, including in spaces we don’t normally show people but still use.

You see, since moving to our current home and doing tons of projects and having a baby all in the first year here, several areas of our home became a “catch all” for all of our crap.

For starters, even after a number of Goodwill runs, we still have many things that were left here by the last owner of our home (and yes, we specified that nothing be left…grrrr).

Then we have our own stuff that doesn’t quite fit the style or are the wrong size for our new home and needs sold. I’ve sold some pieces of furniture, but more needs to still go.

Last are the “little things that kill”: small things like office supplies, tools, board games and such that are waiting to be organized as soon as we get furniture or shelving to put them in…

…and then just plain ‘ol junk.

I’m about to reveal 3 spaces in our house we don’t even show friends when they come over. I am showing them to you guys because I want to be held accountable by you good people over the course of this next year to follow through with getting these rooms under control. Will you help me do that?

It’s bad, not gonna lie. Ye be warned.

Exhibit A: Our Barn/Garage

An OCD’s nightmare…

garage before purge

Lots of haphazardly stored tools with NO organization whatsoever. Furniture and an extra mower that we need to sell. Our old dishwasher/nemesis. Project scraps and boxes that just need to be hauled to the curb…

Many of these things are pretty simple to fix, but the organization will take a little more. I’m thinking a pegboard for small tools at the existing work bench in the back, another area for keeping garden tools, places for hanging the sawhorses, and a good work space zoned out in the back of the barn would be a good start. Not sure where to best keep the miter saw yet. Suggestions?

There is also a scrappy (and crappy) work space that sits in the front-left of the barn (one with the green doors in the pic) that needs demolished as it does no good where it is, and we’d be able to pull in at least one car if it was gone.

Exhibit B: Our Basement

Sinking down into the abyss…

basement before

As you step down to the bottom, this is what greets you.

basement before basement before basement before basement before

LOTS of the things down here are items left by the last owner that we should just take to an auction house, such as the many lamps and ceiling lights, cheap area rugs, 90’s pastel poster print frames, fake flowers, and an old TV. He also left plenty of paint cans behind that we need to figure out what to do with. There used to be a treadmill from him too but we gave that away not long after moving in, thank goodness. We are responsible for the empty boxes, the dresser, and some of the paints and tools.

The garage and basement: these two spaces are no doubt the easiest to accumulate things; any one else able to raise their hand and say “me tooooo!”?

I love clean, uncluttered, minimalist spaces and “a place for everything, and everything in its place”, so all this STUFF causes me SO MUCH STRESS every time I am brave enough to go in to our garage or basement spaces – I can’t stand clutter!

I’m determined that this year we will be getting both our basement and garage sorted and organized. (Who’s with me? Woot!)

Now on to the final, and the worst, I-can’t-believe-this-is-real-life room where we also have clutter KILLING US.

It is SHAME-INDUCING to show this room to y’all on the interwebs, but that’s good because I want it to give me an extra big kick in the butt to make it a priority this year with getting it sorted.

Ready for the downright AWFUL?

Exhibit C: the Office

office before purge

I avoid this room because it’s so stressful – only my hubby uses it because he somehow is fine with it like this. I have no idea how. Especially because he’s the one that gets really stressed seeing any clips from those hoarder tv shows.

Lots of sorting needs to happen in here. Most of it would be Karl’s stuff, so…don’t know if his side of the office will be as fast to progress…

We need shelving to help store most of our office supplies. But what kind of shelving and where, and how to arrange the furniture…and oh yeah…I need a desk.


There you have it, folks. My not-so-pretty areas that are rather big projects to take on, but I’m determined to make these areas only contain what we need and become functional, organized spaces of our home. I am already dreaming of an organized work table in the garage with all my tools neatly arranged and easily accessible…

What’s your “no company allowed” zone? What spaces would you love to tackle and organize this year? It’d be kind of fun to help encourage each other with our problem rooms this year, so leave a comment below with what you’d like to purge and we can all help each other stay accountable. :)

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  1. Oh my goodness this hits home with me SOOOO much! This is actually one of my winter goals as well…our basement is a disaster and we have so much crap down there too that we are planning on having a yard sale in the spring to try and clear it out. I am very OCD about everything being in order and having its own place as well, so it will feel SO good getting it done! I can’t wait to see how you do with it all! Good luck! :)

    1. Hiya, Stef! Glad I’m not the only one, hehe. It’ll be great to be able to look around a DONE and organized space! G’luck to you too as you take on the same task!! ^_^

  2. I’m in a different place in that we are getting ready to downsize and move. I can easily feel overwhelmed with all the STUFF but find if I can force myself to deal with it for one hour at a time (stop when it’s stressing me out and making me unpleasant to be around) it works better than forcing myself to continue.

    1. I LOVE organizing and enjoy the whole process of purging, it’s just the clutter being there that is stressful to me, hehe. Good advice to allocate small amounts of time to it versus trying to take it all on and burning out – take on the elephant one bite at a time. ;) Thanks, Nancy!

  3. Leave the paint cans open (you can add kitty litter if there’s room) to dry out; then you can put in your regular trash. There’s no other way to do it! If the paint is still good and usable I’d recommend trying Habitat for Humanity. At least that’s one thing out of your basement. :-)
    Good luck!

  4. I’m in the midst of a major home improvement project that has taken over the middle of my home for a year (although I’ve been doing smaller projects for the 4 years in my house). I FEEL YOU! My barn, garage, and office look EXACTLY like yours. I want to just organize and purge– although putting away all the tools and project supplies feels futile bc the minute I put them away, I have to pull them back out again. Anyway, you’re great and you are not alone! Looking forward to following along and starting to get through my own disaster areas… so many disaster areas…

    1. Thanks, Maureen! I hear ya and totally relate to the feeling of any kind of progress being two steps forward and one step back all the time when in the middle of projects! Dang it’s hard, right? But hey, so glad to have ya here and to encourage each other to do what we can this year! :)

  5. The first thing I would do is haul all of the previous owners crap to the dump or the Good Will. It doesn’t sound like there is anything there worth auctioning even.

    Not sure about you but in Canada we can take the paint cans to the hazardous waste area of the dump or even to any fire station to be disposed of.

  6. I was just looking at your office. If that was my space, rather than trying to organize it insitu I would take everything out of the room, and then I would put it back. If it doesn’t have a place or you can’t create one then it goes into the basement with everything else or off to good will or gets sold or God forbid, thrown out.

    1. Hiya, Rosalie! I completely agree that organizing things that aren’t needed is a waste of time and space (glad to hear I’m not the only one with this pet peeve! lol). Part of organizing our office will definitely include parting ways with the majority of the things in it, haha. The hard part will be convincing Karl to part with those things. ;) Unfortunately I can’t go through his stuff and know what to keep because it’s all computer gear and files, so it’ll take the two of us sitting down for a weekend…week…month…however long it takes. Wish me luck (send help!).

  7. Love seeing someone else blogging from a early 1900’s America Foursquare. Ours was flooded with 13′ of water. We bought it after it was clean and gutted by the poor family who went with the flood. I like that these houses have great storage in the attic and basement. But I have trouble remembering whether I put something in the attic or the basement. I can spend a lot of time running up and down the stairs. At least it burns some calories.

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