My Full-House Purge (The Upstairs)

posted by Andrea | 01/4/2019

Now that the New Year is finally here, I’m happy to report that I did successfully purge every single room, closet, dresser, cabinet, and shelf in my home over the past 16 weeks. 

Honestly… I got rid of SO MUCH MORE than I thought I would. 

However, even though this full-house purge has been a humbling experience for me, I will say that never once did I ever feel pressured, rushed, or stressed by the thought of purging our entire house.

I simply took my time, chose one room per week, and picked my way through that room as time and space allowed — during nap time, while kids were playing or coloring or finishing lunch, after they went to bed, when Dave took them outside, etc. etc.

Nothing like I used to do before kids where I hunkered down for an afternoon and got through the entire house! But still not bad considering everything else I have going on right now.

If you haven’t read up on my full-house purge, I’ve included the links below. Even though my initial “challenge” was to purge your home BEFORE the New Year, you could also do this challenge AFTER he New Year — so essentially starting right now! 

Quick Links to Previous Full-House Purge Posts:

My Initial Full-House Purge Post

My 5 Week Update

My 10 Week Update

It feels GREAT to know that I’ve weeded my way through our entire house… and the next couple of months are the perfect time to work through your own house as you’ll most likely be inside more due to cooler weather (at least those of us in the Northern Hemisphere!)

For the last 5 weeks, my focus has been purging the entire upstairs (see blue print photo above) — 2 large bedrooms with large closets, the landing area, the bathroom, and the storage closet.

The upstairs is essentially our kid’s domain, so the weeks surrounding Christmas were the absolute PERFECT time to purge this area. Not only were Dave and Nora home from school to help with the process, but the kids were excited about the new toys and gifts they got for Christmas so it was MUCH easier to purge old things.

As I mentioned above, we ended up purging SO much more than I thought we would — honestly, it’s almost a little embarrassing for me to share today’s post as I realized how much TOYS and KID STUFF we had accumulated over the past year. It’s just crazy how quickly more stuff seems to work its way into our homes… today’s post is proof of that!

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LANDING AREA:

The landing area was one of the selling points of our home for me. I just LOVE this space!

It has served many different purposes for us over the last 8 years — den, play area, reading nook, etc. — and, as of a couple weeks ago, it is now our craft and “school” space (the kids LOVE playing school).

The reason for moving our crafts out of the play bedroom into the landing area is because Clara could reach them all with our previous craft setup. Of course, she’ll still be able to grab any craft supplies the kids leave laying around, but as long as they put things away, it should be a couple years before Miss Grabby-Pants is tall enough to get into the crafts!

We do keep some toys out here still, but we purged SO MANY toys the kids decided they didn’t want.

This is not a very large space, so purging only took 15 minutes, and then a few more minutes to move the craft stuff out here (there are several supplies in the dresser drawers and then on top of the dresser as well.

I’m sure we’ll keep tweaking it to fit our evolving needs, but for now, it seems to be a good fit for this space and the needs of our kids.

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THE KID’S BEDROOM:

Last Christmas break, we moved the kid’s bedrooms around (again) and put all 3 older kids in the same room (at their own request). We didn’t think it would last more than a few weeks, but they LOVED sharing a room… and are still all together a full year later!

We asked if they wanted to split up bedrooms and rearrange the upstairs over Christmas break and they all said “no”, so we’re sticking with this arrangement for a bit longer!

We did purge some clothing a month ago, so other than that, there wasn’t much to purge from this room — just a few dress up clothes (and then straightening out their closet.

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THE PLAY ROOM:

As I mentioned above, the kids all sleep in one bedroom… which means the other bedroom is ALL TOYS!

This room is huge, so it’s a great playing space. However, it can also easily accommodate lots and lots of toys without feeling too crowded — and after lots of birthday and Christmas gifts, it was time to lighten our load a bit and enjoy a little more “breathing room” in our play space.

To my surprise, the kids were very willing to purge so much stuff — more than I even anticipated!

After about 45 minutes, we ended up with 1 large bag of trash, a trunk full of donations, and 4 large tubs of toys I decided to put in the basement for now.

I honestly hate the fact that I’m “hoarding” some of their toys in the basement instead of just purging them. I feel like a hypocrite.

