Day 1: The plan of attack

Here we go! (Hold me.)

For those who are new here, a bit of a background. A very close friend lost both her parents in June due to sudden illnesses. We were shocked. We are still shocked. After the memorials, after the thank you cards, and after everyone left, my friend started clearing out her family home. The clean up process has been sobering. This month is about making sure that everything in my home abides by the famous William Morris quote.

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

–William Morris.

Because as much as I loved my friend’s parents, they didn’t.

This project is, of course, inspired by The Nester’s annual 31 days series. I can’t believe I’m doing this. I mean, I’m really excited to started purging, decluttering, organizing, and even beautifying areas of my home that are long overdue, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous that I bit off more than I can chew. Right now, the anticipation outweighs the concern, probably because I haven’t blogged in days and missed being here in this space of ours. Also, I have a plan of attack, or at least a list of potential projects to remind me of everything I can work on around the house. Working on your house can be a lot like summer vacation for a seven year old. A bunch of foot dragging and moaning that this is boring and there is nothing to do.

I’m going to tell myself what I told Mikey in July: There is always something to do.

Here is my proof.

Obviously I won’t be able to finish everything. Some items on this list will take me days to complete, and this list isn’t even complete! I know I’m forgetting a few things, so I will update as they come to me. The list is long so that I have options. In the event I don’t feel like upending a drawer, I can look through family pictures and not feel pressure to adhere to a small and tight list. I’m a girl who needs wiggle room.

So, what do you think? Did I forget something?

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. michelle says

    wow wow wow!!!!!! that is a loooong list! It will be fun to see you check them off and I hope it inspires me to organize and purge too!!!

    ps I have a william morris address that a friend brought me back from the met, over 10 years ago! (and I still use it)

  2. says

    Well. You are definitely prepared. I am so excited (is that weird?) for what your house is going to look like on November 1st. I will be cheering you on and hopefully will be shamed into getting my act in gear.

  3. says

    Reading blogs on the weekend is totally going to throw me off … but I digress …

    Organizing has a sneaky way of invigorating; rather than feeling overwhelmed, you just might find yourself more at peace. That said, here’s to you … and a grand adventure!

  4. says

    I think every woman in America has a list as long as yours. You’re right–there is always something to do! I’m looking forward to reading (and relating to) your 31-day series.

  5. Dorothy says

    Wow, you are taking care of stuff that I had to think, “Gee, do I have one of those?” Kitchen toe kick? I’m lucky if I manage to MOP under the edge of my cabinets once a week… Good luck, I’m cheering for you!

  6. says

    Cheering you on from here. My dad died 20 years ago. My mom died 10 years ago, unexpectedly. I am just now finishing clearing out the storage unit. I am not sorry I had it; I needed the time to mentally process everything. But the cleanout job was horrible. I found things in my house that had always been there that I hadn’t realized were furniture from *their* parents’ houses that they had kept and never really used. And since my mom’s death was sudden–let’s say the house was Not Ready for Anything. I’m still fighting my “keep keep keep” tendencies but memories of that horrible, bereft time keeps me purging as I can.

  7. says

    Wow, I’m so nervous and excited for you. I was thinking of doing something similar, but just don’t feel like I have the staying power to get the job done. So I copped out a little and broadened my subject so I could include some organizing, but also do other things. I love your long list as I, too, am a wiggler.

    I’m officially sucked in and will be cheering you on from my neck of the internet.

    It’s also good because my in-laws live across the street and I can already see that when they are gone, I am going to have quite a task on my hands. Maybe if I can get my house done, I can help my mother-in-law start on hers.

  8. says

    Love it!
    New follower – also a 31 Dayer.

    My mom was a depression-era hoarder.
    And, she left me with a 3 bedroom home stacked wall to wall – floor to ceiling.

    I can’t wait to catch up on your series when I get home tonight.

    All the best,
    Dana @ Cooking At Cafe D

    31 Days – 31 Minutes to A More Organized Home
    “Tasks that take 31 Minutes or less to make your life…just a little bit easier!”

  9. Lindsay says

    Wow! I followed a link from the Nester and I love your 31 days series. You’re now officially added to my list. Your tone and thought process are exactly what I need right now. Keep up the good work and I can’t wait to see how the whole month goes for you!

  10. Bev says

    I am in the season of life where I have helped clean out my parents’ house to move my mother to an assisted living. Thankfully, Mom did not argue about anything she needed to let go in order to fit in a much smaller living space. For years whenever I would visit, we would go through closets and drawers and we would purge items, so even though it was still a big task to move her, it was not a terribly emotional one for her. The hardest work had been done.

    Now I’m watching my friends go through this with their parents – and they are overwhelmed with the task…useless items, things that meant something to only their owners, things packed away that perhaps had value or meaning at one time but had not seen the light of day for years. One friend rented a dumpster and many of the belongings were just thrown away. After all – how many silk greenery arrangements placed in empty plastic soft drink containers does one person need??? Evidently this dear lady thought that you needed to store every gift, every craft-project-gone-wrong forever. All clean and neatly organized. All left for her exhausted and grieving children to deal with.

    Even though I hope that I’m years from this, I have started living as though my daughter will have to come in next week and sort through my home. I’m not so much thinking of old age, it’s just that we’ve recently taken up parasailing and ziplining. :)

  11. Lynn says

    omg the list is like a list I started right down to dining room furniture and hang something on walls!!!
    Now I really need to get something going on this monster size list in order to reclaim my house.
    ps just found ur site and took time to read it, and couldn’t stop when I heard about your friends parents as I had to do same thing and there was so much stuff with so little time to get it done!
    thanks for posting

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