Decluttering for a Happy New Year
by Yvonne Ortega
I walked through my house in shellshock. One glance in the guest room made me wince: boxes blocked the closet and the view out the windows. In the guest bathroom, boxes filled every available space, including the bathtub to the shower head and the top of the commode.
The dining room and living room didn’t look any better. I had to move my two-drawer file cabinet with the printer on top of it in front of one of the dining room windows. Rows of boxes blocked the fireplace, the piano, and the windows in the living room.
Decluttering the Kitchen
My decision to gut the kitchen after twenty-five years meant clearing everything out of the kitchen. The job didn’t only include new cabinets and appliances. The drywall needed sandblasting, primer, and repainting, and the plumbing and electrical work required inspections.
Meanwhile, I lived in chaos. Even my master bedroom and bathroom had their fair share of boxes.
I placed all the pictures from the walls and the mantel on the couch. The kitchen gutting crew, which I called my demolition team, took my kitchen table apart and put it behind the couch. Sheets, blankets, or towels covered all the furniture to avoid layers of dust from the sandblasting.
My Makeshift Kitchen
Once my refuge, the sunroom became my makeshift kitchen. The work crew squeezed in an adjustable desk with a shelf below it. I learned to prepare meals on a one-burner hotplate and a toaster oven. I would move the toaster oven to the shelf below the temporary kitchen counter to use the hotplate or to fix a protein drink in my blender.
I donated more than half of the items in the kitchen before I boxed the remaining ones. Three and a half months later, the crew completed the “one-month job.” I made another charitable contribution of half the contents I unpacked.
Without the help of several women in my church, I couldn’t have finished before the work crew started. One week didn’t give me enough time to pack by myself. After the job completion, my neighbor and I put everything in place. My beautiful new kitchen was worth the work of decluttering for a Happy New Year.
Decluttering My Master Bedroom Closet
My master bedroom closet became my next project. Each December, I take everything out of the closet, vacuum, and handwash the woodwork and floor.
A year ago, I gave away 100 items of clothing, but this year, my closet overflowed again. If I reached for one thing on the high shelves, I risked a head injury or bruises. That called for an aggressive cleanup. I couldn’t do it alone and asked my friend, “Kat” (Katherine), to help me. On Saturday, three days before my friend’s arrival, I cleared the closet and cleaned as in the past except for the high shelves.
I sorted the clothes in categories by season, color, and type. Twelve hours later, I limped to my rocker recliner to watch a movie on the Hallmark cable television channel but fell asleep.
Because of fog and rain, my friend’s plane arrived three hours late. We stopped at the grocery store, came home, and ate dinner. She unpacked and went to bed. I also went to bed, but anticipation of our project kept me awake longer than I expected.
On Wednesday, Kat and I got busy early. She is taller and wears a larger size than I do. She held up a hoodie and said, “Does that fit you?”
“It’s a little big, but I wear it at home.”
She put it on. I stood flabbergasted because it fit her perfectly. After that, she would hold up a blouse, T-shirt, or jacket and raise her brow. “I’ll put it in the donation pile, Kat.” That stack mushroomed.
When I dropped Kat off at the airport, I thanked her for her help. I had a total of 211 items to donate. The next day, two thrift store volunteers helped me unload the car. On Sunday, the rest went to my church. Three days later, a friend took the extra hangers.
I can walk into my closet and see the floor and shelves. I no longer worry about head injuries or bruises. The thought of blessing countless people with my donations makes me smile. It will be a Happy New Year indeed.
Decluttering the Bookcase and End Tables
My final project for this year is to purge the bookcase and end tables one at a time. I donated 100 books last year, but I collected more at conferences. When I complete this final project, I’ll bless others again with boxes of books. And I’ll have a Happy New Year.
Think about where you can start to declutter in your home. Ask for help if you need it. Happy New Year.
Yvonne Ortega walks with a small footprint but leaves a giant imprint in people’s lives. This power-packed package is the author of the Moving from Broken to Beautiful® Series through cancer, divorce, forgiveness, and loss. Yvonne’s background as a licensed professional counselor brings a unique perspective into the heart of women. Find her at www.YvonneOrtega.com, on Facebook https://facebook.com/yvonne.ortega98 and Twitter https://twitter.com/yvonneortega1
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