The New Me, part 6: Clean sweep

When I started this journey to organize my home two months ago, I was so overwhelmed I didn’t know where to begin. So, I decided I needed to break it down into small steps.

I created a list of literally every cabinet, drawer and closet in my home. I love to mark things off of My List, but it was too much to have to clean, for example, the entire kitchen. Instead, I numbered every drawer and cabinet and listed them separately so I could mark something off even if I only organized a small space.

If you look at my list now, more than half of the items are highlighted (meaning I’m finished). But that is a little deceiving because my office was one project that was worth about half of the list.

First off, I should say that my office is also the laundry room. Or the laundry room is also my office. The family that built our house opted to create an extra large laundry room, and used part of it for an office. Many years ago, I got very creative in decorating this space. This was the one room in the house where I spent about half of my life since I’m often either doing laundry or working on my computer. So I decided I should really make this room “mine”! Here’s the story:

A very, very long time ago, I was the mother of a little boy with another little boy on the way. I was busy decorating bedrooms in little boy colors. But each time I would go to buy accessories for their bedrooms, I would be drawn to the little girl section of the store. I was convinced I would forever be the lone girl in a home full of boys. So I decided that my office/laundry room should be totally girly.

Get ready.

Don’t laugh out loud.

Don’t leave me any mean comments.

I decided to paint the room not one, not two, not three, but FOUR loud, obnoxious colors. (These photos are after we recently cleared the room and patched the walls.)


When I first created this room, I painted some really awful shelves the previous owner had left behind and used them to store all of my crafting supplies. I was really, really into scrapbooking and stamping and had tons of paper, stamps, cutters, etc.

Then, I got really involved in selling Discovery Toys. After seven years in the toy business, I had accumulated tons and tons of toys, catalogs, order forms, etc. etc.

This also became the dropping point for gift wrapping supplies, cards, family photos, computer equipment, and the list goes on. If something didn’t have a home, it pretty much got dropped in my office. Here are a few incredibly embarrassing photos to give you an idea.

Add to all of that an enormous, ugly desk that was a hand-me-down from my husband’s work. (I can’t bring myself to post the photo… maybe later!)

I have spent several weekends cleaning out this room, resulting in about 25 bags of garbage and a dozen boxes of stuff to give away or sell. When it came to the paint color, I needed a clean sweep, as well.

I have never liked grey. I love color and grey in my mind is even worse than white when it comes to lack of color. It’s boring. Drab. And depressing.

But as I looked for office OR laundry inspiration colors, I kept coming back to grey. Apparently, grey is the new neutral. And it just happened to be so radically opposite of bright pink, yellow, green and blue that I felt that’s what I needed for this space.

Right now, the room is still empty. I’m using a folding table for my desk. And I LOVE it!

The grey definitely takes on different tones in different light. It looks pretty GREY in this photo, but at times, it has more of a brown undertone. I also painted the ceiling and the trim white.

I’m planning to bring in some white shelves, a white desk and some curtains and other accents that are colors similar to the “sprinkles” and “persimmon” on this card:

But I’m not quite ready to even put anything in this room yet. I love the emptiness and the new paint smell.

Now, you know I have to make an analogy for EVERYTHING, but I really can’t resist. I have to admit that cleaning out this room was quite an emotional journey for me. After a few long days of sorting and throwing away, I found myself wanting to curl up in a ball.

It was hard to let go of past parts of my life and throw them away or box them up once and for all. The reason this room had gotten so bad is that I just couldn’t go back there and face all of those things, which bring back so many memories!

Once it was all done, I realized that I didn’t miss any of those things. It feels so good to have all of that STUFF wiped away from my life. In the process, I have realized the need to wipe clean some parts inside of me. I needed to let go of some emotional baggage… some holding on to things in the past that were weighing me down. It’s been an awesome experience to do this clean sweep!

And just to take the analogy one step farther and make it even more annoying, I actually LOVE doing laundry now! I can’t wait to get some cute little baskets for my cleaning supplies and get this room put back together. But I love coming in here and just making things CLEAN!

Hey, leave me a comment and let me know you read this. What do you think of the grey? Do you have areas in your home that need a good clean sweep? Tell me about it!



15 Responses

  1. I love it Emily! I used to feel the same way about grey but once you add those pops of color, it is going to look incredible. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

    1. Thanks, Michele! I can’t wait to see what shade of grey you end up trying. Isn’t it AMAZING how many variations there are of GREY?!?

      I’m looking forward to add those punches of color, too. I will post photos when I’m done!

  2. I love this color!! The room looks amazing! I totally get what you are saying about letting go. It is hard. I finally realized that letting go of the past enabled me to enjoy the future so much more and that helped tremendously.
    I am with Michele too! Once you add those pops of color, it will look fabulous!

    1. Thanks, Kelly… You are so, so right about letting go. It’s an incredible feeling. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. Starting is the hardest part!

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