Decluttering Update | Backyard Progress, Stockpile Shelving and Kids Clothing

It was four weeks ago today that I showed you my new game closet. Do you remember that beauty?

(I am pleased to report that it still looks like that today. A quick glance around the house tells me that not all the games are getting rehoused each night – but most of them are, and the game pieces-everywhere situation is definitely under control.)

Score 1 Point for Me!

Now, do you happen to remember that in that post about my game closet, I said I was next going to work on decluttering my desk drawers?

Yes, you do remember that?


Sadly, even the accountability of having declared my intentions PUBLICLY on this blog was not enough to motivate me to tackle those drawers.

However. Lest you think I have been completely adrift of all decluttering efforts, let me update you on the progress that has happened here lately.

I spread out 35 bags of mulch (why, yes, I do think that deserves to be bolded ;-)) while my hubby was away last week. This may not technically be decluttering, but I’m counting it anyway since it was HARD work!

While progress was definitely made, we still have lots to do in yard, including:

  • Finish clearing out the forsythia forest (attractive, right? ugh!); mulch the area; and build a rock garden/box for my daughter’s 3rd birthday

  • Figure out what we’re going to do about our lack-of-even-remotely-presentable-patio-furniture situation
  • Replant the herbs, which have completely outgrown their pots (the dill in particular is growing like CRAZY!)

Back inside the house, I changed out, decluttered and rearranged our basement bookshelves in our basement.

We inherited a beautiful set of bookshelves from friends who are leaving Kansas City. These new shelves gave me the opportunity to reevaluate what was being housed on our basement bookshelves – and to do a little editing.

The previous shelves (which I’m sure 85% of basements in America have the same ones) got rehomed in our unfinished storage room.

This is where I keep my stockpile, so new shelves again meant a new leash on organization. Here is a shot of a few of the items in my stockpile.

See this pile? That’s our to-be-donated pile. I gotta get on that before the kids discover it!

And finally the former stockpile shelving unites got to migrate out to the garage, where one day, we WILL instill some kind of order on the mass chaos that reigns today. (And no, I’m sorry, but you can’t see a picture of my garage. Trust me, it’s a horror!)

Last but certainly not least, I dared to enter my boys’ room. It’s been a source of constant frustration for me the last several months. We/they would clean it up and 12 hours later it would look like this again.

I had identified a number of problems – not the least of which was TOO MUCH STUFF. They had an excess of clothing, thanks in large part to generous friends who hand us down clothing. Plus, my boys are two very different body shapes, so we’ve got 12 slims and 8  huskies and a whole lot of random medium and large shirts floating around the room.

When folding laundry, the most frequent refrain is “Who’s shirt is this???”

Inevitably we get it wrong, and mistakenly give the eight year-old the six year old’s shirt, and, in the process, trigger an all-out brother meltdown.

As you can see, I had my work cut out for me!

I’ll leave you with this teaser of an after picture (AAAAAHHHHHH!), and ask that you come back next week to hear all about how we have started to wrangle their mess of a room by editing, labeling and organizing their clothing.

Is there any decluttering going on at your house? Don’t you just love getting rid of stuff? It feels so free to let go of that albatross! Do you have areas of your home that taunt you, like my pesky desk drawers? See you in the comments!


  1. If I may be so bold, can I offer you a solution to the “Who’s shirt is this?” problem? (Not that you asked, but anyway!) I have four boys. Every boy shirt/pair of pants/underwear has a dot on the tag. One dot for the oldest, two dots for the second son, three for the third, etc. When you hand down a piece of clothing, just add a dot. I keep a sharpie in my laundry room cabinet so that when I hand something down, it can be corrected right away. Mystery solved!

    • Loni –! We ended up labeling everything A and M (their initials). But then I’ll have to cross out the A when I pass down to M, which will be frustrating. Your system is SO much better. From now on, I’m doing that!

  2. Loni, that is a great idea! Mara, I am glad that I am not the only one with one kid wearing husky size and the other in slims! Makes it difficult to hand me down.

  3. What a great idea for a system. In my case as soon as you say the word “dots” I think of braille (my son is learning braille as his vision is poor).

  4. 35 bags of mulch? All by yourself?!! Wow! How is your back?! Your yard looks gorgeous! I heard in a Pesach shiur several years ago that spring cleaning can happen after Pesach, and it really struck a chord. The Rav’s intention was to help us simplify Pesach preparations, but in addition it inspired me to use this time to declutter and spring clean. I just took a box over to Goodwill today. And last week I gave boxes to the day school rummage sale. Yay! I’m also gardening (mine doesn’t look half as nice as yours, though.) My chives, tarragon, and thyme all came back strong. I just planted tomatoes and basil. I try to add a couple of perennial flowers each year, so the flowers are lookin’ good.

  5. Mara – I’m a major Barbie doll collector – any chance of “rescuing” the Barbie case pictured if your “to be donated” pile????? Thanks, M

  6. I love all of your organizing!!!! Great work!!! Keep it up!
    I have the same problem with my two boys – very different sizes, and I have a ton of clothes for the future that I received as hand-me-downs from friends. You are definitely motivating me to do some organizing and cleaning in my house!

  7. That Barbie case may be a collector’s item; you should look it up on Ebay – you never know.

  8. Have you seen the Clean Freak HGTV show? I saw a link to some clips and I’m not sure if I want to organize or throw up my hands. Glad to see your work in progress.

  9. Lauren Rosen Gerofsky says

    Mara, thank you for suggesting out loud that too much stuff can be the problem. My boys(including my husband) do not seem to buy into the idea that less clothes, socks, etc. and staying on top of laundry may actually be better for us. I want them to see that is is possible and it also stays within the theme of your recent reader question about keeping up; we just don’t need it. Less but better clothes last longer and create less clutter which also allows our house to look neater and nicer. Maybe with my boys gone this weekend I can go it alone on the reorganizing 😉

Leave a Comment