Below are a series of BEFORE and AFTER photos. Keep in mind that although the AFTER photos look “lived in”, the only way to be successful – and remain successful – is to declutter in a way that the end result stays cleared, reduced, and workable in day-to-day living.
There is no sense in totally clearing everything from the surfaces and in cupboards if the end result will not stay that way as life continues. Even with a “lived in” look, the end result is still much less stressful. Just looking at surfaces that have less clutter automatically reduces the stress level.
Living Room Roll Top Desk
One thing I really hate about BEFORE and AFTER photos is how almost always, the BEFORE photos are the worst possible poses. When people are involved, they never smile BEFORE but do AFTER and also almost always the BEFORE photos are black & white. This is done to make the AFTER photos look like there is a bigger difference than it really is. In my case, because I want you to see the actual differences, I tried to keep the AFTER photos the same angle and color as the BEFORE photos so that you can actually compare the two.
Roll Top Desk
Turns out, the only reason the candelabra was being kept was because it was received as a gift many years ago. It had never been used even one time! Same thing with the electric gazebo that was next to the candelabra. Therefore, both of these items were donated to Goodwill. It was easier to let go of it when the owner knew that someone else would get enjoyment out of both items.
Also: when the Christmas boxes are brought down from the attic, the Christmas cottage will be put in one of those boxes, which will clear the top of the roll top desk even more. The inside of the roll top is pretty much the same as it was in the BEFORE photo. Therefore, I saw no reason to open it because I wanted the viewers to focus on the top, which is significantly clearer of items.
Kitchen Spice Cupboard
The kitchen BEFORE and AFTER photos are from my kitchen. Notice in the BEFORE photo that things were stacked on top of each other, and therefore, when I wanted a spice, seasoning, or herb that was just behind the front row, jars fell out of the cupboard and behind the front jars of seasonings or spices and pushed those jars off the shelf. Sometimes the jars hit a stove grate and broke.
In the photo of Spanish Paprika, I paid $2.24 for 4 ounces at the farmers’ market as opposed to paying $5.97 for 2.64 ounces at the supermarket.
By the way, I cannot remember the last time that I purchased fresh herbs from a supermarket because they are so much cheaper at farmers’ markets (street markets). Additionally, spices are much cheaper at farmers’ markets (public markets). I get more 2-3 times the amount at farmers’ markets than at supermarkets and yet the larger amount is 3-4 times cheaper than at supermarkets.
Glasses, Cups, and Plates Cupboard
Notice the long stemmed water goblets in the top right. They came as a set years ago; however, we found the miserable to drink out of when we used those goblets for sodas and iced tea drinks while watching TV at night because we were sitting back on the sofa rather than sitting straight up at a dining room table. So, we got rid of those (donated them to Goodwill) and got shorter “old fashioned” glasses, which now double as parfait glasses in addition to drinking glasses.
Notice the huge computer monitor on the computer center in the BEFORE photo. The owner wanted to get rid of it because her desktop computer no longer worked; however, she did not know how to get rid of it. I researched and found that Best Buy will let you take any electronic, whether or not it is working, to their store and they will recycle the electronics – for free!
The bookcase in the back of the dresser was broken; however, with it being in the corner, it still stood up, so initially, it was left in the corner because the back of the dresser would hold the bookcase together. This created a very dangerous situation so the bookcase was taken apart and trashed.
The paper towels, toilet tissue, and napkins that I had carefully sitting on the bookcase were stacked on top of the dresser, which now sits in the corner. The paper products are only bulky and not heavy, so the unsafe situation has been resolved.
On a side note: as with this person, when there are significant sales on paper towels, toilet tissues, tissues, napkins, double closure plastic bags, etc., I stock up on these items since they do not spoil. Sometimes the sales are in the form of “loss leaders” at supermarkets and other times, they go on sale simultaneously with a variety of holidays.
Simply by putting things away that did not belong on the typing table cleared everything.
The 2-shelf brass/glass shelf was initially a 4-shelf; however, because the items on the shelf were rarely used for anything, but rather this was a convenient place to stash things, we got rid of the shelf altogether. Several of the items were donated to Goodwill and the candles were moved to a different location. Actually, this person has an EMERGENCY section of her home and the candles were put with the flashlights and other emergency items.
One trick to keeping newly cleared spaces in your home is to create a new MANTRA for yourself in that every single time you leave a room to go to another room, pick up at least one thing that belongs in a different room and take it to that room. You do not have to put it completely away (although I strongly encourage that you do that), I know from my own home that I will not always do that. I have also discovered that as long as an item is in the room where it belongs, it will be put away in the appropriate space when that room is cleaned. I set up task lists so that all rooms in my home are on a rotation schedule when I will spend no more than one hour in the room, power cleaning.
Please let me know how you feel about this type of BEFORE and AFTER organizational technique.