Back to bones cleaning before Christmas

Cat on window sill in messy before bedroom. Story on why rooms are getting purged and cleaned before the decor gets hauled out. funkyjunkinteriors.net

Last week my son moved into his own apartment. So huge!

While I was doing a few dishes (heh), I noted he only had 2 plates.

As I stacked them into the cupboard, I found myself saying, “Wow, with only 2 plates you’ll be needing to do dishes after every meal!” Well now, if that isn’t genius in itself…

After glancing around the rest of the rather sparse-by-most-measures surroundings, it really wasn’t sparse at all. Everything just fit. There was no over abundance of anything. It was functional, and it made his place look bigger than it actually was.

Once I got home, I had Christmas decorating on the mind, however as my eyes scanned my own well lived-in surroundings, my house already looked overwhelmed without one extra thing in sight!

And that’s when I knew I had to pare down. WAY down, before I even attempted to pull out anything additional.

I’ve felt claustrophobic this past year with too much of anything, becoming a junk minimalist of sorts.  I’ve needed to see clear surfaces and  ‘single things’ as opposed to grouped things so they can shine on their own.

Messy bedroom before. Story on why rooms are getting purged and cleaned before the decor gets hauled out. funkyjunkinteriors.net

I started with the master bedroom. I think I picked this room because I had surface cleaned it before I left on vacation, so I knew it would be a quicker fix. Instant gratification at your service…

First up, all the bedding was sent into the laundry room.

Oversized hook on pallet wood wall. Story on why rooms are getting purged and cleaned before the decor gets hauled out. funkyjunkinteriors.net

Then every single cluttery corner got gutted. I had a huge TV box still stashed between the bed and wall I forgot about. And then there was that farmhouse light still in a box crammed into the ensuite.

Once everything was out out out, I could start to see the flaws in the room, such as this board that was pulling away from the pallet wood wall.

Ladder nightstand getting fixed. Story on why rooms are getting purged and cleaned before the decor gets hauled out. funkyjunkinteriors.net

And the dropping boards on the ladder night stand.

Boy this room needs repainting. Next year for sure.

Funny how much we miss while living our everyday clutter-filled lives.

All bed sheets washed. Story on why rooms are getting purged and cleaned before the decor gets hauled out. funkyjunkinteriors.net

Even stripping the bedding down helped. It forced me to look beyond the piled up pillows and duvet, to potentially see other fabrics and layered blankets come into play.

And find my glasses… and cat.

Subway styled TV dresser pulled away from wall for cleaning before Christmas | funkyjunkinteriors.net

Then every spec of dust underneath the TV subway dresser and bed got vacuumed. Windows washed, walls wiped down, doors scrubbed, cobwebs knocked away.

If you tell yourself to ‘touch every surface’, you will see so much more.

Next, the bathroom got hit, then living room. Gut, clean, rebuilding.

Only then did I feel I had actual permission to haul the Christmas tree upstairs. I even got it lit!

After my little cleaning fiesta, I was ready to drop, so I rewarded myself with an easy crackers, meat, cheese, humus and grapes dinner (did this a lot during my travels).

While watching Stranger Things. Totally hooked, I might add. For those curious, I’d regard it as more creepy than scary.

Messy bedroom before. Story on why rooms are getting purged and cleaned before the decor gets hauled out. funkyjunkinteriors.net

Back to bones before Christmas. Story on why rooms are getting purged and cleaned before the decor gets hauled out. funkyjunkinteriors.net

Upon waking up the next day, the first thing I noticed was how striking and vibrant everything was in the bedroom. It was like ‘contrast’ and ‘clarity’ were cranked up. With no dusty out of focus, everything had a brand new vibe, and I actually felt like I could take deeper breaths.

Kinda like in my kiddo’s apartment. That day, I had been jealous of his new living-smaller life. My goal this past year had been to get to that place, and will continue on in the new year.

So if you’re also feeling a little overwhelmed what’s to come over the next month? I suggest to pick a room, any room, then GUT, clean…

… then build up the new improved potential with fresh eyes, and allow the season to unroll at a controlled pace.

Do you clean before Christmas or generally deal with it after the fact?

Here’s the book that really helped start my process off right… (Amazon Affiliate Link)


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  1. I clean before. The tree goes in the living room and I clean top to bottom. Walls, base boards, windows, vacuum carpet and don’t forget the ceiling fans. Love them but dislike to clean them. LOL. I find that you will keep it clean throughout the season. It’s nice to wake up the next day and enjoy the fresh look. 🙂

  2. Great post. I have been feeling the need to purge as well, its amazing how much junk you can collect over the years. When I clean out some of the junk I can truly feel the pressure leave my body–its a great feeling. BTW–Stranger Things is the ultimate show. I bet Eggos is loving it as well.

