You Only Live Once, This Is How I'm Doing It!

A clean start

I’m so happy to put March behind me. The whole month was pretty awful. Sure, there was some really unusually warm and beautiful weather. (80+ in Chicago in March? What planet is this?) But I was too busy trying to resist the urge to dig a hole and crawl in it forever to really enjoy the weather.

About halfway through the month though, when I stopped being sure I’d never feel happiness again, I started a purge of the junk and clutter in our home.

I am a pack rat. I come by it naturally. My dad keeps everything. Old magazines with articles he wants to read, church bulletins, broken things that he could fix. He was even telling me he has old ration stamps back from WWII. No lie.

A combination of those tendencies of mine, a small one bedroom apartment with a serious lack of closet space and sheer laziness led to an embarrassing amount of clutter in our house and garage. And one day, for seemingly no reason at all, I had enough.

Joel and I spent all day on St. Patrick’s Day cleaning out our garage. We threw out a ton of stuff, donated a decent amount of other stuff and then made sure that what we were keeping was neatly in labeled boxes. Then, over the last couple of weeks, I tackled the apartment.

Now, I don’t want you to get the idea that our apartment or garage was Hoarders-worthy. I didn’t work hard on it all day every day the last couple of weeks. But little by little I sorted and organized and last night I realized our apartment is actually clean and organized for the first time in… ever?

There is still a lot of stuff. I will always hold strong emotional value to objects, it’s just in my DNA. I really think that’s okay. However now a bunch of my favorite photos are in frames and hung or displayed. The treasures I’ve picked up on my travels are out on shelves where I can be reminded of the trip on which I bought them. My books are in neat lines on the shelves instead of crammed on top of each other.

But I feel like it’s clean. I feel relaxed in my house instead of guilty that I’m not cleaning. I know where everything is if I need it.

Everything isn’t fixed with a clean house. But it sure is a great start and I hope that it’s an indication that this month will only get better.


Thank you


All clear


  1. I get the urge a few times of year to purge our house. And when I deep clean, it takes days because I can’t just clean, I rearrange and move things. But it feels so good when it’s done.

    Enjoy the cleanliness and organization!

  2. I just read through all your recent posts and wanted to tell you that I’m so sorry for your loss. You have done a remarkable job of sharing such a painful process with the world, and I hope other women going through the same thing will be able to find these posts and take comfort from them. Optimize those key search terms! Honestly, all of your thoughts and emotions remind me EXACTLY of how I felt during and after my first pregnancy, which I also lost at the end of my first trimester. I remember feeling like I would never be happy again. And being SO scared that something was wrong with me and that I would never be able to have a normal pregnancy. But I’m happy to report that the pain does subside. Eight years and two perfect babies later, I can look back and see how that first experience of loss helped to make me a stronger person and better prepare me for motherhood. For what it’s worth…if words from a stranger can help at all. You are a wonderful writer and I look forward to following your journey in the future! -Kate

  3. I get this feeling every once in a while and do absolutely nothing about it. I just always look around at the clutter and complain about it. Maybe someday I will tackle it all.

  4. Dearie,
    You did it! Whenever I have gone through one of those awful, painful, just plain rotten times in life – I would ask Left Brain (my husband), “What do I do now?”. And he would wisely tell me “You just do the next thing, between that and time it will heal.” Your cleaning – purging – reorganizing project? That was the next thing. You did it! I would say you are well on your way 🙂
    Queen B

  5. Good job! I can never get rid of things (totally a pack rat here!) My husband is just the opposite and he is the one the has us get rid of things 🙁 So, So Sorry to hear about your loss, I can’t even begin to imagine how that was. Keeping your mind busy is a good way to heal 🙂

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