Let the decrapification commence

Downsizing almost 900 square feet of living space has pretty much kicked my ass. I’m not complaining to be in a smaller home; I’m actually thrilled to be in a smaller home. Those stairs and all that space in the last house almost did me in. Too.Much.To.Clean. It was never ending. We’d spend our entire Saturday each weekend just getting the house picked up – and I’m not even talking about deep cleaning.

So yes, the smaller house with no stairs is awesomespice. The reason it kicked my ass is because I downsized 900 sq ft of living space and I have too.much.crap. This house has one less bedroom (no office for me anymore), one less bathroom, one less living room, and one less garage bay. The kitchen is smaller, the kids bedrooms are smaller. Everything is smaller. Which is great when I’m cleaning, but not so great when I’m trying to find a home for all our stuff.

Moving in left most of our rooms looking like this:

Too much stuff and no where to put it. First world problems, I know. I sound like such a brat even complaining about having too much crap. And if you can believe it, this haul is after I had a garage sale before I moved.

Honestly, if it were up to me we’d probably own very little and live in an RV. But I’m not the only one in this family. And the kids are old enough now that we really need to settle down and stay put while they work their way through middle and high school (boo, I love moving). After that though? Maybe Ben and I will backpack through Europe. Or rent a little studio apartment in Manhattan. Or buy that RV we’ve always talked about and become nomads. Ah, to dream!

More stuff and no where to put it:

Daughter’s room before we painted it and I cleaned it out:

Losing my office has been the biggest adjustment. I like decor, and I like crafty stuff, and I literally have no where to put it all.

Instead of going out and buying more storage and shelves and cabinets to hold everything that I will probably never find a use for, I abandoned any attachment to said items and started a “garage sale” pile in the garage.

The pile has grown to take up about a fourth of the garage. I’m so ashamed. Me, the self-proclaimed minimalist, has this much stuff. It is officially my “Monica closet“.

On the plus side, I can’t claim 100% of this crap. The previous owners kindly left me all the items you aren’t allowed to throw away – at least 30 cans of gross paint and a few car batteries. Thanks guys! I’m so excited that I get to deal with this. And, yes, that is just oozing of sarcasm.

In addition to all the large items, there are multiple moving boxes packed with smaller decor.

I’d rather have one large Monica Closet though than a house full of crap weighing me down. Hallelujah the place is clean!

(The piano is to the right where you can’t see it, and the drums have been relocated to the boy’s bedroom where we can’t hear them as loudly.)

The bedroom is clean now too. What a huge relief. Bedrooms are suppose to be where you go to relax, and mine just stressed me out. And OBVIOUSLY I still need to paint in here.

No more big metal shelf full of crap either. Now I have a small pile of frames that need to be hung and a few baskets. So close to being crap-free.

And the game room…

When you glance in, there’s no crap to give you hives.

I put a shelf in here for all our board games. Eventually I think I’d like to do some built-ins with doors for all this type of stuff.

Even the shelves/entertainment center are/is clean. Not really very organized or pretty, but free from the piles of crap we don’t need filling them up.

And just because I assume you are curious, here’s a view looking into the hall from the game room. That black hole is Ben’s office (haha, literally! It will suck you in and you may never escape alive!).

My sister and I are going to do a joint garage sale at her house because now that I live in the country and not a big suburban neighborhood I doubt anyone would come out here to shop in my garage. We’ve been trying to coordinate a date for a month now. Between my kids sports games each weekend and her being extremely pregnant, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to clear this pile out of my garage. We were hoping for this month, but with winter coming I doubt we’ll actually sell anything until the spring.

Before and after pictures are my favorite (I think I mention this in like every post I write?), so here they all are side-by-side. I would live in an empty house if I could. Not sure Ben or the kids would be too keen on that though.

Piano/music/computer/future-office room.


Master Bedroom:



Game room:


So, are you a minimalist or a hoarder? Or somewhere in the middle? Do you have a “Monica Closet”? Be Honest! lol Do you prefer your home packed to the gills (pretty home decor tastefully decorated included) or would you rather own less?

I prefer to own less because it makes it easier to keep everything clean. I don’t love cleaning, so I figure if I don’t own all the crap to begin with I won’t have to put it all away. I hate crap pretty much because I’m lazy and hate cleaning. It’s true.

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  1. I’ve moved four times in the last year and a half, and I STILL have too much stuff! Craft rooms will do that to you. 🙂 I was tempted to do a garage sale with all the stuff I’ve made and then start over, but I ran out of time. So we moved it. Hopefully I can do more “decrapification” once we unpack!

  2. I totally hear you about people leaving CRAP behind. I have had roommates for years and seem to be always the one staying behind, so roommates feel that they can leave all their crap behind when they move away. So frustrating. I have soooo much stuff for a just a single person. This year I’ve been trying to get rid of junk and donating what I can. Problem is now I have a giant pile of crap in my garage that needs to go away. Really frustrating. But your house is looking quite lovely! I’m totally excited to see what you do with it in the future!

  3. LOVE how the curtains look with the floor in the piano room.

    I’m in the get-rid-of-it mode. Amazing how much stuff accumulates just because your kids get older. I have garage sales, I have found a great place to donate that really helps those in need in a way I like to see it done.

    Good Luck!

  4. I love getting rid of junk. It’s so liberating. Unfortunately, I live with a herd of hoarders, more commonly known as my husband and kids. I’m constantly trying to find ways to organize their crap if I can’t secretly toss it first. So, being me against 3 others- I’m outnumbered and more often than not, I have piles laying around my house for everyone to see. Maybe someday I can have the crap-less house that I dream of…

    • Aaack! You’re my mother with the secret-tossing! That woman threw out my entire childhood and we only moved twice during it, the 1st time I was only 3 but I sure noticed when I was 13 and half my stuff was gone. You do not know how lovingly and carefully I packed the dollhouse my grandparents had given me when I was 4 only to discover it hadn’t made her cut and ended up at my cousins’ to get destroyed within literally weeks. The oldest one was a boy and a chubster and he decided to sit on its upper porch! Collapse. We had a tussle over the trash can once with my ice skates because she didn’t think I went skating *enough*. She also periodically winnowed through my books when I was at school because doesn’t *get* why anyone would want to buy a book when they can go to a library and read it for free or why they would want to read a book more than once. Now she thinks I should get rid of them all and get a Kindle. Why, so I can buy them all over again? Don’t. touch. my. books. I actually did end up re-buying my beloved Anne of Green Gables and some other old classics, as well as my favorite board games that *disappeared*.

      You may think you’re being sneaky and it’s all good, but trust me, I still resent that tossing and so will your kids. If it weren’t for my grandmother equally secretly rescuing some trinkets and keeping them safe from the Master Purger until I had my own place, I’d have nothing at all from when I was a kid. Sad face just thinking of my Christmas tree without all those old glass ornaments.

      Being a ruthless purger turns your kids into hoarders. (I was even told to be a hoarder by a professor when I was working on my BSEd because you never know when something will come in handy in the classroom. She was right.)

      I never get rid of anything crafty, no matter how small (my holidays and crafting stuff is slightly smaller than the pile in Allison’s garage), and I will only donate (not throw out) a book if it turned out not to be a keeper. I’ve made 90% of my holiday decor and that’s never going anywhere, either. My mother was going to put my grandmother’s 1930s solid wood, parquet-inlaid, hand-carved tables and cedar chest to the curb after my grandmother died! Of course I rescued them. They’re not in the same class as a worn-out recliner or a $10 toaster! I got my old solid wood baby dresser back from my aunt when I had my first kid – her kids were undiscplined brats who destroyed everything, so it took a lot of sanding and filling and glueing and painting to bring it back from where they took it. Something has to be falling apart and unable to be repaired before I can part with it. I repurposed an old and gorgeous red glass 3-tier cookie plate as a jewelry holder, and my scrunchies are on a Lays Stax container I soaked the label off, because I can think outside the box and see uses for items my mother would mindlessly toss (yet she won’t give me her tarnished old silver that she never uses and I would).

      You can hoard if you’re also organized about it. Once something has a designated place, there are no piles of crap to be decrapified. If you have piles of crap, it just means that the kids don’t know where else to put it and need organization. My oldest would come home from kindergarten and throw his backpack and jacket on the couch because it was right off the foyer, even though the foyer also had a coat closet. He had no problem putting his winter boots or sneakers in there right away, but he couldn’t reach the hangers. A row of hooks in the back of the door at kid level nipped that problem in the bud (we were lucky enough not to have crappy hollow-core doors) for him and later for his brother. You just have to think about where stuff should go, and sometimes devise a creative solution if the designated spot isn’t working out, giving the kids the responsibility for their crap before it becomes piles.

      • I hear ya, Andi! Really, I swear. I will clean my kids’ rooms and throw trash away, but I never get rid of their toys and sentimental stuff unless they give the go ahead. They are actually kind of the same as me though, they don’t like all the stuff and don’t want it, they just don’t know how to get rid of it. I told the kids this year for christmas they can have lots of presents, or only a couple small presents and we go on vacation. They chose vacation! My daughter said, “Well, I got lots of stuff last year, and I don’t really need all this stuff. I’d rather go have fun!” I’m so proud. lol

        I do get what you are saying though. My dad got rid of my toys when I was a child, and I NEVER got over it. I packed away all my My Little Ponies and Rainbow Bright stuffed animals in the garage, and when I went back for them years later (to give to my kids) my dad had given them to goodwill years prior. I was devastated. My mom also got rid of our entire collection of Bearnstein Bear books, which were my FAVORITE. I just bought those back when I had kids. I know the sting of getting rid of a favorite toy, and I try to not do that to my kids. I don’t want them to look back and be sad like that.

        On a side note, I saved all my Cabbage Patch Kids for my children. I lovingly saved them for YEARS. I even would hardly play with them as a child because even at 10 years old I would think, “I need to save these for my kids”. (I was an odd kid.) Well, my children were finally born, and finally old enough for the dolls so I carefully unpacked them and lovingly gave the kids my beloved dolls. In at least 10 years neither of my children has ever given a crap about those dolls. They won’t play with them. They don’t love them. They are flat-out not interested. So much for passing my prized childhood toy onto either of them.