  3. Fantastic post! I too get that need to nest prior to big holidays. I am wanting to paint my master bedroom before Christmas, but for who? My husband, the two labs or me? I have been feeling “over stuffed” lately myself. There’s a big garage sale coming, huge i say. I have a 2,700 square foot house. My children are grown and my husband and I have been accumulating things! I tell him all the time we are one big box store’s bag away from being borders (no offense to those who actually have that terrible problem). I too am going through things, donating what could be used by those in need. Irma forced us to do the same with the refrigerators and freezers. Hubby is retiring in 40 days. Then he’ll have all that newly found spare time to collect things over again! Oh well!?

  4. Cleaning the clutter from my house helps me clean out the mental clutter that keeps me from moving forward. This was especially true as one of my children moved across the country last year to enter a long term treatment program after years of a misdiagnosed mental illness, which is totally treatable with the right therapy. Lots of clutter cleaning took place then! LOTS. It was so scary! But he made it thru and thrived giving him back a grounded and centered life and is now moving forward in ways we thought we might not ever see again. So much to be thankful for AND I have a decluttered house.

  5. Great post, always good to purge….Will you be writing at all about your transition with your son moving out. I would love to hear how your transition is changing your life….My daughter left for college in 2013 and the road has it’s ups and downs, doesn’t it.
    enjoy your blog and your IG

  6. this is interesting that your blog is such an encouragement to GUT while we are in the process of downsizing and preparing for a move after over 30 yrs in the same location. Not having a large home was quite deceptive when i began weeding and packing, I realized that we had really creeped into the office buildings and sheds even creating a wonderful pantry in an extension directly behind our home. You are really an encouragement and i want to thank you and acknowledge that there really are no coincidences.
    as far as cleaning is concerned, i have always done it before and needed to do it after all the tracking through the house with decorations and meals.

    • Oh goodness, downsizing is not for the faint of heart! My son’s apartment is teaching me a LOT. I mean… 2 plates? Why do I need so many and in all different sizes? No idea. And that’s just one item. I’m still going to keep hacking at my own collecting and get it down to move-out ready… although it may take a few more years to get there. Good thing I don’t have to move, huh? Best wishes on your own purging!

  7. Wow, I got tired just reading your post! LOL! My basement is so stuffed with “good things” that during the last couple months, I’ve been trying to decide what to do with some stuff. I collected a whole rubbermaid bin of beautiful fabric. Why? Because I saw it at estate sales, sales in stores too good to pass up, etc etc. This year I pulled out a lot of that fabric and made reusable bags out of it. Some of them are even in a local holiday sale benefitting the local historical society. Other bags are going to be given to my church to sell at their holiday market. I figure if I loved the fabric, others will probably like it too, so why not get rid of it in a creative way! I’m now trying to use up all the Ball and Mason jars I’ve collected. Making cinnamon crock pot nuts right now that will go into those jars and become gifts for my son to give to his co-workers at Christmas. I do feel a big purging coming on though. One that Salvation Army will be amazed at!

    • Haha, don’t you love it when you can find a silver lining to all our collecting?! That said, it’s fair to hold onto the things you create with as every crafter needs stock. At least that’s what I keep telling myself… LOL

  8. I will do some cleaning before putting the Christmas decorations up. It really needs it as my summer was spent with some other pressing issues. I’ll do the living room and dining area–the kitchen is usually pretty clean–and probably won’t touch the office or my bedroom. I’ll just shut the doors. Then after the holidays I will attempt to do something with those two rooms which are ridiculously cluttered. My main problem with clutter in the public areas is that I have just too much beloved family furniture items. And not a very big house. But I am getting better at eliminating, I think.

    I hope you are enjoying your new sparseness. I look forward to hearing more about gutting and cleaning!

    • Haha, oh man, can I ever relate to the ‘shut the door’ comment! I have a few of those! However I aim to get my main living area livable! I’ve done a little gathering of family heirlooms back in the day, however all I have left now are a few of my toys from when I was a kid jammed under my stairs. That is enough! 🙂

  9. I have OCD so Im constantly cleaning but I noticed during the Holidays I tend to clean a little more. I love the feeling you get from having a clean home and I have a lot of white throughout my house. Love your wood headboard. Im going to DIY one soon.

  10. Oh how I envy that room of yours Donna. I have gone completely in the opposite direction and am going to have to wait till Spring to take care of this huge mess. I’ve already got everything up the tree the decor and so much clutter on top. It looks very cozy but I cannot find anything. Haha.

  11. Years ago a friend of my parents said that you need to move or have a house fire every five years. I didn’t do either …. lived in the same two story w/basement home for 33 years. And then moved into 1100 sq ft apartment. My goal was to live in this space (with a storage space in the basement the size of an old fashioned phone booth).

    Cue rapid downsizing. I’d also read the Marie Kondo book and had started a room by room process knowing SOMEDAY we’d be making this move. Fortunately I’d gotten all the way thru the kitchen and ALL of my clothes (seven trips to consignment stores, five to vintage shop and bags upon bags to family and Goodwill) when my husband got ill and we had to move not someday but NOW.

    It’s amazing what you can do in one month. And after I purged so very much, I’m very slow to buy new stuff. Don’t want or need it. We’re very happy in our new home and are so very grateful the purge is behind us…