I don’t know about you, but it seems like when summer is over and school starts, I start feeling really surrounded by clutter in my house. Like the walls and all of the decor are closing in on me. It’s probably partly due to the fact that we spend most of the summer outside, so I’m not really paying attention to the inside of the house, partly due to all of the papers and other stuff that come with back to school…and mostly due to the fact that I tend to hoard “cute” decor things all year. Whatever causes it, the last few weeks I’ve been purging, rearranging, and de-cluttering all of the things that drive me crazy. You know that saying, “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels”? Well, as I get older I realize that the less stuff I have, the less I have to pick up and not having to constantly clean feels a lot better than having cute, decorative things that really have no place. I was aiming for a clever saying with that, but: fail. Anyway, you get the idea.
Since the dining room and the kitchen are two of the most used, and visible spots in our house, I ended up starting there. So I thought I’d just sort of show you a few of the changes.
The biggest change in here really is the dining table set up and it made the whole room look and feel better (I swear I say that every time I make changes–evolution, right?). I’ve been wanting to swap out some of my chairs for a bench for a really long time, in fact, I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to “Benches,” but there’s that whole budget thing and it just hasn’t been a priority. Then a couple of weeks ago, Jamie from Southern Revivals wrote about a bench she built for $50–sold. While we had 15 kids over for my daughter’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, my husband spent the day in the garage knocking this one out. I don’t have a belt sander, so it’s not as pretty and perfect as hers, but it works for us, and imperfections are my jam, so I love it. I stole my white Ikea dining chairs and rug out of my office and we have a whole new setup in here. It’s done wonders for opening up the small space between the living and dining room and not making it feel so cramped.
Maybe this post should just be called, “Jenn’s Struggles,” because another one is arranging my buffet. I always feel like it’s too cluttered or the scale is off, or whatever. I’ve mentioned before that while this piece is decorative, it also serves a huge function in here because we have limited cabinet space, so I have to find a happy balance between the function and the decorative stuff, which is hard for someone who just wants to display all the things. The solution was my go-to: baskets. When in doubt, grab a basket. They’re perfect for hiding clutter (toys, blankets…), but also for grouping things together and just making it look better.
The absolute worst culprit of my back-to-school-clutter-anxiety: Kitchen counter clutter. I mean, really I just hate the kitchen in general. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t look at it and plan an entire gut-job–one of my most hated House Hunters terms by the way. Why does everything on that show that has an ugly paint color need a “gut-job”? *insert eye rolls*. Anyway, our kitchen just lacks storage space and you can see it from almost any angle in the house, so if it’s messy, it’s just you-know-what rolling downhill for the rest of the house. But until the budget allows for a new kitchen, we work with what we have.
And what we have, again is limited cabinet and storage space, so that means there are things that just have to have a place on the counter, but they have to look nice, not cluttered. So, for the longest time I’ve had a big boot tray on the counter that held the silverware, fruit (that we would actually use), but was mainly just serving as a decorative centerpiece and a place to put little things like Legos that I find on the floor and just haven’t put away yet–you know, because it’s so hard to walk to the other room and just put it away. So the boot tray got the ax and what a difference it made. It feels a little naked, but good naked.
I knew it was a de-cluttering win when Chandler walked in from work and said, “The house is really clean. Like, REALLY clean! It looks really good.” I’ll consider that one Mission Accomplished. And I’m feeling SOOOO much better about the new school year now that the house is in order…well, almost. I’ve got a little “This is Real Life” for you later this week