Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

Clear Out the Clutter Challenge: The Living Room and Coat Closet

So I made a big mistake… I told you all that I’d be posting the first assignment this morning.

I should know by now that having three little children means I can’t make promises like that. But I made the promise and then, when 10 a.m. came and went and I hadn’t posted, I started getting all sorts of worried emails from people.


I promise I wasn’t sitting around eating bon-bons. Actually, I don’t think I did much sitting at all!

I went to bed late because we’d had “one of those days” yesterday (you know, the kind where you’re ready to turn in your mom badge at lunchtime? Please tell me I’m not the only one who has those kinds of days!), so then I got up late this morning. Which meant that my planned early morning blogging time didn’t happen.

And then the children woke up and there were diapers to change, meals to fix, baths to give, messes to clean up, and more messes to clean up. I love these children–yes, I do!–but recently they’ve been stretching me to my limits. Now I know why my mom used to say, “I thought I was a patient person… until I had children!”

We’re going to make it through this season, by the grace of God, but I’m not going to pretend that it’s super easy or that I’m floating through it completely unstressed all the time.

At any rate, it’s almost 6 p.m. and I’m finally getting this posted. Thanks for bearing with my tardiness. I must remember in the future not to make promises that might not be realistic.

The good news is, though, that I did get my living room, coat closet and hall closet cleaned out. Here’s proof:

BEFORE PICTURES (Yes, I’m keepin’ it real!)

That’s what things look like when you give a  two-year-old the basket of hats, gloves, and scarves for a minute. We’re still working on learning to pick up what you get out; it’s a novel concept. 🙂


(Yes, that’s writing on our walls. In addition to learning how to pick up messes, the children are also learning that walls were not made to practice their latest art projects on!)

And, when it was all said and done, I have a whole box full of stuff from those two closets to add to my garage sale pile!

Clear Out the Clutter Assignment #1

::Go through your living room, coat closet and hall closet (or any other closets or cupboards which reside in your living room area) and then ruthlessly clear out any and all clutter and unnecessary items you find.

::Tally up the approximate amount of items you’re getting rid of. You’ll need that number to enter the giveaway tomorrow!

Are you blogging about your Clear Out the Clutter accomplishments and progress? If so, leave your direct link to your blog post below (with pictures, if possible!) so we can visit your blog, cheer you on and be inspired!

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!


  • Thank you Crystal for starting this challenge! It is just the motivation we need to get our home organized again! The timing is great as Alex was just mentioning to me that we need some organization overhaul 2 nights ago! The winter slump that collects dust and items all around!

    God Bless!

  • Katie says:

    Dear Crystal,

    I am just thrilled to be participating in this with you and the multitude of ladies joining in ~ it couldn’t have been better timing! Thank you so much for your motivation and inspiration! Your home looks lovely ~ and you did a great job! (And totally understand how blogging time gets pushed aside with three littles in the house…same situation over at ours.) Thanks again for hosting this!! Looking forward to the next assignment!

    1 Corinthians 14:40 🙂

  • Dawn says:

    You amaze me with all that you are able to accomplish! And knowing that I am not the only Mom who has days that she would like to “surrender”, makes me feel sooo much better. Your after pictures look great, but your before pics weren’t so bad either!

  • April says:

    I love the matching theme you have in your living room, with the throw pillows and curtians. I would love to do that in my house with blue… Hmmm I’m working on my living room this week, why not freshen it up with those things? Thanks for the great idea!

  • Katie says:

    (I tried to leave a comment before, but I’m not sure if it made it!) Anyway, so glad to be participating in this challenge, Crystal!! Great timing and you are so motivating!!

    Blessings to you and your sweet family,
    1 Corinthians 14:40

  • I just cleaned out a long winter’s worth of “pitch & run” in our Mud Room and lived to blog about it! During the summer we keep the door open, so something HAD to be done! My front closet is still in need of a makeover, but right now I have been working on my kitchen cabinets…honestly, do those plastic containers multiply in there when no one is looking?

  • Jennifer Kaiser says:

    I’m sorry you had such a rough day! I think we all have “those days”! Good job on your cleaning!! I’m going to start mine this morning 🙂
    I totally agree with you “patience” perspective.

  • Hope says:

    Our entryway closet in the living room is tiny…It wasn’t too bad but it was definitely time to clear out the winter clutter!

  • Kathy D says:

    Yay! Your before pictures look just like mine 🙂 This is timely. Our neighborhood garage sale is in 2 weeks. I hadn’t planned to participate this time around but maybe I can set a few things out LOL.

    You do wonderful, Crystal. The fact that you are even decluttering and hosting a garage sale next week with 3 littles is amazing.

  • Heather says:

    Can’t believe no one else has said it, but I don’t think those before pics look that bad! So that gives you a clue to how my house looks . . . .

  • Sabrina Lawrence says:

    I think as Mom’s we all have those days!!!! My husband just started traveling for business and it has been an adjustment. I have to do as much as I can in the hour after they are asleep to make mornings much smoother!

    Mr. Clean dry eraser works magic on thos marks on the walls.

    Thanks for the challenge!

  • Lana says:

    Sometimes I still want to turn in my MOM BADGE and my youngest is 19! I finished homeschooling almost a year ago and I have no idea how I got through 23 years of that! WD-40 takes most anythintg off walls-just spray and wipe. Wish I’d known that a long time ago!

  • rachaelp says:

    I have been going through the same thing with my kids. Thankfully God gives me the grace for each moment.

  • misty says:

    we hung a shoe organizer on the inside door of our coat closet. the kids stuff their hats, gloves, etc.. in the pockets. it keeps the floor clean and things away from busy baby hands.

