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April 21, 2016

Anne’s Goodwill Declutter Challenge: Make the Guest Room More Inviting

We have a guest room. It even has its own bathroom. We could let one of the boys claim it as their own, but that doesn’t seem quite fair. After all, how could we decide which one of them deserves his own bathroom? Nobody deserves their own bathroom. I don’t have my own bathroom — marriage means you share one until death do you part, or until you have a pile of money and separate bathrooms — so why should a child get a private bathroom?

Anyhow, we recently did a lot of rearranging at home. My siblings and I cleaned out our parents’ home, where we had lived for almost 40 years, and had to figure out what to do with all the stuff. Quick aside: My parents weren’t hoarders. The kinds of things they saved were pretty important, and didn’t fill more than a closet. But 40 years and four kids adds up to a lot of stuff! Anyhow, keep your stuff in check, k?


When I say we rearranged, I mean we acquired a ton of new things, hung things, distributed knickknacks around the house, and moved beds, rugs, and other pieces of furniture to make way for new ones. (Many thanks to Two Men and a Truck, whose drivers were so charming, and didn’t heave so much as a subtle sigh of irritation when they found out they’d be dismantling and reconstructing various pieces of furniture, as well as moving them up and down stairs, all while listening to some woman get all emotional and weird and occasionally sniffly.goodwillmess2

Those were two sweet and hardworking young men. I believe that sometimes people come into your life at specific moments for a reason, and I needed some kindness that day. Shortly after they left, another wonderful person came into my life, someone who’s been helping me with the house and the kids since that day. I knew she was the right person when she didn’t bat an eye at what a mess I was that day. As in, I poured a glass of wine during the interview. It was 5 o’clock, maybe 4:45, but still. And I had forgotten she was coming. But I digress. I’m feeling really lucky these days, and thankful for people who help.)

A few days after all these new things made their way into our house, I hosted Easter dinner for 24 people, which I love doing. But I wasn’t about to have a bunch of extra stuff lying around. We put everything that was left over in the guest room. Then, after Easter, 25 linen napkins, three linen bread basket liners, quite a few placemats, several tablecloths, and various and sundry other linen things ended up in a laundry basket on the guest room bed. Washed, but un-ironed.

It was time to make it right. Here’s what I did:

1. I ironed all that linen. Truth? I don’t mind ironing linens, because it’s easy. Ironing shirts, dresses, and pants is a much tougher thing, and I love my steamer for that. But ironing linens is easy, and I can totally catch up on on my real housewives while I do it. #noshame

2. I cleaned out my linen closet, the one that hasn’t been tidied or sorted since we moved in 11 years ago.

goodwillmess4It was tough. We had to let go of some of the kids’ school things, but it was time. We kept only the towels and sheets we use. And I stacked all those starched and ironed table linens on a shelf, ready for the next time I need them.

3. We went through all the kids’ books. Our boys are 9, 14, and 17 years old. We don’t need any more board books. We kept a few special ones, and sent the rest out into the world for someone else to enjoy. This left a few empty shelves on an upstairs book case.

4. I took books from the boxes from my parents’ house and put them on the empty shelves.
I left one shelf empty, because you know we’ll get more books.

5. I tackled the guest bedroom closet.

goodwillmess3I was going to put a desk that was in there up in the attic, but I sold it instead. Why? Because this house isn’t getting any bigger. Why hoard? I also got rid of some clothes I will never, ever wear. Ever.

6. I didn’t conquer the closet, and that’s okay. I did, however, clear out enough space so guests can actually use it. I also hung most of my tablecloths, which had been taking up room on the sole rod in our laundry room. That gave me a lot of breathing room, and I love it. I also kept one box of my parents’ papers and photographs, because I’m not ready to look at those. One box does not a hoarder make.

7. I kept some things.


Like those two wolves in sheep’s clothing on the bed. My family name is Wolfe. We had a lot of wolf stuff, and my mother thought those were funny. Welcome to my guest room!

8. I made a phone call. As of this writing, there is still a chandelier in a box on the floor of the guest room. But that very day, I called Seastrunk Electric and made an appointment to have them hang that thing. I am wildly excited!

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The end result? I’d like to move into the guest room. It has its own bathroom and everything. Doesn’t decluttering feel good? It makes a room a better place to be. Who wants to come for a visit?