However, they truly purged SO much more than I thought they would (including some of the toys I thought were their favorites) and I don’t want to have them crying in a month because they purged their favorite thing.

Also, several of our toys are still in the original packaging (used, but kept nicely) and could make good gifts for younger cousins or friends — so for now, the tubs are staying in the basement!

Our basement bins are sorted and organized by the following:

  1. Barbies, Ponies, Shopkins, dolls, stuffed animals, etc.
  2. Cars, trucks, trains, Little People things, balls, blocks, etc.
  3. Musical instruments, games, crafts, art supplies
  4. Everything else

If they don’t ask for anything from the tubs, I’ll probably donate most of it this summer — we’ll see what happens!

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KID’S BATHROOM:

The kid’s bathroom was another super-easy room to purge as we basically keep nothing “extra” in this space. The drawers of the vanity are empty aside from a brush and a few hair accessories. The cabinets along the wall just house extra toilet paper, extra towels, and the boy’s PJ’s and undies for after bath time.

I did give this space a thorough cleaning (something it desperately needed) and we tossed our foam bath letters (Clara got new ones for Christmas) but other than that, we didn’t make any significant changes to this space.

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STORAGE CLOSET:

This storage closet has never been featured on my blog before — mainly because it’s just a small storage closet that I never really think of sharing!

However, this storage closet has been invaluable to us over the past 8 years — serving as our main “extra storage” since we don’t store much in our basement (besides Christmas decorations, extra pantry staples… and now 4 tubs of toys!)

Over the years this closet has been home to everything from camping and baby gear to tax returns and electronics, to gift wrap and presents we’re trying to hid from our kids.

Currently, it has a little of everything in it — extra chairs for when company comes over, a cabinet full of gift wrap, extra gifts, all my extra sewing stuff, some extra electronic cords, our luggage, an extra roll of carpet for the upstairs rooms, an extra mirror, a few decorative items, etc. etc.

We truly don’t have a great organizational system in here, but the space still seems to function well enough for us, so we haven’t put much time or money into this closet.

Eventually, we’ve thought about combing this closet with the bathroom to make a separate shower area — or even an upstairs laundry area, but that’s more than we’re willing to take on at this point in our lives, so we just continually mull these ideas over in the back of our brains for a future “someday project”!!

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That’s it! We purged our entire home BEFORE the New Year, which means I can focus more of my efforts on maintenance moving forward.

I know there will always be “more” I could do — in fact, I just did another purge and reorganization of our kitchen cabinets the week before Christmas (more on this in a couple weeks too!) so it’s always a work-in-progress; but I love knowing that I’ve looked through and purged every space in my house at least once each year. 

If you’re looking for a good cold-weather project this winter, go back to my initial post, make a list of the rooms in your home, and pick one room to get started on this weekend!

There is never a perfect time to start purging, so stop making excuses, stop telling yourself you’ll do it after you do _________, grab a trash bag, and start walking through your home TODAY!

You might be surprised how much motivation you build up as you work!

Happy Purging!

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24 comments

  1. Rhonda

    01/06/2019

    My 3rd grade daughter recently did a “persuasive speech” for her class on cleaning out old toys – why you should do it. They uploaded it so we could watch on the SeeSaw app (school uses to share pics, videos). I had to chuckle…my purging ways are sure catching on!

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    Andrea Reply:

    that’s awesome — glad you got to listen/watch from home!

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  2. Abby Williams

    01/05/2019

    I loved the decoration of the kids bedroom most! Simple but beautiful indeed!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Abby 🙂

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  3. Kate

    01/04/2019

    I have done the same thing with my kids’ toys (store them for awhile). After a few months, if no one says anything, then they are gone!

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    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, that’s what I was sort of thinking. If no one notices anything by spring (when we head outside to play SO much more) I’ll probably donate most of them!

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  4. Amy

    01/04/2019

    Thanks for suggesting this- I just made it and completed on New Years Eve. I kept a sheet of all the rooms and dates I completed them to keep me motivated.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Good idea to keep a record of what you did and didn’t do!

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  5. Katherine

    01/04/2019

    We did a big purge of my youngest two kids’ (4 and 6) room before Christmas. Honestly, what trips us up in my older kids’ rooms (8 and 10) is the sheer volume of “craft supplies” aka trash. Toilet paper rolls, pieces of cardboard, shiny tinsel– they are like raccoons that gather up the little bits and pieces and store them away to “make something one day”. It kills me. As they get older I am walking the line between taking over (and trashing all of it while they’re at school) and giving them ownership and agency.

