Decluttering doesn't even begin to describe it.
It started with the front yard. We have a holly bush on each front corner of the house -- both of which had grown to 12 feet. At least. Also about 10 boxwoods which hadn't been properly pruned in years. Actually never once since we moved into this house 16 years ago.
In April I cut the holly bushes and boxwoods way back to nothing. By myself. It was an insane nasty job. Yet it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. After that I got busy planting lots of flowers along the sidewalk and fixing up the little front porch with lots of potted plants. It was a drastic change -- so much that neighbors we hardly ever talk to would stop when driving by and compliment me on it. Even the UPS man complimented me on it.
Next I tackled the side yard and a bit of the back yard so we could store the trash and recycling cans back there. I trimmed the hedges on the side of the house and weed whacked all the borders and since then I have kept very good care of my front and side lawn. And yes, managing to keep it trimmed and watered and under control for two months (almost) is a record for me.
Our next outside task is to paint the exterior of the house. I'm prepping for this by leaving the paint color brochure open on the table and staring at the color options every morning at breakfast.
The decluttering job I have to do in the attic and boys room makes the front yard look like, well, I don't know like what. A walk in the park, a day at the beach. You get the idea.
We have not really gotten rid of any toys. And my kids have a ridiculous inappropriate amount of toys. We spoiled them. My boss spoiled them. My in-laws spoiled them.
Today I tried starting in the kids room but the truth is it has to be the attic first. My excuse every summer is that it's to hot and I need to wait until it cools off. But here in the south that means waiting until we are into October and then it's practically the holidays which has resulted in an attic so full of crap I literally could not walk past the stairs.
I've made some progress today and filled the back of our truck (a small truck, but still) with unneeded/unwanted stuff from the attic.
I'm telling you this is hard for me. Giving away toys the kids haven't played with for years. Really hard. I know where J13s reluctance to give or throw anything away comes from.
But it has to be done.
I don't want to live like this anymore. Our house is old and small -- two bedroom/one bath. It's full to overflowing with stuff we need. As small as it is it is made even smaller by us not taking care of our stuff.
I can't teach my kids to care for their things unless I can care for my things.
I started this post by talking about the front yard because my progress and upkeep of the front yard has given me hope and a belief that I can take care of the inside of the house as well.
So I'm headed back up to the attic to haul some more stuff down. The dream is that if we don't move to a larger house soon we will turn the attic into a bedroom for J13. It already has hardwood floors and bead board walls and two skylights. It's a great space. If we can just clean it up and fix it up for him. It's time he had his own space.
The truth is I feel like I have failed him, well both kids, as a parent. That they should have a nicer house now. Most of it is our own carelessness and a bunch of other stuff mixed in.
I just hope I can keep it up and keep making progress.