A couple of months ago, I wrote a little post about The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It was probably the most thought I'd put into any of my blog posts, and I was also nervous because I wasn't sure if the post was boring or TMI. I was totally wrong. That post is far and away Spoiled Rotten's most popular blog post of all time! It seems like a hell of a lot of us have this issue of clutter in our lives. So here is my three-month follow-up, because in this case, maintenance is just as important as execution.
I've been so friggin happy with how our house feels. It's so easy to tidy and I feel so comfy and happy at home. Since my first post about de-cluttering, there was one room that just wasn't quite right: the kitchen. It needed more work. We decided to paint 'er white, as it was yellow before. I got rid of more shit, and moved more things around. I wanted everything to be on hand and easy to find.
Our knives have always lived in the third drawer from the top. They required minor bending to reach them, and I realized that if we didn't have so many knives they could just live in the top drawer and be even easier to reach. We donated any repeat knives within our set (check out this Huffington Post article on which types of knives you actually need), as well as the extra cheese grater, and any cutlery that didn't have good hand feel (ugh, sorry, but it's a real thing for me). I was pretty surprised at how much more stuff we got rid of in our second round of tidying. We have a fairly small kitchen, but suddenly we have tons of empty cupboard space that is now home to board games and office supplies. Here are some pictures of our new kitchen. It's so bright, airy, and most importantly, very functional.
Entering the kitchen from the living room (there is an entrance on each end of the kitchen).
We moved the drying rack from the right of the sink to the left and freed up our double sink (the drying rack was covering it a bit before). How the hell did it take me this long? I was only keeping that counter space for dirty dishes... Now the dirty dishes go straight into the sink and are bound to be washed, or at least rinsed, much sooner. The sculpture in the windowsill is from a friend in Minneapolis who runs The White Page Gallery. If you're in that zone, check them out!
My cleaning trio: Purple Urchin Lumberjack soap; dish soap in an old maple syrup bottle; and my water/vinegar/lavender/peppermint cleaning concoction.
Oh man, I cannot say enough good things about open shelving! It makes doing the dishes, putting away the dishes, cooking, and whatever just so much damn easier. And then your guests never ask you where the cups are. I totally get why this is such a huge trend in kitchens right now.
This is the other side! Fridge, toaster oven, soda stream, and the kettle. These are the things I use the most often.
The cutlery drawer got yet another little revamp. This drawer truly makes me feel like an adult, who can accomplish anything. With a cutlery drawer like this, none of your friends will question your questionable career or hair choices. This drawer says that you know who you are, and you don't mess around.
Real life. This drawer barely makes sense, but it's functional for us and that's what matters.
Alright, that's the kitchen! But what about the rest of the house? Have I still been folding my undies and not buying useless crap? Yes, mostly. And it's been surprisingly easier than I expected.
When we fold the laundry, we always do it together and we fold our own stuff so that we know where everything is and fold it the way we like. It's also more fun to do together, if folding laundry can be fun. Maybe I should just say relaxing.
Not purchasing things has been pretty easy. I haven't been to a thrift store in over two months (I'm sure that's a record for me), and in general I've been finding it a lot easier to know what to do when I spot an item that I sort of like. I touch it, I feel it, I wonder if this will be a forever item. I look at the materials, where it's made, who made it and I wonder if this is something I would cherish. The answer is always obvious. So, yes, I've been buying things, but they're all special. I'm also trying to avoid things made in China if possible... which, sadly, is incredibly hard.
For the last few months, the house overall has been a cinch to clean and I can definitely feel this messy version of myself disappearing without even really noticing or bothering to say goodbye. For the first time, I feel like I actually know where stuff is in our house. It's cray.
In Marie Kondo's book, she talks a lot about her clients having personal breakthroughs after tidying their homes. I definitely feel that. Since we did "the big clean" I've gone to the gym regularly for the first time in my life, and I actually like it. I've been reading way more, going on my phone less and generally just enjoying my house more. I do that thing where you sit and drink tea and put some music on and read something or play board games. That thing that Cameron Diaz is always doing in romantic comedies. Sometimes I do that now! And it feels even better than it looks.
I think what I've learned through this process is this: I am incredibly lucky to be who I am, doing what I'm doing, in the place that I'm doing it. And I have the power to enjoy that luck, but I have to be conscious of it. The world wants us to hate cooking, to loathe Mondays, and only be happy if we're on a beach drinking a Pina Colada. What I've realized is that life is better when I take every activity that I dislike, and try to use my power to turn it into something that I love and look forward to. I put on fun music or audiobooks or podcasts for chores and long walks. I treat myself to nice, natural bath products to encourage myself to shower, so that the entire process actually becomes a little trip to the spa, in my own bathroom, and I hate bathing a little bit less every time.
If you hate the rain, go get yourself the most bomb-ass umbrella you've ever seen, so that when there are clouds in the sky you're jumping for joy. I'm not saying to buy more stuff, I'm saying that attitude is everything. Daily life is really all we have, and truthfully nobody wants to drink that many Pina Coladas anyway. If you're reading this, chances are you have the time and power to Mary Poppins the shit out of your lifestyle, so listen to what you need and make the little parts that make up every day a bit nicer for yourself. That, my friends, is the spoiled rotten life.