    As I type this out, I think a good solution is to allot a finite space to the “craft supplies”. One box, and once it spills out of that they need to reassess and trash some stuff…

    I feel inspired after reading this post!

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    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, the craft stuff tends to get out of control for us too. Sometimes I just purge when they aren’t around and they (almost) never notice! Other time, I tell them they need to purge and if they don’t, I will. They are usually pretty good about this… for now at least!

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  6. Kim

    01/04/2019

    Even though our Christmas company stayed for 8 days, I have still had time afterward to do some major purging of most of the rooms of our house. I still have the kitchen to do and a couple boxes of keepsakes. I cannot explain how much this has helped my state of mind. It feels like taking a tranquilizer. Clutter is distracting and distressing. Less feels so calming.
    Also, purging helps me think about all future purchases. I need to stop, think, evaluate the “why” of my purchase. Do I really need it? Do I want to purchase today to only purge in two years?
    And now, I am off to do some cleaning that has been ignored while the purge went on.
    Andrea, you remain one of my two favorite bloggers! I learn so much and remain so inspired by you these seven or so years I have followed you. Thanks so much!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Kim! And wow, purging with company — good for you!
    Sounds like you’ve made some huge progress!!

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    Kim Reply:

    I did it after they left.

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh ok. that makes sense!

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  7. Jen

    01/04/2019

    Love this! I have done the same since putting away all the Christmas decor the day after Christmas. You would NOT believe (although you probably would!) the flack I got on social media after I posted that I took down our Christmas stuff on 12/26. It’s amazing what people feel they have the right to comment (rudely!) about. I wanted to scream “I didn’t say YOU had to take down your decor. This is just what works for ME!” (I know you experience this daily on your social media!) Did I miss a law somewhere about leaving holiday decorations up until Epiphany?? 🙂

    Anyway, I purged SOOO much. I honestly don’t know how that happens because I feel like I don’t keep anything, but whenever I “clean out”, I always end up with quite a load to donate. I’m weird in that I cannot have things shoved into every possible space. I HAVE to have an empty drawer/shelf/cupboard here and there just to keep my sanity. (I own my “weirdness” and, again, it’s what works for ME! LOL!) We are well beyond the years of toys, etc, but I still managed to get rid of lots and reorganize things better. Such a good feeling!

    Happy New Year to the Dekkers! BTW, I LOVE that hutch in your landing area!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yeah, our Christmas decor was down ASAP after our last party on Dec. 29! It felt so good to take it down and get our house back to normal again!
    Also, I agree with you that I’m always shocked how much STUFF we have to purge ALL THE TIME. I guess it’s good that I love purging otherwise our house would get out of control within a month or two!

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  8. Julie

    01/04/2019

    I personally do not do this, but I know of several friends who rotate toys. One or two of those tubs might be a game changer during that blizzard in a month or two.

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    Katie Reply:

    Yes! This! I was going to say the same thing. We have “basement toys” that we sometimes bring up during the winter, just on the weekends (my kids are in school/daycare during the week)… the kids know they “live” in the basement so it’s never an argument to put them back down there after they’re played with.

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    Andrea Reply:

    good to know — maybe we’ll have to resurrect some “basement toys” when it’s too cold to go outside!

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — good point Julie! We’re bound to have a few snow days later this winter!

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  9. Chris

    01/04/2019

    Great job! I am chipping away at my house little by little.
    I don’t think you need to feel like a hypocrite for stashing some of the toys in the basement. You’re doing what you feel best for your kids and your life at this time and analyzing why and how you are purging, not forcing yourself into a mold of how you “should” be.

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    Annette Silveira Reply:

    I agree with Chris about the bins of toys. You also have Clara coming up behind the other kids. Those toys will all be new to her and she may love completely different things than they do at this age. Keep rotating things through the bins. If you have room for them and the toys get played with, no harm,no foul.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes, that was sort of my thought process too — I know Clara will like the toys eventually! We can even give them to her as “gifts” as she won’t know they’ve just been sitting in our basement for a year or so!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Chris! It sure does feel good to get through the whole house — now I suppose I’ll need to start the process all over again 🙂

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