        Yes, it is possible to be a hoarder who is very organized. I just can’t do it. I don’t have the energy or capacity to be that organized. It’s just not in me. I would need copious amounts of caffeine daily to keep up with that level of energy. So I toss instead.

        And for the record, most of what I’m getting rid of is furniture and decor that doesn’t fit into our new house. Not heirlooms or childhood toys.

  5. way to go!! this is on my list to-do – – need to do!

  6. My husband and I lived in an RV for about 3 1/2 years. We transferred from Texas to Colorado Springs and needed to find a place to rent. Not knowing the area we decided to stay in a campground for about a month in our RV until we could find something. The campground ended up being awesome. It was beautiful, out of town and just like you imagine Colorado to be. They offered me a job in the office and we went for it. All of our things were in storage and by storage I mean BIG storage units. We went and cleaned things out, organized and put what I was most worried about possibly getting ruined into storage bins. We kept very little. Some went to the RV, but most stayed in storage. It was a big transition but once we got used to it, it was awesome. I ended up managing the campground, so we had a really nice space with 2 sheds on the site, which gave us more room for things. There are days that I really miss it. It also helped us decide on a realistic size house when we finally purchased one. After living in a 35ft RV, everything seems spacious! LOL I’m slowly filling up with junk and clutter again. We joke about selling it all and going back to the RV. Some days its not a bad idea.

  7. Great job getting rid of stuff. I keep meaning to get rid of more but I keep thinking, maybe I need this for (blank). I need to set time limits. Thanks for sharing.

    • I do that too. That is why I have all this stuff that didn’t make the cut last time I had a garage sale. I do like my stuff, I only get rid of out of necessity! I hang onto craft supplies though. They are all in my closet.

  8. NICE! That’s what I’ll be doing this weekend. My baby is due in 2 weeks and her room is totally full of crap. And I though I’d already de-crapified it…sigh.

  9. Hahaha I love the Monica closet reference. We actually just moved to a bigger house, with an extra bedroom, and a garage, which we didn’t have before – plus our moving truck wasn’t big enough and we had to leave a lot behind, and our extra bedroom is still 100% a Monica closet! I don’t even know how that happened. My only guess is that we used to have more closets, and we used to cram a lot more stuff into our living room and bedrooms, whereas we’ve tried to keep those a lot less cluttered, and so ended up with the spare room that should be featured on some kind of hoarding show.

  10. Let us know when you have your sale!! My friend and I came to your last one — she bought that white bird (she painted it teal!) and I bought your original cloche (painted it yellow!).

    My friends and I have had one in January in Leander (called “Crapapalooza!”) and did well. I’m hoping to have one before Christmas, to get rid of SO MUCH Christmas junk (this one called “Christmaspalooza!”).

  11. So here’s a positive! Those car batteries in your garage are worth money! I’m in Kansas and our Sears auto center will give you a $5 gift card for recycling an old battery. So will Advance Auto. Some scrap metal yards (where you take pop cans) will pay more as well. Free money!!! I am also drowning in crap from a recent major purge and my “garage pile” is in my basement. Sigh. You are not alone! 🙂

  12. You can take any usable (even if the color is not your taste) paint to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, I’ve got four cans set aside for my next trip there!

  13. Omigosh Andi just explained why I’m a hoarder!!! Seriously, Allison, you’ve done a great job. And I thought if you this week when I was trying to spray paint a little table. Long story, but I almost threw it out. Kept thinking “what would Allison do?” See, I need you to move to Seattle!

  14. I think I am making baby steps to the minimalist side.. I was a horrible hoarder before, ‘oh I might need that some day’ to now trusting that if I do need something I have donated, given away or thrown away, that I will be able to afford to re-purchase it. So far, I am somewhere in the middle.

  15. Yay you hung your orange curtains!! Love those 🙂

  16. Sarah Jean Baker says:

    I’m definitely with you, Allison! We have a three bedroom/two bath home (1900 sq feet) and the only time I wish we had more space is when family comes to visit. (It’s not often, but all our family lives in the midwest and we’re in ATX. So, when they do come it’s usually for a few days.) Although, even then I just think of the memories we’re making in our home.
    We have three young boys (5 years old and 3 year old twins) and two dogs, so I don’t know how I’d keep up with the cleaning if we had a bigger space. We also want to spend our time living, not cleaning or taking care of stuff. Extra stuff takes time and energy…two things I’m always wanting more of in my life, especially with young children!
    One of the house rules we use is when we bring a new item into our home, something else must go…either by selling or donating. Even the boys adhere to this rule when given a new toy. It’s a great way to keep stuff from collecting.

  17. I am totally a minimalist…I throw a lot away but then I get in trouble from my hus cause he wanted to keep it! I can’t handle the clutter.

  18. I really respect you for getting rid of all that “crap”. I fancy myself a minimalist but my husband completely disagrees… I mean, I do have an online shopping addiction and Amazon prime really doesn’t help either. The place is looking good 😉

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