These are the 4 areas I've tackled so far, previous to starting this blog. I REALLY wish I had taken before and after pictures - you would be stunned to see how much stuff I was able to get rid of.
I began with the bathroom one day on a whim. I finally installed the new, correct-fitting toilet seat one day while the whole family was out, just to have something to do. It looked so nice that I decided to keep going, and I cleaned out the entire corner of the bathroom where tp and tissues are stacked up. The tiny room (not even legally large enough to be called a bathroom, according to our local zoning laws) immediately felt 10X bigger and so much more spacious.
I'd caught the dejunking bug that bites me at the end of spring every year. Each time I passed the bathroom I felt my spirits lift. A few days later I decided to try the linen closet, a veritable repository of gross old creams and expired medication. After several hours of trashing what was trash and separating the old meds out to go to Rite Aid for medical waste disposal, I could actually see all the way to the back of the closet. I threw away an entire trash bag full of junk, including a number of items significantly older than I am (including eye cream that expired in 1985).
No one complained. I expected mom to throw a fit, but she didn't even mention it.
I got a little bolder. Next I did the kitchen. The entire center counter (we call it the peninsula, since it's not quite an island) was covered in empty glass bottles and washed out yogurt containers, my mom's favorite 2 makeshift reusable containers (even though she has a ton of legit tupperware). I managed to clear off both major flat surfaces in the kitchen, the peninsula counter and the counter next to the stove. I also dejunked the nook between kitchen and dining room. The shelves above the sink are their own 2-day project and will require lots of input from my mother. Still, I was so proud of myself for making what once looked like an ocean of trash into a habitable counter space that you could actually cook on.
Finally, I dedicated yesterday to the front coat closet, a space which no one has been able to walk though for years. It's one of those quiet spaces where junk just sort of somehow accumulates, and no one quite knows how it got there. Not only did I load the entire back of my hatchback Taurus up with stuff and make a trip to the local thrift shop, I was able to load it AGAIN with excess coats. I was really nervous here that my mom would not be able to part with the disgusting old coats which have hung unseen and unused in that closet for years. But, miracle of miracles, she did! I picked a time of day when I know she's "good", mentally together enough not to pull out the excuses of "I'll do it later, when things settle down, when I'm not exhausted, when my brain is working", etc. I made a system - all of the coats would be taken out of the closet and divided up according to owner. The owner would then go through them and hang up what they wanted, and put anything that was junk into a pile to be donated.
We managed to get rid of at least 50% of the old coats in that closet. I think we pulled out about 8 or 9 to be donated. My mom kept 5 coats, my brother kept 1, I kept 1, my dad kept none (he keeps his in his car b/c he's on the road so much). I was very proud of my mom for being able to get rid of so much stuff, and I told her so. She almost had to make a "This stuff is so ugly" game out of it, but whatever helps her get through dejunking works for me.
By the end of the day the closet had gone from packed to chest height with old junk to neatly organized and with extra space left over. It was magical. I didn't have a chance to sort through the dresser, but it is neatly labeled and all the stuff in there is sorted correctly, so it's not a pressing matter for me right now. Also, I found about 1.30 in the pockets of the old jackets we gave away! Plus, I found a pair of my old roller blades - I LOVE roller blading but hadn't had a chance to do it in years. I can't wait for the weather to dry up so I can use them!
All of the legitimate, functional stuff that had been pushed out of the closet by the junk was able to go back in, including shoes that were staying in the living room and jackets that were hanging on the banister.
My dad was very very happy with the fact that we are now able to walk in through the front door of our house. He said he would buy lunch for anyone who kept it looking that nice. Even mom commented that it was "a good idea"! We're making progress here people, slowly but surely.