    • Ln says:

      I had one of these hanging in a closet when I was a teacher and now it’s home with me. It holds pens, pencils, glue, stickers, stamps, scissors, notepads, crayons, erasers, rubber bands, staples etc. Basically, anything that could end up in a junk drawer and is a type of office item. I’ve considered more of these in other parts of the house to contain pieces of toys, stockpiled bathroom items, etc. I’ve been using my office supply one for 9 years now and I’ve just now seen a pocket bust open. HTH someone!

  • Lee says:

    Thank you! the before and after pictures (and the writing) on the wall help A LOT! I just had my 3rd baby (9 weeks) and we are still trying to find a new routine with Homeschooling and cleaning. Somedays I turn in my mommy card before breakfast is over. And although I try to look at each day as a gift I figure everyone has gotten a gift they wish they hadn’t right? When my middle child was a bit younger he was notorious for coloring on the walls. I keep magic erasers for that! It is the only cleaning product I still purchase (with coupons of course!)

  • Lynn Oyama says:

    I love this series you are doing! I won’t be following the assignments because I have been going through stuff for 6-8 months now and have gone through almost all closets, etc. We are having another garage sale in 3 weeks to get rid of more stuff. I so want to downsize everything and keep things organized. Great Job Crystal! I absolutely love your blog – you are a true inspiration!

  • heather says:

    I am currently working on the boys bedroom a.k.a the room where the girls put there stuff because they can’t find a good place for it in their room so mom can clean it. great pics.

  • Amy says:

    I can completely relate to having “one of those days”. It doesn’t matter how old your kids are, those days will still pop up from time to time. The issues simply change from a fussy baby and crayon on the wall to grumbling about school work and pride written on the heart. They all require grace, humility, and patience (a little chocolate doesn’t hurt, either!). I blogged about some of my strategies for handling “one of those days” at And remember: Don’t grow weary, in due season you will reap….

  • Spendwisemom says:

    I am sorry I messed up the title of the link. I forgot to put it in and it did an older one. I put after pictures of what I cleaned out. I think I will take before and after next time so you can tell a difference. It is great to have a common goal to work towards. I plan to donate my stuff since I hate haggling at garage sales.

  • Katie says:

    Mr. Clean Magic Erasers = One of the greatest inventions EVER! I think they were my very first stockpile item when my dd became mobile.

  • Amy says:

    Crystal, I can hear what you are saying loud and clear! My 10-month-old is teething and wants comfort constantly! My 2-year-old is now in the stage where she wants what baby brother has (holding, food, doesn’t matter what it is), so we are working on many of the same things you are!

    The message I got from this blog was a good one: Take one thing at a time! I get overwhelmed easily, and by just tackling one item to clean at a time, I believe I can do it! Thanks for the encouragement:)

  • Dana says:

    So you have having tough days too, Crystal! Well, know that another momma with three kids around the same ages is too! 🙂 May the Lord use these tough days to shape us and mold us!

  • Ellen says:

    Okay…I came back & officially joined in. Come & see!

  • My kids try my patience almost daily and I only have two. I’m so glad the warm weather is finally here! The sharpie on the wall was the worst for me.

  • Jenn K says:

    thank you so much for this challenge it was the inspiration and motivation I needed
    We are looking forward to the next challenge cant wait to keep the momentum moving
    Jenn K

  • Laura says:

    Opps! I accidentally linked up twice, can you delete the first link. The second link is for my series on my site called 12 Weeks to an Organized Home. Lots of pictures and ideas to share.

    You cleaning projects turned out great Crystal!! Thanks for including the real life pictures, now I don’t feel so bad about sharing all of my mess with the world!! 🙂

  • Kathryne says:

    Like others said, this challenge motivated me to start my spring cleaning. Thanks for the inspiration and your blog!

  • Sharee says:

    Thanks for being so real. It is nice to know I’m not the only one who can’t seem to get things done when I say I will and my kids aren’t the only ones who write on the wall.

  • Connie says:

    My task is going to be my spice cupboard. Sounds easy? Not when you’ve lived in your house for 22 years and aren’t quite sure what up on the top shelf in the back. Also, I literally cannot fit one more thing in there and things fall out all the time.

    Unfortunately, I have to have my business taxes done by Tuesday and I’ve been procrastinating so I can’t tackle it until they’re done 🙁 Compared to taxes, it sounds like fun. Sick – giggle

  • Caroline says:

    I hope to work on our hall closet tomorrow!! Our house is currently on the market so lots of decluttering has already been done, but the hall closet is one I have procrastinated on! I’m not even sure what is in there!

    Thanks for the motivation!

  • Naomi says:

    I loved seeing the pictures of your cleaning out the closets. I only have one closet on my main floor and it has been cleaned out. I cannot believe how much stuff I threw out–yes most of the stuff in there was old dust cloths and things like that.

    When my son was around 2 years old he used crayons and colored all over one livingroom wall. I was in the kitchen which was next to the livingroom and he had been playing in his toychest and then decided to mark up the wall. Needless to say I had a neighbor over a few weeks later and she removed all the crayon and repainted our livingroom

  • Hannah says:

    I have that basket! After my second son was born, the hospital gave us the basket with a jar of spaghetti sauce, a box of spaghetti, two glasses with “The Birthing Inn” logo, two pretty bottles of Saratoga spring water, and a baby t-shirt that says “I’m a Birthing Inn Baby”. It is a sweet memory and I still chill water in the bottles and use the glasses, basket, and will hopefully use the t-shirt again!

Money Saving Mom® Comment Policy

We love comments from readers, so chime in with your thoughts below! We do our best to keep this blog upbeat and encouraging, so please keep your comments cordial and kind. Read more information on our comment policy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *